Endnight Games Ltd’s The Forest is a game where players have to survive in a mysterious forest against cannibalistic mutants. Players explore the forest, find materials to build objects, and fight off the mutants. The game features a time system where players will play during the day and at night. Players are able to gather items during the day to build a fortress to halt mutants. At night, players fend off the hungry mutants, who will attack players’ buildings. Stealth is a way to attack the mutants or players can attack head-on with their own crafted weaponry. The game is on Playstation 4 and Microsoft Windows.
Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo del Toro and released in 2015, is a gothic horror tale about a girl falling in love with a boy and moving into his castle with him. Now, while that may sound like a fairy tale, the events leading up to her moving and the events preceding are quite horrific. Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, the girl mentioned above, an aspiring author who falls for the dashing baronet Thomas Sharpe, played by Tom Hiddleston. After the death of her father Edith agrees to move to Allerdale Hall, the mansion that Thomas Sharpe lives in with his sister Lucille, played by Jessica Chastain. Lucille is a gloomy and despondent woman who seems to be hiding something, along with her brother.
The performances from Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain are excellent, with Jessica Chastain being an absolute standout. Mia Wasikowska is good in her role, but unfortunately, her character spends the majority of the movie in a passive role with decisions being made for her rather than making decisions for herself. While this may seem like a criticism, and to be fair it is a little bit, I think it is interesting what Del Toro does with her character in the latter part of the film. While she is passive for the majority of the first half she begins becoming more active, making things happen for herself, in the second half of the movie. I find this interesting that this change comes in her character not long after she says, “Characters talk to you and transform; they make choices,” whether this was intentional on Del Toro’s part I’m not sure, but never the less it is interesting and I believe of note.
The real star of this movie is the house, Allerdale Hall, also known as Crimson Peak. The house is an entity; a dead and rotting corpse with bleeding walls. The production design done by Tom Sanders is absolutely breathtaking; I don’t think I have ever wanted to live in a broken-down house more in my life. The ghosts that inhabit the movie are also quite extraordinary. Created with a mixture of practical effects and CGI the ghosts have an eerie atmosphere about them and it is hard for the audience to fully understand their purpose and motive until the end of the film.
Crimson Peak is an excellent gothic horror that features elements of mystery, romance, and fairy tales. Guillermo Del Toro’s movie are hard to place in a box even though on the surface they appear to be simple genre films. This is definitely a movie worth checking out if you are a fan of romantic gothic horror.
The Slumber Party Massacre, released in 1982, is a slasher movie written by author and feminist Rita Mae Brown and directed by Amy Holden Jones. On the surface it looks like a typical Roger Corman produced slasher flick; it includes slightly gory kills and copious amounts of gratuitous nudity, but there is more to this slasher than what we get on the surface.
The movie follows four friends, Trish, Kim, Jackie, and Diane, who are spending their night having a slumber party, and two sisters, Valerie and Courtney. Valerie is a new girl at school who lives next door to Trish. She is invited to Trish’s slumber party but opts out because she overhears Diane bad mouthing her in the school locker room. This all acts as a set-up for the killer to attack. The killer, Russ Thorn, played by actor Michael Villella, is sufficiently creepy as the near-silent slasher who without motivation begins killing these poor girls off.
What makes this movie refreshing, despite its cliched plot, are the characters who populate the film. They make stupid decisions but personality-wise they all seem like real teenagers dealing with issues of sexuality and who scored the runs in last night’s baseball game. Amy Holden Jones has spoken about how the movie is a metaphor for a female losing her virginity, and that is obvious in a scene where one of the girls sits helpless in front of the killer as he uses his phallic-like drill to kill her. The scene is even framed with the drill bit between his legs symbolizing this. The movie is often not subtle about this symbolism but that is works to the movie’s advantage steering it away from being a typical slasher and elevating it to something new and original. The ending, without giving to much away, is also something of note showing the surviving girls traumatized by the horror they have experienced.
This is an excellent early 80s slasher that was way ahead of its time. It offers an interesting deconstruction of slasher movie characters and tropes. If you are looking for a fun, cheap, and unique slasher film definitely check this movie out.
It has been a while since we had the chance to talk about Batman: Gotham After Midnight! The saga continues as the citizens of Gotham are running scared as they learn about a new villain rising in the city. Steve Niles does a fantastic job portraying a sense of urgency within Batman. Midnight, the book’s villain, is menacing to victims, while being motivating to Batman’s rogues gallery. Niles provides Midnight with the same charisma that Joker has. Midnight persuaded Scarecrow and Man-Bat previously to help in his/her violent mission. I said his/her because Midnight’s gender is unidentified. Midnight adds Clayface in this issue to the mix to assist.
Readers get their first look at Midnight’s face in the comic. It is a ghastly sight due to Kelley Jones’ huge, one-splash page of a bony, gaunt face. It’s revealed that Midnight uses a speaker attached to the throat in order to speak. Clayface learns from Midnight that he can absorb bodies and become a gigantic, building-sized monster. Niles and Jones make Clayface into a monster that is reminiscent of classic monster movies, such as Godzilla. Clayface gets colossal size and starts to terrorize the city of Gotham. Batman appears in a mammoth-sized robot to combat Clayface–setting up for a massive showdown for the next issue.
The WNUF Halloween Special is a great retro throwback to older local tv specials. Set in 1987 at the height of Satanic panic and the war on drugs, this movie parodies the state of local news during that time. What helps make this movie so authentic is the way it is filmed and shot. Shot on old VHS stock this movie looks like a worn VHS tape that has been sitting on your shelf for too long.
The main portion of the movie is a local TV special exploring the mythical Amityville-like house where a boy named Donald Webber murdered and mutilated his family’s body. Webber apparently claimed to be possessed by demonic spirits. We follow Frank Stewart, a local news reporter, a husband and wife duo, Louis and Claire Berger, who along with their alleged clairvoyant cat Shadow investigate paranormal incidents; the cast is rounded out with a priest, Father Joseph Matheson, and Frank’s producer Veronica.
Preceding the special is a local WNUF newscast that features stories about a dentist offering $1 deals to kids to bring in their candy and prevent cavities, political rivals going at it, a cheesy weather report, and a report about a local Christian organization who wants to ban Halloween for being demonic. This helps add to the authenticity of the special by creating believably old local newscasts.
The big highlight of this movie is the wonderfully authentic commercials. We get political attack ads, law office ads, an advertisement for a store that sells rugs and carpet, tv show commercials which include shows such as Chicago Lightning, and my personal favorite ad for a breakfast buffet strip club.
This movie is an excellent throwback to old tv specials and is a great movie to watch for the Halloween season-I know it is now required viewing for me. I would highly recommend this movie. Check it out on Shudder.
Number One Archives is back with another game for Spooktober! Thimbleweed Park is a mystery/puzzle game by Terrible Toybox. There’s a dead body in the forgotten town of Thimbleweed Park, which is the least of your problems. Players control five different characters who have nothing in common, but they are all connected. The game feels like an episode of Twin Peaks with humor that will keep gamers entertained. Players get to walk to creepy locations such as an abandoned circus and a haunted hotel. The locations are important to the characters as the town is a secret waiting to be discovered. Put on your detective cap and get to solving these mysteries!
I was busy with work and graduate assignments. I was stressed from the high volume of work that I had to do. The next post up will be game #2 for Spooktober Games! I can’t wait to introduce this next game.
Since it’s Spooktober (October), let’s talk about games to play that would be perfect for this month! The first game is Night in the Woods. Night in the Woods is developed by Infinite Fall. It’s an indie game that focuses on Mae, who’s an anthropomorphic cat that returns home after dropping out from college. She tries to reconnect with her friends, while discovering that there’s something wrong with her sleepy hometown.
Here’s a list of reasons to check out this game.
-The cast of characters is funny and diverse. Mae, Gregg, Angus, and Bea have been friends for years. Gregg is a male anthropomorphic fox and Angus is a male anthropomorphic bear. They’re a beautiful couple who love each other, so this game is LGBTQ friendly. Bea is a female anthropomorphic crocodile, who seems to be the clarity that the gang needs.
-The game’s art is a pleasing aesthetic. Night in the Woods takes place around autumn. Gamers get to take in the beauty of the orange, red, and yellow leaves falling. Nighttime in NitW is beautiful with bright blues amidst shadows. An example of how it looks is above. The ambience in this game is well executed, so is the weather system.
-The final reason is because of the spooky story. I mentioned earlier that there was something wrong in the town. I’m not going to reveal what the mystery is. I don’t believe in spoiling stories. I will say that this game proves that true friends will have your back even in the face of evil.
Go check this game out! I’ll have new posts about Batman: Gotham After Midnight next week. More games as well!
Writer: Steve Niles. Artist: Kelley Jones. All images courtesy of DC Comics.
So…did Batman survive? Niles and Jones work their hardest to make it seem that he didn’t. Readers know that Batman isn’t going out this easy. The cover of issue two features the Axe-Man going for the fatal blow on Batman. Chapter one of issue two begins with the thugs celebrating the death of Batman. A thug turns his back on Batman to call his boss about collecting a cash payment for Batman’s body. Axe-Man wants the Bat’s head so he swings only to be countered…by the Batman! Batman begins to fight the thugs where readers get treated to a two-page splash by Jones. It’s Batman jumping in the air to avoid bullets from the thugs. The art is amazing. It will make readers wonder how none of those bullets hit. These thugs have Stormtrooper aim. Batman defeats the thugs and captures Axe-Man. Batman lets one thug run away so the thug can inform others of the fear that Batman brings. Too bad that the thug won’t make it.
After the warehouse showdown, the one escaped thug gets cornered by a mysterious person. The streets of Gotham look ancient. It looks like the setting is from the 1800s. Niles and Jones may have wanted this to feel similar to Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. The mysterious person is revealed to be the person that the thug was negotiating terms for Batman’s body. The person is displeased with the thug for failing. Niles and Jones keep the design of the character in the shadows. They give readers a few small details. The mystery person has on a long trench coat with a top hat and a straw mask. It looks like the character has long hair from behind the mask. The character is carrying a staff that is revealed to have an extracting mechanism at the end of it. The character uses it on the thug, who screams into the night.
In chapter two of this issue, Man-Bat has broken into the Gotham Historical Society. Man-Bat is doing the same as Scarecrow. He’s not following his usual M.O. Jones draws Man-Bat as a monstrous, muscular bat with glowing green eyes. Man-Bat uses stealth usually to get a jump on his opponents. This time, he’s out in the open. Niles keeps changing up the usual traits of Batman’s characters, so readers get a fresh glimpse of how characters act not in their normal ways. Man-Bat evades Batman and escapes with the Skull of Ra. Nothing is given on the importance of the skull.
After Man-Bat’s escape, readers are introduced to the rivalry between Batman and Detective Clarkson in chapter three at the GCPD. Detective Clarkson, a female investigator, has been taking credit for Batman’s work. She has a good reason as she doesn’t want to condone Batman’s work as a vigilante. I feel that Batman complaining makes him seem weak. I know that he wants to strike fear into the criminals of Gotham, so that’s why he’s angry with Clarkson. Batman can strike fear with his actions. He doesn’t need to talk. After bickering with each other, they have a moment of laughter. Is Niles portraying a potential relationship between the two? After leaving the GCPD, Batman returns to patrol Gotham. He finds a ghastly sight, which I find to be amazing by the creative team. The thug who gets murdered earlier in the comic is attached to the arms of a gigantic clock on a building in Gotham. His blood runs down the clock. Something is definitely not right in Gotham. I like this imagery that the duo created, though it would be hard for a single person to do that to a body. That’s the end of issue #2!