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Welcome

So here’s my first post.

This is my new blog, it needs a lot of work, but it’s coming along. This will be a place for me to review things like movies, comics, games. Talk about whatever at length, rather than just posting stuff on Facebook. Everyone knows I’m either completely quiet or I ramble to no end so I guess something like this should’ve existed already. I know it’s just a silly hobby, but I really do love that my friends take my opinion into account when deciding on a movie to see or whatever. It means a lot.

I hope this blog entertains you.

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Edward Scissorhands [2014 Comic Book Sequel]

EdwardScissorhands01-cvrSUB-96fe8So I just finished the first issue of the new Edward Scissorhands comic book mini-series and I have some  mixed feelings on it.

It takes place many years after the events of the film. As I’m sure you already know, at the end of the film we see Winona Ryder’s character Kim as an elderly grandmother telling her granddaughter Megan about Edward and everything that happened upon his discovery.

This new story opens up with Megan, now a teenager, dealing with the death of Grandma Kim and her mother’s claims of Kim’s insanity and denial of  Edward’s existence. She attempts to learn more about her grandmother and Edward by going through some of her things. Most people have forgotten what happened, some believe he was a murderer who did kill Jim and everyone else thinks he didn’t exist and is a sort of urban legend.

However, we know Edward is innocent and he is very real and still very much alive, living in the mansion on the hill. After the events of the film, Edward disappears back into the mansion and has become more reclusive and socially inept than before. He becomes even worse after hearing that Kim passed away. He spends most of his time exploring the mansion and one day finds plans left behind by The Inventor for another creation similar to himself. He finds this creation (how after all these years he never stumbled on him/it before is beyond me) and attempts to fix him up.

A fairly solid opener for a comic book sequel to a film that is now 20 years old. Author Kate Lesh completely captures the somber tone of Tim Burton’s classic, but Drew Rausch’s art almost took me completely out of the story. It was like watching an odd Saturday Morning Cartoon that took it’s inspiration from Burton’s concept art for the film and splashed colors from SpongeBob or the Fairly Odd Parents all over it. Now please don’t take this the wrong way. I am not bashing Rausch’s work as good comic book art, but it does not work here. It’s too soft and cuddly for the world of Edward Scissorhands, a film that has made me sob on more than one occasion.

We all know that the film has a lot of insanely bright colors, it works as a beautiful contrast to the bleak whites, blacks and grays that come from Edward’s world, but there is TOO much color here. I can understand trying to pull in younger fans of Tim Burton and that’s completely fine, but it just doesn’t work for me. I would’ve preferred something in the middle, not too dark, but not this cartoony either. I prefer Gabriel Hardman’s work, like on the variant cover pictured on the right. That’s the one I grabbed at the shop.

All in all a good start to this story. I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the issues in this series. At times it took me back to watching the movie and being a fan of other work of Burton’s like Beetlejuice and Big Fish. Lesh definitely has a knack for channeling Burton.

Rating: B

Edward Scissorhands #1 is published by IDW Comics and is available anywhere comic books are sold. The mini-series is running for 5 issues.

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Wytches

Anytime I see Scott Snyder’s name attached to any comic book, my interest is immediately piqued. When I started reading his work steadily a few years ago, he quickly became (and I don’t say this lightly) my favorite person in comics. His writing has forever changed, for the better, the long standing characters of Batman and Swamp Thing. His creator-owned books such as Severed and American Vampire have made an incredible impact on the world of horror comics. This brings us to Snyder’s first work at Image Comics since 2012.

Like any great scary story the world of Wytches is one in a believable, real-world setting with normal people doing normal things. These people are gradually touched by the supernatural; strange occurrences, unexplainable deaths and disappearances and the like. The first issue introduces us to some of the main characters. Our protagonist, Sailor “Sail” Rooks, her father Charles, a creator of a graphic novel series and her mother Lucy, recently paralyzed from the waist down in an unnamed accident. They’re a regular American family except that Sail is suffering from anxiety and paranoia caused by a horrific incident just months prior.

In this first issue there isn’t too much emphasis on the evil that will come to terrorize these characters. There are some great scary moments and just a morsel of back story, but it mostly focused on setting up who our characters are and what’s currently plaguing their thoughts. Like all great tales of terror, Wytches allows the story and characters to grow without showing us too much of what lurks in the dark right away.

While reading this book I was reminded of many things such as the works of Stephen King, (a favorite of mine and a huge inspiration to Snyder’s entire career) The X-Files, The Twilight Zone and even various Spielberg films. While I’m sure these and other bits of pop culture have influenced Snyder, no one in particular stood out while reading this book. And honestly, it’s probably my own encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture that allowed me to draw these connections in the first place. At no point is there a moment that I felt could have been ripped-off from another creator. It has a great sense of familiarity without feeling like you’ve sat through this story before.

After reading this issue I did a little research on it. Snyder actually came up with the idea after revisiting a wooded area in Pennsylvania near his childhood home. He was frightened of it growing up and he and his friends would make up stories about evil things that would happen out there. Upon going back as an adult he came up with a new spin on witches and witchcraft lore and thus this series was born.

Working once again with famed artist Jock, this creative team builds a world that is real and just about steps into the fantastic. Jock’s art has a way of keeping us grounded in an everyday setting while taking our subconscious on a stroll through dream-like, or in this case nightmare-like, sensations and moods. I attribute this directly to his use of shapes and shading, but here it is Matt Hollingsworth’s use of color that allows Jock’s initial vision to truly take hold and come to life.

Issue one was a great introduction to the series and I really look forward to what comes next. I highly recommend picking this one up. If it’s anything like Snyder’s previous horror comics it should leave you with a sense of wonderment, a sick/somber feeling in the pit of your stomach and allow you to remember why you were once afraid of the dark. On top of being a great issue, it’s a hefty 30 pages long with NO advertisements to disrupt the storytelling. Can’t beat that for $2.99. Also if you’re up to it and your local shop is selling it, there is an awesome Ghost Variant cover for this issue. I was able to get it for $5.00, but I’ve seen some stores selling it for $10-$15.

A-

Wytches #1 is published by Image Comics and is available everywhere comic books are sold.

*New York Comic Con Update* – It was announced this weekend that the film rights are being shopped around so we may be seeing a big screen adaptation within the next few years.

ANNABELLE

Annabelle

So I went to an advanced screening of Annabelle and I gotta say while not an outstanding horror film, it was much better than I expected it to be.

The point of this movie is to serve as a sort-of prequel/spin-off to James Wan’s mega-horror-hit The Conjuring. Personally, I see that film as one of the best horror movies of the last 15 years. It’s obvious that Warner Bros. knows that most of the public feels the same way which is why the marketing for this film relies so heavily on this film being connected to it. In reality, the only connection is their version of the Annabelle doll.

The film is meant to show us the origins of the Annabelle doll. Why it becomes evil, why it follows certain people around and eventually, how The Warrens ended up with her. The story opens a year before nurse Debbie and her roommate are terrorized by Annabelle. Dr. John Form [Ward Horton] and his doll collecting, pregnant wife Mia (one of many nods to Rosemary’s Baby) [Annabelle Wallis] are living in Santa Monica starting their life together. They go to church, have caring neighbors and are just happily loving life. Being 1969, the characters are shown in this strange limbo of moving out of a more wholesome time when people could leave their front doors unlocked and hearing about the Manson Family on the news (used in a more than exploitative manner here). One day John comes home with a special porcelain doll to complete a set Mia’s been putting together. She loves it, even though it’s quite hideous and merrily adds it to the collection.

The terror starts when, Annabelle Higgins, the estranged daughter of their next door neighbors returns with her crazy hippie boyfriend to wreak occult havoc on her parents. The carnage spills over into John and Mia’s home, with Mia being injured, crazy hippie guy getting shot to death by the police and Annabelle taking her own life while holding the latest addition to Mia’s collection. After this event, the couple is understandably freaked out and take a few extra precautions around the home. Being a haunted house movie, strange occurrences start up with the characters barely taking notice until a fire starts in the home putting Mia in the hospital and causing her to give birth a little early. She refuses to return to the house which is fine because John just got a job in Pasadena. So the perfect little family unit moves to a fancy apartment building near the hospital, but of course things only get worse from here. With the help of a friendly neighbor and their priest, the Forms try to figure out how to end their problem.

This is a more than obvious attempt to ride the coattails of The Conjuring, but Annabelle is actually a decent horror movie. While there is a definitive plot running throughout, loosely based on the claims of the real-life victims, the film does focus more on creepy situations than bogging us down with a lot of dragged out exposition, though some exists. I’m more than fine with that. This movie is not meant to be taken as seriously as it’s predecessor, it’s a creepy doll movie. That’s it. Oh and there’s a ghost…and a demon…and Alfre Woodard running a creepy bookstore. Don’t go in with “horror classic” expectations and you’ll be alright.

The characters are believable enough and it was nice seeing some lead actors that I’m actually unfamiliar with, other than Alfre and Tony Amendola who played Father Perez. Overall the film did rely on a lot of cheap scares, but it did manage to pull out some truly terrifying moments and imagery as well. The score and sound effects help move the scares along as you would expect and the best moments are the ones that use the “less is more” angle. Being that the director is a long time collaborator of James Wan, some instances were reminiscent of Wan’s work, which is great being that this exists in a world they both shaped for cinema. From time to time you will get a sense of “been there, done that.” Either from the stylistic tones that are clearly lifted from everything Wan has done, especially Insidious, or from the homages to horror classics, but it’s OK. This movie is still a fun, creepy ride that stands on its own, even if you haven’t seen those other films. I also really enjoyed some of the plot twists throughout. Some things actually left me guessing and I appreciate that. I can’t have all of the answers all of the time.

A true stand-out sequence that I can only call the basement/storage room/elevator scene was comprised of fantastic imagery that I haven’t seen the likes of since the original A Nightmare on Elm Street and Silent Hill 2 (the game, not the terrible movie sequel). The direction of the scene leads you down various paths so you think you know what’s going to happen next, but your expectations are cliché, and thankfully, not used. If you’re not crawling out of your seat when the elevator doors open, you never had a childhood fear of what lurked in the dark. This scene alone was almost worth the price of admission. It owes something to the two horror masterpieces I just mentioned as well as Rosemary’s Baby again.

A thought that stands out in my mind, as far as scare quality goes, is that I do not have that sense of dread making my way through my darkened house to climb into bed. That deep-rooted fear that a great horror film gives you after a late night viewing; it’s just not there this time around. However, the film did make me jump a time or two and gave me the creeps while I was viewing it and it was fun while it lasted. It’s a serviceable film, but probably won’t be remembered many years from now. If you are a big fan of these films I have to recommend seeing this. If you’re still unsure, you can always grab a cheap matinée or wait for a rental.

Maybe it’s because I initially had such low expectations, but I’m gonna give this film a solid B.

Annabelle is directed by John R. Leonetti, with James Wan serving as Executive Producer this time around. The film opens everywhere Friday October 3, 2014.

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Robocop #1 [Comic Book Review]

robocop_001_coveraWith the re-releases of Frank Miller’s classic Robocop graphic novels from Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios and *sigh* a mini-series spin-off from the remake, Robocop is having a bit of a renaissance. For fans of the original film series, Robocop #1 from BOOM! comics is a leap in the right direction.

I was cautious to get sucked into another new series, but, after hearing multiple positive reviews, decided to give this a shot.

From acclaimed writer Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter, Ghosted) and artist Carlos Magno (Green Lantern Corps, The Phantom), comes a brand new series that is off to a surprisingly good start. Keeping in tone with the first two Robocop films and classic mini-series like Miller’s Robocop: Last Stand, this on-going series is set a few months after the events of the original film and follows the day-to-day accounts of the characters living in the remnants of Old Detroit and the soon-to-be Delta City.

The heavy violence and dark, slick humor that director Paul Verhoeven brought to the screen is here, but this book’s creative team puts their own spin on it while staying faithful to the franchise. Magno’s artwork is gritty, brutal and reminiscent of many great works of 1980s. One of my favorite things about this book was the inclusion of not only Alex Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis, but a lot of the supporting characters from the film (Sarge and even geek-cop Cecil, are included here) after being mostly dumped from any of the other comic book incarnations.

While there is nothing overly though-provoking or deep in this first issue, there is already some set-up for future plot-lines regarding Murphy’s humanity and his moral standing. A new major villain mixed in with some of the same complications that Robo always faces are introduced as well. As a long-time fan, I hope to see this book really take charge and maintain a strong footing for this beloved franchise. I guess we’ll see what happens.

You can’t buy this for a dollar, but $3.99 isn’t too steep for a fairly lengthy issue. My biggest complaint is having to wait a month for each issue’s release.

 

B+

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Harbinger Down Official Trailer (2014)

So excited to be a part of this. This trailer premiered yesterday and being a backer, I was able to see it in advance along with approximately 50 other updates from ADI over the last year. If you are unaware of this film, it is a horror/sci-fi flick literally created by the guys behind T2, Aliens, The Thing, Tremors, Pumpkinhead and countless other classic monster flicks that use unbelievable practical/in-camera effects. This movie uses ONLY practical effects and make-up to create the terror within. It had a hard time finding footing in Hollywood and so became the focus of a Kickstarter campaign. Having this trailer show up yesterday finally cemented my investment in the film a reality. While, not all of the effects are completely finished yet, even for this trailer. I can assure you the final product looks stellar.

I am so proud to be a backer of this film and to be one of the reasons that it was finally able to be made. I won’t say how much I put towards the movie, but it was…enough. I’m so stoked to get all of the perk items for donating cash, which includes a limited edition of the bluray, signed pieces or memorabilia and a ton of other stuff tied to the film. Also, to have one of my favorite horror actors, Lance Henriksen, starring in the film, I am just totally geeking out over this. Get ready for Harbinger Down, it’s gonna be wicked.

Synopsis: A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation.

Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren’t about to give up the warmth of human companionship.

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Haunted [Comic Book Review]

Well! Before I get into the review I want to say a few things. It’s good to be back here on my blog. It’s been a crazy couple of months. I started a new (and very time consuming) job and I’ve been pretty much only had time to write reviews for horror films and the few that I’ve done recently are over at http://www.horror-movies.ca, which as I stated at the end of last year I’ve been writing for and it’s been fun. As always, thanks for reading. This is just a hobby, but I love it and I love that I’ve been able to reach out to more than just friends and relatives who read my stuff out of kindness. ON TO THE REVIEW.comics-haunted-1

 

This week a new horror comic mini-series premiered with its first of four issues. Published by a tiny, independent company Red 5 Comics (somehow a Star Wars reference even snuck into this review on May the 4th), Haunted tells the story of a young New Jersey woman making her way through a post-apocalyptic world over-run by ghosts, spirits, demons and monsters. The entire Earth has become haunted. In an alternate time-line, after the famed Large Hadron Collider outside of Geneva, Switzerland is switched on it rips apart the very fabric of our universe and allows for the spirit world to cross over into ours. I love when horror, fantasy and sci-fi interact seamlessly and the touch of real-world science left a good taste in my mouth.

Our protagonist, Sarah McAllister, lives in Atlantic City, NJ; abandoned for the last 13 years since the ghost world took over. Orphaned for years, Sarah fights off the ghosts, “Shriekers”, and tries to survive with what’s left of civilization. She meets two other survivors that claim to hold the secret to ending this haunted world. Can she trust them? Do they really have a plan for ending the horrors that surround them? Being that the series will be only running for 4 issues (as of now), I’m assuming these questions and many others will be answered quickly. As for this first issue, most of the writing is from the point of Sarah’s inner thoughts. We get a lot of background information which helps. The actual conversations are minimal, but help move the plot along as our introduction this world gets fleshed out. Solid exposition that doesn’t feel long-winded and unnecessary. I’m very interested in where this book will take us. We’ve already seen haunted NJ and NYC and just a taste of Paris, France. Hope to see other locales turned on their head.

The book itself showcases many end of the world themes that we’ve seen a thousand times over: Dodging the enemy, searching for food and supplies, allowing yourself to trust and rely on strangers and so on. If you are one that’s easily bored by these general themes that really have been over used, you may want to skip this, but I will say that the supernatural stuff is full of creepy fun and if you’re a fan of that check this out. It’s a strange mix of The Walking Dead, Twilight Zone and Ghostbusters and it’s pretty kick-ass. Any fan of horror and/or sci-fi should enjoy this.

The creative team of Scott Chitwood and Danny Luckert is a solid one and if Haunted plays out as well as I hope it does, I’d love to see more from them in the future; either working together or on separate projects.

Haunted is available wherever comics are sold and if you’re local shop isn’t carrying it make them order it or find it online. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

B+