Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition

As you may have heard, Limited Run Games recently did a physical release of the infamous Dana Plato starring fmv horror game, Night Trap. My own personal history with the game isn't nearly as interesting as the game itself's story, but it's a controversial horror game so of course I'm interested. I knew what it was, but at our home the Sega CD was my brother's (even though I bought it for him as a gift). Thanks to the magic of the internet, even though the game had been pulled, he managed to grab a copy. I watched him play a bit, and I think I tried it once or twice. My brother always worshipped at the altar of these fmv games, and in fact still does at times, you can watch him stream Double Switch over on his Twitch account, but they never really grabbed me. I mean, I liked Sewer Shark, Tomcat Alley, and Midnight Raiders well enough, but tracking down my own Genesis and Sega CD to play them was never anything I considered. 

Still, I was pretty excited when the announcement of the remaster came earlier this year, and I waited impatiently for news of the release date. If you're unfamiliar with Limited Run Games, in a nut shell, they produce small runs of physical copies of games that have digital releases. You know I love me some physical media, and Night Trap would be my first attempt at ordering from Limited Run. Now, this wasn't my first rodeo when it comes to trying to score something with a limited release. Scalpers, website crashes, bots, I've seen it all. Still, I wanted this and made sure I was at my laptop. I watched the counter tick down, and the second "add to cart" popped up, I hit the button. The site told me I was in line and not to refresh or I'd lose my spot. Finally the time came for me to make payment. I was sent over to PayPal (which I'd already signed in to), and when I was sent back to Limited Run to complete my order, I was notified that the item was sold out. To say that I wasn't happy would be an understatement. 

I basically spent the remainder of that day publicly stating my disappointment with Limited Run on Twitter/FB/etc. To be told to wait because there was a line, and then having the opportunity to pay but then be told the item sold WHILE I was paying, I just couldn't wrap my head around. Why is there a fucking line at all then? In fact, apparently with this particular release alongside Wonder Boy which also released the same day, a lot of people had negative things to say about their business model, so much so in fact that it has since been announced that they will be offering pre-orders on larger titles in the future. But anyway, I was done with them. Yeah, they release half of the run early for East coast people, and the second batch later in the day for West coasters, but I assumed even if I tried again, I would get the same result. In fact, I wasn't even at home or anywhere near a computer when the email came across my phone that the second batch was about to go live. Meh, I thought, fuck these guys. But I have to be honest, there was that little voice that was in my head saying "What if?". Eventually my resolve gave way, and I went to the site with under a minute left on the countdown. The place in cart button showed up, I clicked it, then the dreaded wait in line page came. Oh well, right? Suddenly it went away, much faster than the first time, and there I was looking at PayPal. So I hit buy, was redirected to LR's site, and I smashed the place order button. 

I waited for a while for the email telling me my order was cancelled, or something went wrong, but it never came. What did come was a order confirmation email, and it appeared as if I had successfully scored a copy of Night Trap. About two weeks later now, there it was, a black bubble mailer in my mailbox with the Limited Run Games logo on it. 



Here it is in all it's glory. It comes with the game, obviously, reversible cover art, a booklet, and a folded poster of the original game artwork. It's a pretty slick package for the $30 asking price. I haven't gotten a chance to play it yet unfortunately, but I will be doing so pretty soon. The plan is to stream the game for Werewolves. I'm still undecided as to whether I should play it first, so at least I know what I'm doing when I stream it, or if I should just go in blind and see just how badly I can fuck it up. 

So that's my first experience with Limited Run Games, and how I got Night Trap. If you're unfamiliar with the game, and would like to know more about it I highly recommend watching the documentary from My Life in Gaming which I'm embedding below. I may or may not post the stream vid when it happens here, so if you're interested in that, give the Divided by Werewolves youtube page a sub. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Best of 2017 so far - May/June

As predicted, I'm just going to post May and June together, since I didn't really see a whole lot of things in either month. Still, there were *good things, so off we go.

Alien Covenant

You know what Alien Covenant is. I'm not entirely sure what people expect from this franchise at this point. Everybody saw Resurrection, right? And yet people still bitch about Covenant? I've read so many criticisms at this point, and to be perfectly honest, all of the shit people bitch about did't bother me in the least. It's not Alien, it's not Aliens, but as a movie that's meant to bridge the gap between Prometheus and the Alien franchise, I think it serves it's purpose just fine. But again, I'm easily entertained apparently (dumb?), so take that into consideration. I do find it amusing as the excitement for Covenant was pretty high before it's release, just how many people who had never done anything but bash the fuck out of Prometheus were suddenly "watching it for the second time and enjoying it a lot more". Bitch, please.






Raw

This is another one that is high on the list for the year. Absolutely loved it. It's about a young girl, Justine, who is about to head off to vet school, following in the footsteps of her older sister, the black sheep of the family who already attends. Her family are strict vegetarians, and after a hazing incident the first week of school where she is forced to eat meat, Justine begins to have an insatiable hunger for it. As the cravings get stronger, and her will begins to break, she eventually becomes cannibalistic. That's about as much as you need to know before going into Raw. The way the story unfolds is done so well, that to say any more will give too much away. I will say, this is not The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Justine doesn't pull up to the table with a plate full of ass or anything. It handles cannibalism much in the same way that Ginger Snaps sort of tied lycanthropy and puberty together. In Raw, Justine's descent is portrayed not so much as a "mental break" but as how this repressed young girl is out on her own for the first time, discovering who the she is and what her place in the world is. Highly recommended. If you want to hear more about it, we talked about it on Werewolves here, but warning, there are major spoilers.



Wonder Woman

Again, not a whole lot to add to what you've already heard. Absolutely refuse to continue to have the fucking DC/Marvel movie debate at this point as well. I'll just say that Wonder Woman is pretty damn high up on my list of favorite comic book movies of all time. It's wonderful, pun intended. You can hear more about it on our most popular episode of Werewolves.















That about wraps it up for May/June. I do want to give an honorable mention to a movie Binky recommended to me though, Shimmer Lake. It's a Netflix original movie told in reverse about a small town Sheriff who's trying to get to the bottom of a bank heist gone wrong. Very good movie, I enjoyed it a lot.

*After some interactions on the internet this week, I felt like I'd say this yet again. I'm not a critic/reviewer of movies, or anything for that matter. I don't know why it bothers people so much if I like a certain thing. It seems to bother some people to the point that the feel the need to let it be known they didn't like it ANYTIME I mention said thing. The very thought of running to the defense of something like BvS, or Suicide Squad, or whatever, every time somebody on the internet says they don't like it is both pointless and exhausting to me. Let's just let each other watch and like whatever there fuck we want, k?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Divided by Werewolves - Episode 28

Episode 28 of the Divided by Werewolves show is here. We talk Okja and The Blackcoat's Daughter. Listen below, or find us on iTunes. Thanks as always to any who listen.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 so far - April

April also turned out to be one of my favorite months for movies. There wasn't as many blockbusters, but a decent amount of lesser known things. A few of these we covered on Werewolves, and I'll note which below.

Officer Downe 

Oh boy this movie. I recommend it a lot, but I always give people fair warning, it's batshit crazy. Imagine if somebody gave Lloyd Kaufman a few million dollars and asked him to do a live action movie based on the Saturday morning cartoons of the 80's..you're starting to get the idea about Officer Downe. Another way to think about it is to imagine somebody asked Paul Verhoeven to do a movie about a knock-off Judge Dredd. If any of that is at all appealing to you, I urge you to track this movie down. Kim Coates (Tig!) plays officer Terence Downe, a police officer who is only called in for suicide missions. Unlike the Suicide Squad however, he actually never survives, and usually ends up a mangled corpse in the process. His remains are then collected, and taken back to the precinct where he is resurrected, and sent back out in the field. When he brings down Headcase Harry, and blows up his drug lab in the process, the heads of the crime syndicate call upon the services of Grand Master Flash to put a stop to Downe permanently. The movie is based on a one-shot from Image comics written by Joe Kelley, with art by Chris Burnham, a fact I had absolutely zero knowledge of going in, and is directed by Clown from Slipknot. It certainly won't be for everybody, but I haven't had a better time watching a movie this year. You can hear more about it on Werewolves.



The Void

This is another one that's pretty far out there, but sits comfortably in my top 5 on the year, maybe even top 3. I don't know exactly what people expected from the guys that did the absolutely fantastic Father's Day, but The Void people seem to either fall on the "love it or hate it" side of the argument, with exceptions of course. To try and do a synopsis of this movie would indicate that I had a firm grasp of the plot and all of the many twists and turns there-in, which I don't, so I'm just going to do my best here, and write down what I think was going on. A police officer comes up on a bleeding man in the middle of the road, and rushes him to a nearby hospital which is minimally staffed since it's the middle of the night. Soon after, cloaked figures appear outside, the bad guys responsible for the bleeding guy's gunshot wound show up, the people inside the hospital start going insane for some unknown reason, and as the few people remaining who aren't quite crazy yet flee deeper into the hospital they come across an ancient evil. Now, that may not be exactly it, but it's as close to an understanding as I have. The one thing I do know is that The Void is a glorious throwback to the days of 80's horror, with practical effects aplenty. Weird monsters, blood, gore, slime, goo, you name it. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to watch John Carpente's The Thing on acid, but don't do drugs, this is your movie. We also covered this one on Werewolves.


The Belko Experiment

I'm assuming at this point that everyone knows what The Belko Experiment is. If not, it's basically about a group of people working in a high rise in Columbia, who one day enter work, the building closes off and from outside they hear a voice telling them they have a few hours to kill each other until only one is left standing. Sort of a corporate version of Battle Royale meets The Purge. The reason it's on this list isn't for it's originality, in fact once I saw a trailer or two I almost dismissed it completely. It didn't look like it was going to be something I particularly liked, and I felt like I got what I needed from it from the trailers. I eventually watched it just because I had nothing else to watch, and because it had John C. McGinley in it, and I love me some Dr. Cox. I ended up being very happy I did. Yes, it's a movie about officer workers killing each other in some twisted social experiment put on by the company they work for, but it's also brutally violent, bloody, at times tense and suspenseful, and a hilariously dark comedy. Seriously, I had no idea it would be as good as it was. That said, it has it's problems as well, particularly the ending. This has sort of a Cabin in the Woods thing going on at the end, and just when you think you're going to get some answers, it ends. Still it's definitely worth a watch.


Colossal

Nacho Vigalondo's kaiju of a different color has honestly surprised me in the amount of notoriety it's gotten. From Anne Hathaway showing up on The Tonight Show to promote it, to internet ads and trailers everywhere you look, it's nice to see one of Nacho's films get the exposure it deserves. Hathaway plays Gloria, who is forced to move from her big city life back home due to her alcohol problem. She takes a job as a waitress at a bar owned by a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). In the mean time, a giant creature attacks Seoul, South Korea. Eventually, Gloria learns she has a strange connection to the creature, in the meantime her alcoholism continues to be a problem, and Oscar's behavior begins to change from almost overly helpful to hostile. That's as much as I'm saying about Colossal, as I don't want to spoil it.  If you don't care about spoilers, you can listen to more on this episode of Werewolves. I will say, this movie primarily focuses on Gail and her coming to terms with her problems, and less on the creature, so don't go in thinking you're watching a Godzilla flick. The kaiju is there, but it isn't the films main focus. If you end up enjoying Colossal, I highly recommend checking out Nacho Vigalondo's other work, especially Time Crimes.

That wraps up the best of April. Don't really have any honorable mentions, other than I will say I finally watched the copy of Hell or High Water that I'd owned for months and just never watched, and my God was that movie fantastic. The rest of the year going forward is a bit sparse, so I'm thinking about doing May/June as one collective post, but we'll see what happens.

Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 so far - March

So March is the biggest month of 2017 for me as of right now. I saw a lot of good stuff, including my favorite movie of the year so far. For blockbusters, this year has not been skimpy. In fact there have been so many, that March almost kind of felt like the beginning of the "summer season" for movies. Gonna start out with a lesser known though...

Trash Fire

This one almost slipped past my radar, which would have been a shame. Trash Fire is the latest from Richard Bates Jr., the writer/director of Excision and Suburban Gothic. His movies are always fantastic. They are well written, mix a bit of humor into the proceedings, and then totally punch you in the gut at the end. Trash Fire follows Owen, who inadvertently caused a fire that left his parents dead, and his sister deformed. He is currently living with his girlfriend in a not so healthy relationship. When she becomes pregnant, she urges him to reconnect with his estranged family, his grandmother Violet who is a horrible woman prone to strange behavior, and his sister Pearl. He reluctantly agrees, and what was to be a short visit soon turns into a nightmare. I don't want to say any more than that, but holy shit was this a good movie. I caught it on Netflix, and highly recommend it.






Get Out

By now, everybody knows what Get Out is, so there's no need to get into plot details. What I will say is that I ended up enjoying this one more than I thought I would. Unfortunately, based on what I'd seen in the trailers and tv spots, I did sort of think it was predictable, but that didn't necessarily ruin the movie for me. If you really want to hear what I thought about it, we covered it on Werewolves. Check this one out if you haven't.














Logan

Again, everyone knows what Logan is. The R-rated supposed finale to Hugh Jackman's run as the Wolverine ends up being one of the best comic books films of all time. I had a couple of issues with it, I felt like the cursing was a bit much and there was some pacing problems with the plot, but overall this is a fantastic movie. The home version came with "Logan Noir" which was the film in black and white, and I quite enjoyed that as well. For the full review, hit that episode of Werewolves linked above. This one sits at the #3 spot as far as comic book movies go this year for me, but with so many others coming later, we'll see if it holds.











Kong Skull Island

For as much as I enjoyed Kong the first time I watched it, I can honestly say I've only grown fonder of it with each viewing. This is the kind of kaiju that hits almost every single note, and I couldn't love it more. It's fun, it's got a big monster beating up other big monsters, there's a laugh or two, the action sequences are amazing, the effects look great, it's simply everything I want from a movie like this. There isn't an unnecessarily complex plot, you know what you're going to get going in. Man shows up unwelcomed, starts dropping bombs, pisses off the locals, and fighting ensues. Only in this case, the locals are huge monsters. This one is easily my favorite Kong movie of all time, and a top five on the year. I can't recommend it enough. Say through the credits!








The Founder

I wouldn't have thought that a movie about Michael Keaton stealing Big Macs from Ron Swanson would be so damn entertaining, but holy shit was The Founder good. The story of Ray Kroc, a traveling milkshake machine salesman who discovers Dick and Mac McDonald's innovative "fast food" eatery, and turns their idea into a billion dollar franchise, screwing the brothers over in the process. While it's a fairly interesting story, what's so great about The Founder is the performances. Keaton is absolutely brilliant as Ray Kroc. You go from feeling sympathy for the guy, rooting for him as he's struggling to get by selling milkshake machines, to being honestly surprised at how ruthless he gets when it comes to what he does to the McDonald brothers. Nick Offerman stands right in there with Keaton, as Dick McDonald, and turns in the performance of his career as well. Highly recommended.






The Devil's Candy

My favorite movie of the year. From start to finish, I sat almost slack jawed at The Devil's Candy. It's superbly shot, well acted, well written, and one of those movies that when I started watching it, I knew I was going to love it. Jesse (Ethan Embry) is a struggling artist who ends up moving with his wife and daughter into their dream home in rural Texas. The property is large, and due to it's history, comes at an affordable price. Jesse turns the barn into a paint studio, but his work suddenly takes a much darker tone, almost as if he's being influenced by strange forces beyond his control. Things get even stranger when the son of the former owners shows up on the porch one night holding a red guitar. Seriously, watch this movie. It really hit home for me in a lot of ways. Jesse is artistic, a metal head, has a young daughter and they have a wonderful relationship, and I just couldn't help but root for the guy. That's probably the thing that The Devil's Candy does best, it makes you care about this family, and want them to be ok. For a movie like this, that is an extremely important detail. Thankfully the character development and performances from the cast are both top notch. This one doesn't have a big body count, there's not a lot of blood, but what it lacks in those departments, it more thank makes up for in atmosphere and dread. If you want to hear me rave about The Devil's Candy further, we covered it on this episode of Werewolves.


That wraps up my favorites from March. Honorable mention nods go out to Fist Fight, which was fucking hilarious, and The Girl With all the Gifts, which you can hear about here. Next up is another big month of goodness in April. Stay tuned.




Friday, July 28, 2017

Divided by Werewolves - Episode 27


Episode 27 of the show is live! We talk Destiny 2, War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk, SDCC trailers and other random nonsense. You can listen at the link below, or find us on iTunes. Thanks as always to any who listen.



Divided by Werewolves - Episode 27 - War For Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk and Destiny 2

Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 so far - February

This one's going to be short and sweet, as I didn't watch a lot of new stuff in February for whatever reason. That's not to say it wasn't a quality month though, in fact I watched two of my favorites on the year so far in February.

John Wick 2

Confession time, I didn't love John Wick. I thought it was ok, had some pretty sweet gunfights and all, but was lacking in both the plot department, and especially the ending department. There were ideas I thought were interesting, like him being involved in this larger group of assassins, but the movie only briefly touched on any of that stuff. No, we had to watch him cut a swath through a small army and then barely survive a knife fight with a senior citizen, all because somebody killed his dog. Still, I thought part 2 looked better, so I gave it a watch. This one fixes almost every problem I had with the first one, getting more into the backstory of the character and putting him into a much more interesting story, while at the same time keeping the things from the original that I did like, the violence and gun play. Looking forward to part 3.





The Lego Batman Movie

My second favorite comic book movie of the year. Not a whole lot to say about it, other than it's fantastic. I thought the Lego Movie was pretty good, but Lego Batman completely takes the crown when it comes to the series. It is smartly written, superbly voice acted, and honestly one of the most laugh out loud funny movies I have ever seen. The back and forth between Batman and Robin is absolutely hilarious. Definitely see this one if you haven't. We also talked about it on Werewolves, along with our Top 5 Batman movies all-time. Check that episode out if that sounds interesting to you.













I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore

Oh boy, this movie. As of this writing, this is my second favorite movie of the year, and could easily be described as a tie for first. I'm a huge fan of Macon Blair, have been since Murder Party and Blue Ruin. "Home" is both written and directed by him, and that's where all my interest for it came from. It's honestly best to go into this one knowing as little about it as possible, but I'll do a very brief synopsis. Ruth (Melanie Lynsky) returns home from her job at the hospital to find that she's been robbed. In particular, her anxiety medicine, her grandmother's silver, and her laptop are taken. She goes over to talk with her eccentric neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) to ask if he may have seen anything. Eventually she learns the whereabouts of the laptop, and the two of them go to retrieve it. From here, the movie goes batshit crazy, in the most wonderful way. This movie is simply fantastic. For a crime/thriller/comedy, it's the genre at it's absolute best. Elijah Wood absolutely steals the movie as Tony, and I challenge anybody not to laugh at the morning star and shuriken scenes. You can watch it right now on Netflix,and I highly recommend doing so.



This trilogy of awesome brings February to a close. I did see a couple of other things, in fact some of my least favorites on the year. I'm looking at YOU Life and Edge of Seventeen. March is up next, and it was jam packed with goodness. It will most definitely not be as short as this one.

Friday, July 21, 2017

2017 so far - January

I was initially going to do the year to date in one post, but as I went back and looked over my list of thing I've seen this year so far, I realized this has been a pretty good year for movies already. No way did I want to mention all of the good stuff in one post, not only did I not want to write that, but nobody would want to read it. So instead I'm going to go month by month.

Now, right off the bat you're going to notice that not everything I'll be talking about necessarily came out in the month I saw it, or even in 2017. January for instance is a month where I always look at everybody's "best of the year" lists to catch up on things I may have missed. I'm also not planning on being too in depth about each film, especially since a lot of them we talked about on Werewolves. Just a brief "hey, I liked this because" or something. So, with all that said, let's get to it.


The Autopsy of Jane Doe

I initially caught on to this one because I'm a fan of Emile Hirsch. He plays the son of a coroner who works along side his father. The two of them are brought a Jane Doe to autopsy (in case the title didn't  clue you in to that), and as they work, strange things begin to happen. Initially, I thought this was just another Blumhouse-esque ghost movie jump scare-a-thon, and to be perfectly honest, I'm sick of those. Jane Doe was a pleasant surprise though, some genuinely creepy moments, great claustrophobic atmosphere, and a twist that I actually didn't see coming. Don't want to spoil it either, just believe me, it's a good one. 










Beyond the Gates

This is one for those of us who grew up in the 80's and 90's. Two brothers come back home when their father suddenly goes missing. He apparently does this sort of thing on occasion, only this time it's been longer than usual. As they begin to pack up the video store he ran, they come across a strange board game called, you guessed it, Beyond the Gates. Things start to get weird when they start to play it. The board game they play is reminiscent of things like Nightmare, where you have a vhs tape that plays along with the game. If you remember those, and like 80's horror, this one is right up your alley. It has it's pacing issues, but is worth the watch for the nostalgia alone. 











The Eyes of My Mother

Ok, so this is probably the most disturbing thing I've seen this year, as for as good of a year it's been, I haven't seen a lot of extreme stuff. That's not to say this is an easy watch, it just isn't as bad as stuff I've seen in the past. It's also hard to talk about the plot without giving things away. The story revolves around Francesca, who we are introduced to at an early age. She lives on a farm with her family. Her mother is a surgeon, who teaches her in depth about anatomy, death, and all sorts of things little girls probably shouldn't have such an understanding of. A stranger approaches the farm, and ends up attacking her mother. Her father comes home while the attack is occurring, and he manages to subdue the guy, but not before he kills the mother. They chain the guy up in the barn, and Francesca proceeds to remove his eyes and vocal cords with her mother's surgical instruments. The torture goes on for years as the movie progresses to Francesca growing to adulthood with a rather "less than normal" understanding of how to interact with society. I'm just going to leave it at that, but holy shit does this one get dark. 



Train to Busan

Zombie movies. Infected people that act like zombie movies. You're tired of them, I'm tired of them. There are a million of them out there. At this point, the best we can hope for is putting a zombie in a different locale, somewhere we haven't seen them before. That was the only reason I was initially interested in Train to Busan, because if I've seen zombies on a train before, I don't remember it. With almost no expectations going on, I was blown away by how much I loved this movie. Yes, it's a zombie movie, but it does just a few things differently to distance itself from the pack. It's thrilling, nail biting, at times even scary, and surprisingly even heartbreaking. If you'd told me I would be shedding a tear at a zombie movie before I saw this one, I would have laughed at you. This is one of those that I was catching up on from 2016, and it ended up being one of the best last year had to offer. We did an episode of Werewolves on it as well, if you want to hear more about it. 





Split

Despite not having cared for a film here or there, I still call myself a fan of M. Night Shyamalan. I think his older stuff is his best, obviously, but there's no denying he has a distinct style to his films, and I dig it. We all know what Split is, so I won't be going into the movie itself, and again, we talked about this one on Werewolves. What I will say is, holy shit, this is probably my second favorite Shyamalan movie to date. Right behind Unbreakable, which I maintain to this day is a superb comic book film. Split was either going to be amazing, or a trash fire, depending on who was cast as Kevin. Let me tell you, I knew James McAvoy was good, I had no idea he was this good. And that after credit scene?! Damn did I get excited when I saw that. Can't wait for what's coming next. 







That's it for January. I saw other stuff, but these were the best of the bunch. I'll give honorable shouts to The Hollars and I am Not a Serial Killer, the latter of which we covered on Werewolves. Next up, February!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Oats Studios


Director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, Chappie) is one of the most talented people working in the entertainment industry in my opinion. I can tell you in all honesty that I've loved every single thing he's done that I've seen. His latest project is Oats Studios, which I have been surprised to discover not a lot of people seem to be familiar with, so I thought I'd do a quick post. The short version is, he's releasing short films which you can watch absolutely free on youtube. If you happen to enjoy what you see, and trust me you will, the option is there to support the studio by kicking the a couple of bucks. You can also buy the assets used in the films via Steam to use in your own projects if for instance you get an idea as to where the story in the films could go next. It's a refreshingly original idea, and I'm really excited to see where this experiment leads. 

So far there have been 3 short films, Rakka, Firebase, and Zygote. I'm going to put all three down below, and they are all fantastic. In fact Zygote is one of the best things I've seen this year. Do yourself a favor and give them a watch. All are well worth your time.