Archive for » July, 2010 «

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Hey all! Here’s a quick reminder that we’re still taking submissions for a new anthology put together by myself, Louis Fowler and Rod Lott!

The submission deadline was extended to mid August, so you still have plenty of time to wrap up your entries! We’ve got a good turn out of stories so far, so give us a scare!

Be sure to check out the details below!

NEW BIGFOOT PRINT ANTHOLOGY CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Skunkape. Whatever you call him, this cryptozoological American legend has entertained and befuddled us for generations. From grainy Zapruder-like film to family fare such as “Harry and the Hendersons”, the Bigfoot is an ingrained part of our culture. And, now, we’re gonna tell the other side of his story…the further adventures of Bigfoot!
Conceived in a fever pitch this past Horrorhound Weekend, Louis Fowler, editor of DAMAGED 2.0 and Casey Criswell, editor of “Cinema Fromage”, are teaming up with Rod Lott at BOOKGASM for an as-yet-to-be-titled Bigfoot Anthology, to be published under the new “BOOKGASM PRESENTS” banner. And, as with any anthology worth it’s salt, we need quality writers wanting to tell their own version of the Sasquatch myth!

Think that you’ve got an unique story to tell? We want it! Anyone can do a typical Bigfoot-scares-teen-campers tale…we want something different. Stories can put the creature in anytime or anyplace or any situation, as long as it is entertaining! Think your story is too “B-movie”? Chances are we’ll like it even better. Think your “take” is too insane? We want to read it!
Short story submissions need to be at least 1500 words, but feel free to go longer to tell the story that you need to. Additionally, flash fiction of at least 250 words will also be considered, but, please tell a story.
NO POETRY.
All submissions should be sent as a .doc file, in 12 point Times New Roman font. No crazy fonts, please. Number all pages and please include name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address in the top left corner of the first page.
For work accepted, authors will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology in which their work appears.

We will be accepting submissions from now until June 15th. Authors will be notified of acceptance shortly thereafter by email.

Send all submissions to damagedhearing@gmail.com with the subject “BIGFOOT SUBMISSION”.
Thanks, and we look forward to seeing your stuff!

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

2007′s “Knock Knock” has an admirable setup for a slasher flick. You have a group of spunky young teens who’s parents have a history in the town. You have a random someone knocking off kids with no recognizable order. You have a grizzled ex-cop that happens to be in town. A story of wrong doing in the past with someone likely out looking for revenge! All in all, it’s definitely a perfect slasher setup. It’s a proven theory, we’ve already seen it in “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Halloween”.

The biggest thing holding “Knock Knock” back is the bottom of the barrel acting that permeates the flick from beginning to end. To say that the actors involved weren’t even interested is an understatement. Making matters worse, there are some casting choices going on here that are just downright…perplexing.

One of our main characters…well really he’s a boy named Uggi we’re led to believe is a main character, is the son of the Sheriff. Once we meet the Sheriff, he appears to be around two to four years older than his son Uggi. I’m assuming that’s his dad anyways; they mentioned his dad’s the Sheriff and he has a big patch on his shirt that says ‘SHERIFF’ just in case you didn’t pick up on the badges and the cowboy hat and stuff. Now the cop-dad? That was weird. Things got even more topsy-turvy when Detective Billie Vega shows up. Her first appearance is her arrival at a crime scene where a high school boy was pinned to his front door using ice picks. She steps out with her long curvy legs and stiletto heels taking up the entire camera. As she stands, the camera pans up to reveal her skirt resting above mid thigh and on up across her sheer blouse that hides nothing. I’m no prude; I can appreciate a stacked blonde dressed like a stripper as much as the next guy. She continues to show up in other near-trampy type outfits the rest of the movie. It’s never explained why she dresses as such and it really adds nothing to the character other than showing us all her parts. If that was their point, I appreciate it, but she really added nothing to this already dismal movie.

Sadly, these odd casting choices are truly the standouts of the film. Most of our gore is handled off screen in cutaways leaving us only the aftermath. With the bad acting, it was nigh impossible to connect to anybody in the film for any kind of remorse or sympathy. Actually, I take that back; there is one character, the mentally challenged janitor of the school that is tied into the history of events that is plaguing this small town and its horny teenagers. This guy, though I forget his name now, is the only character you can really sympathize for. He seems pretty harmless and enjoys his tie dyed shirts and such. Naturally, everybody in town is going to automatically pin things on him because he’s not like everybody else. There may have been something in there about our mysterious stranger trying to disguise himself as our lovable janitor but I can’t really say. Everything becomes a bit muddled and confusing about thirty minutes in.

When you hear the “Knock Knock” at your door, don’t even bother getting out of your chair.

If you’re feeling brave though, this one’s available on Netflix Instant Watch. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya though!

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

For about the last year, my good friend Charlie over at The Movie Fan House Podcast has been telling me that I have to track down “Sasquatch Hunters”. He knows my love of bad movies quite well and he’s become familiar with my other love, Bigfoot. Since I’ve been diving into Netflix so heavily here during the slow season, I figured it was finally time to check it out. Charlie was right; this was something special all right!

If I had to lay some kind of label on “Sasquatch Hunters” to give you some kind of clue as to what you’re getting into, in hindsight I’d have to say that in first two acts of this movie? This is the best Bigfoot after school special you’ve ever seen! I’m not sure where the film makers picked up the score for this movie as it’s the most odd fitting score I’ve seen in some time. There are sweeping strings and an odd air of epic adventure as the hikers in this little masterpiece-o-shit and the little up lifting sweep as the trucks drive off after the dump the hikers in the woods, it almost brought me to tears! It really didn’t match anything at all I was watching on screen but by god, that was some moving music! It went quite well the instructional video acting that was going on, like in that movie they showed in sex-ed in junior high where we finally learned that the hair growing in your no-no parts doesn’t mean you’re a freak of nature.

The setup surrounds a group of park rangers taking a paleontologist, an archaeologist and a large breasted blonde on a four day hike to find some bones. Our little group of scientists (plus record taking eye-candy/student) claim that somebody brought a bone to their museum that was found in the forest. They weren’t quite positive but they’d SWEAR it was a gorilla femur and there’s just no way that there are gorillas in the States! NO WAY! They want to find a full skeleton to continue their studies, so they call the local park ranger to escort them. He rounds up his three Barney Fife-esque deputies and shanghai’s his ex-colleague into going with. I’m still not quite positive why he had to trick this guy into coming with, but he really didn’t want to go. I think it had something to do with dead hikers and a forest fire, but I kind of passed out there at some point in the middle and may have hit my head. Still kind of fuzzy on that part.

Anyways…

With the combination of a corn ball orchestral score and the sterile nature of the acting going on early in this film, it really does feel like something your teacher might show you on one of those days before Christmas Break. You know those days, when the teacher had all but given up and wants nothing but his two weeks off, so he digs in the library for a movie to show the class to eat up time. Except he had the idea about a day later than all the other teachers, so all he got was some crap film about safety in the woods and how to fend off bigfoot attacks. It could have been a movie they showed you in health class two with the ham fisted flirting going on between the rangers and the college gals on hand. (I’ve always been a nerd and awkward when trying to pick up a girl. Still don’t know how I landed my wife. Even I can flirt better than these guys.) It’s that bad! The characters and weirdly stereotypical and coming across with the most comic variations of their type. Mr. ‘I don’t want to babysit no hikers’ ex-ranger is full of pent up anger that is passing through Ned Flanders. The college professor is a cuddly old grey-haired man filled with bad jokes and likes telling the ladies that they remind him of his puppy. (Note: ???) We have Janet the park ranger secretary who’s sooo excited to leave her ranger-secretary job behind and hit the woods she could almost pee. (Note: like a puppy!) Everybody is just a mish-mash of milquetoast niceness! Every Boy Scout leader ever dreams of having a troop this nice.

Unfortunately for them (but fortunate for us), they run into Harry the CGI Sasquatch and then all of our characters make a bizarre 90 degree turn and the movie changes completely!

Once our gang starts be hunted one by one, all of the characters change. The park rangers have all of sudden turned into hardened veterans who talk like they’ve served a few tours a piece in the Smokey The Bear conflict of 76. Mr. Angry-Pants the ex-ranger gives us a near flashback induced retelling of his time letting hikers die in a forest fire, they’re all packing heavy heat and rolling about in action movie barrel roles and taking pot shots into the forest. At one point? They form a phalanx! You know, that common war movie tactic where all of our heroes form a huddled circle where they all stand back to back, firing off into every direction. I had no clue they taught that as part of the Park Ranger training these days! It’s a good thing they did though because you never know when you’re going to run into a CGI Sasquatch in the forest. Mr. Cuddly Professor, he stays pretty much the same. Even when he’s angry. I’m telling you, this guy’s one hi-diddly-ho away from Ned Flanders. My person favorite though is our dopey Jr. Ranger who was trying his hardest to badly flirt with the buxom blonde student/photographer. Once the hit fits the shan here, he turns into Bruce Willis circa “Die Hard”. Wise cracks, a tough guy routine and a complimentary ‘once we make it out of here, I”m on the first plane back to Cincinnati’. Quality stuff. This is also the point that Mr. Angry Pants ex-Ranger decides to start dropping F-bombs seemingly at random throughout the rest of the film. They have to shed that whole after school special image now, we’re in grizzled war vet territory now!

Now I’m sure the question everybody is dying to hear is how the sasquatch looked. I can only assume that that’s why you would still be reading about this. He’s pretty nifty. He’s big black and shaggy and fully of blurry CGI green screen effects. When he zooms in for the attack, you can see the fine work of the Photoshop blur tool they used to erase the outline of him on the frame! At least his early appearances are like this. Sometimes he shows up as a fat guy in a fur suit with an over sized mask. Sometimes he shows up as a guy standing outside the cabin with gorilla suit arms slammed over his own, reaching in to snatch Bruce Willis. Other times, I think he’s the same fat guy in a fur suit pasted into the frame a couple of different times. Regardless; he’s all fun, all the time.

“Sasquatch Hunters”? Yah, it’s not a good movie. It is chock full of cheese though and is the perfect movie for beer night with your friends. Everybody likes to try and be their own private MST3K when they get a few drinks into themselves and company. This is a great flick to cut your teeth on! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you may even snore and drool just a little bit!

You’ll also walk away quoting the most quotable line of the entire movie; “Spencer? SPENCER! spencer…. (spencer?) Spencer!…Spencer.”

Edit: Here’s a nice bit of trivia I found on the IMDb page:

“Writer Alain Matz told director Fred Tepper that he would write the script for less money if he was given one of the smaller roles in the film. Fred decided to pay him more and keep him off screen.”

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Friday, July 23rd, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

had a nightmare once. All light and color had leached out of the world, all of us were running around in the dark. We were clueless of what we were going to run into, we just knew that there was something out there in the dark coming after us and they weren’t coming to become fast friends. I vaguely remember my sister was kidnapped and I was trying to find her, but every step I took I found myself locked into another harrying puzzle that threatened to end my short life. It was pretty scary.

It was even more scary when it dawned on me I wasn’t having a nightmre, but playing a video game. A weird and darkly magical game that looked innocent on the outside but contained a dark world packed with menace and hard puzzles. A game called LIMBO from Play Dead Games.

We’ll make this little review quick and to the point to start out; wow, what a trip.

Photobucket Available now on the XBOX Live Marketplace for 1200 points, “LIMBO” is a striking little bit of game play. I can pretty much guarantee that the first thing that will captivate you with this game? It’s going to be the graphics. They’re amazing for a monochrome color pallette and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The world comes to life through silhouettes and shadows, making dangerous things that may bite hard to find and other thigns you happen to come across a bit of a surprise. With the entire game painted in this low color pallette, you would think that the gimmick may become tiresome after a bit. But no; Playdead actually manages to grow the graphics throught the game with foggy renders of weird locales and backdrops that help to make this dark little world come to life.

Beyond the spooky environs picture above, you may be wondering why this is being reviewed on a horror site? To be honest, it’s not a real horror game per-se. The game is gruesome though, especially for a black and white game! You never see more than just the blackened silhouette and lighted eyes of your character but you will see things like his head popping off, the trails of blood and guts and his in probably broken body as the great physics engine kicks in while you work through the world. For monochrome, these moments are surprisingly effective. There’s no blood red or anything to that effect. Just enough of an outline so that you know what you just caused to that poor little boy. All of which serves as a perfect underscore to a miscalculated step.

As for Gameplay, LIMBO pulls inspiration from a number of sources and genres, the primary being the puzzle genre. You’ll work through one puzzle after another throughout your progress mixed in with a touch of platforming and other types of game. There’s no out right combat, simply puzzle solving. If solving said puzzle happens to end in the death of a giant spider? So be it.

The best part of LIMBO that makes it outshine many puzzle quests is that the game is down right hard. It’s common to see games of this type plateau at a certain point, carrying the same level of difficulty until the end of the game. In LIMBO, the challenges are balanced delicately as the grow throughout the game. Early on you’ll find yourself feeling cocky at solving a few easy puzzles. Then you’ll stumble into a brain buster that will stump you for awhile. You’ll restart over and over as you try and approach the problem from different angels, repeatedly dying and starting again. Eventually, you’ll find that one small piece you were missing that will allow you to move on to the next challenge, which will stump you all over again.

Plain and simple; LIMBO is a fantastic game from the Xbox Live Arcade. It will dazzle you with its pretty black and white setting it will make your brain go to work to figure out how to get through. The game seldom slows down; you march straight from one challenge to the other. The sense of accomplishment and plain old curiosity to see what’s going to pop up next will carry you through to the end. Well worth the 1200 points!

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Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

IDW Publishing and Wildstorm Comics have joined forces to bring us a little cross over to warm the cockles of “X-Files” fans the world over by pitting faves Mulder and Scully against the animalistic vampires of Steve Niles and his arctic north!

On the bright side, Steve Niles is still here to pen this mini-series, so it’s in good hands. I’m not that familiar with Tom Mandrake’s work, but I can say that he’s doing a good enough job that you can’t tell where Niles leaves off and Mandrake takes over! They’re new at playing with the characters of Mulder and Scully and for this first issue, they handle the task just fine. There’s a minor side plot that is shoe-horned in here for Mulder which really isn’t needed at all but it doesn’t manage to distract from the main story though. So far, so good.

As for the playing in the existing “30 Days of Night” universe? Once again, we’re in Steve Niles’ yard here. He created all of this, so he knows what he’s doing! The story is dark and brooding with some solid setup that tugs ever so slightly at the heart strings and then slaps you with a good bit of gruesome aftermath. Mixing in the analytical skills of Mulder and Scully should make a great addition to the universe though we’ll have to wait to find out.

For a 1st issue, the book isn’t bad but hasn’t quite done enough to make me excited yet. I love the “X-Files”; a lot of people do. There are no hints here that they are going to reinvent that franchise, nor the “30 Days of Night” franchise either. They’re going to give us a nice little ‘fluff’ episode to welcome back some familiar faces. We’ll just have to bide our time to see how exciting this story is going to get.

Two of the most popular horror properties of the last two decades collide in this harrowing 6-issue adventure of epic proportions! Co-writers Steve Niles (writer and co-creator of 30 Days of Night) and rockstar-turned-writer Adam Jones (the band Tool) team with the amazing, moody artistry of industry legend Tom Mandrake (THE SPECTRE, BATMAN) to unleash the ultimate comic culture crossover!

When evidence of a possible cannibal killer in Wainright, Alaska, draws the attention of the FBI, Agents Mulder and Scully draw the less-than-glamorous assignment. But all is not as it seems once the agents are on the ground. Not only has the long seasonal darkness begun to fall, but there’s something unnatural about a few of the locals. And what does a chilling, mysterious black ship have to do with the murders? Find out here! Co-published with IDW.

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Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

These days it’s easy to get caught up in the slew of new release screeners that happen across my desk. So easy in fact that before long you realize you’re watching new movie after new movie, which makes the movies that you loved so much from the 70′s and 80′s become a distant memory . You distance yourself from these types of flicks as your work grows more and more in the public eye and before long, it’s been a good long while since you’re written up a good oldie-moldy.

Thanks to my decision to sign up for Netflix once again, I find myself in a great position. New releases in the middle of this scorching summer have slowed down quite a bit and now I have the stellar streaming service from Netflix at hand! Sure, they don’t have the entire movie catalog available to stream, but they are chock full of those old cheese fest’s that I love so much!

Initially upon looking through the Netflix streaming catalog, I was overwhelmed by the number of TV choices available to me. I don’t watch a lot of TV when it originally airs, but I’m always down for a binge session or two! Thankfully, that obsession only lasted for a few days. Today, I decided it had been far too long since I watched a movie (Almost a week and a half now, holy crap!) so I remedied that problem with 1984′s “Dreamscape” starring a young Dennis Quaid!

I’ve seen the film of psychologists and telekinetic heavyweights with feathered hair teaming up to tackle nightmares before. I’d say I’ve only seen it once though and the last time may well have been a good twenty years ago. I knew the basics of what the film was about and what I remembered liking about the movie, but not much of the details. I dove in not expecting much and was surprised to find a science fiction flick that held up fairly well over the past twenty six years! Let’s not forget the fact that the movie had a pretty stellar cast as well!

Once the movie got rolling, it soon became obvious that the highlight of “Dreamscape” truly is the cast. Sure, Dennis Quaid has his moments which are probably far behind him now. In the 80′s though, he was an all right guy. He wasn’t the real draw here though. No, what we have here is a sci-fi flick with powerhouses such as Max Von Sydow and Christopher Plummer, not to mention David Patrick Kelley looking all cleaned up after his stint in “The Warriors” and a young Kate Capshaw! (Say what you will about how she ruined “Indy 4″, the lady was a looker in the early 80′s!) Granted, none of these fine thespians were turning in the role of their careers here, but they were having fun with it. The fun translated to some entertaining movie watching.

Even the plot of “Dreamscape” was pretty out there for 1984 and it was a great fantastical setting for a science fiction flick. Everyone of us have thought at some time or another about wishing for a way to save that bizzarro dream that woke us up the night before as the memory fades fast. The idea of being to willingly put yourself into another’s dream to combat their nightmares or even the dreamer themselves was felt like something straight out of comic books! Today we have Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” moving in to cement “Dreamscape” as a vague recollection of our pasts, but “Dreamscape” did it first and in 1984 no less! Yes, the effects were hokey and so were the fashions but it was still a good time.

“Dreamscape” was brought back to my fore brain by a recent episode of Smodcast where Kevin Smith mentioned the film in comparison to the commercials of “Inception”. I myself haven’t seen the movie and to be honest, I think it’s going to be great! So don’t think I’m pulling a stodgy old fart schtick saying that there’s no way the new could outweigh the original! (To be honest, I don’t even know if they’re similar!) All I’m saying is that “Dreamscape” treads similar ground. For a an early 80′s schlock fest? It’s really not such a bad flick that outside of its dated effects, remains a decent story today! If you’re fired up for the dream logic of “Inception”? Throw “Dreamscape” in your instant watch queue, it’ll be fun!

Monday, July 19th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Growing up in Northern Indiana, I’ve met my fair share of Amish folk. Sure, we don’t have quite the Amish population that someplace like Pennsylvania has, but there are plenty of them out here. They’re a friendly folk and are always happy to lend a hand. I’ve always found them a bit fascinating to be quite honest in how they live their lives without all the things we take for granted!

That being said, they’re an oft overlooked culture for such things as horror films. I’m not saying we should target them or anything, but in today’s age of rehashing everything until it’s done to death, there’s a whole culture that could be mined for some story telling. Every other culture has taken their share of jabs and such and their way of life could lend itself to some decent plot turns in a new setting. When I read the plot for “The Season”, I was quite intrigued by the idea of a story set around a rogue sect of Amish folk!

In “The Season”, we find ourselves watching a large group of hapless people traveling the countryside. They all have different destinations in mind and reasons for being out there. Some are skipping parole, others are on vacation. When on a road trip, it only makes sense that you’re going to need gas along the way and luckily for all involved, there’s a homey little gas station run by a large Amish family out in the middle of nowhere! Everybody gases up and enjoys the lemonade and sandwiches offered up by the friendly Mrs. of the family and set about their merry way! As all parties leave the friendly wayside rest stop, they quickly learn that the station may have been plagued by a bad tank of gas as all of their cars break down. When they return to the homestead to look for help, they soon find that they may stopped at an unfortunate time of year; for the rogue sect of Amish that have been living here over the years, their breeding stock is wearing out and wouldn’t you know it? It’s mating season.

For a movie that promises something new with setting itself in the Amish culture, it turns out the base plot of “The Season” is in fact nothing new. We’ve seen a similar plot in many a backwoods hillbilly flick and this movie does nothing much to differentiate itself from these tales. It’s the same story, just a different group of people doing the inbreeding and murderin’! That’s not to say that the film is all bad however. Where “The Season” excels is its use of out of place gore, played off the gentile and friendly nature of the Amish people. Where with a backwoods freak, you expect craziness such as blood and guts and carnal attacks. With the Amish folk, you can expect some solid strength and some old world values, but you don’t expect those values to be enforced with blood laced attacks with mallets and pitch forks.

For you standard direct to DVD horror flick, the gore in “The Season” is well done and is kept from being too gratuitous. Sure, there’s a lot of it but it fits in with the plot and the nature of the characters that are carrying out the atrocities. The effects are well done for a low budget film and are truly the highlight of the film.

The plot here is not a real slouch either. While the story has been done before, the pace flows well throughout much of the movie and the characters carry on well in believable and entertaining fashion. We know where they’re going with everything in the film but we don’t mind watching. You’ll be looking forward to seeing just what will happen next attack wise and wonder as to how far the director will go with trying to make his film stand out from the pack. Unfortunately, all is not sunshine and roses as we hit the final act of the movie and “The Season” begins to suffer from being too long. Were the movie perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes shorter, we’d have a good direct to DVD film on our hands. Instead, we have a movie that we’re engaged in throughout the majority of the journey but eventually hit a wall that makes your attention wander. There’s bouts of long exposition and wandering dialog that takes us away from the fun we were having. Thankfully, they patch things back up with a decent ending after all the long winded talking runs its course.

I can’t say that “The Season” is a good movie from beginning to end, but there is quite a bit of decent movie packed in here. The first forty five to fifty minutes will entertain you well enough but soon your eyes will cross and you’ll forget what you were doing for a bit. Good for a late night fix, it’s not necessarily a movie you’ll want to go out of your way to track down.

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Sunday, July 11th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Fellow Dark contributor J.P. Moore has announced that his novel “Toothless” will be seeing early release, bumped up to this year as opposed to 2011! Great news!

If you’re a fan and purchaser of Dark: A Horror Anthology, (You’re a fan, right? You bought my book, right??!?!) You’ll recognize J.P.’s excellent story ‘When Jeb Killed a Man”! Needless to say, “Toothless” sounds like a good read, can’t wait to check it out!

Your wait for the print edition of J. P. Moore’s Toothless from Dragon Moon Press just got a whole lot shorter! The novel has been moved up from spring, 2011 and will now be available Halloween, 2010!

And if that weren’t enough, the novel will feature cover art by master illustrator of the macabre and horrific, Scott Purdy! http://www.scottpurdy.net/

France, 1180AD: An ancient evil is on the march. An army of demons and undead rampages across the countryside, spreading death and destruction. Judgment has come. The world of the living teeters on the edge of ruin.

One knight, a failed Templar, returns to the battlefield to avenge his wife and daughter. The dice are cast against him, and he is slain only to rise in service to the very evil that he hoped to destroy. He is a gifted minion. But life is not done with him yet.

Toothless gathered thousands of fans as a free podcasted audiobook. Reviewers and listeners alike have praised the depth and the detail of this dark fantasy that’s taken the zombie apocalypse where it’s never gone before.

Head to http://www.jpmooreonline.com/ to learn more about Toothless and other fantastic works by J. P. Moore. Please spread the word!

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Saturday, July 10th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s a well known fact that I’m a born and bred video game nerd. It’s not quite as well publicized that I’m a bit of a fan of the unplugged game variety as well. Every year at Christmas, my wife and daughter generally get me some variation of Munchkin, Grave Robbers From Outer Space or any other number of games. I’ve got a strong history in “Magic The Gathering” and some good old Dungeons and Dragons too, but I never really get the chance to play those too often these days.

I read a blog post a few weeks back about Steve Jackson Games Zombie Dice and my curiosity was piqued. With today’s hustle and bustle, it’s sometimes hard to get in a fun round of old school gaming. Most of them take a fair amount of time for setting up and getting into the groove. The promise of a quick 5 to 10 minute game of Zombie Dice would fit in perfectly for when the family and I needed a quick fix in the evening. Unfortunately, I never had a store around that sold the game and I just never got around to ordering a copy online!

This past weekend at the Famous Monsters of Filmland convention, I came across the Comic Carnival booth and what did I spy with my baby blues? I set of Zombie Dice of course. I didn’t hesitate; as a matter of fact I think the conversation with the dealer went “Hi there, welcome to Comic Carnival!” “Ooooo Zombie Dice, MINE!”. Seeing as Comic Carnival is here in Indy, I’m going to have to check them out. They helped us out with a Teddy Scare that my daughter’s been hunting for a couple of years now too!

Tonight, the family and I find ourselves home and resting after a day of hiking about the convention, so we figured it was time to break out the game and give it a shot. We proceeded to have a pretty raucous good time for a game made up of no more than a handful of dice! The rumors are true; Zombie Dice is dead simple to pick up and play. You roll three dice, brains are worth 1 point, shotgun blasts are bad and feet let you roll again. Continue to roll three die until you get either three shotgun blasts or you call your turn over. (Note: 3 Shotgun blasts? You’re done with zero points. Destroy the brain and all.)

To put it bluntly; we had a blast with Zombie Dice! It wasn’t long until all of three of us were sitting in the kitchen ‘ooo-ing’ and ‘aah-ing’ over something so simple. The game comes with three levels of difficulty; the green die are easiest, yellow steps up the difficulty and red is the hardest. At first blush, the green die make the game seem pretty basic and easy to blast through for an overwhelming lead. It was still fun, but the games seemed to be a bit lopsided with just the three of us. Once we stepped up to the yellow die, the harder difficulty, I was shocked to see the intensity of the game grow so sharply! The key is that the number of shotgun blasts increase per color as the number of brains decrease. This simple change in number of sides transformed the game from pretty fun to a down right blast! There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching your 10 year old and her mother talk trash to each other as they scramble for that one needed point for the win!

If you’re a fan of quick and simple un-plugged games, head over to Steve Jackson Games and grab yourself a set of Zombie Dice. They’ll only run you $12.99 or so and the amount of fun we had at Cinema Fromage headquarters was well worth the cost!

After stumbling across this game, I’m now officially on the look out for a copy of Cthulu Dice too! Keep the dice games coming Mr. Jackson, I’m hooked now!

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Wednesday, July 07th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Ever since Freddy and Jason faced off in their big screen outing back in 2003, horror fans have been salivating over the idea of adding none other than Bruce Campbell’s Ashley Williams to the mix. After all, he’s faced down hordes of Deadites with nothing more than a boom stick and a chainsaw, surely he can handle Fred Krueger and Jason Vorhees!

Sadly, these dreams have gone unrealized cinematic-ally, but the comics world went ahead with the idea and produced Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash. The trio debuted a few years back in a series from Dynamite comics to much fanfare. Since the first outing was so popular, they opted to come back in a joint production with Wildstorm comics to produce a second mini-series. Having been released some months back in the regular monthly form, the series now will be hitting comic stands on July 14th in a collected trade format, which happened to be upon my doorstep just yesterday afternoon!

I’m not going to lie to you; “Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors” isn’t high minded graphic novel fare by any means. It’s not overly deep, it’s not overly detailed. In fact, it suffers a bit if you happened to miss the first mini series like I did. They dive straight into the continuation of the first round with no back story whatsoever to help the new comers limp along. It doesn’t dwell too long on this problem though and the story picks up quick to suck you in and entertain. Like I said, the story here isn’t going to blow you away or compare like something with the depth and quality of “The Watchmen”. It is going to entertain you though, because the story is just down right fun.

Writers Jeff Katz and James Kuhoric do a great job tying the existing characters together and spinning a new story and world around them. The biggest word of note here horror fans; this stuff is far from being canon. If you’re a die hard fan of any of the three franchises, this isn’t going to fit in directly with the existing worlds. It does give you a fun ‘what if’ though if they did happen to intertwine with the Necronomicon being their central pivot. You’ll see familiar faces from each of the franchises show up such as Tommy Jarvis or Nancy Thompson. You’ll also see the forces of evil create some completely over the top mayhem. It’s been awhile since I’ve just plain enjoyed a comic without having to engage the brain too heavily. It’s just pure campy pulp fun.

Aside from having an unwieldy title, “Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors” is a fun little side track and addition to each of our favorite modern monster franchises. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’ll make you smile. When it all boils down, that’s what counts.