Monday, July 3, 2017
One of, if not the, best horror films I've seen all damn year, is coming to Netflix on July 6th. Below is my original review for DEATH & GIGGLES and you need to drop what you're doing on that day and watch the fucking thing.
More often than not, when I hear about a heap of praise being levied on a horror movie at any time from any kind of critics, I tend to approach it with caution. Remember when everyone said "The Babadook" was the greatest thing since sliced bread and it turned out to be the equivalent of a frozen dog turd with sprinkles? Yeah, when it comes to praise, I usually tend to feel the opposite way. That's why when I was going into The Void, I honestly wasn't expecting too much from it, even though I went into it knowing practically nothing about what the film was about. Coming out of it...well, all I can say is that this may in fact be the best horror film I've seen in a long fucking time. This film is equally inventive and unpredictable, and saying it made a lasting impression on me is saying it lightly.
The Void picks up with a small town sheriff named Daniel (Aaron Poole) picking up a disheveled man he finds bloodied and disoriented. Transporting him to a local, understaffed hospital inhabited by his ex (Kathleen Munroe), a veteran surgeon (Twin Peaks vet Kenneth Welsh), and a handful of others; Daniel soon learns that something very sinister is going on when mysterious hooded figures start surrounding the hospital. Things go from bad to worse when bodies start dropping, but that's only a taste of the unrelenting horror that unfolds as the film goes on, and gets legitimately totally fucking shocking.
I really don't want to spoil much more about the plot of The Void, because I really do feel that the less you know about this film going in, the more you'll enjoy it. Granted there are some plot elements that come out of left field, but the end result is a genuine shocker of a film that will leave you with plenty of lasting impressions. Not to mention the fact that this film is loaded with wonderful practical effects work and some ridiculously grotesque sequences that gorehounds will undoubtedly adore. I've often heard people labeling the film as being Lovecraftian and also making comparisons to John Carpenter's The Thing, and I agree with both sentiments wholeheartedly. There is an aura of unpredictability and flat out "what the fuck" moments peppered throughout the film, along a feeling of isolation and hopelessness that are perfectly orchestrated here. I've also heard comparisons to the work of Lucio Fulci quite a bit as well, but I think these are more aimed towards the fact the film's ending shot may be a bit of a head scratcher for some and leave you wondering what the fuck you just watched. Regardless of that, this is a modern day horror film that is truly one of a kind.
I can praise The Void day and night and keep going on, but I won't. This is a film that you flat out need to see right fucking now. I myself may love it more than most, and it goes without saying that The Void isn't a film for everyone or all tastes either, but this is truly an unforgettable achievement in practical effects work and being able to orchestrate an overwhelming sense of dread that most modern horror films couldn't do if they tried. Co-directors Steven Kostanski and Father's Day co-helmer Jeremy Gillespie really crafted something special here, and The Void is something that I'll be happily revisiting for years to come.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
A while ago it was announced that John Carpenter himself was returning to the HALLOWEEN franchise to inject some life back into it. The idea in itself is more than intriguing, and while I normally beg for long running franchises to come to an end instead of sequel after sequel and reboot after reboot, I'm surprisingly okay with this. Since it was announced though, things have been relatively quiet in terms of developments, until recently.
Carpenter announced on social media that David Gordon Green (director of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, YOUR HIGHNESS, JOE, and more) will be directing the new HALLOWEEN film, which will be produced by Carpenter, Green, and...Danny McBride (the comedic actor best known for PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, EASTBOUND AND DOWN, and many more). Green and McBride will also be co-writing the film which is...odd. Is this seriously really happening?
At first, I really didn't know how to take this news. I was surprisingly all for a direct sequel to the original HALLOWEEN II with Carpenter back in some capacity, I just never expected to hear the names David Gordon Green and Danny fucking McBride attached to it. And shockingly...I'm okay with it. I have faith that these two won't turn the film into a laughing stock or self-aware mess. Green has made some really good and even thought provoking films (watch JOE starring Nicolas Cage...yes I'm serious) and I think he and McBride both really get what a HALLOWEEN film should be, so I'm actually really looking forward to seeing this happen.
And no matter what, it can't be as bad as the Rob Zombie-directed HALLOWEEN movies right?
Saturday, February 4, 2017
With the looming launch of Nintendo's latest console (or is it a handheld?) the Switch, I want to take some time to look back at the Wii-U. Nintendo's would-be successor to the insanely high selling Wii was an absolute failure in terms of sales and third-party support; mostly due to the fact Nintendo fucked it up from before the launch onward. Released in 2012 to little fanfare (and some really bad marketing), the Wii-U was pretty much dead on arrival, thanks to a weak launch lineup, a really dumb name, and a confusing interface. The required touchscreen/gamepad is cumbersome to use, and games that require using it can be a chore. "Star Fox Zero" in particular is one game that requires the gamepad and even tacks motion controls on top of it, killing what could have otherwise been an awesome experience.
Things like the cumbersome gamepad and incoherent marketing are what limited sales of the Wii-U. The original Wii was a smash hit in terms of sales thanks to the fact that it was marketed to appeal to everyone young and old, regardless of experience playing video games. That approach helped alienate most hardcore gamers who now saw Nintendo hardware as gimmicky and unappealing. Not to mention the fact that naming the fucking thing the Wii-U didn't help matters either. Because of the lack of marketing direction, a lot of people thought the Wii-U was some kind of add-on or enhancement for the original Wii, not realizing that it was its own console with its own library of games. Any online capabilities, especially with multiplayer, were pretty spotty as well.
All of this combined turned most gamers off, but those of us that stuck around were treated to probably the best exclusive first-party games of any of the consoles released this generation. Games like "Super Mario 3D World", "Super Smash Bros. for Wii-U", "Bayonetta 2", "Mario Kart 8", "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze", "The Wonderful 101", "New Super Mario Bros. U", "Splatoon", "Pikmin 3", "Pokken Tournament", and "Xenoblade Chronicles X" are seriously fucking amazing. Not to mention the fact that the Wii-U is backwards compatible with just about all Wii games and the original Wii Virtual Console still functions within as well. The console itself is powerful and Nintendo's first party games always functioned at launch (something that many triple-A titles like "Assassin's Creed" or "Call of Duty" can never claim), so there is a lot to admire here with the console. Additional features like being able to play the game on the gamepad while someone else is watching TV or vice-versa was a nice little addition as well.
Because of the low sales, I expect the Wii-U to become a pretty big collector's piece somewhere down the road. Copies of "Bayonetta 2" (which includes a port of the first game), "Devil's Third", and "Game & Wario" are already commanding some hefty prices, and as the years go on, the console will probably gain more of an appreciation than it ever got before. For me personally, the good outweighs the bad of the console, mostly due to the software library (as small as it may be), backwards compatibility, and the fact that a lot of these games you'll never be able to play anywhere else (probably).
Hopefully Nintendo learned their lesson with the Wii-U, and the Switch will be glorious and everyone will love it.
Wait, that's not gonna happen, who are we kidding?
Monday, January 2, 2017
2016 was a cunt of a year.
I don't mean just because of all the celebrity deaths or Trump somehow getting into office, but in general the whole year was one big clusterfuck. I'm saying this more on a personal level than anything else, as I found myself burned out and beaten down. In November of this past year, my grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving day (which just so happened to be a day after her 89th birthday). It was something we had expected for a while, but no matter how prepared you think you are for someone's death, it doesn't really make a difference when the time finally comes. For those that don't know me all that well, my grandmother raised me from the time I was 7 years old on more or less. I had gotten ditched by both parents when I was young, so she was all I had. And no, I'm not looking for pity or sympathy either, that's just the way things were. Her death capped off a year where I made a number of stupid decisions and burned a lot of bridges, pretty much fucking myself royally in some regards. I got abandoned by some long time friends in a moment of need, which is fine now that I think about it, because for the most part they've always been self-absorbed cunts to begin with, and I'm probably better off.
Despite all that though, my 2016 was filled with a few bright spots here and there. They were few and far between, but they were there. I'm hoping to get my shit together in 2017 at some point, and maybe possibly finish TAPES as well as Death & Giggles continues to grow. Until then, I'm not planning on being here much, but I'll be back around eventually.
Happy New Year you fucks.