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Monday, June 22nd, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

If you’ve known me for awhile, you’d know that I’m a pretty avid gamer. I’ve talked about it here on the site a lot, on twitter, facebook, the works. The problem is, real life took a turn for the crazy back in February with some heavy duty job changes. This in turn lead to working heavy hours for a few months which then begat me getting home and not wanting to sit in front of the computer. At all.

Thankfully, and just in time for the recent Steam Sale no less, all that has started to change as I’ve found myself with a game that’s grabbed my attention in a forceful way and convinced me that playing video games as a stress release from work, is in fact a good thing again!

When last I stepped away from the keyboard around February, I was at the tale end of a long standing love affair with Roguelikes. They were quick and easy to pick up, I could play in chunks of thirty minutes or so and due to their nature, I could play without too much mental investment. Here as of late, I’ve tried picking up those same roguelike games to rekindle the love affair, but it just wasn’t happening. As it turns out, apparently my brain was craving something far more substantial. It also proves that the new job responsibilities have finally settled into a solid rhythm, which allows me to get back to video games, which are a big tool in my fight against anxiety, stress and depression!

Enter the Steam Sale! Generally a joyful occasion, this year seemed to be pretty low key. Nothing too exciting as far as discounts go, but perhaps that is also a byproduct of me having entirely too many games in my Steam library already. Combine that with my recent reluctance to play much of anything, I had in mind a handful of titles I was looking for in this sale and allowed for a few extra’s that might have caught my eye.

Which is awesome, because though I’ve heard of The Lords of Xulima before…I had only given it a passing glance and threw it on my wishlist, then promptly forgot about it. When it popped up for 50% off, I went ahead and grabbed it. After installing, I fired it up and the next thing you know… I had lost three hours to my first day of playing and oddly enough…I felt like I had arrived back at home once again.

So at this point, I imagine you’re scratching your head and wondering what this “Lords of Xulima” business is. What it is is a throw back to classic computer RPG’s filled with over world exploration and turned based combat. It’s also pretty great and managed to grab me near instantly. Perhaps my own brain was craving something a little slower paced, something it could sink it’s teeth into. Lords of Xulima provides a hell of an environment for doing just that.

If you’re looking for a good comparison, the old “Baldur’s Gate” games are about the closest that I could recommend off hand. You traipse about the country side by holding your mouse button down and essentially hope that nothing pops up to surprise you before you’ve had a chance to rest your party. There are marked creatures on the map as well, that are easy to spot. They’ll get you with the surprise guests as well. From there, you continue to undue the fog on your mini map as you explore every nook and cranny of the map, solve a few puzzles, kill some princes and in general, save the world!

Not bad, huh?

I can’t say for sure what’s drawn me into this game that promises sixty plus hours of game play. Typically, games of that sort scare me off for fear of losing interest half way through it. But, with a week of playtime and ten hours under my belt, I can say it’s grabbed me for much longer that I expected it to. The combat is fun; traditional turned base RPG system filled with hot keys, spells and special attacks for each member of your party of six. It’s also a style of combat that allows you to kick back and take it easy, not having to rely on twitch reflexes and the like, which makes for a nice change of pace. Granted, the combat is very old school, so expect long fights, enemy’s with a mountain of hit points and each of your attacks seeming to do very little damage. All of which was a pretty basic tenet of these types of games in the past!

So to recap; old school. RPG. Pretty high difficulty level. 60 hours of game play. A lot of fun if that’s what you’re in the mind set to play.

I’m pretty sure this game scratches a couple of itches for me, which makes it so appealing. It has a slower pace, so I don’t feel rushed or stressed in trying to keep up. It’s got a pretty solid story sprinkled throughout the game, one that you can follow without having to read every tiny bit of flavor text you stumble across in the game to understand the whole gist. There’s the sense of adventure as you travel about this grand map trying to discover where you’re heading. (I forgot to mention, no way points!) There’s a sense of challenge as you work to figure out your strategies with your six person team to get through each battles. Sometimes, you make big mistakes and you learn from them to get through a fight on the next try. There’s a sense of accomplishment as you clear out a castle or take out a big bad prince. Hell, it’s fun to get into the old school grind of RPG and not worry about complicated controls, mechanics and taxing graphics requirements. And, the fat loot that we’ve become so engrossed in with today’s modern RPG’s is so spread out, it truly feels special when you come across something new, and not a chore trying to sort out your inventory.

So really, now that I’ve written it out, it really does have all the tenet’s of a great game! I think I just get so caught up in being able to bring myself to sit down and play on the computer at the end of a long day again, I get lost in the details!

Which is the point. We all need to get a bit lost in the details from time to time and get away from the drudgery of every day life. Lords of Xulima is a great way to do it!


What’s your favorite Computer RPG’s? Hit me up on twitter and say hey!

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Monday, June 22nd, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

The Cinema Fromage Podcast is picking up steam thanks to you listeners, which has Colleen and I are jazzed and actually doing some planning for some upcoming episodes! This week, we’ll be covering 2012′s #Hold Your Breath”! Over the next six weeks though, we’ve found some goodies that range everywhere from the early 80′s to the late 50′s! So check out some trailers below and maybe you can get yourself ready for when the show comes out!

As always, suggestions, comments and whatever is always welcome! You can reach us via email at cinemafromage@gmail.com or on Twitter!: CaseyBGH and HPColleen!



The New Kids (1985)
“A brother and sister arrive in a small town to help their relatives run an amusement park, and they find the town is terrorized by a local street gang.”

Not too much terror in the plot drop for this one, but I think James Spader’s blonde hair is scary enough! Plus, it stars Full House’s Aunt Becky, can’t be all bad, now can it?



Spookies (1986)
“Taking a wrong turn, travelers find themselves trapped in a mysterious house. One horror after another threatens them as the sorcerer who lives within needs sacrifices to give eternal life to his beautiful bride.”

Spookies is one of those tragic 80′s flicks I was never able to find in my small town growing up, so we’re pretty stoked to finally catch it. Plus, the monster effects look awesome!



Terror in the Haunted House (1958)
“A newlywed is terrified when her husband brings her to live in the old house that figures in her recurring nightmare.”

I’m guessing we’re going to be aiming more for an Ed Wood level of classic here vs. a Hammer Studios level of classic!



The Outing (1981)
“A group of friends on a rafting trip down a river stop in at an old ghost town to spend the night. Soon their rafts disappear, and then they begin to be eliminated one by one by a mysterious killer.”

Hey, this is Colleen’s choice! I have no idea what to expect here! Except for the fact that it was filmed in 1981, involves rafting, so we’re probably going to see some wet T-Shirts.



Intruder (1989)
“The overnight stock crew of a local supermarket find themselves being stalked and slashed by a mysterious maniac.”

Sam Raimi. Bruce Campbell. Let’s hope I’m not over selling myself on it.



Dead & Rotting
“Three prankster buddies release the wrath of an aged witch, Abigail, when they unwittingly become accomplices to the murder of her son. Scheming in anger, the witch seduces the three friends and then uses the men’s own ill-born spawn to destroy them. Death and rot are left in the wake…”

Debbie Rochon makes her first appearance on the Cinema Fromage Podcast! She’s a bonafied B-movie Scream Queen, so pretty excited to take this one in!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell


It’s time for a new episode of Cinema Fromage, in which we travel back in time to 1974 to take in Pete Walker’s Cannibal Grandma opus, “Frightmare”! Come join us, won’t you?

Follow us on Facebook!
Come talk cheesy movies!
Follow us on Twitter! Casey and Colleen!

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Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Vacation’s over, but we’re still there in spirit as we dive into the new tourist trap themed horror com, “Love in the Time of Monsters”! We laugh, we cry, we share some stories of our own vacation adventures!

Kick back, tell your friends, and grab your favorite wine paring for Cinema Fromage!

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Thursday, June 04th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve talked at length about the power of memory when it comes to movies. My mind is full of vague memories of studying VHS boxes, wondering about particular movies that I’ve never seen, weird scenes of movies glimpsed in passing. Such is the case with 1986’s Something Wild.

I can remember coming across Something Wild at the Video Place somewhere back in the mid 80’s. The cover was pretty striking and a wee bit sexy. For my teen-aged brain, that was pretty exciting. I never brought myself around to renting it though. It was an image that stuck with me; I’d come across it on subsequent visits to the video store, even other stores. It always stood out as I passed through the aisles.

Perhaps it was the bright yellow used for the cover that drew the eye. Maybe it was that caricature of Melanie Griffith in that black bob cut and the flirty way she licked her lips. Perhaps, it was the way that Melanie looked like Michelle Meyrink from Real Genius, because it was the 80’s and I was a fan of Michelle. I can say it wasn’t Jeff Daniels being his goofy self hanging upside down; I never realized that was him until I sat down to finally watch the film! Regardless, it caught my eye.

Though it pulled my gaze every time, it never enticed enough to get me to pull the trigger and give the film a watch. I can’t say for certain why. The important bit is, I walked away from that VHS box every time with a specific image of the unseen film in my mind. To start, it’s called Something Wild. This was a pretty common title tactic in 80’s comedy and earlier. They were usually straight forward, no nonsense and hinted at exactly what you were going to see. Revenge of the Nerds was exactly that; a case of revenge, served up by nerds! Animal House, gave us exactly what it promised; a house full of frat boy animals. So in the times that I saw the tape, the name Something Wild combined with the over the top portrayal of Melanie Griffith on the cover lead me to believe this would be straight up, typical 80’s comedy.

There were more clues on the cover that lead to this conclusion. Look at the font used for the title. It’s filled with another common 80’s trope; the loud ransom note font. There’s neon, animal print, wild lettering…all stalwarts of your common over the top 80’s funny person. Generally when you saw something outgoing such as this, your mind was directed straight to thoughts of outrageous types, such as Cyndi Lauper. And again, let’s take a look at Melanie on the cover. She’s bedecked in a very mod hair cut, covered in loud colored bangles, necklaces and jewelry. Another common indicator of the time that you’re in for a standard goofball comedy!

With those powers of deduction in mind, I never rented Something Wild and every since those days decades ago, I’ve had it in mind that the movie as a goofball 80’s comedy. Now that the film has been released on Netflix Instant Watch, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Something Wild was so much more of a movie than I had built up in my mind .

The film, directed by Johnathan Demme no less, opens simple enough. Jeff Daniels is a stressed out business man packed with self importance and impatience. Melanie Griffith is quirky and weird with an outgoing personality to offset Daniels stuffed shirt appearance. She confronts Jeff after he tries to skip out on paying a lunch bill, tricks him into going with her and before long, she’s kidnapping him to show him a wild weekend and to break down his normal walls.

As you can see, the movie does in fact play out like your typical comedy from the era. It doesn’t take too long for it to show that it has a darker side to it. As the movie rolls along, we watch Audrey and Charles drink booze, have sex and concoct spontaneous plans to keep their weekend adventure alive and to get Charles out of his shell. As they get further from the city and the day to day grind, we soon find that Audrey has some ulterior motives. The next thing you know, Charles is posing as Audrey’s husband for her mom and her class reunion.

Once we reach the class reunion portion of our show, is when Something Wild skids into the turn of darkness. Ray Liotta, playing none other than ‘Ray’, arrives at the class reunion leading to the unveiling that he is not only an ex-con, but Audrey’s true husband. He’s got a mean streak to him that is a mile long and he wastes no time into working his criminal wiles on Charles to pull information from him on he and Audrey’s antics.

So, this movie I had thought for sure was a screwball comedy, is actually a bit of a crime thriller in disguise. For a crime movie, it’s very quirky and different, but it’s quite effective in how it fools the viewer into thinking they are heading in a certain direction before spinning off to parts unknown. Mind you, this is not necessarily a thriller nor is it anything that would ever be called gritty. It is an interesting turn in storytelling though that treats us to something that is not quite common.

The characters of Something Wild are its strongest points, all of them well developed and full of multiple facets. Audrey seems cute and endearing at first, but quickly shows that she is quite damaged from an unknown past. Charles seems stuffy and fussy, bordering on typical 80’s power monger, but soon proves that he is riddled with insecurities and uncertainties on his path in life. Ray is the only straight forward character, one that is brutal and mean with nary a good bone in his body. While his turn is straightforward, it’s still powerful. Despite all the characters flaws, by the end of the film you find yourself invested and hoping for the best for this unlikely couple. Plus, with Oscar nominations for all three actors, it proves that these were well written characters that were performed pretty expertly by all involved.

After years of waiting, I may have proved myself a dope by discovering that Something Wild, a movie I had avoided for years, was absolutely nothing like I expected. As they say, and as I often like to ignore, you shouldn’t always judge a book, or VHS tape by its cover. Thankfully though, once I found the time to finally sit down and lay eyes upon it, I found myself treated to a small somewhat worn gem of the 80’s. It’s a good bit of storytelling from Johnathan Demme and E. Max Frye that maybe you should check out too, should you find yourself wanting something…wild for a change.

Tuesday, June 02nd, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s not uncommon to talk about films in a sense of merit. Looking at them with a critical eye, perhaps praising them for their use of world building or story telling. Perhaps even poo-pooing them for the very same reasons. Sometimes, it’s fun to look at a film in the terms of the experience it provides.

Movies definitely entertain; that’s what they’re made for! They also make for a an experience as well. These experiences are mostly nostalgia wrapped around a fond memory of your time going to see a movie. It’s still an experience all the same. Let me give you an example.

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Sunday, May 24th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week Casey and Colleen lower the budget a bit to take on 2005′s “The Wickeds”! It stars Ron Jeremy, so how bad can it be?

You’ll have to listen to find out!

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Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Now, I know I ran my mouth a lot on last week’s episode about Colleen’s choice of “House of Last Things” so…I guess I have to man up and admit that this week? All my fault. We’re discussing the 2015 release of “Muck” written and directed by Steve Wolsh and it’s something else.

So sit back, grab your earbuds and tune in for a brand new episode!

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Monday, May 11th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

I talk to a lot of people about a lot of shows and movies on a daily basis. I’m always interested to hear about things I haven’t seen and might enjoy! It’s how you discover new and entertaining things! The problem is…I watch so much stuff for various podcasts, articles and my own ambitions that sometimes, it takes me awhile to get around to something that’s been recommended.

It’s nothing personal. I can be simultaneously scatter brained and laser focused on nonsense things. What can I say, it’s a gift.

Such is the case with Paul Feig’s Other Space. It’s a new original sci fi comedy from Yahoo Screen. Yes, that Yahoo. Stop laughing, I’m trying to tell you something here. I’m generally down with just about anything sci fi and if it’s a comedy, even better. Galaxy Quest never ceases to entertain me, regardless of how many times I watch it. As I began to come across various articles singing the praises of this new show from a rather untested marketplace, I started to think it was worth checking out.

But i didn’t. Because…you know.

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Saturday, May 09th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

So, let’s recap where we were on the last episode. I’m old, getting older. A lot has changed in the world of fandom between the pre and post internet ages. Our circles of like minded friends have grown considerably and the art of word of mouth has gone from in depth discussions in somebody’s basement before, during and between movies to shouting on message boards while you’re taking your morning constitutional.

It’s a big big world out there, and now the entire thing is at our fingertips. Including the very movies we love to watch.

My experience in geeking out on horror movies started out much like many many other people. I didn’t have cable growing up; it didn’t come far enough down the road. We had three major network channels and two PBS channels. That was about it. Thankfully, VCR’s hit popularity fairly early on in my youth, so I was saved by that.

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