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Friday, October 9, 2015

Vacation and Backlogging

Hey everyone!

Just a quick post to let everybody know that they can expect to see a bunch of reviews being posted soon.

How is this possible given the rather erratic schedule and the lengthy "hiatus" I've been on?

One word: "Vacation".

That's right, I'm going on vacation.  I'll be taking ten days off from work, and retreating to my friend's cabin in the woods (no Necronomicon Ex Mortis, though).  I'll be taking that opportunity to indulge in watching some horror movies, reading some horror books and comics, and listening to whatever it is in the trees that stalks the living.

I'm also going to take a bit of time to do up some preliminary sketches and concept art for t-shirt graphics.

Anyways, I'll see you all when I get back in ten days!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Longest Halloween

The month of October has come upon us, horror lovers!

To celebrate, I'm going to post a list of 31 Halloween movies that I enjoy and would willing watch throughout the month:

1.  "The Fog" (1980);
2.  "Halloween" (1978);
3.  "The Changeling" (1980);
4.  "Black Christmas" (1974);
5.  "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984);
6.  "The Conjuring" (2013);
7.  "My Bloody Valentine" (1981);
8.  "Dementia 13" (1963);
9.  "House on Haunted Hill" (1959);
10.  "Night of the Living Dead" (1968);
11.  "Carnival of Souls" (1962);
12.  "White Zombie" (1932);
13.  "Nosferatu: Symphony of Horror" (1922);
14.  "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920);
15.  "The House by the Cemetery" (1981);
16.  "The Strangers" (2008);
17.  "Psycho" (1960);
18.  "Poltergeist" (1982);
19.  "Identity" (2003);
20.  "Dead Snow" (2009);
21.  "Jaws" (1975);
22.  "Evil Dead" (1981);
23.  "The Last Man on Earth" (1964);
24.  "Sleepy Hollow" (1999);
25.  "The Woman in Black" (1989);
26.  "Monster House" (2006);
27.  "ParaNorman" (2012);
28.  "Buried" (2010);
29.  "Let Me In" (2010);
30.  "Paranormal Activity" (2007); and
31.  "The Horror of Dracula" (1958).

So, there you have it- my choices for what would comprise, "The Longest Halloween".  Feel free to check out the movies on the list that I've reviewed to find out my thoughts on those movies.

May the ghouls keep you company in the dark hours of the night, and give you sweet Halloween screams...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My Favorite Horror Movie Props

I received an e-mail a while ago from Sam Harding of Invaluable.com asking if I could write an article about my favorite movie prop/props.

It took me a bit of time to come up with one.  But each time I thought of one, another cool one would come to mind... so, I decided I'd write up a quick list of my top five horror movie props.

So, there they are in chronological movie order:

1.  "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror" (1922)- Count Orlok's Coat.

While technically not a prop, I would absolutely love to have the coat worn by Count Orlok in "Nosferatu".

This item was such a simple thing that added so much to the character, and the mood of the film.  The dark contrast of the coat with the paleness of Count Orlok's skin, when combined with the shadowy lighting- made you feel as if he was coming out of the shadow physically.

It also turned a rather hideous looking creature into a solid, strong looking figure of menace, and added a touch of class and regalness to him.

2.  "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (1953)-
The Beast.

This item is on the list because it helped cement stop motion animation as not just an art form- but also as a valuable tool for movie storytelling when done right.

And you couldn't do it any more right than Ray Harryhausen.

The attention to detail for musculature, scales, etc is just amazing... and since it's designed to be flexible, it'd be cool to pose it and make it eat GI Joe...

3.  "Dementia 13" (1963)- Kathleen & Gravestone.

One of the creepiest scenes in "Dementia 13" is near the start of the movie when Louise is swimming in the pond.  She finds "Kathleen" and a gravestone underwater.

The Kathleen wax doll is such a vital part of the killer's psychology... and is essentially the reason WHY people wind up dying.

To display it, I'd recreate the underwater scene as best I could.

4.  "The Fog" (1980)- 6 Must Die Sign.

The sign of the wrecked Elizabeth Dane that changes to read, "6 MUST DIE" introduces a vital plot point, and lets us know that the scares are JUST beginning.

A must for over any horror fan's door...

5.  "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" (2006)- Leslie Vernon Mask.

Like Count Orlok's coat, it's a simple thing that helps to create such a great look and feel for the character of Leslie Vernon.

The colour, large eye holes, and the long, scar-like mouth combine to make this mask pretty creepy.  It's like a the skull of some genetically unformed monster.

Combined with the "hillbilly" clothes, you could easily mistake it for the face of a inbred, cannibalistic fanatic in the dark woods.

So, there you have it.  Those are five horror movie props I would love to either own, or have replicas of for display in "The Corner of Terror" office.

What are YOUR favorite horror movie props?  You might find one of them at Invaluable.com's site, so give them a visit at the following link, and come away with a piece of horror movie history!

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

In 1984, Wes Craven introduced the world to Freddy Krueger, and horror movies were never quite the same again.

In 1985, "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" came out, pushing Krueger into the realm of household word and horror icon.

Five years after Nancy Thompson fought Freddy Krueger, Jesse Walsh has moved into her old house.  Soon, Jesse starts to experience bad dreams that become reality.  As people start to die, Jesse finds himself fighting Krueger for his very soul...

While I did enjoy this movie, I found it fell short of the first one.  The premise of an entity possessing someone to kill is interesting, but I felt it didn't really fit in with Freddy's personality.  He wouldn't use someone else to kill in the "real world", since he could do so in their dreams.  Not only that, he strikes me as having a huge enough ego that he wouldn't want the puppet getting the credit for the kill.  Not only that, his being able to manifest and kill in the "real world" kinda goes against the first movie, where he was pretty much limited to their dreams.

The characters, while likable, weren't all that different from the ones from the first movie- especially the jocky Ron Grady.  He was almost a carbon copy of Rod Lane in the first one.  That factor made it a little hard to really care about them.

The acting was good.  As usual, Robert Englund was great as Krueger.  Mark Patton did a good job as Jesse, bringing a nice touch of vulnerability to the character.  Kim Myers looked good, and brought strength and compassion to Jesse's love interest, Lisa Webber.  The other actors honestly didn't get enough screen time to really bring their characters to life... which probably added to their already somewhat cookie cutter feel.

Visually, this film had some great moments and effects (especially for 1985).  Krueger's face melting was great to see, and I thought the editing for Coach Schnieder's death was fantastic.  While, you can tell that it was filmed in the 80's (big hair, and 80's clothes abound big time), the movies at a visual pace that helps to keep you from focusing on those things.  The way the fire moves along the railings, etc at the climax really impressed me, and looked stunning.

All in all, I would certainly recommend "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge", I would also add that it's not one that I'd watch frequently, as it doesn't quite fit in with the overall series.  I'm going to put it in The Bad.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Grave Questions: Jessica Cameron

February is "Women in Horror Month"- a month in which to celebrate the impact that women have had on the genre and the industry- from writing, to acting, to directing and producing.

Jessica Cameron has experienced the industry in all those capacity- making her a perfect choice for me to ask some "Grave Questions" of in order to raise awareness of the great women in Horror.

Please not that this article SHOULD'VE been posted in February, but due to technical difficulties, we're putting it up now.  Thank you.

TCoT:  Which female horror stars helped to inspire you to not only enjoy the genre- but to get involved in bringing scary movies to the world?

Jessica:  I literally said to my "Truth or Dare" producer, "If the Soska sisters can make "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" with nothing, then I can make "Truth or Dare".  So needless to say that those girls have been a huge inspiration in everything I do behind the camera.

Jamie Lee Curtis is also a huge inspiration to me- her ability to work in a variety of genres is impressive and to me, she is the original scream queen.

There are also a bunch of wonderful women writers as of late whose written work has impressed me, including but not limited to Tiffany Villalpando, Heather Buckley, and April Snellings.  There are many more too!

TCoT:  How did you first get involved in the horror industry- and how you compare the genre's atmosphere today compared to then?

Jessica:  I just wanted to act, and I was living in Ohio at the time.  I just submitted for any characters that I thought sounded cool, and many of them turned out to be genre films.  Genre films are a big thing in the mid west.  You can film them on a reasonable and attainable budget without a name star.  So it kinda just worked out that way.  I am thankful that it did though since horror is my favorite genre to watch and the greatest challenge to act in, and I love a challenge!

TCoT:  Do you think that the horror genere's been ahead of, or lagging behind the others (drama, action, comedy) in terms of depicting strong, independent, capable female characters in general, and female leads in specific?

Jessica:  I think it's been behind the others genres until these last few years.  There's been a drastic increase in female and young film makers in the horror genre in the last few years, and as such we are getting new/original/strong and well written female characters.  The horror fans are also demanding it which is great. :)

TCoT:  Would you say that horror movies often reflect the social atmosphere of the times- and how would you say it reflects the issue of equal rights from a woman's perspective?

Jessica:  Horror films absolutely reflect the social atmosphere of the times.  In fact that was a huge impact on me when I wrote "Truth or Dare" with Jon Scott Higgins.  We were so moved by what was going on in today's world with instant celebrities, view counts, YouTube stars and this idealistic concept of fame, we incorporated it into the film.

TCoT:  Where do you see female characters and female actors heading in terms of the horror genre?

Jessica:  The characters are being written stronger with more character arcs, thanfully!  The horror genre fans are wanting to see strong women in front of the camera.  I think the era of the pretty girl running helplessly through the woods is over.  We want to see more.  More intelligence, more fight, more depth.  MORE!

As far as female actors, with the decreasing cost of technology, you are seeing more and more people trying to be a full time actor and I personally notice more women then men.  Only time will tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing...

TCoT:  As a Scream Queen yourself, how would you describe what it means to be one?  What sort of responsibilities, duties, benefits, and drawbacks are there to being one?

Jessica:  For me, the term "Scream Queen" is used to describe an actress who specializes in the art of horror (and yes, I consider it an art form).  I personally believe that it should only be bestowed upon actress by the fans and press, and not by actors themselves.

I think the responsibility is to represent horror to the best of the actor's ability, to pay attention when selecting roles and films in the genre.

The biggest benefits to me are the fans- they are hands down the best out of any genre.

I think some of my colleagues would argue that as a Scream Queen, you can get typecast, and that can be a draw back.  However, I have not found that to be the case with my career.  I still can work in other genres when I choose.

TCoT:  Do you think women have better opportunities within the horror genre than others in terms of character, story, directing or producing?

Jessica:  I think we are able to push down the doors a LITTLE bit more easily in the horror genre because the men know they have to have women involved in the process somewhere. :)  Women are such a crucial part of any horror film in front of the camera, it's only natural that we would have such a great influence behind the camera too.

Also in the past few years, the fans have really started to demand it- which is great!

TCoT:  If you had the chance to work any three female horror icons in a film project, which threw would you choose, what sort of character would each play, and why?

Jessica:  Mary Harron to direct.  I loved "American Psycho" more than words can ever say.  Jamie Lee Curtis to star- she could play a crazed mom who eats men or something equally fun.  And Sherri Moon could play my older sister.

Now that would be a dream!

TCoT:  In the 2004 remake of Rutger Hauer's classic "The Hitcher", they switched the protagonist from the male character to the female one.  If you were to do a remake of a classic horror movie, and swap the genders of the main lead from male to female which one would you do?  And what classic would you remake the gender of the main character from female to male?

Jessica:  "The Shining".  Now, I am not saying I would remake this film, BUT I would be interested to see it with the roles reversed.  I think it would give a different level of intensity and fear- with the right case, the fear level could be maintained and I would argue even intensified.  I would also make their child a daughter to incorporate the strong father/daughter bond.

TCoT:  Finally, what sort of advice would you offer to women interested in starting a career in movies- either in front of the camera, or behind it?

Jessica:  I actually get asked this a lot, and I always first explain that to pursue a career in the entertainment industry (either behind or in front of a camera) it will be the most difficult career path that they could choose to take.   You will work harder than you ever thought possible, work longer hours than you ever imagined and for less money than you would ever want to (even free when you first start out), and that is regardless of your sex.  If you can not imagine being happy doing anything else with your life, then and only then is a career in the entertainment industry something you should pursue.

Now, as women, we get the added bonus for working for less money than our male counterparts, being treated (often thought not always) as less than our male counterparts and just in general having to spend more time and sweat proving that we are not whatever stereotype that person/company has decided we are.  It's a constant fight- we fight to make sure that our cast is right, we fight to make sure that the script is right, we fight to get the budget we need, we fight to tell the story how we envision, we FIGHT.  Yes, it's a necessary fight, but it's a fight none the less.  That said, you must expect the fight, and learn to thrive while fighting.  That's the secret.  I give bonus points to those fighting in stillettos. :)

Evil Feed (2013)

I was contacted by Louise Rivers, from Maven Publicity about reviewing the 2013 film, "Evil Feed", which was directed by Kimani Ray Smith, and stars Laci J. Mailey, Terry Chen, Alian Chanoine, and Alyson Bath.  The title made me hungry from some possible cannibal horror, so I readily agreed.

And man, am I glad I had a taste of this dish!

Martial arts fighters have been disappearing without a trace.  When she's kidnapped along with her sister and boyfriend, Jenna must find a way to escape.  Her friends are on the trail which leads to "The Long Pig" restaurant... but they may have bitten off more than they could chew...

"Evil Feed" is one heck of a meal.  It's got humour, semi-clad babes, fights, WTF moments, and lots of blood and grue- though heavier on the blood than actual grue.

The premise is pretty simple, but lays a solid foundation for the actual storyline and characters.  All of the elements I listed above are fitted nicely and smoothly into the story, and are well balanced.  I found myself laughing, cringing, oohing and ahhing... and I'm not going to lie, I even felt a touch queasy during a couple of moments.

The characters were great as well- from the tough as nails Jenna and cool Tyrone to the evil Steven and brutal Yuki.  Each character was distinct and enjoyable to watch.  They all had great lines and moments in the storyline.

The characters wouldn't have been as enjoyable if it hadn't been for the performers.  They all brought energy to their roles, and you could tell that they were having fun making the film.  Mailey was believable as Jenna.  Chen really must have enjoyed playing Steven.  He brought so much energy and madness to the role.  Chanoine was also great as Tyrone.  He was tough, and funny at the same time.  Bath seemed to revel is being hosed down in fake blood for her role.  Jaw droppingly sexy and psychotic.  The other actors were fantastic as well.  They were all a well rounded group that made the diverse characters a joy to watch.

The film is a visual buffet.  The sets and lighting created an almost insane, surreal feel to the movie.  This combined with interesting camera angles, and a variety of wide shots and close-ups created a frantic, kinetic pace to the story, with very little slowness.  The fight scenes were fun to watch, as were the scenes where the sweet red blood flows.

Once "Evil Feed" starts, it doesn't stop.  It grabs you and runs with you into the madness.  I would definitely recommend this movie, and watch it again.  It's going into "The Good".

The Shining (1997)

Those of you who read this blog on a semi-regular basis, may be thinking that I've made a mistake in this review's title- especially since I've already done reviews of Stephen King's Novel "The Shining", and the 1980 Stanley Kubrick version.

Well, I'm not wrong, since 1997 saw a TV mini-series based on the novel.  The teleplay was written by Stephen King himself.

After alcoholism leads to the loss of his job, Jack Torrance accepts a job as winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel.  Filled with hope for a fresh start, Jack and his family move into the hotel, and begin the process of healing old wounds.

Soon, however, the snow starts to fly, and the hotel begins to stalk its occupants in the hopes of making their stay permanent...

After watching Kubrick's version years ago, I'd always felt that "The Shining" would've been better told as a mini-series, since it could incorporate more the themes and scary events from the novel.  When I heard that Stephen King had written the teleplay for such a mini-series, I was instantly intrigued, and began hunting for it.

And I found it.

I won't go into great detail about the story- except to say that this version of the novel follows the plots, themes of alcoholism, and the alienation of loved ones as closely as anything.  The story was told in a fairly even and flowing pace as well.  I also loved that he incorporated one of my favorite scenes from the book: the hedge animals stalking Jack and the others.

The acting was good- certainly far better than you'd expect from most TV movies/mini-series.  Each performer brought their characters to life, and was believable in those roles.  Steven Weber was able to be a likable guy- making those moments when his temper gets the better of him all the more impactful.  Rebecca De Mornay as Jack's wife, Wendy was not only gorgeous, but brought strength to the character that was lacking in Shelley Duvall's portrayal.  Courtland Mead was great as the son, Danny.  He was likable, and brought a nice mix of power and vulnerability to the role.  Dick Hallorann was played by Melvin Van Peebles- who made the character more than just a plot device.  You come to care about ALL the characters, which helped draw you into the story deeper and deeper.

There's a nice blend of creepy eeriness and normalcy weaved throughout the story.  This is helped by some excellent camera work and effects.  There isn't any super complicated or flashy, but the simplicity helped to make the building darkness all the more effective.  My only complaint would have to be the final part of the sequences with the hedge animals.  Throughout the movie, it's quick camera editing between shots that gives the impression of the hedge animals creeping up on their prey.  I loved that.  There was one shot with a possible animatronic hedge head moving.  I liked that too.  The part where it was as satisfying was when they show a full hedge animal moving.  You could tell that it was a CGI hedge animal.  It was obvious enough that it bumped me out of the moment.

In the final analysis, I would have to say that the 1997 "The Shining" mini-series was a better adaptation of the novel than Stanley Kubricks.  I'm putting it in 'The Good".

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Freddy vs Jason vs Ash (Jeff Katz, James Anthony Kuhoric, Jason Craig)

If you've seen "Freddy vs Jason" (2003), then you know what happens when you mix two famous horror franchises together.  What would happen if you added a THIRD...?

An undead horror has returned to the forests of Crystal Lake seeking an evil book at the behest of a nightmarish figure intent on reshaping the world to his warped dreamscape.  The only thing standing between these two monsters and genocidal slaughter is The Chosen One, a chainsaw... and a boomstick...

"Freddy vs Jason vs Ash" was quite enjoyable- though a fair bit more serious in tone than you'd expect from a book featuring Ash Williams of "Evil Dead" fame.  There's humour to be sure- but it's mostly delivered in the form of quips by Ash and Freddy, rather than the slapstick that common to Ash's stories.  In general, the blending of the more seriousness of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" franchises is blended nicely with the verbal comedy of the "Evil Dead" franchise.

The story is fairly strong in regards to working the Necronomicon Ex Mortis into why Ash would meet up with Freddy and Jason- and even adds a bit more logic to how Jason became the undead horror he is.  The plot also moves along at a decent clip as well.

What can we say about the characters?  Well, I found that Jason and Freddy were pretty close to what they were in their own franchises- a really good portrayal of them.  As for Ash?  The narrative thought balloons hinted at a cynicism and bitterness creeping into the character- giving him much more depth than he did in the movies.  It was a great little touch.  This comic also balanced the "screen time" each character got nicely.  Even though Ash is the narrative character, he didn't overwhelm the presence of the others.

The artwork was really good too.  The panel arrangements where energetic, and moved the eyes smoothly across the page.  The colours and lighting effects were used to great effect.  I also really enjoyed the way that sound effects were portrayed- they added a nice variety and energy to the panels.

One complaint I've often had in the past with comics based on movie characters is that more often than not, the characters look absolutely NOTHING like they do in the movies.  Not the case with this book.  Ash looks like Ash, and Freddy looks like Freddy.  The only one that has some differences is Jason when his mask is removed.  But that wasn't a bad thing, since the rather gooey, misshapen look of his head and face in the comic is just perfectly icky.

Also,  I thought that the way the kills were drawn were extremely well done.  They were gorey, inventive, and creatively portrayed in ink.  Just a great job.

If you're a fan of these franchises, I would definitely recommend reading, "Freddy vs Jason vs Ash".  It is quite entertaining, and I'd have very little problem reading it again in a few months time- this comic is going in The Good.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Well, everyone, it's February 2015, and it's time for a fresh update!

This month marks our four year Anniversary of blogging (including the hiatus last year). Well, to celebrate, we're announcing the grand opening of our online store- where you can buy cool "Terror Gear"!

We're starting out with your basic items, with plans on adding specially made products down the road.

Be a "real" man- buy this shirt!
We currently have Mens Tops in various styles and colours- all of them with our logo on the front, and our banner on the back!

I've tried to make the mark-up value on the items low enough in order to make them all as affordable as possible as well.

One thing to note though, is one the site, you'll see a white square around the logo and banner.  For some reason CafePress does this, even though the white area is actually a transparent area- so when you get the item, the background will be the same as the shirt itself.  I'm working on rectifying that.

Show those men you're not afraid
to wear a great top!
And we haven't left out our female readers either!  We also have a wide selection of Women's Tops as well- which means everyone can proudly display the logo of their favorite horror blog!

We ARE your favorite horror blog, right?


Just like the Mens Tops, these items have our logo and banner on them, and are just as reasonably priced as them.

Of course, we also have other items as well- such as:

Keep your head with this great hat!
Hats!  We currently have three styles of hats available- though we're hoping to add toques and bandanas to the product list as well!

As you can see in the the image, it shows the transparency of the image background.  I'm not sure why it did it for this item, and not the tops though.  I'll be looking into that if I can.

These hats are stylish and functional- great for when the zombie apocalypse comes!

But there's more!

End of the world coming?
Have a drink on us!
There's drinkware!

We are also offering steins like the one shown here, shot glasses, coffee mugs, flasks, coasters, etc.

All of them with our lovely banner.  I love that banner.

Really... I do.

In addition to all of the great stuff above, we have pillows, beach towels, playing cards, decals and computer accessories.

Keep the nightmares
at bay in these PJ's!
Oh... we ALSO have Mens and Womens PJ's, yoga pants, sweatpants, and briefs... including- but not limited to the OFFICIAL "Corner of Terror" thong!

That's right... we sell thongs.


Because I doubt many horror blogs sell them.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So- there you have it.  Just some of the great products our online store will offer- with special edition items to follow, as well as specially designed regular items!

Go check it out now- and buy buy buy!  Just click on the link below!  We'll be adding a widget to the side once I get it to work properly... stupid widgets...

Monday, January 26, 2015

From Hell (Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell)

In my spare time, I enjoy collecting comics.  Fortunately, for you- there are quite a few horror comics out there...

During the late 19th century, a vicious killer by the name of Jack the Ripper stalked the alleys of Whitechaple- bringing death, fear, and an undying legend to the annals of history.

This is his story...

Alan Moore is known in the comic world for amazing stories:  "Watchmen", "V for Vendetta", and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".  He continues that trend with "From Hell".  The story is interesting, engaging, and flows smoothly, while presenting us with a unique look at the legend of Jack the Ripper.  The characters are well crafted, and fascinating.  There are numerous historical references made that add depth and texture to the plot.

The art is great.  It plays nicely with shadows and textures to create a very suspenseful mood.  The sketchy nature of the drawings reflects the dirty, dingy atmosphere of the period.

The arrangement of panels is fairly uniform through the book, with just enough variation to engage the eye, and draw it from one frame to the next.  This is helped by just how much visual detail can be found in many of the panels.

I also liked the way text was shown in the speech balloons.  It added a final piece of texture to the artwork.

If there was one flaw to be found with "From Hell," I would have to say that it's the amount of exposition, and the style of speech used.  If you're going to read this book, you're going to have to slog through ALOT of dialogue spoken in Victorian era English.  Casual graphic novel readers will more likely than not get bored with how much dialogue there is.

As a person who has an interest in Jack the Ripper, I found this book to be quite interesting.  It presented a great story via wonderful artwork.  But due to the rather dialogue heavy nature of it, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.  Because of that, I'm going to have to put "From Hell" into The Bad.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thinner (Stephen King)

One of the things that horror does, is take something we often WISH for- and make us rethink that wish...

After Bill Halleck accidentally runs over an old gypsy woman, a simple word is whispered to him- and his life becomes a living hell.

The word is, "Thinner"...

This book is one of Stephen King's earlier books, written under the name "Richard Bachman", but isn't what I would consider one of his better novels.

The premise is interesting.  The old gypsy guy and the "fixer" friend of Halleck's are interesting.  The writing style isn't bad, and there's a decent flow to the words.

The fault isn't with those things.  Rather, the problem for me lies in the character of Halleck, and the pace of the story.  I had zero sympathy for Halleck, so felt no real tension on his behalf.  Maybe if he had some redeeming qualities, and felt real remorse for what he did, then I might not have minded the slow pacing of the story.  As it was, I wanted it to end.

Somehow, it's appropriate that I've written a "thin" review of Stephen King's "Thinner".  I'm going to put this book in The Ugly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

As a fan of horror movies, I enjoy seeing how the genre has evolved over the years, and learning a bit about how some of the most influential movies came to be made, and the role they played in making horror what it is today.

In the final years of the turbulent 1960's, when race riots, decreasing support of the Vietnam War, and growing social unrest were spreading like a virus across the United States, a small, low-budget horror film was made.  Despite uncertainty about it's reception and ultimate Fate, this little film made by some guys from Pittsburgh, went on to change the world of horror forever.

This film was, "Night of the Living Dead"... and this is its story...

If you've read my review of  "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), you'll know that it's one of my favorite horror movies of all time.  Well, let me tell this:  "Birth of the Living Dead" is a great little companion piece to that movie.

One of the things I really liked about this documentary is that it wasn't as stuffy as many movie documentaries.  It doesn't set out to wax poetic about the importance of the film, and the skill and expertise that went into making it.  It's a very informal sort of presentation.  This is accentuated by the scenes where they interview the Director George A. Romero.  The tone of the whole film is very relaxed.  I found it easy to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch.

The overall feel of the film is assisted by the editing.  It has a great pacing due to the mixture of historical film footage, still shots, animation, footage from the subject movie, and interview pieces.  I especially liked the style of the animated sequences.  They were artistic, creative, and suited the atmosphere of the original movie.

The narration flowed well with the editing.  The narrator had an engaging voice, without sounding like they were giving a lecture.  His invited you to listen. The smooth visual ride and audio made the documentary feel less than the one hour it was.

"Birth of the Living Dead" also presented it's information in a fair, unbiased manner.  It was insightful about how and why the film managed to overcome initial bad reviews and difficulties getting shown in order to become a genre changing movie.  Romero really seemed to enjoy recounting the things had to be done to make the film, and the people involved.

Overall, I'm going to have to say that I would definitely recommend this film to fans of "Night of the Living Dead", though I probably wouldn't watch it more than once or twice a year.  "Birth of the Living Dead" gets a Good from me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery (2009)

While horror/thriller/suspense themed Hidden Object games may not lend themselves to the sort of scares that you'd get from a motion picture, some of them can have still provide engaging atmosphere and characters...

FBI Agent Claire Ellery is assigned to investigate a simple open and shut kidnapping case... but her tendency to attract strange cases soon causes events that propel her down a much more sinister path.  Her only lead are a series of tarot cards left by a silent and anonymous "friend"...

When it comes to casual game play- where there's no real pressure to hurry though the game, Hidden Object games are great.  You can work at them at your own pace.  You can either use the hint button provided to find something, or you can put your eyesight to the test and find the objects unaided.  The level of difficulty is really up to you.

That lack of stress is one of the things I liked about this game.  The scenes where the objects are hidden, and the various little mini-games are challenging- but not insurmountable.  There's no pressure to get onto the next scene.  The game- and the story, happen at your leisure.  This means you can just chill out and do a bit of the game here, and a bit there.

It helps that the game mechanics are easy to understand and use: find an object on the list, click the object, and move onto the next one.  The simplicity allowed me to not worry about strategy, and remembering what key or button does what.  I could simply sit there, sip my coffee and click click click away- sometimes even getting into a relaxing rhythm for each scene.

I also liked the story.  Each new development in the plot kept me interested, and enticed me into the temptation to keep going.  I gave into that temptation and just kept playing.

Agent Ellery is also a good character.  While there isn't a whole lot of character development for her in this game, there was enough to make me want to play others in the series in order to learn more about her and her adventures.

Since games like this don't have a lot of the action that most games have, the story and characters have to be well done in order to keep the player interested.  This game succeeded on both those counts in my opinion.

While the graphics may not be on par with your average X-Box 360 First Person Shooter, the illustrations used to tell the story, and for the hidden object scenes were impressive.  They helped to bring a nice tone and feel to the story.  The art style was quite pleasing to the eye, and enabled me to imagine I was essentially reading and interactive book.

Over all, I was quite pleased with "Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery".  I would have very little problem waiting a few moths, then replaying it.  Because of that, I'm going to put it in The Good.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Scary New Years! 2015

Happy New Year's everyone!

The last time we posted on the blog was waaaaay back in April 2014- for which I apologize.  My job has a pretty irregular schedule, and my hours are odd to boot.

But rejoice!  We're back from the dead again, with a plan to bring you the same great content we did before the break... as well as some ideas on how to bring you some other cool stuff over the course of the next year.

And beyond.

For starters, I'd like to welcome three new contributors to "The Corner of Terror"!  If you've ever read reviews on "We Came From the Basement", you'll know them:  Jason H, Matt B, and Suzanne WC.  Starting in February, you can expect to see a couple of reviews each month from them!  Yay!

I've placed over on the right a schedule of when reviews, features, etc will be posted each month.  This will hopefully make it easier for readers to know when to visit the site for new reading material.

"What Movie Wednesday" is still on hold, due to my work schedule.  However, I am setting in motion a plan that hopefully will place in in a situation where I can bring it back and provide you with live Twittertainment.  I'll keep everyone updated on that as it develops.

Last year, I hinted that I would be opening an online store to sell t-shirts, etc for the blog.  Well... it's happening.  I'm in the process of finishing up the store, and it will officially open in February.  I have plans for expanding our list of products in the future.  I'm looking forward to it!

Over the course of the new year, I will be teaching myself a bit about working with some sound editing software.  This is because I'd like to begin posting a podcast in 2016- marking our 5th anniversary!  You can certainly expect some teasing and trailering here as the months progress in order to promote it. LOL

Well, I think that pretty much covers things for this update.  Our first official review of 2015 will be on the 5th of January- "Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery".

Happy New Year from us here in "The Corner of Terror"!