Friday, 30 June 2017

Geneshift (2017) - Zombie Action Video Game Review (PC)


Coming from Nik Nak Studios Geneshift is a top down shooter that was released on Steam Early Access on May 23rd this year. Its at first simple looking graphics belies the fact that this is a shooter that just becomes more and more addictive the longer you play. The game features 5v5 multiplayer combat, user generated maps, as well as a campaign that is playable with up to four friends. For this review I only played the campaign, and in single player as the other modes didn't appeal to me.

You play as a nameless scientist who has recently started working for HQ doing day to day science type stuff, a lot which is based around testing mutagens on zombie like clone test subjects. A large contingent of scientists rebel for reasons unknown and release the zombies from their cells and soon the undead are sweeping throughout the city. Teaming up with a partner named Knickers you must travel around the city to detonate bombs that destroy the machines that sustain the undead, and find a way to stop the rebellion and restore order to HQ. But everything may not be what it at first appears to be...

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Zombie Infographic: Zombies in Media: From Night Of The Living Dead to The Walking Dead

Sometimes it is nice to just do a nice easy blog post, and so today with The Rotting Zombie HQ still in the middle of being relocated I felt a quick post was in order. In theory infographics are pleasant enough things, they are usually visually appealing at least. I do really struggle to get the darn things to ever display correctly though and so you may need a magnifying glass to read this one that was kindly sent to me from Chamber of Horrors NY. They are Long Island's premier haunted attraction, check out their website for more details (here). I would love go to one of those haunted mazes some point in my life, they sound like they are full of potential.



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.