Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Without Name (2016) - Horror Film Review


Without Name is an Irish horror film directed by Lorcan Finnegan and with a story written by Garret Shanley. It is the first horror in a heck of a long time that actually got me thinking about what I had just seen; what it all meant, and the unique cleverness of how the entire piece is framed. It works wonders in evoking a feeling of unsettled, subtle dread without actually doing too much to logically make you feel that way. There are no jump scares, visually nothing on screen should seem off, yet the way shots are framed makes the woodland scenery seem somehow alive with an energy all of its own.

Alan McKenna stars as forty something Eric; a land surveyor who is tasked with travelling to an ancient forest deep in Ireland for a developer. He is soon joined by his younger work colleague Olivia (Niamh Algar) who he also happens to be having an affair with. The longer Eric spends around the forest the more his mind starts to unravel with him becoming obsessed with the writings of the previous owner of the cottage he is staying at. This previous owner went insane after becoming convinced the trees were trying to communicate with him and it seems Eric is going to follow this path to madness. Is everything he is experiencing actually real, or is he suffering a genuine mental breakdown?

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Wake (2017) - Horror Film Review


The Wake is a slasher film that is directed by Faouzi Brahimi and Bryan Brewer. Both these men also play roles in the film, while Brewer also wrote the story for this. There are some good ideas here and a novel start yet it all too often falls down to the many slasher film tropes that it self reverentially pokes fun at.

Tyler (Brewer) accidentally kills a young boy while drink driving (well as accidentally as you can get while swigging from a hip flask) and so is surprised to find him and his friends invited to the child's wake by his grieving mother Mrs Stevens (Darla Delgado) at her house several days later. So Tyler, his girlfriend Casey (Allie Rivera), her best friend Ashley, plus couple Ben (Aaron Milligan) and Ginger turn up to pay their respects. It isn't too long into the event when all five pass out having been drugged. They (the) wake up to find themselves tied up in various places around the posh house, along with Mrs Stevens. Before they can even think about escaping they are confronted by a burlap sack wearing maniac armed with a huge knife...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Berserk: Season 2 (2017) - Fantasy Anime Review


I have absolutely no idea why I decided not to review season 1 of Berserk that dropped last year. The show is a mix of medieval fantasy mixed in with horror elements and so isn't like it wouldn't fit on my blog. Anyway season 2 has now finished and so a review of that is in order. I had a bit of a weird time with Berserk, I watched season 1 (which starts off in the middle of a huge story) with no knowledge of what had happened previously. Then back in February I brought the Berserk video game (Berserk and the Band of the Hawk) which filled me in on the story up to that point and made what seemed like trivial moments really important. Going in to season 2 I would say having previous Berserk knowledge is essential as this has a lot more to do with main antagonist Griffith (the Antichrist is how a work colleague would describe him). Spoilers for previous events in the time line are bound to follow.

Having rescued Casca from the Order of the Holy See Guts finds himself brought to the edge protecting her from the demons which assault the pair each night. This weakness is starting to manifest as a creature of evil that tries to possess Guts. Due to this he decides to accept help and soon teams up with Farnese, Serpico, and Isidro. Looking for a save place from danger the fairy Puck suggests travelling to his home town. Along the journey to reach this save haven the group get caught up in the affairs of a witch and her young student Schierke, and have more than one encounter with the agents of Griffith who seek to remove any threats to their leader...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Guerrilla (2017) - Short Horror Film Review


Guerrilla is a short film that was directed and written by Shane Ryan (he is an actor appearing in Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance among others, and has a whole host of film making credits to his name). I didn't know what to expect going in to this but I was impressed by what I did find, even if this feels more like a 13 minute music video/trailer mash-up than an actual fully fleshed piece.

Set in 1989 a failed rocket attempt results in a strange virus being released over an American town. Everyone affected by this virus exhibits signs of extreme aggression and with the chemical air borne no one is safe. That is except for one small boy (Mars Mohamed) who is somehow immune. Getting tooled up with his Walkman, Nintendo Power Glove, and armed with a sword and a nun-chuck he sets out on his bike to see if anyone else has survived...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Jasmine (2015) - Horror Film Review


Jasmine is a Hong Kong based psychological thriller directed and written by Dax Phelan that to me was very reminiscent of the style of Hitchcock. While set in Hong Kong the majority of the film features English talking characters with much of the non English unsubtitled until towards the films end. It follows the singular viewpoint of the main lead with him appearing in every single scene. It works by giving us a plot that on the surface is easy to follow, yet creates such a miasma of doubt that you question whether what is unfolding on screen is actually as plain as it appears.

Leonard To (Jason Tobin) returns to his home city in Hong Kong a year after his wife was murdered in order to try and pick up the pieces of his life. A chance visit to her grave however results in discovering a stranger also there (Byron Mann) and soon Leonard becomes obsessed with finding out just who this man is, and more importantly if he is the murderer of his beloved wife...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Horror Games of E3 2017 Round-Up


E3 is the biggest gaming event of the year and so it is a good guide to seeing what games will be coming out in the next year or so. It is a tradition that I cover the horror games announced at the event (or at least the most notable). While there were a lot of cool games announced and shown off I did feel a bit under whelmed this time around, I don't know if it was due a lot of these new games either being at E3 2017 as well, or the fact many only had CG trailers that showed literally nothing interesting or if I was just feeling a bit jaded.

So starting off with more fantastical games you have God of War shown for the second year in a row at Sony's conference. This soft reboot sees you as Kratos fighting not the Greek Gods but the Norse Gods instead. It all looks attractive and the previous games were good enough so I imagine this will be bloody fun. New DLC for post apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy game Horizon Zero Dawn titled 'The Frozen Wilds' was announced, I have yet to play the game so I'm not too fussed about this. Destiny 2 I have known about for a while but it was good to see a gameplay demo, and I found the notion of the opening mission taking place in the hub area of Destiny to be pretty cool. There was also the fantastic announcement of Metro Exodus which takes place in the nuclear wasteland of a future Russia. I thought Metro 2035 was a really good game, while sequel Metro: Last Light didn't shine as brightly. I have hopes for this third in the series. Apparently this time around the metro system is being left behind with a surface level journey being the main focus of this one.



Still on the topic of post apocalypse we have Code Vein that is being published by Bandai Namco Entertainment and is due to come out on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The game is an RPG and has a vampire thematic, from the sounds of it you will be playing as a vampire/vampires. That takes us to Vampyr (another game at last years event). This is an action RPG coming to the major consoles in November. You play as a vampire who has the option to drink the blood of humans, or refuse, this leads to a vastly different game world as it progresses. I couldn't mention vampires without talking about Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night which is a spiritual successor to the amazing series of Castlevania games. This game has you in Metroidvania fashion exploring a huge demon filled castle with plenty of scope to head back to previous areas to use learned skills to open them up further.

Other horror games announced include The Evil Within 2, the first game in the series was a bit of a mess with far too many different ideas shoe horned in. However the DLC was a huge improvement and so I hope a new game in the series will follow this trend of improvement. This takes place three years after the end of the first with main character Sebastian heading back to the virtual world of STEM to look for his missing daughter. This is coming out on October 13th so not too long to wait. Call of Cthulhu was another survival horror that was mentioned. Outside of a CG trailer I have no idea how this is going to play out, hopefully it lives up to the horror of H.P Lovecraft's stories.



A couple of interesting VR horror games were also talked about. The Inpatient takes place in the Until Dawn world but sadly doesn't look like a sequel to the amazing on rails Until Dawn: Rush of Blood but instead has you exploring a psychiatric hospital. This is a prequel to the main game and takes place sixty years in the past. Doom VFR sounds cool on paper, it is set in the world of the re-booted Doom from last year and I assume it will be a mix of puzzle solving and demon fighting. Skyrim is coming to PSVR towards the years end. It would be awesome to see this world in VR but I don't know if I liked the game enough to revisit it after my first 130 hour playthrough, even if it is in VR. Fallout 4 is coming out in VR as well but as it's not PSVR I don't really care about that.

Left till last are the zombie games which to be honest don't actually fill me with that much excitement. The weird Metal Gear Solid spin off game Metal Gear Survive was playable. In this one a wormhole has sucked some characters from Metal Gear Solid V into a parallel dimension full of zombie like creatures, it seems to be an arena stealth game and by all accounts is pretty bland to play. Fortnite has been described as Minecraft meets Left4Dead. During the day you collect resources to build a fort, by night you have to protect it against undead attack. Even though it's made by the people who did Gears of War this doesn't appeal to me at all. State of Decay 2 is coming to PC and Xbox One, from what I remember the first was an open world survival game (I actually own it but haven't got around to playing it yet). Finally is open world Playstation 4 zombie game Days Gone. Last year the demo made this look pretty awesome with World War Z style rolling zombies. The demo this year focused more on fighting humans with ghouls only appearing briefly. It reminded me of The Last of Us a bit but I do hope zombies feature more than what was shown here.



So that is E3 2017, nothing really to excite too much, I had hoped for Bloodbourne 2 to be revealed, and a demo of The Last of Us 2 but both were no shows. People need not worry though, there are plenty of horror games coming out as of always.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Attack on Titan: Season 2 (2017) - Anime TV Series Review


While I did think the first season of Attack on Titan was good I also admittedly took a long time to get through it. Thinking back it was a show that I liked, but not one I really loved, it was more the whole set up that interested me rather than what at times was a slightly dull show full of characters I mostly either despised, or straight up didn't know who they were. Four years later and season 2 has finally dropped, though it is a real shame at first glance that this second round is comprised of only 12 episodes compared to the firsts 25 episodes. However that turns out to be the antithesis of my blog for it really is quality over quantity this time around. Spoilers for season 1 are bound to follow.

Attack on Titan is a world in which humanity was nearly wiped out in the past by huge people eating titans. The survivors built a huge wall behind which they live out their meagre existences. Season 1 took place over the span of five years - from the invasion of the dreaded monsters right up to the capture of a spy who secretly had the power to turn into a titan. It is all the more surprising then that the whole of season 2 takes place over just a couple of days with the capture of the enemy spy leading to a ripple effect of more insidious surprises within the ranks of the survey corps (the branch of the military whose mission is to retake the lost land back from the titans) as well as a new outbreak thanks to the machinations of a mysterious intelligent beast titan.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Karma. Incarnation 1 (2016) - Fantasy Video Game Review (PC)


So the award winning Karma. Incarnation 1 isn't a horror game but I did like the sound of it, and it is certainly a fantastical adventure that shares a lot of similarities with Botanicula, but also to my surprise some of the classic point and click adventures. Originally released in 2012 as an animation this then got made into a PC game that was released last year, and now has come to mobile platforms.

The entire story is played out via thought bubbles for the most part. There is no dialogue, more that you interact by your thoughts, and the thoughts of the person you are talking to appearing as little animations. This works surprisingly well, one quite epic moment showed how the removal of an energy source led to the downfall of a technological race, it was clever how this was played out with no explanation.  You play as a being who existed in the realm above a planet. A big evil creature abducts your one love and lands on this planet where he steals the protection of it. You get sent down to find a way to defeat him and restore balance. The issue of karma is prevalent throughout this game and it is such a big factor that it actually influences your actions and how the story plays out. It did seem like this is just the first part of a larger story as it finishes with the story seemingly only partly done.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Mummy (2017) - Horror Film Review


Aside from a brief teaser trailer I had seen nothing of The Mummy prior to watching it. I have fond memories of the 1999 Brendan Fraser version and wasn't even sure if this was a remake of that or something entirely different. What this is unfortunately is the debut film in Universal Studio's hoped for cinematic universe(al) they are calling 'the dark universe'(al). On paper that sounds like a great idea, the Universal monster movies are classics for a reason, so putting all their monsters into an interconnected universe sounds solid. However this does feel very much like it is following the trend, and making the same mistake the DC cinematic universe did by trying to do too much too soon.

Soldier thief Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) uses a stolen map to discover an Egyptian tomb mysteriously hidden deep below the ground in Iraq. Him and the maps original owner; Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) explore the tomb and Morton ends up freeing a sarcophagus that was secured in a pool of mercury. The ancient coffin contains the remains of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), she was an Egyptian princess who made a pact with the dark God Set in order to seize control of Egypt. In return she was to summon Set into physical form, however her ritual was interrupted and she was buried alive and erased from history. By freeing her from her prison she has decided Morton is to be the 'chosen one' who will be a vessel for Set. In transit to England she orchestrates an escape from her containment and with a growing army of zombie slaves she sets out to recover the dagger needed to complete her ritual. Meanwhile the now cursed Morton teams up with a secret group of monster hunters led by Dr Jekyl (Russell Crowe) to find a way to stop her.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Passing (2015) - Horror Film Review


The Passing (Yr Ymadawiad) is not only the first Welsh language horror film I have ever seen, but in fact the only Welsh language film of any genre I have seen. This isn't really surprising seeing as the language is pretty niche nowadays but it did make a nice change. It is well into its second half that this award winning film starts to become more of a horror, for the most part this is dark drama through and through with stuff of a paranormal persuasion only mildly hinted at.

Reclusive middle aged Stanley (Mark Lewis Jones) discovers a crashed car in a small river near his very remote home deep in Wales. There he discovers a couple; Iwan (Dyfan Dwyfor) and Sara (Annes Elwy). With Sara unconscious and injured Stanley takes her back to his small cottage. Time passes and the three settle into living together, but the more time goes on the more possessive and twisted Iwan gets at the close bond that starts to develop between his lover and Stanley...

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Castlevania: The New Generation (1994) - Horror Video Game Review (Megadrive)


Way back in 2008 when my blog was a little baba I did a blog post about Castlevania: The New Generation (known as Castlevania: Bloodlines in America, and Vampire Killer in Japan) but now I have finally gotten around to doing an actual review. The PAL release was sadly censored quite a bit with blood effects removed and the zombies changed from pink to green among other shames. I adore the Castlevania series of games and this one is notable for a couple of reasons. First off it was the only one to ever be released on the Megadrive/Genesis, and secondly it is one of the only games in the series that doesn't take place in the one location, instead this spans the length of Europe.

The year is 1917 and you play as one of two vampire hunters - either John Morris or Eric Lecarde who are pursuing female vampire Elizabeth Bartley across Europe as she puts into motion plans to resurrect her uncle; Count Dracula. You get to choose the character you play at the start. Morris has a whip and is able to swing across chasms, while Lecarde is armed with a spear that he can use to propel himself into the air. These differences mean that at certain points there are alternate routes making for small differences. While that sounds cool in actuality there are only two different divergences in the whole game as far as I can tell.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Z Virus: Episode 5 'Zombies On The Right' (2016) - Zombie Show Review


Online zombie show The Z Virus is in the end zone for this season and so I hoped for an action packed episode, especially after how the last one ended. I wasn't disappointed, while sometimes the budget is plain to see this was a real thrill ride that was quite a trip. Spoilers for previous episodes are bound to follow.

With the arrival of a stranger also comes the arrival of the zombies, with the beleaguered group only given a few minutes notice to prepare for an undead apocalypse they didn't even know was unfolding. What follows is pretty much everyone running around like headless chickens as they try and deal with the fast and tough monsters, not even having the time to check the house is properly secure...

Last episode I commented how it was novel how innocent the group were in regards to the lack of knowledge about what was going on in the world around them. They could be excused for that, yet here it really is brought home in some ways. Every open door and window shown had me shouting at my monitor, it was funny how little time everyone had to adjust, the short length of the episodes (as usual around 9 minutes) added to the panic. Some things felt a bit off though, in particular someone who ends up with a gun and confesses never to have used one before then in the next scene perfectly takes out a zombie that was closely grappling with a fellow survivor from some distance away. Also in terms of story there is a plot point about all the guns being locked up in Alex's bunker so I'm not sure why the gang didn't all decide to head to that obviously more secure location, but that's just nitpicking and having an injured man with them would have caused issues.

It had been so long since I had seen a zombie in The Z Virus that I couldn't even recall what the make-up effects were like on them, and so I was pleasantly surprised to find at least the main one in this episode looked great. Also I found the physical effects more enjoyable with melee weapons used, even if you don't get to see the initial contact (just the aftermath such as a nice shot of a ghoul with a machete stuck in his head, and one with an axe embedded). It all ends on a cliff hanger that looks set to lead to a nice conclusion. With all the excitement of zombies finally making a resurgence it would have been hard to mess up episode 5 too much, my hopes for the season finale is that at least one of the group ends up dead; to really hammer home the fact that these undead brutes are a legitimate force to be reckoned with. As always The Z Virus can be seen at TheZVirusSeries.com, ScreenMagicTV.com, Amazon Prime, Vimeo On Demand, and on the ScreenMagic TV Roku Channel.

SCORE:

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Dark Cove (2016) - Horror Film Review


I previously mentioned Canadian horror film Dark Cove in a news post just a few days back, but now I have had the pleasure of watching it. The film is not without it's faults, yet for me it became a much more entertaining film due to these issues. This follows the thematic flow of something very bad happening and the characters then having to deal with the consequences. Thankfully the film starts with the group dragging around a dead body and so I don't have to skirt around mentioning that specific turning point in the movie as it's clear from the off.

A group of five friends that includes their leader; Quinn (Rob Willey who also directed and co-wrote this) and perpetually horny Joey (Rob Abbate) head to the coast of Vancouver Island for a few days of partying. While there they befriend an English guy (with the weirdest accent ever) and his two Australian surfer mates and all seems to be going well. However as the introduction to the movie shows someone ends up dead and the mood turns from one of happiness to one of irritation for the gang.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Mad Max (2015) - Post Apocalyptic Video Game Review (PS4)


Mad Max was originally created to come out in conjunction with Mad Max: Fury Road. It is an open world adventure game that features a lot of driving but which also has you exploring locations on foot using a combat system ripped straight out of the Batman Arkham games. Scrap is the order of the day and can be found everywhere, it is used to not only upgrade Max's car, but also to upgrade his equipment. You also level up by earning 'reputation' but there is no need to worry about that as you get more than enough to (mad) max out your skill tree several times over.

Max is on his way to a mythical place he calls 'the plains of silence', here he hopes to finally leave behind the torment he lives with, and put an end to the voices in his head reminding him of everything he has lost. However while travelling he is ambushed by Scabrous Scrotus (the son of local warlord Immorton Joe) and his War Boys. They steal Max's car and leave him for dead in the desert.  Here he meets up with a car worshipping hunchback named Chumbucket who tells Max if he can find the parts he can make the ultimate car for him with which Max can continue his journey.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Demon's Crystals (2017) - Fantasy Video Game Review (X-Box One)


Demon's Crystals is a low budget twin stick shooter that isn't too much of a burden on your wallet, though for that low price don't be expecting too much content or impressive graphics. The game can be played in single player (which I did) yet as I progressed I came to feel that certain elements really were reliant on a bigger team (this is up to 4 players).

A group of Astral demons named Oricans were at the top of the food chain on Earth, that is until three mysterious entities arrived and turned the population of the planet into flesh hungry zombies and other such foul beings. Now the Oricans must collect crystals (their source of energy) in order to defeat each of the three entities in turn, so that the natural balance is restored.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Don't Hang Up (2016) - Horror Film Review


Don't Hang Up is Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbrot's first feature length film they have directed together, and it feels very much a throwback to horrors of the late 1990's and early 2000's. As such there are a few elements that feel overly familiar yet despite this, this was still an entertaining horror.

Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton) are two online pranksters who specialise in prank calls. One night they have met at Sam's house for an evening of drinking when they get a mysterious threatening phone call. At first they think it is someone playing a joke, but it soon becomes apparent this caller knows exactly who the two boys are, and that his threats are very real...

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Dark Cove (2016) - Horror Film News and Trailer


An additional news post today, and mostly because I forgot to include the news about this in my blog post I put up yesterday, plus it makes for a quick post on a day which has seen me busy decorating a room that is to be my office. So indie horror film Dark Cove is now available to watch through VOD in the U.K and Ireland, having previously only been available to watch in North America.

Dark Cove is directed and written by Rob Willey and is about a group of friends who go on a camping trip to Vancouver Island. There they befriend two Australian surfers, but a night of partying takes a dark turn and soon the group find themselves pitted against both man and nature.

The film had a budget of just $25,000 yet is stated to still have an impressive look. The trailer is included below, it does look like a lot happens, maybe a cautionary tale about drug use, or at least a cautionary tale about taking drugs around a huge burly man who is the very definition of dangerously psychotic in appearance. Check out the trailer below and if you like what you see then  you can head to iTunes or Google Play to rent or buy it for yourself. I do have a screener of this so shall be putting up a review sometime in the next few days most likely.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Friday Night News Round Up - Haunted Tours, The Drifter, and Music Videos for Doyle and Davey Suicide


So here I am again with a bunch of different news items plucked from my inbox. First off is a new paranormal investigation show called Haunted Tours. It is to be hosted by Victoria Catherine and to star Stephen Erkintalo.  It promises to be different to the more traditional investigation shows by going...extreme. Erkintalo is said to provoke the evil spirits he seeks out, via use of Ouija board, contacting the dead through mirrors, even by hanging upside down on a cross. At the very least it sounds like it will be entertaining viewing. Haunted Tours comes to Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix in late October, season 1 will be exploring some of Florida's most haunted places.

Legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein has released the official music video "Run For Your Life" which is the first single off his upcoming As We Die EP that is due out today in fact. The video (directed by Brian Cox) has some great editing and tells the tale of a mini slasher film. Included is the video below, it has quite a cool tune to it that works well with the video.



Still on the subject of music with a horror twist comes Davey Suicide's new music video for their song "No Angel" which comes from their third full length album Made From Fire that came out last March. The video directed and edited by Vicente Cordero features a random bunch of alternate types out in a desert running away from a dark angel. Check out the video below.



Last but not least is Indie thriller The Drifter that is due to be released on 6th June across multiple digital platforms. The film tells the story of a troubled man on a downward spiral induced by painful memories of his dark and distant past. This man ends up in a small remote town where an old acquaintance becomes dangerously determined to find out just what occurred in the drifter's past . Directed by Craig Calamis The Drifter was nominated for several awards such as Best Narrative Feature and Best Director, as well as winning the Audience Award at the 2015 Queens World Film Festival. Check out the trailer below which is certainly thrilling.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Dig Two Graves (2014) - Horror Film Review


As I mentioned the other day I am currently out of film review requests and so I am in the rare position to watch whatever films I choose to. Today I decided to watch Dig Two Graves due to the fact it is an eligible contender for the 2017 Fright Meter Awards (that I'm a committee member of), and that it appeared on Netflix the other day.

Jake (Samantha Isler) is devastated after her older brother accidentally kills himself jumping off a cliff into a filled quarry. One day on the way home from school a mysterious gypsy (Troy Ruptash) and his two brothers appear and tell her that they can bring back her sibling from the dead, as long as she can find someone to take his place in death. In her grief Jake agrees, though it turns out that these three brothers share a tragic secret from the past with her grandfather; Sheriff Waterhouse (Ted Levine) and so may have an ulterior motive for offering to help her...

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Happy Birthday (2017) - Short Film Review


I wasn't sure if Happy Birthday was an ideal fit for my blog as director and editor Russell Duncan stated it wasn't horror. However I thought I would check it out anyway, and while it is a little rough around the edges I did enjoy the idea behind it, and it does share some elements with everyone's favourite genre. As an aside this is the last film I have currently been sent for review so it is nice to clear that list for the moment!

Preast (Matthew Henry) and Bond (Russell Duncan) are two best friends who meet up once a year to celebrate their birthday together. This time they have headed to Las Vegas for a night of gambling and fun. However things don't go exactly according to plan when they end up with a seemingly dead woman in their hotel suite...

Happy Birthday is nearly 22 minutes long and is a drama with some thriller elements to it, as well as some comedic elements, though the majority I would class as drama. The two main leads are likeable enough in their own way, Preast is the more wild of the two, while soldier Bond who suffers PTSD is the more calm and collected one. Bond frequently has flashbacks that are displayed as quickly edited shots of a bloodied face up close. I liked the way these flashbacks were inserted, they gave foreshadowing that not everything is really as it seems with the innocent getaway. The most horror based thing to be shown in Happy Birthday is probably Bond's ring tone which is the Exorcist theme, but towards the later half things step up, though never in a way that gives any sense of peril. Bad things happen but the characters never really act as if they are that worried, this can be excused in terms of where the plot goes. Personally the reveal at the end was pretty cool, I liked just how close the bond of friendship was for these two.

The biggest problem production wise is with audio being a issue throughout. It is never so bad that you can't hear what people are saying but at times background noise pops in whenever anyone speaks taking away some of the immersion. The pacing wasn't bad for this but at times it was hard to tell the passing of time, helpfully we often get what the time is popping up on screen when ever a new scene starts. The execution may be hampered at times but the way this all plays out was satisfying with the potential of this story plain to see. Happy Birthday is available to watch on YouTube, I shall include it down below too if you fancy giving it a watch.

SCORE:



Monday, 29 May 2017

The Sexy Brutale (2017) - Adventure Video Game Review (PS4)


Time travel is such a cool concept in pop culture, the idea of being able to go back into the past and fix the wrongs there to make the future better is one that has been played out many times. With this game the inspiration seems to have been the classic movie Groundhog Day as the entire game takes place over 12 hours with the main lead repeatedly travelling back to the days start to try and save the guests of The Sexy Brutale.

You play as a priest named Lafcadio Boone who wakes up in the casino mansion of Lucas Bondes. A blood covered apparition informs him that she has broken him out of the loop him and the other guests of the yearly gathering taking place there have been trapped in. He is tasked with preventing the deaths of the other guests at the hands of the murderous staff. To do so he must sneak around the mansion spying on characters to work out first how they are killed, and then travelling back in time to try and find a way to prevent their deaths. The first murder for instance has Lafcadio needing to swap out a live bullet in a rifle for a blank, later on these murders get more convoluted involving a whole range of inventive deaths.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Beautiful Sorrows (2012) by Mercedes M. Yardley - Fantasy eBook Review


My ongoing odyssey to read the multitude of back logged eBooks I own continues with me having just finished reading Mercedes M. Yardley's dark fantasy anthology Beautiful Sorrows. This collection of twenty seven short stories were written over a number of years and are not all horror based. In fact a lot of them are unrelated to horror at all, yet most contain a feeling of malice and sorrow to them dealing as they do with self destructive relationships, and possessive desires to control and own. There also a load that are more whimsical and fairy tale in feeling, I guess in this review I will focus on the more fitting ones for this blog.

I think what I enjoyed most about Yardley's collection is just how much she can do with so little. I enjoyed the short pace of many of these and in many cases this simplified method led to long lasting effects, such as the perfect half page opener Broken that leaves an unsettling insinuation in what is said, Blossom Bones, and the creepy serial killer story Extraordinary Beast. Many of these stories deal with two main characters and the misery that comes from their interactions. This isn't always done in a romantic way (though there are many that are about a boy and a girl) such in the case of The ABCs of Murder that is about a boy trying to find a way to permanently kill a ghost. Also many of these display the worst of humanity with many murderers, psychos and cruel death. This is seen early on with the sad Black Mary (a girl escaping the remote home of her kidnapper/rapist), again with the surreal Axes (someone tied up in a basement by a psychotic house mate), then the heart break of The Quiet Place Where Your Body Grows (a man dealing with the loss of his murdered child).

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Z Virus: Episode 4 'About Last Night' (2016) - Zombie Show Review


By this point of The Z Virus I am no longer surprised when this low budget zombie show turns out to still be good. While this is arguably the weakest episode yet there is still plenty here to recommend with a few scenes in particular that really stood out. It seems to be ramping up now it is heading to the final stages of its six episode run. Spoilers for previous episodes are bound to occur.

With the mayhem of last night fresh in everyone's minds Alex (Freddie De Grate) must decide if Zac and Apple are allowed to stay in his secure home or not. The arrival of a panic stricken, and injured man changes up the priorities to something else entirely for the whole group...

The reason I say this is perhaps the weakest episode yet is due to the fact that the majority of About Last Night's run time concerns conversations between both sides of the divide; Alex and his wife, and Zac and Apple. These conversations are full of pretty cliche quotes, while the directing of the camera focused on whichever character is speaking felt a bit plain. With Apple being mute though the scene with her and Zac is pretty cool, as Zac is responding to her subtle facial expressions as if she is conversing back with him. It did feel a bit strange that Alex is so accommodating to the people who (however justified) murdered his friend only the night before I have to say.

I felt that by this point with no zombies in either of the last two episodes they needed to make an appearance here as the shows title The Z Virus was becoming a bit tangential. Happily as soon as I thought that we do finally get to see the undead once more. With the entire group knowing nothing about that particular facet of the disaster it leads up to a great cliffhanger with basic mistakes being made that really can be forgiven for once. Regardless of any issues I had with this episode it is still darn enjoyable, I am still impressed with the quality on offer here and eagerly look forward to seeing the next. The Z Virus can be seen at TheZVirusSeries.com, ScreenMagicTV.com, Amazon Prime, Vimeo On Demand, and on the ScreenMagic TV Roku Channel.

SCORE:

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

President's Day (2016) - Comedy Zombie Horror Film Review


President's Day (from Brain Damage Films) had such an almighty stupid idea behind it that I figured it would be a very hard film to mess up, even if it turned out to be poorly made crud it would be very hard to make this boring. Thankfully this comedy horror while not having the highest budget does have some legitimately funny humour to it, I found myself laughing out loud on at least a few occasions.

A group of young friends decide to head out to a remote cabin in the woods to celebrate President's Day. These include a variety of stereotypes that include a jock (Jud Zumwalt), a geek, a slut, an alternate girl, a cool guy (David Zuckerman who also directed and co-wrote this), a girl next door type, as well as a token black guy (Dax Hill). These friends have not been at the cabin that long before they come under attack from zombies, but these are not zombies of the usual type, instead each and every one is a former American President! To survive the night the gang must band together and bring their knowledge of American history in order to defeat their iconic foes.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Blame! (2017) - Anime Film Review


I had originally planned to watch horror comedy President's Day for review today, but I didn't feel in the right mood to do that. Instead here is a review of Blame! a new Netflix exclusive anime movie based on the 1998 cyber punk manga by Tsutomu Nihei. I love anime, it was one of my favourite things to watch, but I don't really watch many films of it, mostly just focus on the awesome series such as Attack on Titan and Berserk.

Blame! takes place in a post apocalyptic Earth, one which has had every square inch covered by an impossibly large city. Hundreds of years in the past a city creating A.I known as Safeguard was created, the people living in the city were able to interact with it via something known as a 'net terminal gene'. One day something with Safeguard's programming went wrong, it started seeing humans as intruders in the city and ruthlessly sent out murderous robots to kill anyone they found, at the same time the city started endlessly, and randomly expanding, a process that continues up to the present day. Blame! follows a small community living in a protected area of the city, due to Safeguard they are slowly dying off as food becomes more and more scarce and risky to locate. One day a mysterious stranger named Killy arrives, he ends up teaming up with the villagers as well as a friendly A.I named Cibo to locate a device that will let the humans once more take back control of the city and end the threat of Safeguard.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Call of Duty: Black Ops III 'Zombie Chronicles' - Video Game DLC Review (PS4)


For literal years I have been saying that Treyarch should make a stand alone Zombies game comprised of all their old maps. Well it seems like they have nearly had the same idea as out the blue a fifth DLC map pack was announced for Call of Duty: Black Ops III, one that is called Zombie Chronicles and is made up of eight old Zombies maps remastered for the current generation. Me and my best friend regularly play the old maps anyway, but having them made beautiful is an amazing surprise. You would think this £25 Zombies Chronicles would have been released as a stand alone game, yet bizarrely it isn't and so a copy of Black Ops III is required. Sure this is going to sell like hot cakes as Zombies is very popular but it would have enticed new players if it had only been stand alone.

So the eight maps remade here are all the ones that feature the stars of Black Ops III Zombies; Tank Dempsey, Richtofen, Takeo, and Nikolai. The story has always been super confusing taking place as it does over multiple dimensions and time lines and there is no effort here to make it any clearer. These maps feature the same introductions as they ever did so we get the splash loading screens, or opening cut scene as it was, just with the HD treatment. So what maps are there then? The maps come from Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II with Nacht der Untoten (a German airfield), Verruckt (a German insane asylum), and Shi No Numa (a swamp based Japanese research facility) coming from World at War. Next we have the classic Kino Der Toten (a German theatre), Ascension (a Russian Cosmodrome), Shangri-La (jungle ruins), and Moon (set...on the moon) from Black Ops. Finally is Origins (the trenches of World War I France) from Black Ops II.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Forest of Lost Souls (2017) - Horror Film Review


The Forest of Lost Souls (A Floresta das Almas Peridadas) is a Portuguese horror film that was written and directed by Jose Pedro Lopes, was shot entirely in black and white, and that has been described as a coming of age slasher. I wasn't quite sure what to expect and so the transition this follows from philosophical discussions about suicide to elements of the home invasion genre took me by surprise. Despite some brief downtime this stayed compelling right up until the very end.

Planning to kill himself Ricardo (Jorge Mota) has travelled to a remote forest known locally as 'the forest of lost souls' as it is a popular suicide spot. He inadvertently meets a young woman; Carolina (Daniela Love) who says she is also there to end her life. The two strike up a brief friendship of sorts and take a walk around the woods and discuss just why it is they both want to die, and the best way to do it. For Ricardo it is due to him feeling like he has failed his wife and daughter, the far more prepared Carolina has more unclear reasons, her motivations for being there may not be what they at first appear...

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Delusion (2016) - Horror Film Review


Delusion (written and directed by Christopher Di Nunzio) is an award winning slow burning supernatural horror that does a few things that feel different to the norm. First off in main character Frank (David Graziano) we have a middle aged man, not only that, but one who seems utterly normal. This is a nice change from the obsession with putting young, attractive leads front and centre. Secondly the horror aspect of Delusion is so slight that at times, aside from a few merely odd events this could almost be seen as just a pure drama.

Three years after Frank's wife dies he mysteriously receives a letter in the post written by her, so far so Silent Hill 2. The arrival of this letter brings a change in Frank's life, he starts to glimpse strange figures that only he can see, while his dreams are full of terror, with him being pursued by a woman with a painted face. A fortune teller warns Frank that something evil is out to get him, but will he take her warning seriously, or will he be the instrument of his own demise?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Zomburbia (2017) - Short Zombie Film Review


Zomburbia (written, directed and produced by Nathan Wold) is described as a zombie movie set inside a 1950's sitcom. At just over 7 minutes long there wasn't enough time to really get a concrete opinion of just how this feels, I enjoyed it, though it did have a few issues for me. It certainly has an attractive poster though.

Henry (Jeremy Frandrup) and Martha Mandrake (Kari Elizabeth Godfrey) are the stereotypical perfect 1950's husband and wife. Martha is concerned about their young son Raymond (Lincoln Danford) as he has been off his food, Henry is convinced it is down to drug use, but there may be a more ghoulish reason for Raymond's new behaviour...

I enjoyed the sense of place that Zomburbia creates, it has the feel of the 1950's with the husband and wife looking appropriately attired in clothing that brought to mind the look of the video game Fallout (thinking about it, with it's zombies this would have fitted in great with that universe!). Also added to this is both the period music, and the old fashioned way the couple communicate with each other.The music only plays at set points in the short which I felt added a lot, I felt the loss of music in the more quieter scenes made them seem more serious and less comedic as a result. While I liked the tone this went for the humour didn't completely hit with me, I felt the main joke being the couple don't realise the undead are zombies was over played in the two distinctly different halves. This almost felt like two shorts in one with the first part being about the newly deceased son, and the second half being about an intruder in the house, as such there was some slight pacing issues.

However, the film looks great with nice crisp images, while the zombie make up effects are brilliant, especially the child zombie (complete with baseball embedded in his skull), they had an effective looking grey skin colour, and I loved what they did with the eyes, kudos to the child actor for acting his part well, all too often you can see the excitement in child actors faces when they play zombies. Towards the end there is a neat little action scene resulting in a fun special effect that leads up to a great ending that felt very appropriate for the tone gone for, the look on Martha's face in the final shot is spot on.

So while Zomburbia did have it's issues I would say it is worth a watch for the zombie make-up effects alone, and I can't think of too many zombie films off the top of my head that take place in the 1950's, let alone in a 1950's sitcom, so there is that too. Zomburbia is playing (in competition) at the Phoenix Comicon on the 25th May in the 16:30 to 17:30 slot. Director Nathan Wold will be in attendance, if your in the area then be sure to check it out as it looks like the event has a solid line up of films being played, with the right crowd Zomburbia could pop.

SCORE:

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Alien: Covenant (2017) - Sci-fi Horror Film Review


Alien: Covenant is a sequel to Prometheus which was an immediate problem for me. I know it's my fault but I never got around to watching that one, I think it was the ridiculous bit in the trailer when some people are about to be crushed by a rolling pillar but run straight ahead rather than off to the side. It also has to be said that I have never gotten into the whole Alien saga, the first time I properly watched any of them was around 1997 when I brought a VHS box set comprised of the original four films. Since then I have watched the trash that is AVP: Alien VS Predator which did nothing to warm me to the franchise. Still I had heard some good things about this latest movie and so decided I needed to check it out.

Alien: Covenant takes place ten years after the events of Prometheus. Covenant; a colony ship carrying 2000 people is midway through it's journey to a new habitable planet when an accident causes the crew to be awakened from cryo-sleep. The crew discover a signal coming from a nearby planet that also seems perfect for human life, so thinking they can cut down their travel time decide to check it out. On this planet they discover a crashed alien ship, as well as an android named David (Michael Fassbender who also plays another android called Walter) who is the sole survivor of the ship Prometheus which went missing a decade past. Before they know it the landing party find themselves assaulted by vicious alien monsters and must try and regain contact to Covenant so that the survivors can be rescued.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Stake Land II: The Stakelander (2016) - Horror Film Review


I have fond thoughts when I think back to post apocalyptic vampire film Stake Land, yet until I read the Wikipedia entry prior to watching this sequel Stake Land II: The Stakelander I would not have been able to tell you a single thing that occurred in it. This new entry in the series pretty much carries on business as usual with the same sombre atmosphere built up as events run their course. Spoilers for the first film are bound to follow.

Martin (Connor Paolo) made it to the promised land of New Eden at the end of Stake Land, along with his new found love Peggy, while the vampire hunter Mister (Nick Damici) headed back into Stake Land to battle the undead. A good few years have passed and Martin (now in his 20's) is married and has a young daughter. However one night vampire worshipping cult The Brotherhood attack New Eden, along with an intelligent female vampire that is able to control the more feral of her kind. During the attack Martin's wife and child are slaughtered, wanting revenge he heads south to search for Mister...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Far From the Apple Tree (2017) and The Black Gloves (2017) - Horror Film News and Trailer


Far From the Apple Tree is Grant McPhee's latest feature length film (he was responsible for the unique feeling Night Kaleidoscope). This Scottish made film has been described as 'folk horror' (think The Wicker Man or Blood on Satan's Claws). It was filmed over just two weeks at a remote Scottish house for quite a small budget.

In the movie Sorcha Groundsell stars as Judith; a struggling artist who gets her dream job of working for renowned visual artist named Roberta Roslyn (Victoria Liddelle). While cataloguing Roberta's work she is shocked to keep seeing a girl who closely resembles herself, she learns that this girl is actually her boss's missing daughter Maddy. As she investigates the mystery of just what could have happened to this girl she starts to develop a new persona, and it comes to a point where she must decide if she is to leave her job, or continue and risk loosing who she is.

The press release states that 'Far From the Apple Tree is like no other movie - it's a unique and terrifying horror tale told in an engrossing and nightmarish dreamscape.' McPhee has proven he can make something different to the norm with Night Kaleidoscope and so hopefully he will strike gold once again here. I have included the trailer below, it may be one to watch out for.



On the subject of Scottish horror films there has been some publicity for upcoming Lord of Tears prequel The Black Gloves. For the first film there were a series of entertaining prank videos released where people were scared by someone wearing an Owl Man costume hiding in an abandoned building. It is pretty much business as usual here with some more unsuspecting members of the public coming face to face with the demonic creature. Check out the video for yourself;

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

B&B (2017) - Horror Film Review


B&B is an award winning UK thriller that was written and directed by BAFTA-nominated Joe Ahearne (Doctor Who). It's a different type of thriller than I am used to as it explores what it is to be gay and discriminated against in addition to telling a pretty interesting story.

Marc (Tom Bateman) and Fred (Sean Teale) have returned to the countryside B&B which a year previous they had been refused a room due to the owner; devoutly religious Josh (Paul McGann from Alien 3 and Queen of the Damned) believing homosexuality to be a sin. Having won a prolific court case they are back to claim the room they had previously been unable to have. However the same day they check in, so does a scary looking Russian man (James Tratas) whom Fred starts to suspect is there purposely to do them harm, a notion that gains weight when they discover the suspicious high tech equipment he has with him...

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Barkerton (2016) by Day Rusk - Horror eBook Review


I think it was last month that I once again purchased an eBook reader after my others all up and died on me. I have five years of back log when it comes to digital books and so I am taking a kind of slap dash approach to choosing which order to read them in. Day Rusk sent me his horror book Barkerton at the years start, and today I have finished reading it. As I always say I have not had too much practice when it comes to writing book reviews so apologies if I end up talking too much about the story and not so much about the structure and writing.

An evil presence for reasons unknown comes to the small remote town of Barkerton in America. This evil force is able to ignite the darkness that resides within the inhabitants hearts and after just a few days the place has become a nightmare world where brutality and insanity lurks around every corner. The evil has also caused the dead to rise up from their graves who turn on the living in their confusion. The few pure hearted souls that are immune to the chaos band together to try and find a way to escape the Hell that Barkerton has become...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

We Are the Flesh (2016) - Horror Film Review


I passed up the opportunity to review the very bizarre Mexican film We Are the Flesh earlier this year as it didn't exactly sound like something I would find that entertaining. However seeing it pop up on Shudder, and with it being an eligible contender for the 2017 Fright Meter Awards I decided to give it a shot.

We Are the Flesh takes place in a seemingly post apocalyptic world, one where a teenage brother and sister have stumbled upon the dwelling of insane Mariano (Noe Hernandez) while exploring the ruins of an unnamed Mexican city. In exchange for letting them have a place to stay, and for providing them with food Mariano asks that they fulfil his dark desires. The longer they stay with the man the more his madness begins to infect them...

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Z Virus: Episode 3 'Nowhere to Hide' (2016) - Zombie Show Review


The Z Virus is a zombie web show that features episodes of around ten minutes in length each time. I enjoyed the first episode 'Bunker Fever' and was happy to see that episode 2 'Uninvited Guests' was even better. Each and every time I sit down to watch this I fully intend for the creators to drop the ball, and that the previous greatness was just a lucky fluke. For a show with an obvious low budget this shouldn't entertain as much as it does, yet once again I am genuinely surprised at how darn enjoyable and well paced these are. There will be inevitable spoilers for the previous episodes here.

The third episode takes place in the secluded house of Alex 'AJ' Johnson (Freddie De Grate) where he, his wife and daughter, neighbour David (John Kviklys), and two strangers; Zac and Apple are holed up. Due to the hostile introduction Zac and Apple gave in episode 2 tensions are running high, with David convinced that the duo know more than they are letting on...

In just ten minutes a lot of ground is covered with both character development, flashbacks, and action thrown in with more civil moments. De Grate continues with his quiet aura of respect he generates, but it is the character of David who has the biggest change. In episode 1 all we saw of him was a lone man exploring the strange new post meteor strike world. Here we get to see what type of a man he actually is, and it turns out he is a conspiracy nut with Kviklys channelling John Goodman's Howard from 10 Cloverfield Lane. For all of a few minutes the viewer along with the characters harbour suspicion about the origins of Zac and his companion, yet his story is then corroborated to the viewer by an interesting flashback sequence that involves some pretty nice juxtaposition of cold blooded murder alongside a peaceful mural in a church.

It was good to finally have an episode where I didn't notice any sound issues (both the previous ones had featured muffled dialogue at times). This is the second one in a row not to feature any undead whatsoever, again strangely I didn't mind as this lack of zombies actually fed into one of the story lines going on. This led up to the start of a nice reveal that is altered with a cliffhanging twist that I certainly didn't expect. The Z Virus at times feels like it is a perfect condensation of The Walking Dead, from the title sequence alone it is obvious that was an influence, yet so much ground is covered in such a short amount of time that it is hard not to be impressed. I really hope the rest of this six episode season continues to surpass my expectations. The Z Virus is available to watch at TheZVirusSeries.com, ScreenMagicTV.com, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, and at the ScreenMagic TV Roku Channel.

SCORE:

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Dead Awake (2016) - Horror Film Review


Dead Awake is what I would class a formulaic horror. It has at it's centre an evil antagonist being who the main character gets targeted by, and so they must research a way to stop it's hold over them, much like The Bye Bye Man, The Boogyman, The Ring, and countless others. This movie is very similar to the lot of them and while it isn't the worst example of this particular type of horror film it isn't really the best example either.

Kate's twin sister Beth (both played by Jocelin Donahue) is experiencing night terrors and she starts to become more and more convinced something in her dreams is trying to kill her. Kate, her parents, and Beth's boyfriend Evan (Jesse Bradford) all think it's just in her head but then one night she dies in her sleep. Soon Kate and Evan, as well as a friend of theirs are experiencing the same night terrors that Beth did, they discover that an ancient evil known as the 'night hag' has latched onto them and will kill them should they succumb to sleep. With the help of an expert in the field they set out to find a way to defeat this entity.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Shaolin Shuffle (2017) - Thoughts on the new map (PS4)


A couple of weeks back the latest DLC for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was released. This 2nd pack for the divisive latest entry in the series was titled Continuum and as usual included four multiplayer maps and one Zombies map. Again as usual it is the Zombies map I am obviously interested in here. The initial map Zombies in Spaceland! was set in an amusement park during the 1980's, it was awesome. The second map titled Rave in the Redwoods had a Friday 13th vibe to it and was set during the 1990's. Continuing the trend of different time periods this third map Shaolin Shuffle is set in the 1970's. For some reason the setting of the 1970's doesn't appeal to me too much and so I found my response strangely muted when this was first revealed. As always this is my first impressions, not a detailed break down of all that is in this map.

The story is again told via unappealing vintage cartoon type sequences. Having vanquished the chainsaw wielding psycho of the 1990's our four heroes step through a portal that transports them to 1970's New York, a film version of that city that is in the grip of not only zombie apocalypse, but a strange rat type man who is haunting the area. Each of the four characters again resemble fitting characters from the time period, and so Shasheer Zamata's Sally is dressed like a disco queen, complete with huge Afro, Jay Pharoah's Andre is a beatnik, Ike Barinholtz's A.J looks like a pimp, while Seth Green's Poindexter has the best look appearing as a punk rocker.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Passenger Zero (2017) - Short Zombie Film Review


Passenger Zero is a 17 minute short Irish zombie film written and directed by Brian O Regan in his debut short for Celtic Badger Media. As the short is freely available to watch on YouTube I will include it after my review, be sure to check it out as it is of high quality in a lot of places.

Paddy Murphy stars as Aiden; a man who picks up young wandering hitchhiker Eleanor (Audrice Styles) while driving through a forest. Having ran away from home and been in the woods for several days it is up to Aiden to break the news that a zombie apocalypse has swept the country, something that Eleanor finds hard to accept until she is face to face with the undeniable proof...

Truth be told I wasn't expecting too much from this, I had a feeling I would enjoy it as I paradoxically often have a lot of time for shorts, but I expected some bad acting/and or bad special effects. Both the main actors are great in their roles, especially Murphy who scene steals with his portrayal of a man in grief. There is a believability to the emotion he brings to the role, especially during the flashback sequences of him trying to come to terms with having been forced to kill his partner. Styles fits her role well also, but due to her quieter voice I often struggled to understand what she was saying. This wasn't due to her acting, it was more that the music playing over the short was louder than the dialogue which was especially apparent whenever she spoke. The music itself is mournful and adds to the feeling of loss that Passenger Zero creates.

There are a few zombies here and they all look the part, they have more of a realistic look to them rather than being covered in random make-up (don't get me wrong, I love that cheap looking style of undead too!). The sequences featuring them are fast paced with some nice editing, in general there is good directing here. I enjoyed the flashback sequences as they complimented the talking of the car scenes, but in terms of plot this isn't too original, such as the obvious ramifications for the character with an injured hand, I did still enjoy it though, again due to the decent acting, and the cohesive sense of place that is crafted here. Check it out for yourself below, it's worth a watch.

SCORE:



Saturday, 29 April 2017

Echoplex (2017) - Horror Video Game Preview (PC)


Echoplex is an indie first person puzzle game that is currently on Steam Early Access for both Windows and Mac. Now originally I had planned to do a review of this, however the whole meaning of 'early access' was brought home to me when a big update that fundamentally changed how parts of the game worked wiped my save. You know what? That is perfectly fine with me, it is still being worked on and by all accounts the changes made are based on player feedback, so if it is going to make for a better experience then by all means wipe my 90 minutes worth of game time. This has meant though that my planned review shall now be a preview instead. The game was originally released in 2015 but this version is greatly expanded and polished.

Presentation is the best thing that Echoplex has going for it, I was immediately impressed by the crisp attractive title screen, then even more impressed when the game actually started. All the cut scenes in this game are actually live action which I loved. It reminded me a bit of the parts in Prototype that had live action, both are chopped up, edited together patch works of information,  this goes hand in hand with the mysterious story. In Echoplex you are a test subject in a research laboratory, a Portal style voice tells you that if you complete the challenges set to you that you will be able to regain your missing memories. The rest of my impressions will be from the version I played, though I will mention the changes I know about.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Friday Night Horror News - Pay Day Edition


The new Call of Duty game was revealed last Wednesday, it is to be called Call of Duty: World War II. The reveal was cool and everything but it was the final piece of news that really stood out to me as it was announced there is going to be a Nazi Zombies game mode! There are no other details yet, but I suspect (and hope) it is going to be in the traditional style of wave based survival. In complete contrast to the goofy (but super fun) Infinite Warfare Zombies mode this seems like it is going to be far more serious and horrific. Also in news the demo for sci-fi survival horror game Prey is now up on the Playstation store, you should check it out, I haven't myself yet but will be trying it later. Outlast II came out last Tuesday, I am probably going to wait for it to go on sale as by a lot of accounts it is merely ok, with it getting some pretty average scores across the board. Lastly giant monster simulator Mighty Monster Mayhem came out on Steam VR/ HTC Vive earlier in April. This game lets you play as one of five different versions of iconic monsters as you rampage through 9 different cities in the single player campaign, or battle with or against friends in multiplayer. It has gone for a colourful cartoon style look rather than serious but sounds like it could be fun, check out the trailer...



Next for some news that has some good and bad parts to it. Hex Media's almighty Lord of Tears is currently available to watch and download for free, not only that but it is the special edition directors cut of the film that features a brand new edit and new sound design. Unfortunately the link (here) states this offer of the free film is not available here in the UK, or indeed Ireland, which sucks (this is due to distribution rights). Far more better news is that there is a prequel of sorts to Lord of Tears! This is titled The Black Gloves, is set in the 1940's and is filmed in black and white. A psychologist obsessed with the disappearance of his young patient, and the owl headed figure that haunted her dreams ends up arriving at a remote Scottish mansion where he discovers a reclusive ballerina who is also plagued with nightmares of the owl man. He soon finds himself caught up in terrifying events when he learns this figure is real. The film features Macarena Gomez (Dagon), Nicholas Vince (Hellraiser, Nightbreed), Alexandra Nicole Hulme (Lord of Tears), and Jaime Scott-Gordon (The Unkindness of Ravens). The Black Gloves is a co-production between Hex Media and Dark Rune Productions in association with 3rd Monkey Entertainment and Lights Out Productions and is due for release Autumn 2017. Check out the creepy trailer below..



More film news now with the announcement that the very fun Japanese retro horror comedy Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is going to be coming out on limited edition VHS! That is a perfect fit for this entertaining film, it also came out on DVD on 24th April. Both the VHS and DVD can be purchased here.
Short Danish horror film The Night Circus is currently free to watch thanks to Ekko's shortlist. It was directed by Eskild Krogh and stars the prolific Kim Sonderholm (Harvest, Cannibal Fog) and is about two men who clean up mob hits discovering their business has turned very strange one fateful day. It is just 9 minutes long and features virtually dialogue so being a Danish short is not an issue. It's quite a mysterious film that builds up a nice atmosphere, check it out here.


I mentioned Indian exorcism film Islamic Exorcist just last week, and now have discovered that another exorcism film; American Exorcism is also coming out in May. Islamic Exorcist is due for release 26th May on VOD and Direct to Video, reportedly based on a true story it is about a couple whose adopted daughter becomes possessed by a demon and so the father is forced to kill it. American Exorcism is directed by Tripp Weathers and is due out on VOD and Direct to Video on May 2nd. In this one Damon Richter is brought back into the world of evil and exorcisms he thought he had left for good when he is brought news that his estranged daughter is in serious trouble.

Last but not least Midnight Releasing have picked up the rights to horror film WTF! for North American distribution. It is director/writer Peter Herro's first feature film and is a love letter to classic horrors. Rachel survived a brutal massacre in the past in which she barely escaped alive, and which claimed the lives of her friends. Now three years later and Rachel has gone to a party with her new group of friends at a secluded house in the woods, but it seems history is going to repeat itself. Will Rachel manage to survive this time as well? It is an interesting premise, see for yourself in the trailer...