Archive for October, 2017

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Child’s Play and it’s iconic killer doll Chucky has outlived Jason, Michael and Freddy. Next year the series will turn thirty and there has not been a single remake or reboot. Instead, with Cult of Chucky, fans have been given the seventh entry into the series and having watched it I can say the Child’s Play series has never been stronger.

Cult of Chucky picks up a short time after the events of Curse of Chucky. Nica (a wonderful Fiona Dourif) has been confined to a mental asylum. Nica, beat up and betrayed by the justice system, seems to have accepted her fate. Meanwhile, Chucky’s nemesis, Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), sets out to stop the killer doll once and for all. If things weren’t bad enough for our heroes, Tiffany (the great Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s gal, is out to make sure Chucky gets what he wants and will stop anyone who gets in their way.

Cult of Chucky is the best film yet from writer and director Don Mancini. His growing confidence and talent as a filmmaker is clear to see. At times Cult of Chucky, while a slasher movie at heart, has elements of the best suspense thrillers and the accompanying camera tricks that cement that feel. Despite a low budget, compared to a theatrical movie, the film looks great. The look of the asylum is very abstract too. I wasn’t expecting that. Now add on all the Chucky bloodshed, laughs, crazy kills and chaos and you get one of the better sequels in the whole franchise.

A big part of the film deals with mental illness. Some of it is funny, some of it is scary and in parts tragic. Like Split, I felt, Cult of Chucky never treated its character’s illness as a punch line. The film is darkly comic at times but not at the expense of anyones condition. That care adds class to the whole thing. The kills are some of the most extreme in tone and execution in the whole series. They go a big way to remind the viewer you’re watching a horror, even if you find yourself laughing at times.

Does my take on Cult of Chucky seem vague? There is a reason for that. There are twists and turns in Cult of Chucky. Plot developments the marketing for the film has been very good at not showing. I don’t want to allude to them! Let alone reveal them on some blog! Cult of Chucky is a great addition to the Child’s Play series. The cast are great and the effects work is very well done. The movie moves the franchise forward in a big way and if you’re a fan you should be excited to see what is next from Mancini and co.

Stay till the end of the credits.

 

 

 

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Stranger Things 2 is good. It could have been a disaster.

The sequel picks up almost a year after the shocking climax of season one. Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), who was lost in the upside down, is attempting to adjust back to some sense of normality. Yet for Will, it becomes clear, those who dwell in the dark realm of the upside down are not finished with him or the town of Hawkins. No plot spoilers here.

The Duffer brothers, Matt and Ross, along with the show’s talented cast and crew, have crafted a strong second chapter. The show, I’m now convinced more than ever, is no show. After finishing Stranger Things 2, having thought the same during season one, I’m convinced each season of Stranger Things is meant to be a movie. Each season essentially being an eight hour plus film.

A big part of that reasoning is the pacing, most noticeable during this second season, it takes a while to get going. I found myself growing (whispers) a bit bored and waiting for something substantial to happen. That could be down to my lack of patience or it could be down to the Duffers comparing this sequel as the Aliens of their universe compared to the first season being like Alien. Hardly. In fact, I think more happens during the first season.

What you do get, and I understand this stuff is important, is a ton of character development, in fact you get a lot of it. This needed to happen. So in that respect it’s a good thing. Characters like Eleven and (really) Steve get great arcs this year. Several new characters are introduced too and the standouts are 80’s legends Paul Reiser (Aliens) and Sean Astin (The Goonies). Both are great actors and have solid characters that add a lot to the show.

The real winner of Stranger Things 2 is the time period it takes place in. The Duffer brothers and the incredible crew are magicians. The show feels and looks like it was shot in 1984. The attention to detail is out of this world. As you would imagine the soundtrack reflects the time period brilliantly. It is a total love letter to a time lost.

I liked Stranger Things 2. I didn’t love it. Yet, stay with me here, it felt like a season that HAD to happen in order to make way for a stronger Stranger Things 3. At least I hope so. The other side of that is the Duffer Brothers are making this up as they go along and have no real end game in sight. I know it’s meant to have four seasons but if you don’t know how you’re getting there that’s an issue. Hopefully that is not the case.

Stranger Things 2 is available now on Netflix.

 

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Last year, when the trailer came out for Resident Evil VII, it dropped out of nowhere. Immediately fans of the series knew it was a Resident Evil game unlike any that had come before. That amazing and atmospheric trailer promised an experience that was shrouded in mystery, a darker tone and a plot that felt no obligation whatsoever to adhere to what fans had become acoustamed to. As time went on we learnt more from the makers of the game. The big change was that the game would be played in the first person perspective (compatiable with SONY’S VR ), breaking with the series third person POV the fans were used to.

Resident Evil 7 was met with acclaim from critics and most importantly the fans of the series. Still, this fan couldn’t quite get his head around the drastic changes. To be honest I was not a fan of the first person POV, it looked too different. It became clear as reactions poured in that this Resident Evil, as I said, felt no need to cater to fan service, so absent were legacy characters such as Jill, Chris, Leon, Ada and Claire. In a lot of ways Resident Evil VII is a new beginning. I didn’t think I was ready to say goodbye to what I knew. Now I own the game, having just completed it, I can safely say I was dead wrong to be worried. The game does cater to long terms fans, giving them exactly what they want and credit to Capcom for doing so because until I experienced the game from start to finish I hadn’t realised how ready I was for change, how it pays off and most importantly how it still managed to keep hold of the Resident Evil identity.

All you need to know about the plot of Resident Evil 7 is you play a guy who gets a message from someone he used to know asking for help. What follows is one of my favourite plots from the series to date, believe me when I say avoid plot details because there are twists and turns and scares and pay offs that I think would be a crime to reveal before you get to experience ’em for yourself.

The gameplay is great. The first person POV feels like a perfect fit for the Resident Evil series. It never feels restricting. You can still interact, react, run, hide, fight, cry and scream in terror like you could in any of the previous entries in the series. Enemy interactions, boss fights, level/sound design, music, characters, tone and exploration are some of the best in the series.

Thankfully I did not play the game in VR and I wouldn’t reccomend it because it was scary enough playing on the TV. I can’t imagine what it must be like in VR. 2017 has become one of the best years for video games since the 1990’s and in years to come I feel like Resident Evil 7 will be spoken about with the same acclaim as the original ’96 game and its sequel.

Capcom knew they needed to make Resident Evil great again. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve stayed a fan of this series for over twenty years but I can see why some felt it had lost it’s way. Capcom make a bold choice in the direction they chose to get the series back on track. Resident Evil is back where it belongs as THE horror title in video games. I can not wait to see what horror awaits in the next instalment.

Resident Evil 7 is out now for PlaySation 4, X Box One and PC.

 

Hella Halloween: The Babysitter

Posted: October 25, 2017 in Movies
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2017, so far, has been a strong year for horror. The latest Netflix original movie, The Babysitter, is keeping that tradition going. Directed by McG (Terminator Salvation, Charlie’s Angels), the film stars Judah Lewis as Cole, a young boy who discovers his babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving), has a dark secret.

Fun is the best word to describe the flick. It plays out more like a comedy than a full on horror movie. The film is funny, full of great gore gags (some of the best I’ve seen in a long time) and has a surprisingly sweet streak running through it.

See, although Bee and her crew (Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Andrew Bachelor and Bella Thorne) are hell bent on blood sacrifice, Cole is clearly in love with Bee and for her part she’s fond of the kid. Despite, ya know, needing his blood to make deals with the devil. For that reason you root for Cole. At the time same time you root for the survival of Cole and Bee’s friendship! Sounds crazy but it’s true and it’s what elevates the film as a whole. As to whether or not either of them make it out of this alive you will have to watch the movie!

Lewis and Weaving make for likeable leads, Weaving in particular being the film’s big stand out. I have no doubt the young actress has a bright future ahead of her. The rest of the cast play their roles well. Slipping in and out of comedy and legit threat to life throughout. Despite the grisly subject matter the film is a blast. Clearly it’s aimed at adults but if I had of seen this when I was a kid I’m certain it would have become a movie I revisited again and again.

A genre classic? I wouldn’t go that far. Then again who am I to say. Put it this way, when it was over I asked myself “do Netflix sell their movies on Blu Ray?” I want to own it. It’s a great ride, feeling more like a messed up kids film (think Home Alone meets Scream) than a serious horror. The death scenes are brutal and seal the movie’s adult rating but the film is very funny so it never feels THAT serious. I would be sad for any horror fan who overlooked this one, as it did just slip onto Netflix. It’s a great addition to the genre. Check it out because you won’t be dissapointed. Word of warning – Do not watch the trailer for this film beforehand. I did and it gave away a lot of the gags. See the film. Skip the trailer.

 

 

Hella Halloween: Hatchet (NO SPOILERS)

Posted: October 23, 2017 in Movies
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I can remember, back in the mid 00’s, feeling slightly let down by Hollywood’s attitude towards one of my favourite movie genres. The slasher movie! There is no denying that the 00’s was a dry spell for the horror sub genre. After the 90’s horror revival, thanks to Scream, the slasher momentum had slowed. Remakes came to the forefront and this fan felt abandoned.

Enter Adam Green and his feature directorial debut Hatchet. The horror movie websites began to buzz with news of wild reactions at screenings. In the lead up to its release Hatchet was gaining a reputation as a slasher movie that was about to put the genre back on the map. Looking back, it didn’t quite have the same impact as Scream, but it’s certainly a film that displays it’s love for the slasher genre proudly.

Hatchet focuses on the legend of Victor Crowley, an urabn legend, who locals believe stalks the swamps of New Orleans and lays waste to anyone who dare enter his domain. You can swap out Crowley for Jason Voorhees in a lot of ways, as the film takes more than one cue from the Friday The 13th franchise. Yet never in a way that feels like it is ripping that series off. Think homage in tone, killer (take a bow the great Kane Hodder) and the films totally batshit crazy kills! The kills in Hatchet are still some the best in the slasher genre.

A tour boat takes a trip into the haunted swamp and it’s passengers, unfortuantley, find themselves stranded and at the mercy of what they will soon learn is anything but a urban legend! The simple set up of Hatchet leads to a lean pace and allows Green to establish Crowley, his victims and their goal. To escape and survive. There is no fat on this film and in that regard you get more of an ensamble cast that all do terrific work creating mostly fun characters you don’t, except for one or two, want to see slaughtered by Crowley. So when the carnage does kick off and characters are taken out in extremley gross ways you feel horrified. Did I mention the kills are insane in this film?

One of the market angles of Hatchet in the lead up to it’s release was this film was not a remake or a sequel or a reboot. It was new, it was old school and it was fresh. I was lucky enough to see the movie on the big screen, it didn’t have a big wide release, and I was happy when I walked out. It did feel new and exciting but not because of what it was made up of. An argument can be made that the film has a set up and execution we have seen time and time again. What made it good, for me, was the way everyone involved seemed to be celebrating the simple horror and fun of the slasher genre. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when you have a film that can sit proudly upon the shelf of what the best of the genre has to offer when it’s done with care.

 

 

Flight of the Navigator

Posted: October 20, 2017 in Movies
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Flight of the Navigator is a great family movie, released in 1987, directed by Randal Kleiser. That name may sound familiar to you and it should because he directed the classic Grease and Honey I Blew Up The Kid to name a few. The film is a sci-fi flick about a kid, named David Freeman (Joey Cramer), who goes missing in the summer of ’78. Eight years pass but for David it’s only hours. He finds himself in 1986, with no memory as to what has happened to him, why it is he has not aged (like his family) and who the strange voice in his head belongs to! Meanwhile the NASA have found a UFO and begun to investigate it. It doesn’t take long for all concerned to realise David, his dissapearance and the UFO are all connected.

After I watched Flight of the Navigator I went on Twitter to read a remake of this film is moving ahead. That is a shame because this movie is timeless, the effects still work, the pace of the picture is boss and the plot is extremley well written. A sequel would make more sense than a remake!

Flight of the Navigator, as I’m sure it was for many, was one of the films I’d watch over and over again when I was a kid. The sense of adventure is key to the film’s appeal. This is a fun film because, as a kid (or adult), who wouldn’t want to be in control of a UFO and hang out with it’s awesome A.I.? On the ship David encounters Max (voiced by Paul Reubens), who is the A.I. in control of the ship and the caretaker of various lifeforms from tons of different planets and David gets to discover this wonder. It’s pure fun but what gives this film an edge is the way director Kleiser doesn’t shy away from focusing on the darker themes. David went missing. His family feel that pain for eight years and it’s shown on screen. The NASA want answers, they take David away from his family and plan to hold him until they get what they want. The kid had only just returned and these guys are snatching him up again? That would be a scary situation and Cramer is a great actor and shows the pain his character feels faced with such.

The film has a good cast. Many of the names are recognizable, such as Paul Reubens, sci-fi queen Veronica Cartwright, future Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker and Cliff De Yong. Another aspect of the film I LOVED is the musical score. It has shades of creepy sci-fi and a full on ’80s awesome rock/pop, used to great effect in a montage(!) sequence near the middle of the film. The special effects are dated but not in a way that makes them stand out in a bad way. The look of the UFO is amazing, inside and out, and the sense of speed it has is shown in great ways. Oh and the practical effects work on Max and the various alien life forms are very cool. I shudder with fear at the thought of how Max, the UFO and the various alien creatures would be “re-imagined” today with CGI.

Everyone has seen Flight of the Navigator so there is no need for me to say “If you haven’t check this out…” BUT if by some freak of nature (or maybe you were born earlier today) you have not seen this film, see it! Rent it, stream it or buy it now. You won’t be sorry. If you have seen it then watch it again because it’s boss.

 

This is a great trailer. We get our first real look at Wakanda. This nation is the home of Black Panther and it is beyond cool. Wakanda is basically an advanced civilization hidden within Africa. Think Atlantis or El Dorado, had either been real and continued to blossom through the centuries.

There is a ton of new footage here that shows off the characters and gives a clear look at the plot of the film. Oh and those action scenes look boss. Black Panther running down cars on highways is always a welcome sight. You also get to see more variations of his suit and what it can do, how it works and all that. Very cool.

This movie is shaping up to be, what I hope, is a unique and fantastic addition to the MCU. It has an ace director in the form of Creed’s Ryan Coogler and one knock out cast led by Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.

Black Panther stars Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Andy Serkis amongst many other super talented people. This cast is stacked.

It hits cinemas February 16th 2018. That’s sooner than you think. Get excited.

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Earlier this year I was gutted. Not literally. Obvs. The reason was that the latest entry into the Friday The 13th series had fallen apart weeks before it was due to film. The goal was to have it out in cinemas for last Friday. It wasn’t to be.

Turns out I got to see a new entry into the Friday The 13th series after all. Never Hike Alone, from indipenent studio Womp Stomp Films, is a Friday The 13th tribute film. Having watched it I consider it a legit entry into the series because it’s bloody awesome. This is what a movie looks like when it is made with care and a respect for the source.

After I finished the movie (it’s almost an hour long) I couldn’t wait to put my thoughts down on what I had just seen. The set up is brilliant in it’s purity. Kyle McLeod (an excellent Andrew Leighty) is a extreme hiker who just so happens to stumble upon the remains of Camp Crystal Lake. He’s heard the tales of ‘Camp Blood’, of the massacre that took place there, so his next move is to check the place out! Why not? What’s the worse that could happen? Mass murderer Jason Voorhees isn’t real right? Wrong. Sorry Kyle. Jason is real.

What follows is a expertly shot, paced and really well acted series of chase scenes, close calls, showdowns and carnage. Plot wise this can easily slip into the official canon of the series without any major contradictions. It is that good, as far as this fan is concerned, I rate it as canon.

Vincente Disanti, the director, uses a variety of different filmmaking styles. These help to keep the look of things fresh and never dull. Cutting from found footage to a more tradtional feature style when the narrative calls for it. The stalk and slash scenes are done real good and overall it’s great. The special effects work is fantastic, seriously guys for a fan film this stuff is excellent and I felt like I was watching a legit Friday The 13th flick. Jason looks awesome in this. From his movements to his presence. The actor does a wonderul job. The whole team at Womp Stomp Films should be incredably proud of the work they did on Never Hike Alone.

I hope Paramount are paying attention to the buzz Never Hike Alone is getting. Next year the rights to Friday The 13th go back to New Line Cinema. Before that happens (or hey, New Line, you too!) , if I was them I would be calling up Disanti and asking for a meeting. One of the reasons why the new movie fell apart was the dissapointing box office of Rings. Paramount didn’t want to risk money on another franchise relaunch. Slash that budget in half, give Disanti and his team creative control and let them work their magic I say. Get these guys to produce the next official entry into the series. That’s what I would do.

Never Hike Alone is excellent. Don’t be put off by the fact it is a fan film. This is a great entry into the series and it’s better than some of the true sequels. I watched the remake on Friday and felt it had no life to it. It was missing that spark several of the older films have. Never Hike Alone reminded me why I love this series as much as I do and it’s required viewing for Friday The 13th fans. The film is available now on YouTube on Womp Stomp Films official channel.

 

 

Today should have been the release date of the latest entry in the Friday The 13th series. Sadly it was not to be the case as production on the sequel was shut down earlier this year. Due to messy rights issues it is still uncertain when fans can expect a brand new instalment in the much loved franchise.

Yet, hope is not lost, here is the trailer for Friday The 13th: Never Hike Alone! This fan film (don’t walk away, come back!) has built up quite a lot of buzz over the past several months. After taking a look at this trailer you will see why. Womp Stomp Films are behind the short and it looks like a lot of care and attention has gone into Never Hike Alone, more so than most fan films. Early buzz and reactions are positive.

So here is the bad news. We didn’t get a brand new studio Friday The 13th movie this year. The good news is we have this short and it will be available today on Womp Stomp Films YouTube page! So tonight, sit back, turn off the lights and get ready to head back to Camp Crystal Lake!

New Mutants teaser trailer!

Posted: October 13, 2017 in Comics, Movies
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I have to give credit to FOX. They now seem to understand what it is they have access to in regards to the X-Men. Last year we got Deadpool and Logan. Two spin-off’s set inside the X-Men movie universe and each of them was gloriously it’s own beast. Rated R and violent as hell. Next out of the gate is The New Mutants and, like Deadpool and Logan, this looks to be another unique take on mutation.

The film is directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in our Stars) and is a horror/sci-fi movie. Comic fans will know the title because it is one of a long list of comic books set in the same universe as the X-Men.

Boone has said he wants the film to feel like a horror movie and not a traditional superhero flick. Well sir, I say, mission accomplished! This looks boldly brilliant. I don’t know if the film is rated R or not but going off that teaser trailer this looks like a straight up slasher movie with a science fiction edge.

The New Mutants follows several young mutants who find themselves trapped inside an experimental facility. Chances are they are not at that place voluntarily. Will they get out alive? We’ll find out April 13th 2018!