Thursday, November 27, 2014

Free-to-Play Week: Haunted Memories

Hello there and welcome to Day 4 of Free-to-play Week. First off, I hope folks had a fun-filled Turkey day with friends and family and everything went smoothly. If not, maybe a video game is in order for you. Journey with me to Green Park, a site designated for a sanctum for what end? Not sure but apparently this area has been closed off to the general public for some form of experimentation as it seems to have a unique paranormal phenomenon about it. This is Haunted Memories: The Haunt.

The forest ranger looks pissed. LEG IT!!!

Brought to us by Madmen Theory Games, this real time horror game gives no hints and offers save points that you must search out for. Our story begins with rainfall in a dense and lush forest. Is federal or city owned is not clear. As you seem to have been left in the pouring rain about 300 feet from your car, your character seems baffled as to why you are on in said rain. Hobbling up to the car you come across a folder, flashlight and gas can. The car is playing some golden oldies and you cannot seem to enter it so up and onward you go.

Green Park seems to have a psychic or paranormal entity called the Slender Man roaming about but that's just an urban legend. Loosely explained about the passing of one Mark Slender. It is almost as you have been swallowed up by what passes for his mind or possibly his nightmares. Who is this man? How has he brought me across to this world of darkness and rain? Why does my character look like the Brawny Man in the cut-scene? To get technical on you know. This is a six-part indie horror chapter game that seems to play on the macabre rather than gore. As we are at first chapter you wake in the rain with no memory of what has transpired nor where you really are.

Eerie evening... wait a minute, it's three in the afternoon!!!

These nature trails are fairly well marked but the lighting of the area is only the occasional lightning bolt or the paltry flashlight you have with weak batteries. Our audio combines an eerie soundtrack with faint footsteps, twigs snapping and playing havoc with your peripheral vision as you swear you keep something out of the corner of your eye. Make no mistake, folks this one plays on your fear of the dark and the unknown more than anything else. Your own paranoia from such horror games is waiting for the other shoe to drop that the subtle context of the game works well.

Just a few comments on the game now. The equip button is E and standard WASD for movement. There does not seem to be an increase in speed so super run away is not an option. This is a POV established game so if you are photo sensitive or phobic in that nature, you may want to pass as the camera view is a bit shaky giving it that slow clambering through the woods and on uneven surfaces.

Weapons such as: crowbars, fire axes and even a 45. Colt are about but you have to go looking for them which means hazarding taking 10 to 20 for looking around. The Slender Man follows you about and you can lose him if you do not gaze on him extensively but do NOT lock eyes with him as he tracks up to you and you die being in his presence. Some of the interaction with items and objects is sensitive but just adjust your mouse's settings and it is easier.

The graphics capture this awe inspiring moonless night full of nature noises, rain fall and that leaf crunch you swear you did not make. To put it thus, you will end up scaring yourself more than the game has to make effort as it seems to adhere to the rule, less is more. Scary does cover the overall vibe and I am looking forward to Chapter 2.

You are here and your Traveler's checks are there.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hey folks, just offering up a happy bloated, family gathering of turkey consumption of madness.  Normally when I do a movie/TV/video game still, people immediately get it but in this case I will walk you through it.  This hails from the paltry holiday themed horror movie Home Sweet Home, of which an insane lunatic escapes his mental hospital and makes his way to a cabin of Thanksgiving ongoing and proceeds to systematically wipe out the cast members.


Car trouble?

Oh wait, that was from Silent Night, Deadly Night.   Amusingly enough, the most known of the cast of the apt turkey of a film is bodybuilder and fitness guru Jake Steinfeld.   Yeah, The Body by Jake cat.  This however is not an official review as there is less snark, pithy comments and overall research panache.   Now, I am off to find a game the kids can play while everyone vegs in front of the TV during the games.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Free to Play Week: Get Off My Lawn!

Hey there folks and welcome to Day 3 of Free to Play Week. Well after combing through far too many MMO games, co-op options and fantasy games I realized three things. First, I really do not need a two to five minute cut-scene of dialogue, story arc or monologue if I am just interested in hack and slashing. Second, most MMOs take a bit of time to learn and get all the quirks of the game mastered and spending more than four hours on any one game I am just reviewing seems a bit tedious and unnecessary and third, I just wanted something simple to play and have a laugh. With that in mind, how about a game of first contact that goes horribly wrong? This is Get Off My Lawn.

You damn kids!!

From Digital Leisure Inc., the people that brought you Dragon's Lair, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp comes an arcade style shooter game in the same facet of Duck Hunt to Plants Vs Zombies. Enter Murray Mendelson, a 78 year old man very meticulous about his front lawn that looks as thought it was manicured with a pair of nail trimmers. Lush in green and finely tended to, a knock at the door interrupts his afternoon nap. Assuming it is some band candy offer or a local Mormon chapter that hasn't gotten the message yet, he grabs his musket and answers the door. A small, blue alien presents him a gift and for the creature's troubles and good conduct he gets gut shot by Mendelson.

Gut shot! Bad way to die.  Oh well, see ya!

In true checkerboard style, our legion of little aliens head to his front door. As Mendelson you have the default weapon of unlimited ammo via musket that causes the poor visitors to die by. With each kill in a row comes a series of orbs. With a collection of orbs you can purchase better weapons with each level of new alien combatants. Buying levels in each weapon improves the kill ratio and dispatches the poor critters rather effectively. With musket, shotgun and ray gun as your offensive you may also buy sandbags to hide behind.

The downsides now. You never have any exploration beyond your front lawn as you are out on the porch defending it to the hilt. You have to go to main menu to reach your shed to find the additional weapons which can only be purchased with orbs but that is where it gets you. Beyond the 500 orbs they give you for upgrades you have to buy via credit/debit/Paypal or electronic check the collection of orbs ranging from 25,000 to 1,000,000 orbs. The cost is 25,000 Orbs is .99 cents to the 1,000,000 is 19.99 but let's face it, you spend at least ten bucks a month on most MMORPGs so why go crackers?

The so called music does not alter throughout the game and trust me, after 6 levels of it you will go to main menu and switch it off. No real strategy to speak of other than smoke as many you can in a row for better points. All in all, a classic causal shooter game that is simple to play without a lot of in-depth story-line to follow.

Ahh! They're swarming!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Free to Play Week: Counter-Strike Zombies

Hello and welcome back to Day 2 of Free to Play Week and of course a good round of gaming isn't complete without at least one zombie game. Since 1992 with Alone in the Dark and in 1996 with Resident Evil, zombies have been the default enemy for FPS and TPS for survival horror. With this creation on October falling under Massive Multiple Online First Person Shooter giving a Player Vs Player and Player Vs Everyone. This is Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies.

Get in position, men!

A spin-off of Counter-Strike after four incarnations, this MMOFPS offers a free-for-all bloodbath action that can easily be causal to a full coordinated assault. Counter-Strike is one of the more popular online games to date. From the pitting of terrorists vs counter-terrorists play face off to their objective in round-based combat.

With the option of being the tactical human squad member to being a rampaging zombie rendering flesh and creating exponentially more zombies, the graphics run fairly smooth, give multiple levels or mapped regions to play in. Make no mistake, this is purely team effort, free range games of racking up kill counts and solo journeys. With a wide variety of weapons and ground to choose from, the roaming undead are not slumping along Romero style but actually very quick, aggressive and dangerous as all get out. After six violent deaths I know of what I speak. It's the gluing fingers back on part that annoys me.

Due for a mani, Carl.

Zombie experience aside this version has all the standard modes like Hostage Rescue and Bomb Diffusion giving the team a split-second decision making all the while up in their necks in the enemy. From spectator, good guys and bad guys this Counter-Strike differs in only the introduction of zombies to this FPS franchise.

A few comments about the overall game play.

Keyboard directional is standard WASD and third button mouse to select weapons or the hot keyed F1 and on. Comes with a TeamSpeak or Ventrilo option for chating with your team. Standard FPS and TPS view can be swapped out during play or downtime between events as usual. The downsides are also abundant. The complex levels of menus, craftung system, the enormous inventory to keep track of and the server browser. Throughout the game time, pop-ups will occur on every menu screen to try and tempt you to play for the day. You haven't completed the weekly challenge. Are you sure you want to quit? You have unclaimed prizes! Are you sure you want to quit?

Meanwhile, the poor slob just wants lunch or maybe to go for a walk. Aside from the nagging of stay demands, the most problem you have is the zombie swarms book at an impressive rate so have a SAW (Squad Assault Weapon) at the ready. Other than an occasional jump scare the worst thing will happen is a finger cramp for the trigger button.

Zombie mime!!  Get it!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Free to Play Week: Dungeons & Dragons Online

Avast me hearties and welcome to Day 1 of Free to Play Week. We have chills, spills and thrills awaitin' ye brave enough to journey forward but make no mistake! For death awaits you all with big, sharp, pointy teeth and breath that could concuss a cow. Ahem... excuse me but it is just fun to dramatize now and then.

From the humble beginnings of TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) and from the hands of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson this realm was devised for table top gaming in 1974 to being a staple in the Wizards of the Coast publications, Dungeons & Dragons has seen four decades in as one of the first role-playing games available. But what if you cannot get all your friends around a table, have soda and rip off famous sci-fi fantasy and horror movie lines?  Enter Turbine's development of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach.

Death from above!

Beta tested in August 1, 2005, Turbine sent mass emails and invites to a public alpha testing this open ended fantasy game allowing parties to be formed, bonds to be forged and even dragons to be slain as the party learns teamwork and proper treasure sharing... or so we are lead to believe. Within the first hour of being on the attitude of the massive server seems to be XP (experience points) Fantatics, 8 Hour Gamers (Hopping from one long campaign to the next) , the lost NEWBIES (New Person)and the rude NOOBS (New Person who is ignorant, swears and in general demands all the knowledge without any experience). Quests ranging from 20 minutes to up to hours on end can be a hassle to lower appendages, bladder and hunger issues.

Avengers Assem... oh wait, that is a law suit waiting to happen.

After 4 hours on here as I have not frequent it as often as I had in the past, this was a steep learning curve. Fortunately for me, I came across a party of easy going folk that simply wanted to take out goblins and later tackle some orcs. All this for more experience points in order to level up their characters. Our wizard was a bit whiny on needing potions and demanded someone stay by him in order to cast spells and watch his back so he was not jumped but all in all a fun time of hack and slashing evil creatures and looting the bodies.

Now, the hook. Other adventures can only be added to your existing collection if you have either Turbine Points or simply a credit/debit card or Paypal purchase to these different modules. You can even do a monthly charge of 9.99 and there are items, weapons and spells at cost. Make no mistake, guys and dolls this is a money pit if you are not careful. "Hey, where did that guy get that flaming broadsword of many hurts??!!" "Why, I bought it at," Events are held through out the months offering prizes, funds and treasure for the hard hitting dungeon divers as well as the casual player.

Overall, the game play's camaraderie is pretty sound. Yes, there are some rude people hiding being enmity but you will have that in any form of electronic media and these trolls sadly you cannot slay with silver but simply ignore. The graphics are sound, the audio is most impressive but take it from me, if you do not want to hear every town, campsite or dungeon babbled about via narrator or Dungeon Master, go to audio and tweak the sounds. Chatting and IM codes differ from some games like Warcraft but essentially the same. Combat can lag only if you are swarmed by beasties or the servers is overloaded with so many folks onboard. This system will only cost what you put in it, so mind your spending like any other nonessential purchase.

I'M HUGE!!!  Dig me.

Free To Play Week

Howdy all and welcome to the week. Well given the level of nostalgia I have had for the last couple of weeks has been Movies and TV and once again I have been neglecting video gaming. So to make up for this oversight I have decided to tackle some of these freebie games and see if even half of them are worth what they are cracked up to be.

Get the feeling we are cannon fodder, Rob?

Ranging from point and click to MMORPG, these games can be promos, beta tests and introductions bringing a wide range of gaming and for all ages overall. Most of these games tend to offer a pay as you play or even a monthly charge to a credit or debit card. Puzzles, strategy and fps and survival games in genre of action, adventure, horror and science fiction bring different levels of enjoyment and provide some much needed fun.

To what end of each game is to find out how much money can be dropped past the basic campaign or initial quests is still remains to be seen at this time but we will research each title and different classes of game. Well I think it will pass on the Goat Simulator. Oh yes it exists and frankly it looks more mind numbing than a documentary on Pokemon Vs Dragon Ball Z.

Two horrors awaited Ensign Ricky.  A Borg attack and assigned under Captain Crusher.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Random TV Week: Have Gun Will Travel

Back again sports fans and welcome to Day 4 of Random TV Week This time we move towards San Francisco to a professional gunfighter, a trouble shooter if you will. The Enigmatic Paladin has his own calling card. So saddle up, have an ace in the hole and have your wits about you. This is Have Gun Will Travel.

Yikes that was a rough range.

Former West Point graduate and Civil War Veteran Paladin (Richard Boone of Halls of Montezuma, Call Me Mister, Return of the Texan, Pony Soldier, Medic, Hombre and Big Jake) has emerged from the war in favor of the finer things in life with his care free hotel room in the Carlton. When he wasn’t enjoying a series of poker or a bottle of Dom Perignon and seats at the opera; a professional gunslinger with his business card over a picture of a chess knight piece that reads: Have Gun, Will Travel…Wire Paladin, San Francisco. This man was characterized as an anti-hero. I assume this is due to the fact he is constituted as a bounty hunter, gunfighter and everyman’s hero. Traveling from town to town on horseback or by train he found his mission objectives and earned his money.
To me, he came across as a necessary evil. The final justice in a land that had no real law was at the barrel of his balanced and weighed .45 revolver, his derringer and a lever-action Marlin rifle. His marksmanship was second to none. His training, intelligence and tactical analysis gave him a massive edge.

So you like dangerous men, eh?

The only other reoccurring character is handy boy and bellhop Hey Boy (Kam Tong of The Hunters, Who Was That Lady, Walk Like a Dragon, The Virginian, Women of the Prehistoric Planet and Dimension 5) who Paladin harassed but it was good natured ribbing.
Now we discuss a few interesting notions of the show. Most of the character Paladin is shrouded in mystery. You get the concept that he is not proud of being a soldier in the Civil War and his personal honor is greatly tarnished from this.

So many TV actors cut their teeth under this show and many other have furthered their existing careers such as: Ken Curtis of Gunsmoke, Charles Bronson of The Dirty Dozen and the Mechanic, Jacqueline Scott of Gunsmoke and Ironside, character actor George Kennedy of Gunsmoke, Dr. Kildare and the Naked Gun trilogy and Norma Crane of Fiddler on the Roof and They Call Me Mister Tibbs!

Once again Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Iverson Ranch and Bronson Canyon Griffith Park were being used as background trails from horse thieves and bushwhackers. The series was filmed in 35mm Spherical and recorded in mono for audio. Paramount once again is the production for the CBS entertainment as it was with Gunsmoke, The Jack Benny Program and The Red Skelton Show. A darker storyline but justice always prevailed in one form or another.

Cripes another white Native American escaped from F Troop again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Random TV Week: The Dresden Files

Welcome one and all, back to Random TV Week as we explore Day 3. Thus far, we have had some laughs and some darkness with decent humor attached. How about we take in some magic? No, David Copperfield is not invited. I speak of tapping into the powers of the elements, thaumaturgy, invocations and transmutations. Dragons, ghosts and lycanthropes oh my. But who would we turn to when it all goes pear shaped? Why Chicago's Finest... wizard. From the pages of best-selling author Jim Butcher comes a different kind of gumshoe. A shamus with a wand, charms and a wacky sidekick. This is The Dresden Files.

Silly wizard, spells are for kids!

With the development team of screenwriter Hans Beimler (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Tek War and Riverworld) and producer/screenwriter Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Futuresport, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Stephen King's Dead Zone, Andromeda and Scarlett) it would appear that they would handle the genius of what was crafted by Butcher of a wizard that does not wear a pointy hat, a long flowing beard and doesn't even have a proper keep. That's Merlin's bag, baby and Harry Dresden (Paul Blackstone of Holby City, The Truth Game, Presidio Med, E,R., Deadwood, Big Shots and Arrow) is a wisecracking, pop culture loving smart ass spellslinger that works on commission. When he isn't peeping through keyholes, tracking bail jumpers or dealing with the occasional demon threatening maiming and destruction, he is a consultant for Chicago P.D.offering a unique view at the world.

Hmm, this time of the month that folks aren't prepared for.

Entrusting the City's money to this supernatural sleuth is one Lieutenant Karen Murphy (Valerie Cruz of Nip/Tuck, Hidden Palms, No Man's Land: The Rise of the Reeker, The Devil's Tomb, True Blood and Homeland) a no nonsense, hard nosed cop that always collars her man snares Dresden for case by case standing whose abilities always gets results even if her superiors cannot stand the stigma being associated with a self-proclaimed "wizard". With his former mentor/tutor/friend and clever ghost Bob/Hrothbert of Bainbridge (Terrence Mann of Critters, Critters 2, The Equalizer, Critters 3, Critters 4, Gargoyles, Eavesdrop, Red Hook and Freedom) a thousand year old sorcerer trapped in his own skull for using black magic, does penance for his wicked doings by assisting Harry in his cases and not getting enough credit in return. Harry must battle the evils of the world and the darkness inside him after his own taste of black magic.

To remind him constantly of his former wicked ways is the White Councils' chief warden, Morgan (Conrad Coates of Smallville, Kyle XY, Reaper, Helen, Skyrunners, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, TRON: Legacy and This Means War) a blade wielding no nonsense cop in his own right except if you break the Laws of Magic, your sentence can be swift and headless.

A few comments about this show now. Lasting only a season, a lot was changed to the dynamic of the stories but the essence of Harry, Chicago and Murphy were preserved. There were big stinks of turning Morgan into a black man and frankly Conrad Coates delivered on every scale so no issues here with moi.

Bob was made a ghost rather than a spirit of intellect/horndog and folks were miffed in spite of Terrance Mann's eloquent nature to lewd commentary. James Marsters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel was approached to play Harry after being the audio
book reader of the series but he felt he had too much going on in California to move to Toronto to shoot.

Dresden fans of both book and TV series vary, bicker and also enjoy this brief look into a world of magic and who knows, maybe a new series will be redrafted or even a film. It is a realm of possibilities.

Drop dead gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Random TV Week: Fawlty Towers

Greetings again readers and on to Day 2 of Random TV Week. It has come to my attention I have covered several British comedies but I have done nothing of the illustrious Monty Python collective... at all. Firstly, the internet is froth with comparisons, hyper-boles and enthusiasms of the prestigious troupe and I felt I could not do it justice. Secondly... I forget to put my own two cents worth in weighing this crew so I shall endeavor to point out some of the brilliance that is John Cleese. While many view him to be full of himself, I will not stand on my soap box and defend his every act. Instead I thought I would tackle on of his writing works that did amuse many and disturbed others. This is Fawlty Towers.

Yes, I do tower over you.

This series is a focus around an eccentric hotel owner Basil Fawlty (John Cleese of Monty Python, How to Irritate People, Doctor Who, The Great Muppet Caper, Time Bandits, A Fish Called Wanda, Erik the Viking and Fierce Creatures) a short tempered, short sighted, people person challenged hotelier, his wife Sybil (Prunella Scales of Mapp & Lucia, When We Are Married, Consuming Passions, After Henry, Signs and Wonders and Station Jim) whose ability to undermine and overthrow Basil's orders around the hotel is with style and grace of a vindictive cat tormenting a mouse. Their staff consists of Polly (co-creator of Fawlty Towers/writer/actress Connie Booth of Monty Python's Flying Circus, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Worzel Gummidge, Deadly Game, Flood Tide, The Tomorrow People and The Buccaneers) the maid that balances art, general management and household cleaning and lastly Manuel (Andrew Sachs of The History of Mr. Polly, Dead Ernest, Every Silver Lining, William's Wish Wellingtons and Quartet) a hapless waiter from Barcelona that doesn't speak the language and Basil insists he speaks Spanish.

Nurse Bad Touch.

Our stories are centered around the seaside town of Torquay. The creation of this bizarre character Basil was due to the hotel owner of the Gleneagles Hotel who constantly belittled guests, scoffed at staffs' requests and even chastised Terry Gilliam's table manners during dinner, yanked the fork from his hand and placed it accordingly in the other. In short, the rudest man Cleese had ever the misfortune to meet.

With the aid of Connie Booth, Cleese and she began to flush out a hotel of loopy guests and staff that manage to create everything from a grease fire, to annoying members of Royal and presenting a rat on food being served to a health inspector. Most of Basil's mishaps are due to his horrendous people skills and the need to keep what he deems necessary but far too costly expenses down. Seriously, it is a wonder the roof doesn't go flying off or simply cave-in.

And what hotel storyline would do without some regular guests, eh wot? The dotty retired Major Gowen (Ballard Berkeley of In Which We Serve, Stage Fright, Sherlock Holmes, The Main Chance, Dixon of Dock Green and The Weekend Murders) and the longest residents a befuddled elderly couple of friends Miss Tibbs (Gilly Flower of Work Is a 4-Letter Word, The Root of All Evil ?, Z Cars, Thriller, Beryl's Lot and Blood Money) and Miss Gatsby (Renee Roberts of Play for Today, What Became of Jack and Jill?, Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers) the hotel i believe was haunted by a sadist poltergeist. 

Two of the best running gags in this series is Basil's accumulative collection of faux lovingly references to his wife Sybil. My personal favorite is my little nest of vipers. The other is the sign in front of the hotel is constantly messed with. Whether the letters are made crooked, taken a few or re-arranging them it will always put a slight smile to your face.

Beloved as this creation is lasting two seasons at 12 episodes, that there have been attempts to re-create in both the UK and America which honestly they were near misses at best. These shows are: Chateau Snavely, Amanda's, Payne and Over the Top and frankly they are not worth a fetid pair of dingo's kidneys to view.   Well maybe Chateau Snavely.

Oh look at these sour Krauts!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Random TV Week: Angel Season 3

Hello and I hope I can entice you for Day 1 of Random TV Week. This time around I thought we would check in with the deceased detective, the post-mordum p.i., the man with fangs and a soul, Angel. When last I wrote anything about the fellow he was on a downward spiral to damnation and found refuge in the loins of his former sire/lover Darla. When two vampires managed to bring into the world a boy born of vampire. A prophecy child if you will and we all know how well that can go. So it is time for Team Angel to be able to swat off the dastardly demons and vicious vampires that want the day old boy for food, fiendish plots and felonious deeds. This is Angel Season 3.

Team Angel went struttin'.

As the spin-off continues, Angel (David Boreanz of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Valentine, The Hard Easy, The Mighty Macs, Full Circle and Bones) has been told his estranged lover/vampire slayer Buffy has died. Balancing with Season 5 of Buffy, the slayer has past and her undead beau doesn't know what to do other than carry on his mission against evil alongside his friends/colleagues/fellow monster hunters to perhaps dull the pain and loss.

His closest friend Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Voodoo Moon, Relative Chaos, Veronica Mars, The Expendables, Greek and The Lying Game) tries her level best to be there for his friend and stay strong for him. Rejoining him in the fight against evil, a street-smart hunter Charles Gunn (J. August Richards of Why Do Fools Fall in Love, The Temptations, Conviction, Raising the Bar and Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) a former Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Dunoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing, How I Met Your Mother, Finding Carter and Grimm) and a recently rescued physicist from a hell dimension Winifred Burkle (Amy Acker of Alias, 21 and a Wake-Up, Dollhouse, The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Person of Interest) must all rally against the forces of darkness one case at a time to aid the City of Angels no matter what the cost.

Yes, I am the show's Femme Fatale.

Darla (Julie Benz of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Brothers, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Rambo and No Ordinary Family) reappears bearing... a pregnant belly???? The evil law firm Wolfram & Hart also are back to make Angel's unlife a living hell which is no small task with the rogues gallery this guy is stacking up. Seriously, he and Batman could compare nutters in their lives. Is the child of Angel and Darla to be a savior or a sinner? What will his life mean in the grand scheme of things?

A few comments about the season now. We see more of the Host/Lorne (Andy Hallett of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Enforcers, Chance, Angel and Geppetto's Secret) as he becomes a regular on the show rather than a side character.

More elaborate demon make-up by Dayne Johnson and Robert Hall as well as poor stunt double for Boreanz, Mike Massa gets flung about on pulleys and tossed about like so much rubbage.  

Too late for a group hug?

Random TV Week

Well greetings my readers and welcome to the beginning of the week. I have been a bit stumped about this and was racking my brains for the better part of 5 hours and I decided to just go with my gut. I have not given the idiot box a chance and thought some a few shows I am currently enjoying might just be the ticket. Keep in mind, I do enjoy more than a handful of shows that have been canceled or ran its course so that is a likely scenario to prepare yourselves for.

No, I don't think the space station is too phallic.  Well...

I almost did a collection of horror movies but I really want to stem away from my earliest writings and try to get a fresh perspective on other entertainment. I shall not, nor is it likely I ever will be tackling reality TV series so my apologies up front on that. What I can promise is to share a wide spectrum of past and present so we can hope for the best and again if you have any suggestions for the week, hit me up via Facebook, Twitter and the like.    

I say, you wouldn't happen to seen a blue box around here?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Entertainment of 1976: All the President's Men

Welcome back ladies and gents to Day 3 of Entertainment of 1976. Now then I could have jotted down a quick write up yesterday but it was my birthday and my mother and girlfriend took me out to have some fun. A novel concept in of itself. With that in mind what say we take in a show of mystery, intrigue, shadowplay and conspiracy? Perhaps one of this country's greater scandals that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and brought writers Woodward and Bernstein to the echelons of print. And all they had to do was skulk, take notes and avoid capture for the Watergate scandal. This is All the President's Men.

Well maybe he is just dusting... in the dark.

With the follow-up to the 1972 elections, a minor break-in to the Democratic Party headquarters, string writer Bob Woodward (Robert Redford of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Great Gatsby, Three Days of the Condor, Out of Africa and Spy Game) finds it conveinent that the burglars are arrested, all issues are handed and loose-ins completely tied up in record time. In a town where your car can get jacked and you may not see it again or ever, this seems fishy. Sensing a further story to be had, Woodward uncovers that five men, four Cubans from Miami and CIA officer James Walter McCord had bugged the hotel itself keeping tabs on their country club attorney.

Smelling blood in the water, Editor Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards of Once Upon a Time in the West, Johnny Got His Gun, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Legend of The Lone Ranger, Parenthood and Philadelphia) knows Woodward is on the right track and this story is going to rattle the nation assigns Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman of The Graduate, Kramer vs Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man, Hook and Finding Neverland) to help cover the breaking news and gather all the facts. Government officials are stonewalling them and even the most reliable sources are remaining quiet when Woodward and Bernstein receive a message to meet an anonymous source to let them in on the juicy details.

So there's big money in comic book themed movies?

Under the cover of darkness in a discreet parking lot their informant "Deep Throat" (Hal Holbrook of Magnum Force, Lincoln, The Creeper, The Fog, North and South, Designing Women and The Bachelor) who speaks in riddles and hyperbole speaking how "follow the money" our ace reporters piece together that the five burglars managed to swindle thousands of dollars set aside for Nixon's re-election campaign and the heat is coming down on our boys for not identifying their source. Apparently constitutional rights are only conducive when it suits the situation. Which links to the White House Chief of Staff creating a slush fund to buy votes, obstruct the ballad box and in general put the wool over America's eyes. Digging deeper, our steadfast ink slingers start connecting the dots to covert ops on stateside of which the CIA are NOT ALLOWED to operate on in the first place.

With this damning news the cover-up puts our legmen in mortal danger trying to make them disappear and sweep this under the rug. Will the truth come to the light?? Will Nixon get away with illegal dealings??

A few tidbits on the flick now. An appearance in the movie is oddly enough Frank Wills, security guard that discovers the break-in playing himself in the role. Redford and Hoffman memorized each other's lines so they could interrupt each other accurately like they were in the true conflict.

In May 31, 2005 in a Vanity Fair article "Deep Throat" came forward and outed himself as former Deputy Director of the FBI Mark Felt. 

To capture the essence of the roles Redford and Hoffman spent months in the Washington Post offices, sitting around the bullpen and sitting in on news conferences to get the hustle and bustle of a newspaper man.

A suspenseful thriller of political maneuvering and obstruction of Justice based solely on the Watergate Scandal.  Not having the stranglehold that reemerged since 1986, The MPAA originally was going to rate this movie as R for the language but realized the significance of the material and the impact it has had on the nation to PG as it is deemed necessary by writing and film classes nationwide.  

Whadda mean I am not good for Jaws? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Entertainment of 1976: Carrie

Welcome back the insanity that is Entertainment of 1976 and boy did I find us a nice family friendly film. Okay, I didn't but it was very slim pickings for family movies and I had no desire to watch Star Wars YET again. So instead, what say we watch a sweet sheltered and abused 17 year old girl responding in kind. One could suggest it may have to do with her nutty Christian fundamentalist mother but hey that could never happen, right? This is Carrie.

Still disco era?????  THE HORROR!!!

17 year old Carrie White (Sissy Spacek of Katherine, 3 Women, Heart Beat, The River, The Long Walk Home, JFK, The Grass Harp, If These Walls Could Talk and Nine Lives) is constantly berrated by her mother Margaret (Piper Laurie of The Hustler, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point, Carrie, The Woman Rebel, Tim, The Thorn Birds, Return to Oz, Appointment with Death, Twin Peaks, Trauma and The Grass Harp) leaving her shy, timid and completely inable to make friends. Feeling the Christ like love there. One day in the showers after gym class has her first very delayed period and having no idea what menstruation is she freaks out. The other girls decide to not bother to help the girl out they form a lynch mob led by popular girls Sue (Amy Irving of Carrie, Yentl, Micki + Maude, Crossing Delancey, A Show of Force and Deconstructing Harry) and Chris (Nancy Allen of Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Robocop, Limit Up, Robocop 2, The Man Who Wouldn't Die, Against the Law and Out of Sight) by pelting her with tampons and pads.

The gym teacher shoos the thoughtless cows away and explains to Carrie what is going on with her body when a light-bulb explodes while Carrie is disturbed. Her mother refers her period as divine punishment for her sins and she needs to reflect and pray in a cramped closet for forgiveness. So our little gal is terrified to interact with humans so naturally, the entire PE class is under a mandatory attendance of a week-long detention workout session that rivals a drill sergeant's evil.

Shower hazing gets rough!

Sue feels bad for Carrie and tries to make amends by convincing her boyfriend Tommy (William Katt of First Love, Big Wednesday, The Rainmaker, The Greatest American Hero, House and White Ghost) to invite her the prom as a great practical joke. Carrie is skeptic but trying to deal with this growing power of what appears to be telekinesis and takes Tommy up on the prom. This of course leads to shenanigans on Chris's behalf... getting revenge on the girl that she tortured. Will the prom end in tears? Will Carrie feel accepted?

A few bits of info on this movie now. This was the first Stephen King novel adapted into a movie. The dizzying camera shot during the prom scene was created by putting William Katt and Sissy Spacek on a platform spun in one direction while the camera was dollied in another direction.

Given the success of Carrie at the box-office brought Stephen King to a wide range audience and improved his book sales. The prom scene alone took two weeks to shoot and required almost a grand total of 35 takes. Being invited to play Sue or Chris, Sissy Spacek was stunned with Director Brian De Palma sees her as the lead character and proposed she take up the role. So well known for the role of Carrie, Sissy Spacek would later perform the audio-book of Carrie. 

Well clearly she is in error as she being drug to the whipping closet.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Entertainment of 1976: Barricade

Welcome one and all to Entertainment of 1976, dig? Yeah I am actually enjoying this week for just the love of fond memories and the like. This time around I felt the enjoyment of old school coin-operated arcade games. The wee hours wined away with a few glowing screens that amused and delighted many.  This is Barricade.

Scintillating graphics!

Ranging from 2 to 4 players, this maze arcade game was released by RamTek publishing in 1976 with a standard upright console, our game would pit players against one another to create walls or barriers to surround their opponents and forcing them to crash.

Made in black & white keeping costs down allowing RamTek publishing to mass produce consoles and allowing multiple arcades, roller rinks and movie theaters to place and rack up the quarter collection. This is a directional based video game of layering barriers and requires a bit of lateral thinking on how to defeat your fellow players does not offer retrials or one ups. Imagine the Nintendo Gamecube/PS2 era crowd are baffled at this point. With only one channel for sound or Mono if you prefer, this game emits an annoying sound that is slightly piercing to the ears.

A few bits of trivia on RamTek now. Since 1973 to 1979 fifteen different machines have been released with this trade name out and about. The other games around this time were: Trivia, Hit Me, Deluxe Baseball, Horoscope, Sea Battle, Clean Sweep, Wipe Out, Hockey, Soccer and Volly.

An alternative title to Barricade is also known as Brickyard due to the court case Gremlin Publishing's Blockade created first, With an agreement to rename Barricade, the game itself was actually physically less similar to Blockade and allowed them to create Barricade II in 1977.

Noika phones felt the need to resurrect this game as a default game and renamed it Snake.

Head-to-head competition!!!

Entertainment of 1976

Welcome back my gentle readers. As you know I seemed to have disappeared last week and no rhyme or reason. Well I got disconnected and it took a few days to reconnect and allowed me time to write on my detective novel so it was not time wasted at all. That being said, I am aging on Wednesday and felt I should take time to think of the games, TV and movies of the year of my birth of which is 1976. Yes, that old. With all this in mind I thought we could tackle games of yesteryear, films that may have moved us and TV that graced generations.

Travis Bickle, portrait of the sane.

With that, this week's theme is simply known as Entertainment of 1976. With from the underdog struggle that was Rocky to the disturbing visuals and evils that was The Omen, 1976 managed to find solace in the cinema, back at home and even in the arcades and roller rinks. With the re-creation of Godzilla providing action figures and the Japanese company Toei, licensed by Mattel brought 24 inch high figures known as the Shogun Warriors. Naturally, Marvel Comics jumped on the chance to give both franchises, comic books allowing further circulation. Mego balanced with DC comics, Marvel comics and popular shows of ChiPs, Starsky and Hutch, Happy Days and Planet of the Apes.

So feel free to have a nostalgia flashback with me or be amazed that such concepts happened and enjoy.

That's not Captain Stubing!  That's Mel Brooks!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

600th Blog!!! Halloween Resurrection

Happy Halloween everyone and welcome to Day 5 of Halloween Week. This marks two impressive moments. One, this is my 600th blog! Yah!! Two, we have a Halloween movie for Halloween!!! That being said, why in the seven hells did I have to review piece of flotsam??!!! Yeah, folks I am not thrilled to be tackling this particular sequel of the substantial series. For those of you that disliked Halloween H20, really despised this fun filled pile of scum. So let's roll up our sleeves, stretch the muscles out and go out swinging. This was Halloween Resurrection.

Gonna get his... oh I don't even care.

Three years after H20, Laurie Strode had been sent to the whacko basket, I mean a psychiatric hospital as (SPOILER) she had lopped the head off of a paramedic and not her brother Michael in some costume switcheroo cliche. Myers apparently attacked this poor paramedic by crushing his larynx and swapping his uniform for Myers' jumpsuit and mask. While the poor lad got beheaded, Myers has snuck away into the woods and either went into hiding for the next three years. Back to the nuthouse, Laurie is prepped for Michael's arrival and has gone full Home Alone with the hospital to do the old boy in but to no avail. Yeah they greased Laurie. His 20 year mission is at an end. So end of movie right? WRONG! Sadly that was only the first 15 minutes and maybe 10 to 12 snippets of dialogue from Laurie. So glad we drug Jamie Lee Curtis back for that.

A year later we are having a reality show in Michael Myers' house for six college students must spend a night in the house that brought forth evil and figure out what caused he to go completely crackers and start up his killing spree. I figured it was the tacky wallpaper but that was just my approximation. Our six contestants decide in the ultimate wisdom to split up and search for clue, Scooby teen gang style. Zoiks! No sooner do these collective bags of hammers separate it would appear that Michael starts systematically wiping them out. Who could have seen that coming?


Yes this is what the saga has be reduced to, the slaughter of Laurie with a year's follow-up of wacking people in his childhood home. Thank you Dimension Films for dragging us through all that for this half-assed collection of gore scenes with next to no plot. When writer of The Drifter (Larry Brand of Backfire, Masque of Red Death, Till the End of the Night, Paranoia and The Right Temptation), a vastly underrated thriller starring Timothy Bottoms and Kim Delany was transcribed to write this end of an era I figured I was well onto the summing of a final chapter. Laurie finally defeats him and can breathe again... instead I get catch phrases that are dated, Busta Rhymes throwing cowboy with Myers and Tyra Banks not voting off models.

Let's take wacky facts about the flick now. Just for the sake of ending this review and I can go on to watch better horror movies. Jamie Lee Curtis agreed to reprise her character Laurie Strode so she would NEVER EVER be back for yet another sequel. Long time Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad made it sound during the theatrical release that Curtis was so impressed with the screenplay and could hardly wait to be a part of the legacy when actually she was under contract. Yeah lot of sunshine shot up the collective sphincters there, huh?

Director Rick Rosenthal was brought back to direct this festering boil on a dog's anus after 21 years prior bringing us the vastly superior Halloween II in 1981. While our body count seemed extremely light at a whopping ten I suppose you could count the some of the bodies from the flashback sequence so giving it a tally of 14.

Still love the fact we skipped Tyra Bank's death scene but you get to see the aftermath in said van. So basically it was almost stating she wasn't deemed worthy of an on-screen death. What crap was that? Too pricey an effect??? Anywho, this was one that clung to the bowl no matter how many times you flushed. With this being the final nail in the original series' coffin, it is another 5 years before Rob Zombie picks it up from the ashes and starts anew. 

 Now normally I am not one for reboots but honestly I dug that he expanded beyond Carpenter's original path of pure evil, gave him a dark childhood and slowly warped him. Just a different take on it and it does not detract the folks from the originals at all. Resurrection however could convince you to Google Rick Rosenthal's home address just to egg it, his car and maybe even the family dog.

(sigh) It's a living.