Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I think I should just get a job as a movie critic/game critic. My only problem would be, I can't be bought. If I hate a movie, I hate a movie. If a game sucks, a game sucks. I'm not going to write a glowing review for something that I couldn't stand. I'm just not that good a liar. Also, it stops me from being a salesman, a politician, a lawyer, a doctor, or a customer service agent. All jobs where lying is just required to make any money at it.

SO being a critic is probably out too, since the big commercial game/movie producers would shitcan me because I don't like any of their crap products. Ah, well. I can still do it as a hobby! :-D

So I watched "the girl with the dragon tattoo" via netflix. This isn't the americanized version, but the original. I'm not sure if it was from sweden or germany or where the hell it came from (honestly, I didn't really think of looking through the 5-minute long credits to find out), but if it's the same place that made "let the Right one in" and "Dead Snow," then hollywood is just assured of good movies for the next ten or 20 years or so because they're RIPPING OFF EVERY MOVIE THAT COMES OUT OF THAT PLACE. Yea, I know, why bother finding good american movies or coming up with your own scripts when you have a perfectly good foreign film, complete with script, that you can just rip off and know will do fairly well because it did so well in it's native country? Because you aren't a spineless jellyfish with no creative talent, that's why. But, american movie producers apparently ARE spineless jellyfish with no creative talent, so we're left with a cheap knockoff of an excellent foreign film. Sigh.

No, don't even give me that "but you haven't even SEEN the american version yet" crap. I don't know who they got to play the girl in the american version that just hit the theaters, but the guy is played by daniel craig. Daniel Craig, the same guy who continues to destroy the james bond series.

Let me just take a moment here to explain something. Either Daniel craig played james bond as a gay man, and subsequently is the best actor currently working in the world (because I believe wholeheartedly that daniel craig is gay), or he really IS gay and can't act for shit, which is my informed opinion. You only need watch the emo-driven remake of "Casino Royale" to understand what I mean. Now I don't have a THING against gay men and I am not homophobic in the least (in fact I am quite happy they recently made same-sex marriages legal in my state, yay!), but the only line he delivered in casino royale that I believed AT ALL was when he said he "didn't care in the least" about the woman who he had slept with that died. Now, as we all know, the standard james bond plot line is, james woos some chick away from the evil boss that he's going after so he can get inside info from her, she ends up getting killed over it, and that makes james bond all killy-kill-kill, which ends up going badly for the bad guys. This is just standard fare, it's what we're all looking for, it's what we know. So to have one of the signature plot devices in the entire james bond series to be wholly undone is either the performance of an acting genius, OR a gay guy just futzing up the acting. Now which do you think is more likely in Daniel Craig's case? Keep in mind, he was spotted several months after the release of the second james bond movie he did, in a seedy nightclub (I think it was in paris?), kissing another man. And again, if you want to kiss another man on your own time, fine, but don't fuck up your acting because of it. Having seen Daniel Craig act, Keanu Reeves' most wooden performance is oscar-winning by comparison.

Now, that having been said, back to the foreign version of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. This movie is your basic "who-done-it" murder mystery. Essentially, there's a rich guy who believes a girl was killed some 40 years back, and it's just bugging the crap out of him since he really liked the girl, and he finally breaks down and hires a reporter who can't be bought (hey, another man of integrity, like myself! :-D) to investigate because he knows the reporter will (1) stick with it until he finds out what happened, and (2) will be honest with him about the results. So the reporter gets down to business and eventually meets "the girl with the dragon tattoo" about an hour into the movie. Now, it's not that they haven't shown her at all til this point, and in fact, they went so into detail about her that it was almost two separate movies. I would have had NO idea the two stories were going to intersect at some point if it hadn't been for the movie's title. So in any case, the girl assists him with the investigation and then things begin to get hairy, as they say in werewolf school. Not that this movie has anything to do with werewolves, I'm just saying.

Now I read one of the reviews on netflix saying they'd figured it out who-done-it when the family had gathered all in one place to meet the reporter about an hour and a half in, but if you're smart like me, that's WAY farther in the movie than you need to go. I figured out who-done-it about two seconds after the reporter meets the guy who is hiring him to look into the murder, BUT, what can I say. I am a genius, completely unlike daniel craig.

The movie itself was beautifully done. Two and a half hours long, and they could have done without some subplots that delved into some perverse territory, but then I suppose that wouldn't have shown off how smart the girl herself was, even though they really weren't germane to the plot. The actress who played her was ... well, hell, if I was the reporter, I'd have fallen in love with her myself. She was young, hot, a bit strange, but I like that in a girl. None of her actions seemed the least bit unusual to me (though I am sure they did to the other people in this tale), but then again, I've known girls like her, so maybe I have some insight. In any case, both she and the mostly-male cast did excellent work in this film. It probably helps that I didn't have a clue who any of these people were, so I can only associate them with the roles they played in this particular movie, but I believed every bit of the acting. Honestly, if they'd pulled this story out of the newspapers and just redid it on film, it wouldn't surprise me, that's how realistic it seemed. All that and nudity, too! :-D

I wouldn't waste 5 minutes watching daniel craig in the american version, but the 2 and a half hours was well spent on this one, and didn't seem to drag in the least. I only stopped it once because it was either pause the film or wet myself, and i haven't done that since last wee- errrr, a long, long time ago. yea. So. Um. Good movie, then. yea. Enough about that.

Happy New Year! I hope me and everyone else I like does well in the new year, and all the cheap lying no good sacks of monkey shit do badly for a change. I don't want to get off on a rant here but it seems like, the better a liar you are in this country, the more money you make. Wtf is up with that? And now they are trying to pass a law that says they can jail you (you being, the average american citizen) indefinitely without trail for no particular reason just because they feel like it (or just suspect you of "terrorism"), so telling the truth is about to become pretty goddamn rare in this country, since you can apparently now get jailed for it. Without trial. Indefinitely. Fuckin wonderful. Did I mention they are classifying the Occupy Wall Street protesters as terrorists now? Yep. Peacefully disagreeing with someone (someone having money or power, that is) is now terrorism. Why don't they just tear up the Constitution and write their own, for all that the politicians are actually following it now? Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick.

They say all evil has to do to win, is for good people to do nothing, and I guess that's really true. I'm just hoping the good people actually do outnumber the evil ones in this country, because we're going to need the numbers to win this one.

Maybe I should just hope all the truly good people have a safe and prosperous new year and leave it at that! :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Xmas!

Christmas is almost over. All the relatives have gone. Nobody had to be carried out in a bodybag. It's a christmas miracle!

It's at times like these, when my house is a mess just 24 hours after it was spotlessly clean, that I wonder why we invite the relatives over at all. I suppose there's some social significance to it. Speaking as a biologically-trained anthropologist, the family unit is probably helpful in terms of long-term survival, but at the moment I can't remember a single instance where most of the people who came to the house today were particularly useful at all. Still, I guess you never know. It was probably good to see them again and they were good for a few laughs, is about all the emotion I can summon up for them at the moment.

At least they left me some pie. :-D Time to eat some and listen to the last of the Christmas music before my favorite radio station switches back to the likes of lady gaga.

Have you ever been asked a question so stupid that it was just, totally annoying in addition to being stupid? Like the person asking it just immediately got put on your naughty list, before you've even thought of a way to respond to the question, which usually has no good answer? Well, I've been thinking of such questions, as I am wont to do from time to time, and considering responses to them. I think on occasion from now on, I am going to end my post with them, like this one, seasonally appropriate:

QUESTION: Is your Yuletide gay?

ANSWER: You bet your sweet ass it is, motherfucker!

See, now the asker is trying to be a cutesy little fuck by saying that if you enjoy xmas you must be gay, and of course, you could just call him a motherfucker and punch him in the balls so hard that he can wear them as earrings, but more important is the desire to out-flippancy the fucker so bad that he never even thinks of being cute with you again. So you imply that, not only is your yuletide gay, but if the asker persists in his line of questioning, he's going to find out just how fucking gay your yuletide is.

This of course, only applies to straight men. Should both parties be gay, then replying with "you bet your sweet ass it is, motherfucker." would probably end with cheesy hump music and some man on man porn. Or woman on woman porn, since I don't want to sound sexist or anything. Come to think of it, if two women had this exchange and then proceeded to make some hot lesbian porn, it'd probably be the best porn movie ever.

Happy post-xmas hangovers, everyone! I'm saving cleanup til morning.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Captain's Log, Stardate oh fuck it

Just an update on my personal life during this joyous time of year!

Nothing crazy going on, just the usual round of viruses attacking my otherwise seemingly helpless immune system. Sure, I survive them and they don't really give me a lot of downtime, but don't i have a first line of defense or something? You'd think there would be a bunch of white blood cells wandering around on patrol in my bloodstream or something, but no, you'd be wrong. No, apparently they are all asleep in the barracks til the alarms go off and then they trudge out to do their work in the most lackluster fashion imaginable. If I was their boss I would fire them and get new white blood cells. Then again, maybe I am complaining too much, they usually get the job done eventually.

So both of my friends got married this year. The real-life ones, not counting the online ones or the ones actually related to me in some way. I find that strange for some reason, one i've known for about 23 years and the other I've known for ten, and i would have sworn both were going to be unhitched forever, for different reasons. But no! I was wrong. Then again, I was also wrong about Debra never finding out about Dexter being a serial killer on this past season of showtime's "Dexter," so I guess I can be wrong about things and not have it be unusual. Sorry if I spoiled that for anyone, but seriously!!! :-o OMFG as the teen girls would say.

One of my nephews recently told me I was out of touch with today's youth. I was not surprised by this in the least. I find it funny that he is not fond of justin bieber nor the twilight series of movies, yet he thinks he IS in touch with today's youth. Ah, kids! So eager to make fun of old people and totally unaware that they will be made fun of just as bad by anyone younger than they are. I think just by knowing what a justin bieber is and having an opinion on twilight, I am still in touch with today's youth. Of course, my opinions on both are completely negative, so I could be wrong.

But back to my friends. So, one of them moved to australia to hook up, and I am proud of him, I doubt I'd have had the balls to emigrate to another country for a piece of a... ah, a chance at a relationship, but eh, love does funny things to people. of course, I haven't heard from him in about a month now, and he's the type to send out emails once a week, so either his wife has changed him, or he's been eaten by a rampaging pack of funnel web spiders. I am sure they hunt in packs, I saw a documentary about that on the Syfy channel. So he's probably been entombed in webs, slowly being drained of all his life's blood as he silently screams and screams but is unable to make a sound due to the paralyzing effect of the venom, going slowly insane while he edges closer and closer to death. What a horrible way to go. Then again, he is married so I guess the same thing is happening to him even if there aren't any funnel web spiders involved. Poor bastard. :-(

So I'm doing my usual cheating thing while playing skyrim the other day, and my nephews drop over for the holidays, and they ask how badly I am cheating, so i tell them. Now, I never really understood why you'd ask someone a question if you didn't really want to know the answer, but nobody around here seems to understand this simple bit of logic, so they ask anyway. So after I tell them how badly I am cheating, they ask me "Why even bother to play the game?" Now there's a question I do not understand at all. I play the game to have fun? I mean, that's sort of why they call it a "game" and not "work." Obviously if it wasn't fun, it would be "work," but kids and/or people nowadays don't seem to grasp this simple principle. Or maybe they find work to be fun, and fun to be work? Who knows? I don't get it. But I will try and explain in more detail.

So your average RPG (role playing game) involves running all over the game world for quests, killing things, and if you die, you either reload the game from a previous save and try again, or do something else. Almost all of them involve leveling up your character from a puny weakling to a rampaging beast, tricked out with the meanest gear you can find. Now, here's my problem with the process, if you are going to be a rampaging beast anyway, why not start out that way? Why do all games have to start out with you being a weakling and everything else being stronger than you are until you reach their level of strength and you can finally take them down? Why play the game by everyone else's rules? Is it more fun for you to start out as a puny weakling and do hundreds of meaningless quests until you can match or overpower your enemies? Does that somehow feel more like real life to you? How often in real life are you allowed to reload from a previous save when you fail and die? And on the flip side of that coin, how does reloading a game a dozen times until you finally beat the boss monster, feel like an accomplishment to you? Is THAT more like real life? Do you also live your life the way everyone thinks you should, or do you try and do things differently? Even if you do, even if you are a milk-drinking little sheep in reality, why do so in a game, that has absolutely no effect on reality? Why not go a little crazy in the game, have some fun?

Now keep in mind, the same nephews asking me these inane questions are the same ones who don't bother to pay for games, they just pirate them. Now, if you want to cheat a gaming company that installs useless DRM that just screws over the paying customers and still manages to make a 500% profit on every game they sell, I don't have a problem with it. Pirate away! Somehow those lawyered-up corporate pricks will manage to tell their insurance companies that the $50 they lost from you is actually costing them 5 billion, and then spend a half billion on advertising and lobbyists to get harsher laws passed that will allow them to charge even higher prices for games so they can make even more money.

But if I don't have an issue with people pirating games in real life, why have an issue with me being a pirate in a game? Makes no sense to me at all. Yet these same people will run quest after endless quest, doing the same things over and over, and reloading a game a dozen times, and call that fun? How does that make sense? Sounds more like work to me. I mean, when I HAD a job, I pretty much did the same thing... a bunch of useless tasks, the same ones over and over, at the behest of nameless and faceless NPC's (non-player-characters, or in this case, bosses, I think I am going to start calling every boss I ever have an NPC just to separate them from the real people, lol). Sounds just like work to me. Maybe that's why people pirate games so badly nowadays, because the games are so much like real work that people just can't bring themselves to pay for them?

So here's how I play a game. I start out as a god. Something jumps out of nowhere at me, it finds it can't hurt me very much, if at all. I leisurely choose what method to use to slaughter it, then either cut it in half or blast it to bits. The bloodier the better. Someone sends me on a quest, I either teleport there instantly (if possible) or kill everything easily on my way to get there. I kill the boss on the first try. if i ever choose to reload from a previous save, it's to try something completely different because i think it will be more fun, not to have the same fight with the boss monster over and over again. I do not mine for resources. I do not kill 100 ostriches to get enough ostrich feathers so i can have an ostrich feather cape that makes me look pretty. If I want to look pretty, i use cheat codes and give myself an ostrich-feather cape. I do not chop wood to sell it for gold. I give myself as much gold as I need to buy whatever I want, whenever I want to buy it. I explore, I watch the story unfold, I do random things as the whim takes me, I watch the cute little monsters attempt to defeat me and fail. I laugh, as a god should, at their pathetic attempts. Then I blast them out of existence and admire the simple beauty of a winter's storm as I ponder what I want to do next.

Now doesn't that sound more fun than mining iron for hours so you can make a sword so you can fight a giant halfway across the world so you can fail and reload your game a dozen times? I think so. And you want to chop wood to make money in a game? Pfft. Do that in the real world and see how much money you make. I've never particularly found the usual drudgery of the real world particularly enjoyable, so why would it be more fun in a game? Hell, you usually get PAID to do drudgery in the real world, with REAL money. I mean, shit, if I got paid real money to do drudge work in a game, it MIGHT be worth it, but I don't live in china, so that's not an option for me.

Now I guess everyone is different, and if you like working your ass off in a game to get an ostrich feather cape so you can look pretty, and you want to pay a monthly fee for that, well, hey that's your business. But when did we start letting gaming companies get away with making games more like work than fun, and have us still paying for them? I mean, I just don't get people who will spend all day in an office, slaving away at pointless, meaningless tasks and earning a day's pay for it and call that "work," and then come home, spend another eight hours playing World of Warcraft, mining iron to make a sword so they can sell it to get some in-game gold so they can buy a weapon to accomplish a quest that involves killing a thousand rats in a dungeon somewhere on the other side of god-knows-where, all while paying out the money that they earned that day for the privilege, and they call that "fun?"

Sounds like the only real difference is that one you get paid, and the other you pay for. (shrugs) I've heard games and play are supposed to teach you how to overcome real life situations, but seriously? How is this teaching anyone anything they can possibly use in real life? If at first you don't succeed, ragequit life and try again later? Don't fight an ogre unless you can reload your life from a previous save? Life's full of NPC bosses who are going to tell you to do meaningless tasks over and over again for no real benefit to you, but that helps them a lot? I think if everyone doesn't know that last one by now, they never will.

Oh well. Other than my rant, everything is going fine so far for the holidays. We're actually two days ahead of schedule this year. I personally am shocked. That the tree is all ornamented before xmas eve just blows my mind. I wasn't sure what to do with the extra time, so I watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation again. Best holiday movie ever, forget that miracle on 34th street or it's a wonderful life crap. If Christmas Vacation isn't more like your real life than either of those movies, I'll eat my own edible chocolate g-string underwear!

Happy Holidays, Merry Xmas, and Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Minecraft Final Review and Xmas List

So i haven't played minecraft in about 2 months now. And they released the final version version about a month ago, so you'd think OH BOY THE GAME'S FINALLY DONE WOOHOOO NOW EVERYTHING WORKS but you'd be wrong.

When i first heard about Minecraft I wasn't too keen on it. A block building game? crafting? Sounds like a cheap RPG with the combat ripped out of it. Then my creativity kicked in when i realized you could build entire worlds out of the blocks, or at least, a nice castle of your own design if you don't have the time for entire worlds, and that was pretty cool. It reminded me of Stronghold: Crusader, an excellent strategy game where you build castles and manage farms to feed your troops so you can defend your castle.

So me and a few of my friends played minecraft and went around creating towns and villages and exploring and building and every new update the past year or so has introduced bugs into the game, but also something new you could use as a resource. New monsters to defend your castle against, or new farm animals to mate wi.. er... breed... and cook and eat... yea... and crops to grow, and sure it wasn't perfect and the updates kept any mods (there's a huge mod community built around minecraft) from working correctly, but it was still in development, so you dealt with it and assumed those would eventually get corrected.

So about two months ago, notch (minecraft creator and main programmer) decided to release a final version. Now he'd been making millions off of this game, enough to start his own company and hire other programmers, but instead of focusing on minecraft, easily their biggest selling (and at that point, only) game, notch and his mojang programmers decided to spread out. So the last few months of minecraft's development were, notch working on something else, and jens being left to fix bugs. And there's pretty much been no new content added for months now.

In the meantime, notch has stopped working on minecraft altogether, and moved on to other games. jens, the only programmer at mojang (notch's company) currently working on minecraft, is more focused on his own other projects than doing anything for minecraft at all. So basically minecraft is currently abandoned and adrift in limbo.

This wouldn't be so bad if the game were actually finished. There's bugs that jens is supposedly working on, but they don't really interfere with the game that much, and what's left is a block building game with a few monsters that pop out at night. There's different biomes with different vegetation, but the same animals (your average selection of farm animals) pop up in every biome, and basically at this point the game is a farming simulation with zombies, since you have to grow some kind of food to keep yourself alive now. But all of that at least works correctly for the most part. So if you want a farming simulation with zombies, you're all set.

They tried adding villages. They really did. but the villages end up so few and far between that it's a miracle if you find any, and the villagers they added to them aren't done yet. They just wander around and get lost in the wilderness if you let them out of their homes. They had plans to make the villagers interactive, and they were going to hire an AI specialist to help program them, but that never happened.

So at this point, once you've built yourself a castle, or farm, or immense, world-spanning tower if that's what you felt like building, then you're done. There's not enough gameplay to hold anyone's interest past this point. And I'm not just talking about me, either, everyone i played minecraft with has the same problem. Building is fun, but once you're done with that, the game becomes lifeless and boring. Final grade for the released version of minecraft is INCOMPLETE, and i've never given that score to another game before. Minecraft started with such promise, and ended with such disappointment.

On the future games front, I am betting skyrim is going to outsell everything else this christmas. I already have the game, still playing it. It's earned its metascore of 95. There was a TON of work put into this game. Every rock, tree and snowdrift was artfully crafted, every monster and dragon looks great, and now that i have fixed the nagging sound issues, I can hear all kinds of things going on in the game. A lot of gaming companies forget about sound when they make games, not really sure why, I mean, i understand visual cues are the most important for actual gameplay but sound is invaluable for immersion in a game. Have you ever watched a movie with the sound off? Why would you, right? But some gaming companies are giving you the same experience when they produce games without much in the way of sound, and that's just pointless. In any case, i think skyrim is easily one of the best games of the last 5 years. Would be even better with multiplayer options, but everything is so heavily scripted and since there's no random events, that cuts down on replayability and totally cuts out multiplayer options. However, I can already see the end of skyrim coming, since there's very little replayability with the lack of random events (every new playthrough has the same quests, in other words) I will eventually grow tired of it and skyrim will be over.

So what's new on the gaming front? Well, Star Wars: The Old Republic is coming out in 5 days. It's an MMO, and my history with MMO's is horrible. They are all made the same and they all end up playing the same... much like skyrim, I can see the end of them as soon as I start playing. Same quests over and over. But i may get it anyway, in case it surprises me. The trouble may be Origin, EA's (electronic Arts) answer to steam, a gaming service that offers games for sale. Steam, which I currently use, offers just about every game for sale that's on the market, past or present. Origin has a PC library of precisely 154 titles, about 100 of which are sims games and their expansions. So you may find your options for gaming purchases limited. Currently SWTOR is not available on steam. It would seem to me if you want your game to sell, you make it available to the most amount of people, but what the hell do I know, right? Right.

Other than that, there's literally nothing new out this Xmas. Next year, Diablo 3 is due, along with a bunch of other games. Sure, all those games were due this year, too, but they got pushed back til next year. So hopefully we'll see them by next xmas. Will they get pushed back again? Maybe! I still find it funny that Diablo 3 has been up for pre-order all year. It may not be out til 2015, maybe 2020 at this rate!

With any luck, I'll have a job by then.

in the meantime, I am listening to xmas music, playing skyrim and watching a charlie brown xmas. if I ever get a dog, I am naming him snoopy. Or her. I don't care. I may name one of my kids Snoopy.

Oh and my current favorite xmas song is (I think) titled "can't wait for xmas" by mindy aber? Not sure how you spell her name. It's got a snappy little beat to it and it pretty much just sets the mood for the holidays... not the one I currently HAVE, since it's like a week before xmas and I haven't got any lights or my tree up yet (not my fault, I swear), but the one I WANT, because she sings about having everything all set up and just waiting for it to come while enjoying the moment with some wine, which just sounds bloody awesome to me. I'd LOVE to have a xmas where we WEREN'T just finishing the decorations on the 24th, you know? Oh well. Maybe next year! Still haven't heard it on the radio yet this season, so I may have to go on the internet and listen to it at least once before the end of the year.

Happy holidays everyone! Hope you are enjoying skyrim, brando!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I Don't Get Flu Shots

Alternatively titled, I'm a negative critical whiny sonofabitch.

Now before I get into this, let me just say, I am probably the most easygoing, cheerful guy I know. I don't worry about most things. But a few things just tend to bug me. Here's what they are, in no particular order!

I do not get flu shots. I have several reasons. Pretty much the same reasons i don't vote, meaning, both activities are completely pointless. The voting I am not going to go into because I've mentioned it before, but this is cold and flu season, so let me explain.

(1) "flu shots don't give you the flu." this is what they tell you. Supposedly, the virii in a flu shot are either killed by chemical or radiation means before they are injected into you, allowing your body to assimilate the virus without actually being infected with the flu. This is utter crap. I personally cannot verify whether the viruses contained in your average flu shot are alive or dead, mainly because my eyes aren't good enough to see if the little sub-microscopic buggers are breathing or not at the time of injection. I will say this. I've had two flu shots in my lifetime. I came down with two of the worst cases of flu I've ever had... the day after getting the shots. So it was either the actual flu, or flu-like symptoms, but there was no way for me to tell the difference. I'll talk about flu-like symptoms in a moment.

(2) "Flu shots may offer some protection for this year's flu." This is a direct quote from a web page explaining flu shots. I don't know if you know how they make flu shots, but let me sum up. They take the strains of flu that were most prominent for the previous year, replicate huge doses of the virus that caused each of them, then kill them (supposedly) and inject you with them. Now, since flu viruses mutate on a yearly basis, and there is no way to determine how they are going to mutate from one year to the next, there is no way they can give you ANY protection from THIS year's flu. Mainly because, it takes about 6 months to work up batches of flu shots. By the time they have shots for this year's strain, it's already summer and flu season is long over. Look it up on the internet if you don't believe me. It's fact. Basically, the shots can offer some protection IF you haven't already gotten last year's flu.

Let me explain this in simple terms. Say you are a bouncer at an exclusive dance club. There's a clean-shaven guy in a yellow raincoat flashing the ladies in the women's restroom. So you eject the guy from your club. This is the equivalent of getting the flu, and then getting over it. If, say, two weeks later (or even a year, your body remembers these things), a clean shaven man in a yellow raincoat tries to get into the club, you are going to tell him to take a hike right away. And if he keeps trying, you are going to keep telling him to buzz off. Now, the flu shot is the equivalent of the club manager coming to you with a picture of a clean-shaven man in a yellow raincoat and saying "don't let this guy in here." To which, you of course reply "Of course not, I threw this guy out two weeks ago and haven't let him in since." Now here's the problem, if the guy dons a fake beard and wears a blue raincoat, you let him in... because that's the new disguise for the flu this year. So the moral of the story? Don't let any viruses in wearing a fake beard and blue raincoat. Sneaky master of disguise bastards.

Flu shots generally contain 3 different strains of the flu virus, the 3 strains that were most common last year. This year's flu shots also contain the swine flu strain that killed so many people in south america last year, and your doctor won't tell you that unless you ask. So two things are going to happen when you get injected with a flu shot. Either your white blood cells (your body's bouncers) are going to go HOLY SHIT MASSIVE INVASION OF CLEAN SHAVEN GUYS WITH YELLOW RAINCOATS! and pitch a fit (giving you flu-like symptoms, which are your body's natural reactions to nullify the effects of any viral invaders, dead or not), OR, your white blood cells are going to go "oh, that clean shaven guy with a yellow raincoat again? pfft, he's no trouble, he's not getting in here." and nothing happens.

That's right, I just said, if your body has NO reaction to the flu shot, it means you already had all of last year's flu and just paid $20 for nothing. If you body does have a reaction, congratulations! You just spent $20 to protect yourself in case you somehow find the 14 people on planet earth who haven't already been exposed to last year's virus, and they get it, and somehow manage to pass it on to you. In that rare case, the shot may help you fight off the flu easier. However, for your body to actually process that viral protection into all of it's white blood cells... it triggers the flu-like symptoms. Since each flu shot has the 3 most prominent strains from last year, even if those strains were not prominent in your area, you are almost guaranteed to get the flu from it. And like I said, if you don't, you've already had it and didn't have to worry in the first place.

Now moving on to my whiny bitch status, I noticed after watching Stephen king's "bag of bones" last night on Tv that I am unusually hard in my reviews for PC games, and rather easy on my movie reviews. I thought Bag of bones was about normal for a stephen king movie. Lots of build up, horrible ending. Think storm of the century, carrie, the shining, well, you get the idea. A stephen king movie without a horrible ending just wouldn't be a stephen king movie! And it's not really that the ending was horrible, but, come on... the guy seems to have no problem whatsoever resisting the "curse" despite everyone else being affected, and he stops the curse by fighting of a tree and dissolving some bones. ooo. Thrilling stuf zzzzzzzzz...

So why am I so easy on movies? Well, about 5 years back, the last blockbuster store in my area closed. I used to rent movies there, old-timey horror flicks from the 70's and 80's, and it cost me about 3 bucks per movie. If I spent an hour and a half watching it, and it sucked, then i was out 3 bucks. if I spent an hour and a half watching it, and it was great, then it was about a dollar's worth every half hour. Shit it costs me, er, some people i mean, not me... just what I've heard, some people will spend 3 dollars a minute on a sex line. But that's not bad for an hour and a half of entertainment, good OR bad. Movies are cheap, and you never expect them to last longer than 2 hours.

Games, on the other hand, are not cheap. Skyrim just cost me $60. Sure, it turned out to be a great game by most accounts, and perhaps I was exceptionally hard on it's drawbacks in my review of it, but it still plays quite well for all the minor faults. But even the crappiest of games might cost you $50. So if you spend $50 on a game and end up playing it for an hour, when you expected to play it for weeks, then obviously there are going to be some bad feelings on your part, and you are out tons more money.

Now let's think about this. Games have gotten to be huge productions nowadays, basically costing about the same to make (and the same time frame) as movies. So if a game and a movie both cost a million dollars (just pulled that number out of my ass) to make, and say, a million people see the movie over the course of it's time at the theaters, and each spend 10 dollars on it, then the movie made nine million dollars in profit. Following me so far? Now moviegoers can spend 10 dollars on a movie because LOTS of people see movies, but not so many play games. So game companies have to charge more to get the same amount back... or at least, they used to. Nowadays, a LOT more people play games, but I see game prices just going up and up... take skyrim. First PC game I ever spent $60 on. Usually anything over $50 is a collector's boxed set or something. With action figures. lol So bethesda is probably making BAJILLIONS of dollars right now, at $60 a pop, with skyrim selling like it is.

Which makes game reviews so critical, especially the metascores or customer reviews. You don't want to spend $60 on a crappy game that you only play for 5 minutes because it blows chunks. And yet, gaming review magazines only pay for positive reviews, or I should say, the magazines won't get advance copies of games if they have a reputation for giving bad reviews. which hurts the gaming mag, because then they can't review their games in a timely manner, and someone else beats them to the punch.. usually with great reviews that they sell in exchange for advance copies of games.

I'll give you a perfect example of this. For this christmas I was looking at games I might want to get. According to the metascore website, 22 critics reviewed Modern Warfare 3 and gave it an average score of 80. That's not too bad for a game. And yet, 4200+ average gamers give the game an average score of 2 out of 10, or 20 when compared to the 80. That's 20 out of 100. I couldn't even pass college with that. If that doesn't illustrate some serious payout going on for the gaming mags to get some positive reviews, I'm not really sure what does.

That's all for now, Happy Holidays if I don't get a chance to post before xmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Skyrim Review and Happy Turkey Day!

I like skyrim. I really do. That would be Elder Scrolls 5, for those of you keeping track. I didn't even start playing the Elder Scrolls games until 3, so I'm not really sure what the first 2 were even about, but since Morrowind and Oblivion, it's been an ok series of games.

I say "ok" series because I'm not completely sold on it. Morrowind was too weird for my taste. Travel between towns was accomplished by giant dinosaur rides, at least as far as I could tell, and maybe the game was way too open ended for me to figure out what to do next. I know that's generally a good thing for a game, but I had the damnedest time trying to figure out where to go or what to do to advance the plot, so I generally just ended up killing everything in sight and then quitting and remaking my character. Only to end up doing the same thing with the next guy.

Oblivion was nicer in the sense that you got a solid plot to work through, and everyone generally agrees that it was a very good game. My problems with it were that the companion AI generally sucked, so you pretty much had to wander the scope and breadth of the lands yourself, and all the dungeons were pretty similar. And yes I know, for an RPG, oblivion was a great game and all, but for some reason I could never get past the mage missions, because once I was the Archmage, no one seemed to care. Just felt odd to me.

Skyrim is another improvement in the series, and as I understand it, has the highest metascore of any game ever, a 95.

Let me take a break to explain metascores here. All the gaming magazine and website reviews for a game are totaled and averaged out of a possible 100. So if a website gives a game 4 out of 5 stars, for instance, that's an 80. Bioshock garnered a 94, I think, and was the previous title holder as far as I know. Most of your average games get around a 70 to 80 score, meaning most people liked them but there were flaws. Personally, if I am browsing for games to purchase and I have access to the metascore data (which isn't always accessible because the score is based on reviews, so newer games may not have them yet), I won't get a game with under a 70 score. Games that low are generally just bad. Sure, there may be a few nice parts, but it's either monstrously difficult to enjoy it due to horrendous bugs, or the game itself just blows. Stronghold 3, for instance, managed to get a metascore of 48. Meaning less that half of the people out there who make their living off of giving good reviews to games, could barely stand it.

My first experience with stronghold 3 was rather quite funny. I got the game off Steam (without any research into how good the game was) and for some odd reason, the default language was French. Now as any gamer will tell you, bugs that stop you from playing a game you just bought are the WORST kind. I couldn't even decipher the menu system, since it was all in french (and I don't speak french), but after multiple tries I was able to stumble into the tutorial. There, some french adviser was babbling away, telling me to do things, but since I had no clue what he wanted, I decided to try to figure out how to play on my own. First was camera controls, which were basic enough. The french guy screamed FANTASTIQUE! with enough excitement that I figured he was having an orgasm, so i guess I was doing it right. After figuring out a couple more things, the french guy stopped screaming in pleasure, so I had no idea what to do next. Even after i managed to get the language back into english, the game was worse, because I quickly realized there was no skirmish mode and a ridiculously dumbed-down campaign that firefly studios (FIREFLY STUDIOS IS DA DEVIL!) was trying to pass off as "something to hold us over until the next game in the series." Personally, I think a score of 48 was being generous.

Now, skyrim seems to have earned its 95. Sure there's a few bugs (no game seems to ship without them nowadays) but they aren't too bad. Like any RPG, saves are a must, and skyrim is nice enough to keep 3 autosaves running for you at any given point, so if you screwed something up bad enough, you have 3 past points to return to to try and make it right. And that's on top of any points where you manually save it, so you got yourself covered in the event of getting stuck along the way. The game itself is beautiful. There's mountains, running water, waterfalls, various kinds of vegetation, and I think if they'd done a better job of filling in animals and sounds, it'd almost feel real to me. The game is very quiet. Unless you happen to be standing near a waterfall, you are tromping through absolute silence. I'll be heading across the landscape on my way to a quest, and if I even hear a cricket chirp, it'll be a surprise. No birds, no trumpeting elk or bugling moose (although you see them occasionally), and only a bit of wind noise to keep you company. Of course, if you're near people, it's different. You hear their voices just fine, as long as you are facing them. Turn a little bit to the side and it's like your hearing aid goes out of whack. I know this is an effort to make noise seem directional, and i applaud the attempt, but noise does carry to some extent, so having to face people and try and read the subtitles makes me feel the sound system was designed by the hearing impaired. Which is fine, but I'm not hearing impaired, so why should I suffer?

Also, there's multiple ways to do just about any quest, and I'm not even sure of all of them yet. You can use spells to get things done, armor and blades, giant hammers, or just sneak your way past, assassinating anyone as you please. One of the first things I noticed was that there was no open lock spell, so lockpicking skills are required to get any phat lewt. Which was kind of a letdown to me personally, I mean, I haven't got far in the game yet so maybe there is one? But I am cheating like a whore (as usual) and there's no apparent spell tome for learning anything called "open locks," so as far as I can tell, you'd best learn to be a thief if you want to get gold. I don't know about you, but if one of the biggest selling points is being able to play it any way I want, and I don't want to learn lockpicking, I'm fairly certain i'm going to have a hard time with getting chests open. Of course, they aren't all locked, but since I've only been in a few dungeons at the lowest of character levels, I am sure things will only get harder.

I've heard you can make a living in the game selling the proceeds of your work... like woodcutting and smithing, and it appears you can craft things quite easily, but selling them is another matter, as you have few merchants willing to deal in what you have to offer, and each merchant may only possess 1500 gold to barter with. Given that your average spell tome (one spell each) is several hundred gold, it'll cost you a merchants entire stock in gold just to purchase a few different spells. Weapons are cheaper, of course, and if I wasn't playing in god mode, I might need them, but that also seems to lean you towards fighting your way through the game with blade and shield, and again, for a game that is supposed to let me play the way I want, that's giving one side an unfair advantage. But hey, I'm cheating, so I personally don't need to worry about that.

Another problem I've noticed is that once I've cleared a cave or whatever, it's marked "cleared" on my map. Now, in oblivion, dungeons reset every 3 game days, so there'd always be new things to kill, and I'm not sure if the same thing will happen here, but if all those places I visited are now empty permanently, then this game is not as open-ended as I thought.

Yet another problem is finding places. The quest tree gives you some assistance, and any quest you are after is basically clearly marked on your map, but the map is not very detailed, and actually getting there might be very difficult. I have yet to try out the stables/carts to other towns thing, so maybe that's how I am supposed to be getting from place to place, but actually running there is long, dangerous and often nearly impossible. I fired the game up yesterday, hopped down off a low town wall and instantly died because I forgot I didn't have god mode on, so dropping any kind of distance is fatal in this game where the mountains and large rocks are EVERYWHERE.

For those interested in the story, well, to sum up, the territory of Skyrim, home of the Nords (vikings), is in the midst of civil war when Dragons decide to make an appearance. Which is weird timing, because your character appears to be Dragonborn, which, to the nords, means the same thing as "chief Dragonslayer." Personally, I would have thought Dragonslayer a better and more imposing title than dragonborn, which seems to imply I hatched from an egg, but what do I know? In any case, There's apparently unlimited dragons in this game, which does not equal unlimited fun, but it'll give me something to play until something better comes out.

Now, as everyone knows, I do a grateful thanks every year around this time, mostly for the chance to eat myself into a tryptophanic coma, but also for various other things. This year, I am thankful I have the free time to enjoy the holiday season (a roundabout way of saying I am still unemployed), thankful for skyrim (otherwise my free time would be very boring) and thankful for the tattered remains of what was once my family, who have somehow managed (through various psychoses) to fuck up everyone's lives in addition to their own. Way to go! Dysfunctionality at it's best. Not even sure I have a place to eat turkey at tomorrow at this rate, but hey, i'm thankful I'm not out in the cold freezing my balls off! At least, not so far.

Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Last 3 Reviews and a Happy Halloween!

Tonight we have a Mummy triple feature! All from hammer studios, and if anyone knows me, they know I love Hammer studios! Sure, I could have reviewed some other movies, but I have strict rules. I have to have seen the movie relatively recently (the last day or two) to review it, and I won't review a movie before I've seen it. I spent today watching Killer Klowns from Outer Space (an excellent campy clown movie) and Mummy movies, and I THINK I reviewed Killer Klowns last October. Another of my rules is, I try real hard not to duplicate my reviews. Sure, I may mention the movie in another review, and say a few words about it, but I don't review it more than once. So it's Mummy movies tonight!

#29 - THE MUMMY! This is the original done by hammer studios, starring Christopher Lee as the Mummy, and Peter Cushing as one of the men who broke into the tomb. Well, technically, he didn't, because he had a bum leg at the time, but he was... nearby... I guess. Well, he didn't die at the end so technically the curse of the Mummy's tomb is still valid, since he didn't actually enter it, he should be exempt, right?

Three archaeologists find their way into this old mummy's tomb, a mummy by the name of Ananka. As the story goes, Ananka (a royal woman of some reknown) died of an illness, but she was loved by Karis, an egyptian high priest who possessed the Scroll of Life (a common theme in these movies). Karis broke the most sacred rules of her tomb to try and restore her to life using the Scroll, but was caught, and cursed to an eternity of undeath as a guardian of her tomb. So, when the archaeologists opened her tomb, and read the scroll, Karis was restored to life, and with the assistance of an Egyptian priest, goes about avenging the violation of her tomb.

This was an excellent movie, with outstanding actors, good plot, and excellent settings. Needless to say they tried to replicate it with several followup movies, the first of which is...

#30 - CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB! A rich guy funds an expedition to recover some egyptian artifacts, including a mummy. However, the mummy disappears on opening night, and several deaths follow.

I didn't find this movie particularly good, but it had the standard mummy themes, there's always a modern girl who resembles an ancient priestess or something, and there's always a the Scroll of Life. In this case, the words from the scroll are inscribed on an amulet, and the mummy is actually an ancient king this time, one of the sons of Ramses II. The other son actually makes an appearance as well, and again, there's a decent plot involved, and again, the girl reminds the mummy of someone he knows and again, the mummy refuses to kill her. None of the actors from the first movie come back except for the egyptian, which leads us to...

#31 - BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB! Each of these stories is almost completely different. The mummies are different people, the archaeologists are different, and the plot is completely different, but again, there's always the Scroll of Life, the modern girl who's a dead ringer for the ancient chick, and ... well in this case, the mummy IS the ancient chick.

A girl is approaching the age of 18, when she is given a ring by her father, an archaeologist. Shortly afterwards, he is struck down by an illness, and while he is unconscious, she begins to find out about the strange mummy he has in the basement. A living mummy, a woman thousands of years old, unchanged, looking as fresh as the day when her hand was cut off and the ruby ring was torn from her hand... a ruby ring the girl now wears!

This movie wasn't that great either, but there's a touch of nudity in it and according to the reviews on Netflix, the chick is really hot. I did find her attractive and the view from the rear was exceptional, but i did not find her such a raving beauty. In any case, a completely different plot this time, but the scroll of life was still there.

Well that's it! 31 movies seen and reviewed! Tomorrow begins the Christmas season, no doubt, with Thanksgiving coming up next month, and I may post less, but I'll try and keep everyone updated on what's going on with my job search, movies I've seen, games I've played (on a side note, don't get Stronghold 3, there's no skirmish mode, very lame), and hopefully, books I've written! I'm off to watch Trick R Treat, one of my personal traditions on Halloween night. Oh, and I have company I should try to socialize with for a few minutes, I suppose.

Happy Halloween everyone! :-D

Reviews #24 to #28

It's rather late and I have 5 reviews, so I'm just going to get right to it.

#24 - THE EXORCIST! I could go on for days about this movie, but I'm only going to give it two paragraphs or so. Basically, it's been voted the scariest movie of all time. I've seen it, and honestly, it's not bad. lol Sure there's lots of religious symbolism and it's all about catholicism and exorcisms and a lot of other isms, but essentially it's a story about the battle between good and evil, using catholicism as a reference point. Because honestly, it's difficult to compare good and evil without a reference point, isn't it? Catholicism is as good a backdrop as any! Plus it has Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow (how that man can look old in this movie, made in 1970's, and still be alive and acting today, I have no idea!), and while Linda Blair's career didn't exactly skyrocket with this movie, well the movie itself sure does stand the test of time.

Reagen is basically a normal teen girl with a few issues. She can't digest green pea soup, she's got really bad acne, and men in black like to tie her to beds. Honestly, is this such a bad thing? Why they can't just stop feeding her green pea soup, give her some meds for the acne and ... well quite frankly, if she's possessed by the devil, as is the premise of this movie, untying her from the bed is probably a bad idea. You know something I've never understood, if a demon possesses someone, why the HELL does it hang around and wait for a priest? Hell, I'd take the body and take off with it! Sure, maybe you can beat the priest and overcome the whole exorcism thing, maybe you can't, but why not avoid the whole situation? Eh, I never understood demons. In any case, they bring in a couple priests, one of whom is Max Von Sydow, to try and help her. Yu know he's an old ass-kicker from way back, so there's going to be a brutal cage match in there somewhere! NO HOLDS BARRED BABY!

#25 - MASK MAKER! A couple going through some relationship issues buys a cheap farm. Needless to say, there's a good reason it's cheap. There's a whole legend about the farm, and the local townsfolk not only know it, but were part of it. Will the couple live through meeting the old residents of the farm? The dead ones?

This movie was not that great, but it was fairly recent. Basically a slasher flick with some college coeds and a bit of backstory to it. Couple of older character actors, the type that are so good I can't even remember where I've seen them before. Now THAT's acting ability.

#26 - GRIZZLY PARK! Another bit of a stinker, this one had a pack of criminals sentenced to "community service" that are tasked with cleaning up a park at the end of a season. Unfortunately for the criminals, there's both a wild bear on the loose and a more violent variety of criminal, as well as a couple rangers to deal with. On the plus side, great shots of the park, and the bear costume the one wears is awesome! Actually it blows, but I guess the kids are drunk/high/stupid enough to believe it's the real thing for a minute... Sad.

Still, I give it props for the ending. One of the few endings that actually turned out nicely instead of me going "that was lame." lol

#27 - VAN HELSING! I know, I know. This doesn't technically qualify as horror, more of an action flick. But come on, it's got dracula, frankenstein, the wolfman, the brides of dracula, and of course, van helsing! Any movie that tries to smush all these horrific characters together deserves a break, right? I haven't seen that done since Abbot and Costello films! Or maybe the Monster Squad. Now there's a movie I should review. Still, unique takes on ... well pretty much EVERY monster in this film, including van helsing and the hunchback of notre dame, so I give them props for coming up with new material. Most films that do this don't bother giving them story lines, they just plop them into the film and assume you've seen enough horror films to know who they are, which this film did NOT do. Instead, they gave every monster a personality and every personality a reason for being. Almost like real life! But, you know, with fangs. They should make a van helsing 2, except all the monsters died off in the first one. Hmmmm.

Van Helsing, a sort of Holy Assassin for the roman catholic church, has been sent to romania to take out dracula before the last of a line of devout christians meets their end in purgatory. The only trouble is, there's only two of the line left, and one's already a werewolf! Not even mentioning that van helsing has some sort of relationship with dracula, one that he can't remember, and anything and everything can happen!

#28 - TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER! You know, when I read the reviews for this on Netflix, and saw someone mention Christopher Lee along with Richard Widmark, I was already primed. But the mention of Mastassia Kinski naked sold me on it. So of course I immediately watched the movie, because, you know, after watching Cat People so many times, I think she's goddamn sexy. So, I watch the movie, all the while thinking, damn, she looks so young in this film, this was probably one of her first ones. Because, you know, a lot of actresses start out doing horror to get started. So despite her nude scenes being a little weird (the catholicism-based scenes were almost satan-porn, as far as I could tell), I still thought SWEET SHE'S NAKED! So I look her up on, and she did this movie when she was 14 or 15 years old. So I'm apparently going straight to hell when I die. On the plus side, I'll know everyone there. Also, this movie is on the disturbing side of things. SO much blood! I nearly passed out just from watching! Now for the summary.

A nun meets her father once a year on her birthday, and her 18th birthday is in two days. So she is released from her nunnery on an island to take a plane to meet him, and instead of meeting her at the airport, the father asks a well-known author to pick her up for him. So the nun goes with the author, who has been warned by the father that there may be some trouble, as the nun was raised by satan worshippers. The author, a bit of an expert in these matters, thinks it's a bunch of malarkey, but he thinks he might get some material for his next book out of it. Unfortunately, as he begins to research just what he's got himself into, he finds out he is wholly unprepared for what happens, and then it's Richard Widmark vs Christopher Lee in a cage match BATTLE TO THE DEATH! Apparently, good and evil like cage matches. Who knew thy were wrestling fans?

As I understand it, this flick was the last film made by Hammer studios in 1976 before they shut their doors. 1950s to 1976 is a pretty good run, and I believe they've reopened their company recently. I can only hope they return to their horror movie roots. Shit, Christopher Lee is still alive, get him in there! AHA so is Nastassia Kinski, and she's legal now! To the Devil a Daughter 2, anyone? Anyone?

Three movies to go. I hope I have time to watch them all and review them tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Horror Movie Reviews #22 and 23

The first review of the night is AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON!

This is quite possibly the best werewolf movie ever made, paws-down. Sure, they've got great CGI effects nowadays, but you can always tell they are CGI because they don't move like real things. Which is fine if you are trying to portray something that is NOT real, but I digress. The point being, if you want to be afraid of something, it has to LOOK real, and LOOK scary. An American Werewolf in London uses makeup and the special effects of the time (pre-CGI) to make the goddamn scariest transformation sequence I have ever seen, combined with absolutely the scariest and evillest looking werewolf I have ever seen, to really scare the crap out of the viewing audience.

But here, let me set the movie up for you. Two buddies are backpacking across europe. For some reason, they decide to start with northern england. Not really sure why, because at the start of the movie, they are riding in the back of a truck full of sheep during the greyest, dreariest day I have ever seen. On the other hand, maybe that was a sunny day for northern england. I hear the weather sucks there. In any case, the sheep truck driver tells the boys to keep to the road, and stay off the moors. KEEP OFF THE MOORS! To this day I still shout it to people late at night. Usually while drunk. So the boys make it to the lovely little town of East Proctor, where they stop to warm up at the Slaughtered Lamb. They are greeted so warmly in this lovely little spot that they decide to move on within the space of minutes. Fortunately, the otherwise cheerful townsfolk decide to warn the boys again... Stick on the road... KEEP OFF THE MOORS! And frankly, who'd want to visit the moors at night? In a driving rainstorm? Without a flashlight? In any case, boys being boys, they get to chattering inanely about the usual things, and before you know it, WOOOPS! They've strayed off the road. And they are on the Moors. AW FUCK. Next thing you know, the horrible howling starts, and growling and well, you'll have to watch the rest for yourself.

This movie is awesomeness in a box. David Naughton puts in a wonderful performance as the title character, Griffin Dunne is his buddy who spends most of the movie looking like something I found leftover in my mom's fridge, and Jenny Agutter is the cutest goddamn nurse I have ever seen. The supporting cast in this movie is pretty goddamn awesome, too. This movie is the first to put forth the idea that the ghosts of the werewolf's victim stick around to haunt them until the curse of lycanthropy is lifted. And by lifted, I mean, the werewolf dies. I particularly like how, each of the werewolf's victims retain their exact personality they had at the moment of death. There's this drunken couple that were on the way to a party, and while they are talking to the main character, their faces all ripped and torn, they are the happiest goddamn dead people I've ever seen. lol The end was rather predictable, but other than that I don't think any other part of the movie is. And the music! From Blue Moon to Bad Moon Rising, it's practically a signal for weird shit to start happening. Frankly, I could have done with a bit more Jenny Agutter nudity and a bit less David Naughton nudity, but no sense trying to remake a masterpiece.

DEAD AND BURIED: I was actually thinking of reviewing night of the comet along with werewolf in london, but I found an 80's horror flick I hadn't seen before! on Netflix! I was all like NO F'IN WAY! So, of course, I had to click on it to see if I'd seen it before. I hadn't! And this movie... you know I really don't understand why I can always figure out the end before it happens. The Last Exorcism, that I review a couple weeks back, was the only one I had no idea what would happen. This one, once I kind of figured out what was going on, the ending was a foregone conclusion because it was the only one that made sense. Still, not a half bad movie, acting was so so, effects were ok, bit of nudity, Robert Englund in it, i think it qualifies as your basic 80's horror flick! But let me set the scene for you again.

A photographer stops on a deserted beach to take some pictures. Next thing he knows, there's a beautiful woman in his shot. Needless to say, in every horror flick, hot chicks are trouble. Much like real life, come to think of it. This movie is no different. Before he can change a roll of film, the poor photographer is netted by the locals and strung up to burn in the fires of hell! Or an overturned vehicle. Which, probably burns almost as hot. Which just leaves the town sheriff to try and figure out if it was just an accident... or if the fire was set to cover up the murder?

This movie even has Barry Corbin in it. At least, I think that's his name. In any case, while it's not the best movie ever made, I had never seen it before. It wasn't bad. Bit of nudity, lots of zombies, good plot twist, horrific murders, black magic. What's not to like?

Okay, I have the weekend left to catch up! Luckily I have absolutely no social life to speak of, so I can just watch movies all weekend! Now watch, I'll get like 2 or 3 invites to Halloween parties and won't be able to watch anything! lol

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#20 and #21 - Wednesday Night Double Feature!

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that Wednesday nights are double feature nights during the month of October!

Actually I just made that up. If it has happened that way, it's been kind of a coincidence.

Tonight's first review is NIGHT OF THE DEMONS! Now this movie is sort of a remake of the one back in the 1980's starring Linnea Quigley, who was HUGE in horror movies at the time, b horror movies, I should say. She was in Return of the Living Dead! Cult classic if i ever saw one, and one of my favorite movies of all time. If Jamie Lee Curtis was the A movie Scream queen, then Linnea quigley was the B Movie scream queen. And I'm not making this up, it was an actual headline of an article I read back in the 80's. lol Linnea Quigley even has a cameo appearance in this remake, playing a slutty-looking candy-giver, and if you've ever seen Linnea Quigley, you know that's pretty much her trademark.

The rest of the cast... Well, I've never seen them before in my life. Honestly you'd think some of these teen actors and actresses would be in more than one movie so I knew who they were, but nooooooooo, one movie and suddenly they think of themselves as stars... please! Until I am comparing you to Jamie Lee Curtis in my blog, you aren't famous!

In any case, pretty much the same thing happens in this movie as in the first one. A Halloween party at a spooky old haunted house ends up awakening Demons who then proceed to possess, mutilate and kill in the grisliest ways possible. There was a fair amount of nudity in the first one, and there's even a bit of girl on girl action in this one, but otherwise the two movies are pretty damn similar. If you like demons, possession, gore, boobs, and good music, this is a good movie for you. Honestly, the first movie was a lot scarier. I'm not really sure why. I haven't seen the old one in ages, but this one just seemed rather rushed by comparison. Hmmm. Maybe I am being unfair, I think they were both pretty much B movie horror, but maybe Linnea Quigley was just a better actress? (shrugs) I also think the first movie spent a little more time with backstory and explaining things? Eh who knows. I need to watch it again and compare.

THE BURNING is the second review of the night. I thought I had seen every 80's slasher pic there was, and then i saw this little gem in the netflix lineup, and i was like WHAT! An 80's slasher pic I haven't seen? IT CANNOT BE! And, as it turns out, i was right, because I had seen it before, I just didn't recognize it at first glance.

A bunch of summer-campers decide they've had enough of the local drunken, belligerent caretaker, so they play a practical joke on him. A joke that ends in tragedy as the caretaker is horribly burned. Five years later, the caretaker is released from the hospital, only to seek vengeance on the nearest group of summer-camp counselors he can find!

This movie had tons of young soon-to-be stars in it. Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, Fisher Stevens, and even a couple lesser known stars from the 80's. I was honestly shocked at the number of people I recognized, and even more shocked as I read the closing credits at the end of the movie, and saw that it was filmed entirely on location in Western New York! Where I live! :-o

I wondered why the background shots looked so great, and why the foliage seemed so familiar.

Yea, the reviews are kind of short tonight, but the movies aren't that outstanding. The night of the Demons remake was shot in 2010 or something, and the Burning was done way back in 1981, but both are solid B-movie horror flicks. If you want to see Holly Hunter as a teen, Fisher Stevens as the skinniest geek I've ever seen, and Jason Alexander when he still had a shot at getting a date, watch the Burning. Otherwise, nothing scary to see here! Move along!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reviews 15 through 19! Halloween series!

Yea yea, I know I am cheating a little, but I am way behind and these movies are almost the signature movies for the entire month. How can I not review them? I'm talking about the originals this time, not the crappy Rob Zombie remakes. I reviewed those last year.

HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2! Halloween starts with a simple enough scene. It's 1963, and a girl is hooking up with her boyfriend while babysitting her little brother. Typical enough for any teenager. Except this teenager's little brother is none other than Michael Myers, and this night is none other than October 31st. I'm not really sure how old this little boy is, as the camera basically follows his eyes as he watches his sister go upstairs, then the boy places a mask over his face, and through the masked view, we see little Michael go upstairs and then stab his sister multiple times with a large knife. He then heads outside, presumably to do further mayhem, but is instead interrupted by the timely arrival of his parents. At least, I assume they are his parents. In any case, any trace of the little boy that was Michael Myers appears to be gone when they pull of his clown mask. What triggered Michael's killing? Did he have abusive parents? Was he possessed by the spirit of Samhain? Did he just hate his sister's hair style? We never find out for sure.

Flash forward to 1978, and we find Laurie Strode, apparently either adopted after the death of her real parents, or her real parents changed their last name from Myers to Strode, because Laurie is apparently Michael Myers' sister. I'm not quite sure which, although I am sure the story explains at some point. Younger sister, I would assume, because this is 15 years after Michael's little psychological break, and Laurie (played by Jamie Lee Curtis in her first movie role) is 17 and in high school. Dr. Loomis, Michael's psychiatrist, is fully convinced of the evil in Michael by this time. In fact, as Dr. Loomis himself says, he spent years trying to reach the boy, and then years trying to keep him locked away. Dr. Loomis is played by Donald Pleasance to great effect, although John Carpenter's first choice was actually Christopher Lee, and quite frankly I don't think anyone could have handled how horrifying this movie would have been with Christopher Lee as Dr. Loomis. Not that Donald Pleasance didn't do a fantastic job of it, just saying. In any case, Michael is about to be transferred to a more secure facility under the care of Dr. Loomis, only as Dr. Loomis arrives, Michael has already killed the hospital staff and steals Dr. Loomis' ambulance, hellbent on returning to finish the job he started 15 years previous. The date is October 30th.

Then the movie sort of slows down a bit. Building suspense, we follow Michael Myers all around town as he stalks Laurie Strode. Maybe he's trying to make sure she is his sister, maybe he's waiting for the right time, maybe he has an overactive sense of drama. In any case, come Halloween night, Michael dons a mask from a costume shop (an unpainted Captain Kirk mask) and gets busy killing people. Michael's not really picky in the killing, he'll spend a half hour stalking a single teenage girl in her own home just to catch her at a bad time (read, half undressed), and yet take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to slaughter a station full of police officers. Hey, when you've only got one night a year to get your business done and you take the time to visit your fans, it really lets them know you care.

The rest of Halloween, and all of Halloween 2, follow Laurie Strode as she loses her friends to Michael, one by one, and then does battle with him herself, with the help of the local police, and Dr. Loomis, who has tracked Michael to Haddonfield, New Jersey (although it was actually filmed in California). Even after Dr. Loomis shoots him 6 times at the end of Halloween, Halloween 2 begins with the rest of that same night, as Laurie strode heads to the hospital after barely surviving the first movie, and Michael follows her there, killing everyone and everything that gets in his way. Seriously, shotgun blasts to the face just piss this guy off. I don't think I've ever seen two movies that chronicle the events of a single night before, and I don't think I've seen one since. Aside from a little bit of the first movie spent giving you the idea of what's going on, you practically follow the events in real time, much like what was done with the series "24" back when it was exciting.

I can't say enough good things about these two movies. Not only are they suspenseful, terrifying, spooky, and generally a slasher flick in every other way, but it launched the careers of Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter, and... well, not the guy who played Michael Myers. Apparently that was just some extra who worked for $25 a day helping build the sets.

HALLOWEEN 3: Season of the Witch! Okay, if any of you have seen this and are wondering what it has to do with Michael Myers, Laurie Strode and whatnot, don't. It doesn't. Some movie company snatched up the rights to do Halloween 3, hoping to cash in on the fame of the Halloween series. Which is a goddamn shame, honestly, because Season of the Witch was actually a decent flick and should have stood on it's own instead of them trying to sneak it into the Halloween name.

Season of the Witch has Tom Atkins, the male lead from The Fog, an awesome B movie horror actor at the time, which lent great star power to the film, and he's pit up against a group of... well, I'm not sure what you'd call them. There's basically one guy, an old man, and a bunch of, shall we say, doppelgangers? In any case, this movie is almost more about Halloween than Halloween, as at one point, Tom Atkins asks the bad guy why he's doing what he's doing, and the villain talks like a guy who's 3000 years old, about sacrificing children and animals in honor of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) and says the world is due for a little sacrifice now and then. Maybe he should start a chain of restaurants and call them TGIS (thank god it's Samhain)?

Honestly, the movie was not bad at all, excellent B-Movie stuff, and did not deserve a bad rap because the idiot producers chose to steal the "Halloween 3" name. A bit of trivia, while Tom Atkins is tied up in the villain's stronghold, they put on TV for him and on the screen is a scene of Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, if I am not mistaken.

HALLOWEEN 4 and 5! After losing momentum with the loss of Halloween 3 as a potential title, it took years to come out with Halloween 4. However, despite losing Jamie Lee Curtis as the female lead (who eventually came back for Halloween H20), they got a whole new cast with the exception of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance returns). This movie picks up about ten years after the events of the first two movies. Dr. Loomis, scarred horribly after the events of Halloween 2, is not even consulted, as the foolish hospital administrator decides to move Michael Myers, who has been comatose since the events of ten years past, to a less secure facility. Honestly, why do they always decide to move him on October 30? Why not move him in the middle of July? Wtf? In any case, as soon as Dr. Loomis hears the ambulance transporting Michael Myers has had an accident, he is out of the administrator's office and on his way to Haddonfield. Where, Michael apparently has a niece...

Michael Myers' niece is not 17 this time, which just confuses me, as Michael seems to have an affinity for 17 year old girls, but a younger girl (Danielle Harris, who was also in the Halloween remake by Rob Zombie years later), Jamie Lloyd. In any case, Jamie has lost her parents, fostered into another family, and Michael spends most of Halloween 4 hunting her down, only to have her again be saved by Dr. Loomis. By the time Halloween 5 rolls around, it's a year later. Jamie, traumatized by the events of Halloween 4, now has some psychic connection to Michael, and she can sense his actions to some extent. Dr. Loomis tries to use Jamie's connection to track Michael, but it's a useless gesture, as Michael again kills everything that moves. I mean, it's a slasher pic, what did you expect, right?

The funny thing about the Halloween series of movies is that the killer, ultimately the most recognizable feature of the series, is played by a different actor in every movie. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if at the end of Halloween 5, he had taken off his mask and it had been William Shatner under there. lol

Each of the Halloween movies has a bit of nudity in it here and there, and they are all fun to watch. Except Halloween 3, which is still fun to watch but I don't think has any nudity in it. It'll be interesting to see if, while remaking the Halloween films, Rob Zombie decides to take the same detour and have Halloween 3 have absolutely nothing to do with Michael Myers. lol They did eventually make a Halloween 6, but it wasn't called that, didn't have much to do with haddonfield, and wasn't nearly as good, but did have a few short scenes with Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis, so if nothing else, he managed to appear in more of the Halloween films than any other actor. Honestly, for the remakes, they should have got Christopher Lee to play Dr. Loomis. Would have been AWESOME. He's still alive and kicking! Maybe they can get him for Season of the witch? Hmmmm.

19 reviews down, 12 to go! 6 Days! Can I do it? Only time will tell!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review #10 to #14

Nothing like the smell of horror in the morning, I always say!

Actually, that's the first time I've ever said that, but feel free to quote me if you like.

Tonight's review series starts with CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON! This is classic 1950's horror at it's finest. A geologist looking for fossils along the amazon river unearths the fossilized claw of some semi-humanoid aquatic creature. Believing it to be an unknown species of ancient amphibian, the geologist seeks assistance from his marine biologist friends at the local university. The head of the department, seeking funds for the college and research grants, immediately funds an expedition along the amazon river to unearth further clues as to the whereabouts of the rest of the fossilized remains. Needless to say at this point, the secluded lagoon at the end of the small tributary the research expedition finds itself on ends in terror as they realize that the fossilized remains are of a creature still living in the deep dark depths of the Black Lagoon!

This movie spawned two sequels, i believe? The second of which has a lab technician named Jennings (a young Clint Eastwood) in a short appearance. The original was in black and white, and has tons of atmosphere. It's not particularly creepy or scary but if you're looking for suspenseful monster horror with a beautiful amazonian backdrop, this is it!

Review #11 - GHOST RIDER! I may have already reviewed this movie, and you may not think of it as a horror flick, but it has all the classic elements. Peter Fonda is Mephistopheles, who the lead character makes a deal with to save his father's life. Unfortunately, as most deals with the devil, it does not end well for Johnny Blaze, who is called upon years later to fulfill his bargain and become the Ghost Rider, the devil's bounty hunter. Unfortunately, his bounty is none other than the unruly son of Mephistopheles, an upstart demon named Blackheart, who is seeking the unholy contract for the 1500 souls of the entire corrupt town of San Benganza to maximize his power and allow him to overthrow his father's rule.

Most people didn't like this movie, and I think the obvious reason is the casting of Nicholas cage as the lead character. Not even the entire supporting cast could really help out on this one, with Eva Mendes as the love interest, Peter Fonda and Sam Elliot rounding things out. Still, you've got demonic possession, the devil himself, contracts for souls, battles between demons, hell, an entire goddamn town so evil that all 1500 people in it sold their souls to the devil! How can that not be a horror movie? Unfortunately for the ghost rider series, Nicholas Cage has already committed himself to a sequel.

Review #12 - SLITHER! This movie feels like an homage to The Slime. A meteorite lands on earth, and a bit of a lout about to cheat on his wife is infected with an alien parasite. Unfortunately, the alien parasite never counted on human emotions, and the guy it infests is still deeply in love with his wife. Unfortunately, as the parasite spreads to the townsfolk, alive or dead, they all become one with the merged consciousness of the parasite/lout who was first infected, and now the wife has to not only deal with the mutated remains of her husband, but an entire town of parasite-controlled zombies who feel that she is now cheating on him for not sticking by him in his difficult time of... erm.. transformation. Hey, in sickness and in health, right?

I thought this movie was pretty awesome. You've got Nathan Fillon as the sheriff, a cast full of character actors, and Michael Rooker as the villain! You can't go wrong here. I even watched it on Syfy again recently, which cut out the nudity (if there was any?) and the swearing, and it was still fun to watch. Definitely a popcorn-muncher, and probably didn't do exceptionally well because it's a solid B-monster movie, but I think you get your money's worth with this one, and as someone who's been out of work almost 6 months now, that means a lot!

Review #13 - BITTEN! You'd think they'd done vampire movies to death, but no! No. Sadly, no. Still, every once in a while there's a decent one that comes out, and while this isn't one of them, I could put up with it long enough to finish watching it. So you got your basic night-shift, overworked Emergency Medical Technician guy who just got dumped by his girlfriend. His partner, an older, balding medic with IBS, tells him to go home and get some sleep one night, and he runs into a blood soaked corpse in his back alley who turns out not to be a corpse, but a recently attacked victim of a vampire. Who then, of course, proceeds to require a regular blood supply to stay alive.

I liked this movie in the sense that, the fact that the EMT guy's new girlfriend is a vampire almost seems to be coincidental. I'm not sure who wrote the script, but without doubt, it was somebody who went through a bad breakup and doesn't like women much. Basically, as he's nursing her back to health, and within the course of days, their relationship goes from hot sex, to cajoling, to demanding, and finally to argumentative, psycho breakup by the end. Much like my last ... well, every girlfriend I've ever had. And no, i did not write this movie, and I am not bitter! lol I wasn't really fond of the end of this movie, and it could have been done better, but the rest of it was sort of funny, if you've never been in a relationship, or perhaps more so if you have, and can sympathize.

Review #14 - THE FOG! This is the original, 1980 version. I reviewed the remake a few years back when it came out, and compared it unfavorably to the original, which I will now review, just in case I haven't done so already. A hundred years ago, the founders of Antonio Bay lured a boatload of rich leper-pirates to their death to steal their gold in order to fund the church and the town. Now, on the eve of the anniversary of the town's founding, a spooky fog rolls into the bay and a trio of liquored-up fishermen on the Seagrass are the first victims, but certainly won't be the last.

This has to be one of the creepiest goddamn movies I ever seen. Rich, if you want something scary, try this one. From the short little "ghost story" narrated by John Houseman at the beginning, through the sunniest and creepiest day in one of the most beautiful seaside towns i have ever seen, to the following evening's climactic events, this movie just oozes creepiness and atmosphere. Much like my nephew tim's arse. Only less smelly. There's Hal Holbrook as the town priest, Janet Leigh as the event coordinator, and her real life daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, as the poor girl who comes to town at a bad time. Seriously, the events that happen in broad daylight on the day of the 100th anniversary are almost more scary. Just the scenes of Adrienne Barbeau on her way to work are terrifying, because while they show the town and surrounding countryside, including some beautiful ocean views, they build the suspense into a torrent of dread because you know all hell is going to break loose once night falls. And again, suspense trumps shock and gore every time.

Okay, I'm a bit horror'd out for tonight. I'm watching another one right now, but I'm not sure it's good enough for a review. More reviews next time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reviews #8 and #9

Tonight's movies are THEM! and Return of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane.

I think I'm either making a habit of reviewing one good movie and one crappy one, or that's just coincidentally the ones I happen to watch on any particular evening. I grant they can't all be movie greatness, but Outbreak on a Plane? Aren't we taking this whole "snakes on a plane" thing too far? Also, I know passenger jets are large and all, but when did they start having more nooks and crannies than a skyscraper?

First, let's get to THEM! This was a monster movie from the 50's, a decade which saw an explosion of flicks about aliens, monsters and so on. Probably triggered by that whole alien landing thing in roswell new mexico back then, but what the hell do I know? I wasn't even born then.

THEM! is a movie full of suspense. I'm not really sure if any of the stars of the day appeared in this movie, because I don't recognize any big-name stars of the 50's or anything, but I did recognize a few faces from movies and series later on, so either these were established character actors or aspiring actors who were trying to pad their resume by showing up in monster movies. Still, I think the acting in THEM! was good and the suspenseful nature of the plot was superb.

THEM! starts out in the desert, with a patrol car finding a small girl wandering alone in the desert in a state of shock. Apparently her parents, their trailer, and a nearby general store have been wrecked and the occupants either killed or missing. The only apparent link between the two crimes was the presence of sugar at both places. The police are, of course, baffled by the nature and horror of the crimes, until an elderly scientist and his scientist daughter are called in to try and identify a print found at one of the scenes. The scientist manages to bring the little girl out of her semi-comatose state, and the girl proceeds to scream "THEM! THEM! THEM!" repeatedly, apparently giving the movie its title.

I liked this movie the first time i saw it, and it definitely passes the rewatchability test. Sure it was made in the 50's, and I think it's in black and white, but pretty much every scene is designed to advance the plot with utmost suspense and terror, and there's action enough to suit even the most violent fans of the genre. There's one scene I didn't notice the first time I saw this movie when I was younger, but was looking for this time. When the police first get the little girl into an ambulance, the doctor lays her down on a stretcher. At that moment, the signature sound that is made by the creatures in the film is heard, and both the policeman and the doctor look around into the desert, wondering what it could be. Completely unnoticed by them, the little girl sits bolt upright at the sound with a look of horror on her face, and by the time the sound fades and the police officer asks the doctor if he had any idea what the noise was, the little girl is laying back down again. The noise they selected to mark the approach of the creatures was actually quite good. I have no idea what the noise is from, but I think I hear it every so often in the middle of winter, when the wind is blowing hard around the outside of the house. Just my imagination, I am sure.

Anyway, if you're looking for a well made, suspenseful monster movie from the classic 50's, this is a good one. One of the few things I didn't like about this movie is they don't really wrap up the loose ends... several things happen to characters during the story, and you'd like to check back on those characters to make sure they are ok, but the story drives right along to its conclusion without a backward glance. And, much like most of the older movies, all the credits are up front, so mere seconds after the climactic final battle and the instant the final line is spoken, you see THE END and the movie is over.

Now on to Return of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a plane. This would be the crappy movie of the evening. Now, it wasn't horrible, but the actors were second rate, the plot was weak and there wasn't enough suspenseful action to fill a thimble.

The movie starts out with a group of businessmen arguing over how dangerous the cargo on their airplane is, and what they should do about it. Apparently, they've managed to sneak an experiment on board in the guise of "top secret government contracts" and the airline has graciously allowed them to store it in the cargo area of the plane under armed guard. Obviously, the cargo has something to do with zombies, all hell breaks loose, and you're treated to an hour and a half of shooting, gore, zombies getting sucked out through holes in the fuselage, and explosions. Pretty typical of the genre, in any case.

I really didn't give this movie much thought, and maybe that's it's strength. If you don't think about it, it's just a couple hours of filler movie you can eat popcorn while watching and do something else, keeping an eye on the TV set while you play Minecraft for instance, which is how I watched it. The only thing that stuck in my mind was the elderly pilot, who spent the first few minutes of the movie describing how this was his last flight, and immediately after landing he was retiring as a pilot, and he and his loyal wife were going on a cruise followed by second honeymoon. I knew he was dead the minute he started on about that, but come on. What movie involving a plane have you ever seen where the pilot was NOT somehow incapacitated? Where would the excitement be if the plane just flew onwards, healthy pilot and copilot competently getting the plane to it's destination safely and efficiently, and landing it without incident? I mean honestly, if all movies followed the pattern that movies involving planes follow, then anyone behind the wheel of car, anyone driving a tank, and bus drivers and train conductors would all be the first ones to go. And sure, sometimes they are, but who the hell would ever want to drive or pilot again after that? Someone should make a spoof where anyone driving anything is afraid to even get near the pilot's seat, else he or she die instantly just from the sheer inevitability of it.

I'm not even sure of the title, this movie was pretty forgettable. It might not have been return of the living dead, but there was definitely Outbreak on a Plane after the initial title. If you got time to kill and crappy zombie movies are your thing, go ahead if you haven't seen this, but be prepared to yawn a bit. Nothing really stood out about it at all.

That's all for tonight, it's late and I am sleepy! More movies tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review #7 - The Ward

Hey here we go, an actual decent movie!

The Ward, directed by John Carpenter! Yes, the guy who made the Fog, The Thing, yea, all those "the Something" movies!

I saw a short interview with john carpenter recently on TCM and he looked super old, and was complaining about his shoes. I feel kind of bad for the guy, getting old and all, but he seems to still be making decent movies, so I hope he feels as young as I do!

This particular one starred Amber Heard! Yes, she who sounds like Scarlett johannsen, or however you spell her name. And yes, Hannah from england, who apparently read my blog at one point, I would also like to see her naked. And yes, apparently, more than one person reads my blog! Brando, who is often anonymous, some foreign singer or something named Dimitri, who wants to compare sci-fi movies with me sometime (maybe next month, dimitri, this month is all horror). So that makes at least three! Perhaps not all regular, of course. OH and i can't forget my buddy Rich who now lives in Australia! And while Rich and I have not swilled a beer together in some time, we have been out to eat on many an occasion, and even played a few games online together. Rich! I think you'd like The Ward, too.

I only mention my readers because I just figured out how to read the comments section all at once... apparently I missed a few comments over the years, so if you wanted a reply back right away... well... sorry? :-) I'm a bloody genius, yes, however, I'm not perfect. lol

Now, let's get to the review. Kristen (amber Heard) is apparently a pyromaniac. She set fire to a farmhouse, and the police, who happened to be driving by at the time (bad timing, that) caught her and took her to an asylum. This all happens back in the late 50's and early 60's, by the way, when asylums were all the rage in mental care. Why they'd think she was crazy for enjoying a good barbecue, I don't really know. Frankly, I'm a bit of a pyro myself, and while I've never set fire to anything besides a grill or some handily arranged wood logs in a fire pit, I do understand the fascination of watching things burn. I was getting a bit entranced by the flames, quite honestly, when the scene cut to show Kristen being taken to the mental hospital. I was disappointed.

Luckily, Kristen is taken to the "hot chicks" ward of the mental facility. I say this because almost all of the girls in the ward are fairly attractive. I must say, I think I am in the wrong line of work when orderlies get to hose down the nude arrivals and... NEW... I meant to say new, not nude... and then get to strap them down to a bed and do unspeakable things to them. Ah well. Where was I? Oh yes. So Kristen meets her new ward-mates, Iris, um.... well there were other girls but I can't remember all their names. Anyway, the girls in Kristen's ward begin disappearing. Apparently, the room Kristen is in belonged to a girl named Alice, and ever since Alice disappeared, strange things have been happening in the Hot Chicks ward... Hmmmmmm...

This movie is rather predictable, in a sense. Although scary, it's more of the "jump out of your skin when something happens suddenly on screen" rather than a good, suspenseful kind of horror. Still, the sudden shocks this movie delivers was more than enough to trigger my adrenal glands, even if they are a bit overactive. I was able to figure out what was going on almost immediately, which, for me, is kind of a drawback, seeing as I then knew how it was going to end, but the movie still managed to deliver some good shocks. Hell, it was almost like electro-convulsive therapy in it's own right. Which should satisfy some people because they probably think some good electroshock therapy would do me good. lol

There was no actual nudity in this movie, which is odd for a film about asylums from the 50s and 60s. As I understand it, conditions inside mental wards at that time were deplorable and depraved to the point of... well, lunacy, I should think, and not to use that as an excuse to show off Amber Heard's therapeutic form is just ludicrous! I mean, there was even a shower scene! How can you have a shower scene and not show off anything? Shit, there were like 4 other girls there, certainly if Amber was feeling shy on the set that day, one of the other ones could have shown off something? But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, just soapy upper backs! And yea, I know you can see nudity online, but that's not the point, is it?

Well, still a decent flick. It's not "the Fog" or anything, but worth a watch. I doubt it'd survive a second viewing, so it probably fails the rewatchability test, but if you are a fan of Amber Heard, who sounds like Scarlett johanssen, you mgiht want to give this a view. Honestly, for being the star of the film, she doesn't have that many lines, and she seems to have foregone her husky "I'm trying to sound like scarlett johanssen" voice. For good effect on that one, watch "The Stepfather" remake they did a couple years back. Which not only shows of Amber's voice acting, but her, ah, other talents as well. In a bikini, at least. She does have a decent arse.

I'm not sure if I am hearing thunder at the moment or my own pulse, but I am feeling MUCH better today. I am well on my way to recovering from the flu, thank you very much. Ah a quick check of the weather on WUNDERGROUND.COM (that's right, I still use it, because it's better than, and always will be, my stubborn, inaccurate nephew) assures me that I am NOT any more insane than usual, and there IS in fact a T-storm around my area. Good to know. Thunder and rain always puts me right to sleep. Like a gentle lullaby, really. I never understood people who were afraid of storms. Mother Nature loves you!

Bloody hell the 19th already! 11 days to review 24 more films... holy crap. I may not get all 31 in, dammit, but I will try! Perhaps I should review the other horror films I have actually seen this month, but I haven't thought they were good enough for a review? Hmmmmm. We shall see.