Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Killing Death (2008) - Comedy Horror Film Review


The Killing Death (directed and written by Ian Russell) is a low budget comedy horror that was inspired by the films of the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!). Lewis was credited for creating the 'splatter' subgenre of horror films, a genre that focuses on gore and graphic violence. As is always the way I avoided reading anything about this film before watching it but was pleasantly surprised to find that the shoe string budget didn't get in the way of what is for the most part quite the funny movie.

Seasoned detective Frank (Jeremy Dangerfield - R.L. Stine's The Haunting Tour) and his rookie partner Jimmy (Tyhr Trubiak - Tempus Tormentum) are investigating a series of grisly murders that have taken place around the city they work in one long night. At each crime scene a victim has had a different body part removed. Meanwhile crazed pizza delivery guy Phil (Neil Reimer) is on a mission to collect ingredients for a very special pizza he is making...


The joy of not reading anything about this before watching was that it took me a little while to realise this was a comedy. I thought the script was very corny but it soon become very apparent this was of course on purpose. This is a film that starts off almost as a straight horror but becomes more and more farcical as it goes along. Leading this comedic adventure is Dangerfield who gets the most ridiculous lines, speaking mainly in tired cliches. His inept detective work, as well as his look, and the way he speaks really reminded me of Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin from Police Squad, in fact the only thing missing was him also giving narration. Much of the humour comes from the dialogue between the characters, usually between Frank and the straight man that is Jimmy. An early example of an exchange between them: "Sure is a nice night" "For a murder" "...I meant there wasn't a lot of traffic" "A quiet street hides a killer, never forget that Jimmy" "but we're in a suburb" "Hell is a suburb, where all the bad guys hang out together". The Killing Dead is littered with such ridiculous conversations throughout that on at least two different occasions made me laugh out loud. The highlight of this was a scene involving Jimmy interviewing a very jaded janitor.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

I Am Evil Brain Taste (2019) by Evil Brain Taste - Zombie Music EP Review


Back in 2015 I became aware of UK thrash/death/black metal band Evil Brain Taste when I was sent the video to 'The Taste of Evil Brains' that was taken off their debut album Dead Dead Bad. I enjoyed the song so much that I went and brought that album. Well  they have recently put out some new music - a six track EP titled I Am Evil Brain Taste that was released on 31st May. Even better is that it is currently free to listen to on YouTube. I don't often review music so I hope you can at least take the feeling I got from listening to this, even if I don't know how to explain how the music actually sounds.

Send More Paramedics were one of my favourite bands back when they were still un-living, and so I have a lot of time for any similar style of music that rises, especially when the band members are all of the undead variety! The members consist of Bone - vocals, Stench - guitars, Chot - Bass, and Legg - drums. As can be inferred by everything said so far this band are not about tackling serious issues, but instead just produce music that is not only entertaining and silly, but which is also actually competent and played to a satisfying degree.

First track on Evil Brain Taste's latest EP is 'The Day When Everything Became About Brains' which is a glorious five minute instrumental held together from various soundbites detailing zombie apocalypse. Starting off with news reports of the dead walking it leads up to a final desperate message from a man under siege wondering if he is the last human alive on Earth.
Next up is three minute titular track 'I Am Evil Brain Taste' that is the first we hear of frontman Bone's almost whisper like growling singing style. I have to say I was impressed with the quality of the recording on this EP, I did kind of expect muddy production but everything is crisp and clear to hear with the rotting vocals coming through for the most part clear.
Following this is the excellent 'Spider Bath' that again comes in at around three minutes. Like the rest of their songs this has a really great chugging style to the guitar work, the lyrics that contain such lines as "you can take the bath out the spider, can't take the spider out the bath" work so much better than they should, and actually imparts a sensible message about how stupid it is to be scared of the mostly harmless creatures.

Onto the second half of the album now with 'Terinator' that is about the funny tale of someone recounting how they used to draw pictures based on VHS covers as a child, but one day made the traumatic mistake of missing out the letter M when drawing the cover for The Terminator. This has a nice energetic chorus and a fun little soundbite paraphrasing Arnie "If you're alive you are coming with me". Again what I love about this style of music is the chugging guitar, it makes the songs feel like they could go on indefinitely in the best way.
'Ghosts' follows this and unsurprisingly is about ghosts, specifically hunting for them. It has some old style spooky music blended in, and no end of entertaining lyrics, such as "ghosts - are they in the cupboard, ghosts - is it just thin air?".
Final track ends on an undead note again with 'Ultimate Zombie' which eventually leads into a great riff that wouldn't have sounded out of place with the original version of the Doom video game.

I Am Evil Brain Taste is an enjoyable 22 minutes of zombie death metal that in my humble opinion is well worth a listen. There sadly are not too many good bands that do this style nowadays. I will include the link to the EP below so check it out if it appeals.

SCORE:



Friday, 14 June 2019

Ma (2019) - Horror Film Review


Now that I no longer work Mondays I figured I would do a double bill at the cinema due to two different horror films being out at the moment. Ma was the first film, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters being the second one I saw. As such my memory may be a little on some details of this one, though I did make some notes immediately afterwards. Now I really wasn't taken with the idea behind this one, the trailer didn't appeal to me, but it needed a review on my blog so I went along anyway. Having seen it, it isn't my type of film...but it is better than I expected it to be.

Directed by Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train, The Help, and who also had a bit part here) this horror is about a lonely woman called Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water, Halloween II) who befriends a group of high school teens after agreeing to buy alcohol for them one day. She decides to let them, and all their friends use her basement at her remote house as a place to come to get high, get drunk, and have crazy parties. These friends include Maggie (Diana Silvers) who has recently moved to the area, as well as Andy, Chaz, Haley and Darrell. Things start off well with many a good time had, but there is a sinister side to Sue Ann, or 'Ma' as she likes to be known. As the group starts to see this hidden side of her they try to distance themselves, but the more they do this the more twisted and obsessive she gets.


I often like to hear what people say about the films I watch as I leave the cinema, and the key comment I heard here was that 'it took a while to get going'. I think I would agree with that. There is a gradual build up of events happening, but it is back loaded into the final third when things really reach the station known as Horror Town. From the off though it is obvious that Ma has something wrong with her, with her behind the scenes manipulations plainly shown. Spencer actually did a great job with her here, the film delights in the moments when she goes from looking happy to psychotically angry as quick as a switch being flipped. She in a way carries this film far more than the bland and underdeveloped teenage cast. Moments such as the awkward and uncomfortable video messages she leaves the group really build her up as unsettling. I guess main lead Silvers does a good enough job, I kinda liked the interactions with Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers) who plays her mum, but her character really isn't anything special. The teens all act like sacrifices to a story that ends up being far more about the adults of the small town Ma is set in. In particular aside from Spencer herself it was Luke Evans (Dracula Untold, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies) who was the real stand out. His role may have only been that of a side character but I liked his portrayal of a former school bully now grown up.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The Tattooist (2018) - Short Horror Film Review


Malaysian director Michael Wong's The Tattooist is a micro short, coming in at just over a minute long. Rather than tell a cohesive story it acts more like a trailer for a bigger idea. Obviously with such a short length this isn't going to be the longest review.

A tattooist (Wang Yanhu) is known for his stunning work, however he has a dark side to him. For those who receive his best work are drugged and imprisoned in a Hostel style torture palace. Admittedly I got the plot not from the short itself, but by the accompanying blurb, though the trailer does a great job of showing this divide.

Starting off is a sweep through a clean and sterile tattoo parlour, jaunty music by Found In The Attic plays as we see the artist working on a girl. Then with a break with what seems to be the film footage burning up a quick succession of edited scenes of carnage play out in an art house style way. People screaming in cages, someone about to get a hammer to the face, a girl being dragged down a hallway by her hair. Then suddenly we are pack in the parlour, the jaunty music starts back up as the camera slowly pans away from the joyfully dancing artist.

I really liked the divide between the two disparate scenes, between the peacefulness of the attractive parlour to the Hell like dark and dank bloody rooms. For having no dialogue at all (unless you count screaming as dialogue) this makes its intentions clear, and the music alone adds so much character to this. It shows that even with such a small running time it is possible to really get an idea across, The Tattooist really is a fun little ride.

SCORE:

Monday, 10 June 2019

The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath (2019) by Lee Allen Howard - Horror Book Review


From the very first page of Lee Allen Howard's The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath I was repulsed; a graphic description of a sordid dream featuring urination, self pleasuring, and death. But then the clue is in the books title, this is written from the twisted perspective of a psycho and so this opener was like a statement of intent for the course the book would chart. It's not new to have a story told by a terrible person, ones such as Hubert Selby Jr's The Demon, and of course Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho (of which this sometimes feels similar to). Despite that though it is done rarely enough that it sticks out from the more traditional tales.

Russell Pisarek is a damaged twenty-six year old both haunted and shaped by the awful abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother as a child. He works at an animal testing laboratory and shares a house with his sister Becky and her young son Aiden, but is lost, and prone to frequent uncontrollable fits of anger. Over the course of The Bedwetter he comes to realise his true sinister calling in life and sets out on a murderous path from which there is no returning.

There's no getting away from the fact that Russell is a truly nasty protagonist but the book goes at least some way to clearly explain why he happens to be this way. The abuse he suffered shaped him, and as such he is trapped. Coming from his viewpoint you can at least see why he is like he is even if you find his actions disgusting. It would have been easy to make a one dimensional villain, but this past makes Russell into someone more fleshed out. This is all told via conversations he has with family members, frequent dreams and nightmares that plague him, and his own dark thoughts. While I could never get on board with his actions, at least with the thoughts he provides you can kind of understand his reasoning for them.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) - Fantasy Film Review


2014's Godzilla somehow managed to be as dull as dishwater, the only things I really remember about it was sitting there wondering how you could make a giant monster movie and have so little of the giant monster in it, and noticing a couple bringing in their newborn baby to the cinema, only to leave around fifteen minutes later with the screaming infant, presumably after it's eardrums were ruptured by the loud screeching and wailings in that movie. Still I had heard that Godzilla: King of the Monsters was actually a lot better and so I was prepared to give it another chance. To be truthful I didn't even realise this was a sequel to that first one, but it is, and apparently part of the 'monster-verse' or whatever they are calling it, along with Kong: Skull Island from 2017.

King of the Monsters takes place four years after the events of the first film which left San Francisco a smoking ruin. Giant monsters, or 'Titans' as they are called here are now known to the world, which struggles to decide how to deal with this emergence of super beasts. During that disaster Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga - The Conjuring films, Bates Motel) and her then husband Mark (Kyle Chandler - Super 8, King Kong) had developed a device that allowed Titans to be pacified. Now in the present day an eco-terrorist organisation led by Jonah Alan (Charles Dance - Game of Thrones, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) kidnap Emma, as well as her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown - Stranger Things) in order to use her knowledge of the device to wake-up the many Titans in a state of hibernation around the globe.


So if you came to this expecting an intelligent, sensible movie you obviously came to the wrong place. This is a special effects laden disaster movie that thankfully features not only no end of giant monsters fighting each other, but also a whole bucketful of monsters. It's a globe trotting adventure fantasy that takes in such disparate locations such as Antarctica, Mexico, Boston, and even ancient underwater cities. Switch your brain off for the ride and you will be in for a treat. For whatever reason giant monster movies are something I always manage to find dull. With a two hour running time I will admit around twenty minutes before this was over I did start to get kind of bored. That isn't to say this is boring though as there is no end of crazy shenanigans going on. Of the many, many human characters it is the monsters obviously who are the stars of the show. While the cast of characters feature a whole bunch of recognisable faces they for the most part serve no real purpose other than serve as walking talking commentators on the monsters all battling each other. I'm not sure how many actors returned from Godzilla (three apparently), but who did for sure is Ken Watanabe (Godzilla, Inception) who reprises his role as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. He was the stand out character on the human side, and he is rewarded with what is perhaps my favourite scene of the whole movie. Early on there are twists with good characters becoming bad, that was interesting. Less so is Dance whose bad guy role isn't anything special, so much so that he disappears two thirds through, assumedly returning in a future movie in the franchise.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Shed of the Dead (2019) - Zombie Comedy Horror Film Review


I had high hopes for British indie comedy zombie horror Shed of the Dead. It has a host of iconic actors, a familiar style of humour to that most famous of British zombie comedies, and of course the flesh hungry brain eaters themselves. However, rather than try and stamp out its own identity, director and writer Drew Cullingham (Umbrage: The First Vampire, The Devil's Bargain) is happy to just try and copy what has come before, but to a far less successful extent.

Unemployed thirty something slacker Trevor (Spencer Brown - Nathan Barley) spends his days in his shed at his allotment painting his miniatures for his fantasy wargaming, mostly in order to avoid his wife Bobbi (Lauren Socha). One day zombie apocalypse comes suddenly to his part of the world in London, eventually realising this he teams up with his best friend Graham (Ewen MacIntosh - The Office) and together they head back to Trevor's house in order to see if his wife, and her best friend Harriett (Emily Booth - Doghouse, Evil Aliens) are still among the living.


The fact that this so closely follows the template of Shaun of the Dead wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if this managed to do it to a competent enough level, but everything here just feels slightly off, like a jaded and twisted version of that classic. Simon Pegg's Shaun was a lazy idiot, but he was a character that you actually cared about, he had character development, with the apocalypse the event he needed to really turn his life around. Trevor on the other hand is a lazy idiot with a mean streak to him, and possible sociopathic tendencies. Before zombies even make an appearance he gets into an argument with his allotment neighbour Mr. Parsons (Kane Hodder - Friday 13th series, the Hatchet series) resulting (mild spoiler) in the man's accidental death. Showing no concern or guilt, and with little reasoning he decides rather than alert the police he is going to chop up the man's body and bury it in his allotment. This early insight into his character just repelled me completely, I really hoped he would have an arc where he would grow and develop, but instead he remains self centred, verbally aggressive, and plain nasty throughout, showing no concern for those around him at all. Graham on the other hand not only looks like Nick Frost, but his character is almost identical to how his character Ed acts in Shaun, with the unwelcome addition of being obsessed with Harriett in a way that was uncomfortable to watch. It's like they saw those two characters and wanted to replicate them, but didn't understand what fundamentally made them lovable idiots, as opposed to just idiots.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Days Gone (2019) - Zombie Horror Video Game Review (Playstation 4)


I haven't seen such a disconnect between video game journalists and fans as there is with Days Gone for a long long time. I had pre-ordered this game but scanning reviews the day before it released I was dismayed to see across the board it was getting average reviews, many critics saying the game was simply boring. In the weeks since it has came out though I have yet to see anyone who has played it who has in any ways been disappointed. I don't know if it was due to tight deadlines that led to reviewers zooming through Days Gone as fast as possible being the root cause, or some other baffling reason, but for me, playing the game at a leisurely pace I had an absolute blast and would readily recommend it to one and all. It is a shame to read reader comments after the various reviews thanking the reviewers for saving them from picking this up when in reality they are really missing out on a gem of a game.

This takes place in Oregon two years after a zombie apocalypse occurred that left the vast population of the world either dead or turned into flesh hungry ghouls termed by the survivors as 'freakers'. Biker Deacon St. John (voiced by Sam Witwer - Star Wars: The Force Unleashed) and his best friend and fellow biker Boozer work as bounty hunters for the various friendly camps, though they have aspirations of riding north to start fresh somewhere new. During the initial outbreak Deacon was separated from his wife Sarah (voiced by Courtnee Draper - Bioshock: Infinite) after she was airlifted to supposed safety on a NERO (National Emergency Response Organisation) helicopter after being stabbed, however upon arriving at the camp where she was being taken he and Boozer found it in ruins and full of freakers, so she is assumed to be dead. The game begins with the two bikers plans to ride north nearly finalised, however this is thwarted after Deacon's bike is stolen and dismantled for parts. While he does jobs in order to get the funds and parts to rebuild a new bike he comes into contact with a violent and deranged cult nicknamed 'Rippers', whose mysterious leader seems to have a particular sinister interest in him and Boozer for reasons unknown...


Wow, this was a great game. To sum it up lazily it plays like a cross between The Last of Us, [Prototype] and Mad Max with a little bit of World War Z thrown in. The Last of Us feel comes from the environment itself, the world building here is spot on. Despite its open world nature it comes close at times to the tightly designed areas of that level based masterpiece, this world feels logical, and that includes how the enemies operate. Like that other game the main enemy here are not zombies, but instead the other groups of human survivors, with bandits, rogue militia, and cultists the main threat encountered. The [Prototype] influence is slight, but mostly comes from the audio recordings discovered around the game world that share a similar serious vibe to the ones from that po-faced game.  The Mad Max part comes from not only the look of the cultists (whose self inflicted injuries, and shaved heads reminded me a lot of the War Boys from that game), but also from how integral your vehicle is here. Both games start with the ideal version of your vehicle being stolen and broken down, with a lot of the R.P.G elements revolving around you buying better upgrades to repair it. Deacon's motorbike is essential for traversing the large open world, and as you progress it becomes faster, more durable, and able to hold more and more ammo. Finally World War Z is felt by the way the zombies operate.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Date from Hell (2018) - Short Horror Film Review


Date from Hell is the directorial debut of Texas based heavy metal frontman Ven Scott (Runescarred, ex-Dead Earth Politics). It takes a story that could have been a feature length and condenses it into twelve minutes without it seeming like anything has been lost.

Locals Susie (Ava L'Amoreaux) and Bobby (Samuel Brett Lee Howard) are on date night in the small town they live in. The two end up drunkenly breaking into an infirmary where they are shocked to discover a serial killer drifter who has murder on his mind. Things are not exactly what they seem though...

The inspiration for this was horror films of the 1980's and this can be seen from everything to the soundtrack, to the premise itself, as well as the lovely practical make-up and effects that also feature plenty of blood. For a short that was filmed over just three nights there is a lot of atmosphere here with no element of the plot wasted. The structure means a lot happens within the run time of the three act structure. I would say that due to later twists I had some confusion over earlier dialogue, which also includes the strange ending. However this twist was what Date from Hell was leading up to and it was executed in a satisfying way with some nice cinematography.

This was an entertaining short that was paced well and had some nice ideas to it, and had an authentic feel to the eighties inspiration. Maybe some of the performances were a little over the top but regardless this was an enjoyable twelve minutes of bloody mayhem. Date from Hell is currently being submitted to festivals across the U.S with the film coming to the online platform ALTER in September.

SCORE:

Friday, 31 May 2019

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for May 2019


Another month and some changes to the way I do my blog. With my day job hours changing to four longer days rather than five normal length days it means I won't have time to do my blog in the evenings. Instead Monday is designated blog day, set aside to do a weeks worth of blog posts...that is the plan anyway.

Principal production has began on psychological thriller Paradise Cove and stars Mena Suvari (American Horror Story) and Todd Grinnell (Grace and Frankie). They play a contractor and his wife who have gone to Malibu to sell his dead mother's beach house. However they become terrorised by a crazy homeless woman (Kristin Bauer van Straten - True Blood) who lives underneath it. This is to be directed by Martin Guigui, with a script by Sherry Klein.

A special collectors edition Blu-ray has been released earlier this month for entertaining horror comedy Murder Made Easy, I said in my review for that "I came to this with expectations of a dull murder mystery and left having really enjoyed what I had witnessed". The Blu-ray from Scream Team Releasing was released on 21st May and features extras including audio commentaries, deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, bloopers, trailers, 5.1 surround sound and more.

 

Production is set to begin on the next installment of the found footage franchise Hell House LLC. Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire started production at the start of May and will premiere exclusively on Shudder later this year. Actors from both Hell House LLC and it's sequel Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel are set to return. Terror Films president Joe Dain has stated it will be taking inspiration from the first film, I think this is a good sign as the sequel was vastly inferior. In this final chapter (which takes place a year after the events of the second film) a billionaire buys the notorious hotel in order to host his popular interactive show 'Insomnia'.

Urban horror film Room 9 is now in post production. Inspired by the works of Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us, The Twilight Zone) this is written and directed by Thomas Walton, and is about a bed and breakfast with a tragic past. It stars Kane Hodder (Friday 13th series), Michael Berryman (The Devil's Rejects) and Scout Taylor Compton (Rob Zombie's Halloween 1 & 2).


In The Blink of An Eye is an anthology of short horror stories all based on the excellent found footage Butterfly Kisses. The book goes deeper into the fictional urban legend of 'The Blink Man'. This legend states that if you stare into the Illchester tunnel for an hour without blinking at midnight a supernatural being known as 'Peeping Tom' will appear. The anthology is written by a multitude of different authors and has such stories as a PTSD suffering war veteran who starts to see a hypnotist, a student investigating her teacher's apparent suicide, and a holy man whose scarred eye is always open. Check out the Kickstarter here.

Coming soon to Android and iOS devices is Slasher - an app that is designed to be a social network for horror fans. its intentions are stated to be 'a space where such things like the human body being used in horror movies and art aren't a problem'.

There is an IndieGoGo campaign currently running to raise additional funds for horror film Kill Giggles. This feature length film is about a serial killer that targets clowns, the aim being to make a film where clowns are the victims rather than the aggressors. Check out the page here where there are the usual assortments of perks based on what you pledge.



On the subject of crowd funding The Curse of Valburga is approaching the end of its campaign which isn't doing so well. This slasher/comedy is about an old mansion with a dungeon full of degenerates. Their IndieGoGo page can be found here, again with an assortment of perks available.

The final news concerns Frolic Pictures which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary with new Jared Masters reissue titles on double and triple feature DVDs. These include Premature Birth/Blood School/Madam Ans' House of Shame, The Magical Pyramid/Ballerina Massacre, The Pleasure Girl Gang/Kittens in Heat/Diary of a Teenage Call Girl, Lesha, My Secretary/Cannibals Vs. Virgins, and Hot Cats!/Zombie Punx.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Terror in the Skies (2019) - Horror Documentary Review


I don't often cover documentaries on my blog, but upon hearing of Terror in the Skies (directed by Seth Breedlove who also co-wrote this with Mark Matzke) I felt I needed to check it out. In general life I have a fondness for birds, and so a documentary that deals with giant bird sightings in America sounded interesting to me.

Over the 68 minute run time several different types of flying monsters are covered. The area covered here is Illinois, which is best known in terms of this subject matter with the famous Point Pleasant mothman sightings in the 1960's. I fully expected that to be again the focus here, but refreshingly it is only really mentioned in passing (this is a spiritual sequel to 2017's The Mothman of Point Pleasant). That topic has been done to death and so it was nice that it wasn't covered yet again here. Instead we get a multitude of accounts from over the years that go all the way up to the Chicago Mothman sightings of 2017, something that is teased at the start of this, then becoming the final story.


Of the different subjects looked at it was the thunderbirds that I found to be the most interesting, they are something I had heard of, yet not something I had really knew much about. I liked how it explores the origins of these tales, and goes back to the myths of Native Americans before getting into the actual evidence. The documentary uses talking heads for a lot of the discussion into this, from eyewitnesses, to paranormal experts and historians. I expected a one sided approach, and initially it seemed it was going for the side of believing everything, but later on there is at least one speaker who throws doubts on a lot of the testimonies. This is most apparent with the Chicago mothman sightings with it being said how strange it was that in such a populated city more people didn't see it. It also talks about how when something gets more popular more people are likely to come forward with crazier stories.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Rondo (2018) - Thriller Film Review


Rondo is a revenge thriller written and directed by Drew Barnhardt and which on paper didn't really sound like the most logical fit for this site. However it sounded interesting and so I requested a screener, something I am very glad I did as it turns out this more than earns its place here. I have been watching quite a few movies lately that pay homage to the exploitation films of the 70's. With Rondo you have a film which does just that, but which decides to pay tribute whilst keeping the trappings of modern day film making.

Troubled veteran Paul (Aaron Paul lookalike Luke Sorge) is an alcoholic, and homeless, living on his sister Jill's (Brenna Otts - Westworld) couch. She gives him the name of a therapist she has met (Gena Shaw) believing she will be able to help her brother pull his life back together. The therapist tells him that sex is the answer and gives him an address and a password 'Rondo'. It turns out this is for some sort of sex party for rich businessman Mr. Tim (Kevin Sean Ryan - Halloween: The Night He Came Back), and which is run by a man named Lurdell (Reggie De Morton). However while there Paul inadvertently discovers himself and the other participants are going to be murdered and so he flees, forgetting in the moment that he had previously given the killers his address...


Rondo plays with your expectations quite a bit in that the protagonist changes a couple of times throughout. Main characters become side characters, side characters become the stars, with usually a violent transition between the switches. It is also unique in how little any of the protagonists speak. Paul for instance is mostly silent, he only really gets a few lines of dialogue, with characters he interacts with happy to fill in the silence with their own thoughts. Jill is another character who really doesn't say a lot, yet her smouldering facial expression is plain to see. The antagonists speak a lot more, though even with them there is a character who again only has a few lines despite having some lengthy screen time. The silence is filled in with a fantastic soundtrack, it compliments the visuals in an impactful way. Rather than make this seem like a music video it instead creates a feeling of moving art with scenes seeming choreographed in interesting ways.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Zombie Vikings (2015) - Comedy Horror Video Game Review (Playstation 4)


Usually if I haven't played a game to completion then I won't review it, or at the very least I will just do a preview of it. For scrolling beat-em up Zombie Vikings though I have made an exception. This game was just a frustrating experience for me, and not for the reasons you may think. It boils down to the fact that I am almost certain this is straight up impossible to complete if you play it in single player, and again not for reasons you may think. It has been at least a year since I last played it so this review may be fuzzy around the edges, I just couldn't face trying it again when I knew the results would be the same.

Set in the time of the Norse Gods, Loki steals Odin's magical eye. In order to get it back Odin resurrects four legendary vikings as zombies, and tasks them with pursuing Loki across the lands to reclaim the stolen eye. Along the way they battle armies of worms, as well as discovers the origins of football...which is where for me my journey ended.


So all the good things first. I thought the humour here was genuinely funny, the dialogue is great with a Monty Python vibe going on that appealed a lot. The stages are interspersed with cut scenes, and the characters you play as all get their own back stories that reminded me a bit of Medievil. So you choose as one of four characters, my playthrough I was Caw-Kaa - a female who had bird based attacks to her repertoire. Each of the four characters seemed varied with their differing sizes leading to difference in how they played. This is backed up by some beautiful art, the graphics are charming and look hand drawn making the very varied levels a joy to fight through.