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[Film Review/Haus of Horror] Prince of Darkness (1987)

Posted in Film Review, Haus of Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of John Carpenter.

Photo Courtesy of John Carpenter.

I’ve always been a fan of John Carpenter. I grew up watching his films during the 1980’s and 1990’s, in particular, films such as The ThingBig Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York. All were favorites of my father and were frequently played in our household. Some titles, however, were ones I adored through the years but seemed to have slipped through the cracks, going relatively unnoticed amongst my circle and when I get a chance to throw them into my player, I tend to geek out. One such film, his 1987 release, Prince of Darkness, is a film that fits into this particular category and one, after having a hankering to watch, have done so and now want to share.

Prince of Darkness is the second title in what Carpenter likes to call his ‘Apocalypse Trilogy,’ which begins with The Thing and ends with In the Mouth of Madness. Obviously, growing up and being only six years of age at the time of this release, this wasn’t something I even pondered. However, now, it makes sense. Although not related in topic or content, all three deal with the end-of-times scenarios, whether by aliens or ultimate evil. According to the director himself, this screenplay was one that came to him while looking into atomic theory and theoretical physics. That tidbit is something to keep in mind while watching the film, as it might help explain why the approach taken wasn’t, and isn’t, one normally done.

The movie revolves around a priest who invites college professor Howard Birack, along with his chosen few of both academics and students, to investigate a curiosity in the basement of an old church located in Los Angeles. The thing in questioned stemmed from the death of another in the priesthood, and as chance would have it, possessions of the deceased are found by the mentioned priest (named Father Carlton). What he acquired was both the deceased journal and key. His own early investigations resulted in discovering not only the object, but also the fact the the deceased belonged to a long, near forgotten Christian sect called the Brotherhood of Sleep.

As the research team sets up, they begin to get mysterious readings. Combined with a text found within the old church, it is soon discovered by some within the group, Birack included, that the thing downstairs is actually corporeal embodiment of the Anti-Christ. Throw in some spewing liquid of possession, team member shenanigans and some mild bloodshed…well…you get the idea. Needless to say, as the more information is revealed to both the team and the viewers of the film, more and more fall prey to what lies inside the object. Homeless begin to gather and do creepy things outside. Team members go after one another to bring them into the fold, while those still untouched try to last through the weekend. What Carpenter does here that is different during this era of hack-and-slash horrors is offer plenty of tension. There isn’t much blood or gore. It’s all build up and release, as once the team reaches the church there is very little change of scenery.

One thing of note I found interest was the shared, reoccurring dream several of the team has. It is some form of tachyon transmission from the future. What is unique is, what you can gather as the dream happens again and again is that it is sent from the year one-nine-nine-nine…or 1999. A rather interesting choice given all the hubbub that actually occurred globally during this time.

As the film draws to a close, the evil is thwarted…or is it? In typical what-if fashion, Carpenter leaves the ending open to interpretation by letting the imagination run wild with what could possibly happen next as the credits roll.

This film has plenty of geek-tastics moments to those that are fans of Carpenters work, especially during this era. We see two fan favorites from Big Trouble in Little China return (Victor Wong and Dennis Dun), as well as other actors tied to his filmography, including Donald Pleasance. It’s also something of note that Alice Cooper makes an appearance in the film. Apparently, his manager was one of the executive producers and wanted the artist to write a song for the film. Carpenter cast him as one of the homeless that had fallen under the Darkness’ spell. During one scene, those familiar with the rockers performances during the era will notice the implement he uses to impale one of the researchers is actually the same from his stage act.

All in all, this is one of those under appreciated films that could possibly have slipped under your radar. If you want a suspense thriller that has that Carpenter feel, give this one a chance. Although nowhere near as after-theater popular as some of his films, it does have a small cult following. Plus, who would have thought a little theoretical science and atomic theory could bring about the end of the world?


[Music Review] Infestissumam by Ghost/Ghost B.C.

Posted in Music Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Casey Hutton

I will be the first to admit, sometimes I’m a little late to catch on to things in terms of popularity or trends. Occasionally it’s because things simply slip under my radar or, most often, it’s out of sheer stubbornness. I like what I like and that’s that. With music, however, it’s more due to lack of information. I’ve stopped listening to radio, getting my kicks from skulking through websites like Spotify or flipping through the digital pages of Paste Magazine.

The group known as Ghost, or if you’re like me and located in the United States, Ghost B.C. has been a name that has popped up several times as recommendations on various websites I frequent. I listened to an early release and brushed it off. But, lately, the Swedish group’s albums have been popping up rather often and finally, I gave them a chance…resulting in my socks being blown off my feet.

Courtesy of Ghost B.C. and Republic Records.

Courtesy of Ghost B.C. and Republic Records.

Instead of looking at the group as a whole for now, I wanted to focus on their most recent LP (they have an E.P. cover album out recently as well, but one thing at a time). So, let’s take a look at Infestissumam, their L.P. released on April 16th, 2013.

Track Listing:

  1. Infestissumam
  2. Per Aspera Ad Inferi
  3. Secular Haze
  4. Jigolo Har Megiddo
  5. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
  6. Year Zero
  7. Body and Blood
  8. Idolatrine
  9. Depth of Satan’s Eyes
  10. Monstrance Clock

This album is, for lack of better words, outstanding. Gimmick aside, it’s melodic metal. The guitarists offer catchy hooks. The lead singer, once you look past the actual lyrics, delivers vocals I would not have expected, but go well with the music as a whole. To my ear, they are a mix between KISS and the Doors. Even their crunchier bits are bright and resonating and reminiscent of years past, specifically the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

My personal picks from the album is a little hard to narrow down, as there isn’t one track that doesn’t tickle my fancy in some fashion or another. That being said, however, I find myself listening to Secular Haze, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, Year Zero, Body and Blood and Monstrance Clock heavily.

I invested in both the digital format, as well as the vinyl release. The digital release is as expected with no loss of quality. I have listened both through headphones and my mp3 player, as well as through my speaker set up. I can crank the volume to a more than adequate level before the levels begins to crackle out. The vinyl on the other had, sounds simply amazing. Warm and solid. It also comes in a translucent red which was a surprise. The artwork of the album is also simple, again reminiscent an earlier era, but does a well enough job of conveying the image of the band. In comparison to their first release, Opus Eponymous, I find Infestissumam easier to get into as a new listener to the band. However, their other releases will also be added to my shelf soon, but if you’re looking to check the them out, this title is the way to go.

Now, for the band as a whole. The group pushes the Satanic image to the max, and even a little beyond. For me, I’m all about the show and I get it. They have even claimed it is what it is, and unlike many of their Swedish ilk, don’t demand a seriousness from their fans. It’s a gimmick and whether or not anyone in the band actually follows this path is unknown. As a matter of fact, other than their music…not much is known about them period. The lead singer currently goes by the name Papa Emeritus II and the rest of the band goes by titles of Nameless Ghoul. Again, this is similar KISS, where back in their heyday not much was known outside of their stage presence.

Again, if the lyrics are a hiccup you can get past, these individuals are a must or anyone into the metal genre. It’s fresh, campy and all around fun. And honestly, I feel if the lyrics were a bit more…accessible, this band would have no trouble being near the top of the head in the industry. Instead, they stick to their image, creating the music they want and as a result, are winning over audiences all over the world even in spite of this.

[Comic Review] The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizza Boy

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

An obscure title to say the least, but well worth the search. I struggled to find it in store locally, and although my efforts weren’t in vain, this title is easily picked up online, as is the follow up coming soon (slated for March of 2014).

The Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizza Boy was originally a comic released in Portugal and from what I understand gathered quite the following. This particular version is obviously the english translation and released via Dark Horse Comics.

The story begins with a little foreshadowing. One of the core characters, Eurico (who will be addressed as Pizza Boy from here on out) is late for work…delivering pizza. Out on a run, his scooter is stolen by what appear to be monsters. In a not-so-clever way, his path leads him to one Dog Mendonca, occult investigator, and is companion, a demon named Pazuul. Keep in mind Pazuul is possessing the body of a young girl.

Mendonca’s investigation and efforts in tracking down Pizza Boy’s missing scooter leads them on quite an adventure (as the title suggests). Gargoyles, vampire and Nazi zombies complete the cast of characters found throughout this title. Although pretty far-fetched and a little on the loosey-goosey side, the read is fun. If you don’t look too deep, the noir and pulp come across plenty. It’s cheesy and rather tongue in cheek, as it gives recognition and plenty of name drops from the creator’s influences and favorites.

The art is also amazing. A little dark in some places, but beautiful nonetheless. It lends to the overall feel of the book, and although at times the detail is such it is hard to discern every nook and cranny of the panel in the dark pages, what the eye can pick up is astonishing. Juan Cavia’s artwork was new to me prior to this title. And, it might be due to the combination of Santiago Villa’s colors, but I love it. Cavia expresses plenty in his panels, specifically in the facial expressions of his characters.

[Book Review] The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Picture Courtesy of Hard Case Crime.

Picture Courtesy of Hard Case Crime.

I stumbled upon the publishing company known as Hard Case Crime roughly a year ago. Ever since, I’ve ordered/found several titles that I enjoy. The company has an artist collection both new and established, some alive and other deceased. Titles range from re-prints to new and exclusive. Whatever the case may be, I haven’t found a title yet that I’ve read and didn’t enjoy!

The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain is one I recently finished. A quick and pleasant read ringing in at only 217 pages. The story revolves around the main character named Matt Cordell, who just happens to be a washed up private investigator with an alcohol problem. He has seen better days…but none of them recently. He gets wrapped up in an old-fashioned who-done-it via an acquaintance from the old neighborhood in New York to look into a small problem of register theft. However, it doesn’t take long for the character and the story to spiral out of control and into the realm of homicide and classic would-be celebrity greed.

We follow along with the character as he delves into his unofficial investigation, through lies, betrayal and physical punishment. This title screams noir. A little bit of mystery with a little bit of cheese, and the end result is a pulp fiction read I found quite enjoyable. Although nothing comes from the left field, the story had more than enough to keep me interested and turning the pages. McBain managed to do wonders in allowing the jazz scene of the era to ooze from within. Many of the scenes in the book have that same flavor and lend to making this a strong, if short, title.

[Comic Review] Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, Volume One

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I’ve written this a hundred times…but I have to write it once more: I absolutely adore anything noir or pulp.

It’s a genre that, although has seen a rather large resurgence lately, is still a little hard to master. The good finds involve multiple dynamics in writing styles and/or artwork, depending on the case. Much of what I encounter is hit and miss, and although at times the creators have something right, it isn’t all there.

Photo Courtesy of Red 5 Comics and Atomic-Robo.

Photo Courtesy of Red 5 Comics and Atomic-Robo.

The name Atomic Robo has been one I’ve heard floating around several times in the course of the last year or two. I first heard of the title through Ideology of Madness and the gang’s Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie podcast. Several of the guys there are fans, and every few episodes, the name comes back to blip on my radar. After almost getting my hands one the first trade, Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, several times I finally decided to pick it up and give the series’ first six issues a try.

I would just like to say now, for the record, that I was not disappointed and regret not looking into it sooner.

The interior artwork (a mix of Scott Wegener’s pencils/inks and Ronda Pattison’s colors) is very distinct. Wegener’s influence of Mike Mignola can certainly be felt. But, instead of merely being a Mignola clone, the work stands on its own. The colors pop and each panel has something for your eyes to feast on. The covers themselves are great.

I can see why when Atomic Robo first hit the scene in 2007 (ish?) it started to work together a fan base.

Once Brian Clevinger’s witty and clever writing is thrown into the mix…it still feels refreshing and new. The six-issue trade is full of one-liners and cheeky humor and sometimes a little cheese thrown in. But it’s a combination of artistic styles that jive and come together for an overall read that left me light-hearted. I thought it was just a P.R. ploy in comparing this title’s main character to a robotic Indiana Jones…but really…that is one of the only ways to describe it. Although it has its darker moment, the feel is that of an action-adventure movie. Each issues, although sharing an overall storyline, is its own serial. Each one an adventure. Each one leading to something new. I found several memorable panels in the small collection…each one still has me chuckling as I look back to reflect. That sensation isn’t something that regularly occurs these days and is enough to warrant myself into picking up the next volume soon.

“Stephen Hawking is a bastard.”

And, if that isn’t enough, it will soon have its own RPG to go along with it. From what I understand, it’s based on the FATE system. Although I have had little to no experience with the system itself, I’m actually a little excited to delve deeper into this topic and, when the release rolls around, pick up the main book for investigation.

[RPG Review] Savage Worlds & Deadlands: Noir

Posted in RPG Review with tags , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Before I delve too deep into Deadlands: Noir, I wanted to bring up the topic of Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage Worlds generic setting/ruleset.

Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment.

Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment.

I have had the Savage Worlds core rules in my possession for quite some time, as it was given to me as a gift along with their Realm of Cthulhu release. I had flipped through it, and found myself slightly confused. Not because the rules themselves are that confusing, but because they were rather simple. Savage Worlds is a ruleset that can literally be used in just about any setting you can imagine, from horror to science fiction to fantasy. Each setting they themselves have released adds a few tweaks to the rules to add some flavor, but in general, with one book you can run any form of RPG setting you have in mind.

Personally, I have played in or ran sessions using these rules that involve superheroes (which, with their Super Powers Companion, makes things rather dynamic and open) and adventures in the Weird West (in the form of their Deadlands: Reloaded campaign setting). All of which, once a basic understanding of the rules had been had, were great sessions. Adults as well as younger players can have fun while not getting bogged down with overly complicated rules. Each session is, essentially, what the Game Master makes of it. Honestly, you can be as simple, rules light as you want or you can tweak things to make them as dice-heavy as the gaming group likes.

Some rules can be flaky, as is the case with the card-based initiative…but even that can be bypassed if you truly do not care for it (they have a dice-based alternative). I was even in that boat, before I delved into Deadlands. What’s more wild west than drawing an ace of spades of a joker? After that, I was in love with it. After being exposed to this method of random initiative in other formats, I had no problems using it in my own Superheroes sessions and it didn’t detract from the feeling at all. In fact, the gaming group seems to love it. That, combined with their Action Deck, the group had a blast and a little something else up their sleeve for when they needed it.

Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment.

Photo Courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment.

This brings me to one of the company’s more recent releases, their Deadlands: Noir setting. Originally, I caught wind of this release as a Kickstarter sometime last year. I’ve always been a sucker for that noir, or pulp, feel in just about anything, whether movies and television, or books and comics. So, after watching their action comics based around the setting I was hooked and waited rather impatiently for when the title was actually released. However, like everything, it was lost in the shuffle due to life and work. But, this holiday season I was doing some digging for gifts and ran across it once more, this time in hardcopy. I ordered it for myself, and read through it from cover to cover the same day. It brings Deadlands and the setting’s lore into the 1930s. New Orleans in the 1930s, to be exact (although locales are expanded on in the Companion release). Same dark, Weird History flavor but instead of horses and dusty western adventure it adds seedy alleyways and private detectives into the mix.

From a fluff standpoint, I feel Pinnacle did a great job in updating their lore and keeping things congruent with other Deadlands releases. They added some edges and hinderances more fitting to the era, and even adapted finances to reflect the impact of the great depression. The core book itself adds little in the way of rules themselves. Instead, it’s all about setting up the table for a bumped up timeline.

Thrilled that I had finally gotten into my hands the long awaited title release, I hopped on over to Pinnacle’s website and dug around on their store. Although there are several PDF releases (which is the norm it seems these days), I still feel that the title is heavily supported. A handful of adventures have already been released, as well as a couple noir-based dime novels. As an added bonus, if the Game Master plans on running anything within the confines of Deadlands: Noir‘s concept of 1935’s New Orleans, you have the added support of several map packs based in and around it.

All-in-all, a worthwhile purchase. If you’re already a fan of Deadlands, which has been around for quite some time, or pulp…or really, just into anything new with a solid grasp on their vision and feel, pick up this title.

[Book Review] The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I tend to stick to what I know I’ll enjoy. I’m a fickle reader and it’s a rare occasion when I do branch out and actually read something outside of my genre of choice (which, by the way, is science fiction/fantasy). I walk the new release aisles and table at my local literature conglomerate, and most often when I do pick up something outside of that normal scope…it sits, and eventually gets packed away with the spine hardly being cracked. However, when a title comes highly recommended by someone I respect…well…I make a little extra effort.

Photo Courtesy of Dutton Books.

Photo Courtesy of Dutton Books.

In this case, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green was thrust in my hands one afternoon. It’s sat on my nightstand ever since. I’ve started it multiple times, and time and time again, it was put back down. It has nothing to do with the author or his style of writing. In fact, it’s more or less as simple as the subject matter hits a little close to home. But, all it takes is time and with its bright blue cover staring me in the face day after day, I finally sat down and read it from cover to cover. And then…I read it again.

The story is about a young woman named Hazel, her coping with cancer, it’s treatment and then a little something in her life changes, altering her perspective.

John Green is a strong writer. Hazel has a life of her own, and he has a way to incorporate hope and humor into a situation that really…well…has none. Once I was able to set aside my qualms about the subject matter, I found myself turning page after page. Once I reached the end…I was more than just hopped up as I usually am about a title. I don’t get emotional often, but this book had me on the cusp the entire time…wanting to read more as my senses tingled with anticipation. Green drew me in, made me attached to the main character and had me reeling with each and every page.

This title is one that will be a part of my collection. Not just one I’ll put into a box when my annual bookshelf cleanup occurs, but, one that I’ll keep out and push into guests hands when they want a recommendation. If you haven’t read the title…do it, even if you’re like me and it’s not something that would normally be found on your plate. In a reader’s world full of knights, dragons and adventure…well…The Fault In Our Stars still managed to find a place close to my heart.

So to that friend who bought another copy just to lend out to me…thank you ever so much. It’s been some time since a title hit me where it counts, and for that, you are the greatest.

[Book Review] Ten Little Aliens by Stephen Cole

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Ten Little Aliens

Photo Courtesy of BBC Books.

I have been a fan of the Doctor Who television series for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching re-runs on the local PBS station on the weekends and once it was announced the series was making a comeback some years ago, I’ve been living in a world of not-so-old Doctors.

It might be worth pointing out that the Fourth Doctor, portrayed by Tom Baker, is the one and only Doctor for me. Although I find the newer actors and their portrayals interesting, no one before or after has been able to compare. So, going into picking up Ten Little Aliens by Stephen Cole from my local bookstore, I already had a bias (as it depicts the First Doctor, played by William Hurtnell) against the character as well as a bit skeptical in reading Doctor Who, rather than watching it. It caught my eye originally because it was the first in a series of 11 titles meant to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the good Doctor, and I’m rather anal retentive about reading a series in succession (i.e. I have to read the first three books to get to my favorite of all).

Now, Ten Little Aliens is not an original story in the sense of it being a re-release for the new series. It was originally released in 2002 and is now repacked with a new cover and introduction. However, having not read any previous Doctor Who title, it was all new to me.

The story itself was enough to captivate my attention. It follows along a group of soldiers on an elite training mission. The Doctor and his companions (Ben and Polly in this incarnation) land on an “asteroid” in which these solders end up. Not wanting to give anything away to those interested, the usual Doctor’s interference, slight comic relief and saves-the-day antics ensue. It reads similar to an episode, which is the point…or at least, I believe is the point.

Stephen Cole’s writing style is genuine and engaging. As per the introduction, he originally planned it to be based around another Doctor entirely, however, in the end it was the First Doctor that ended up being his focus. I honestly feel he captivated the First Doctor’s character rather well (and if it was once written as another, I could not tell). The character’s mannerisms, pattern of speech and general attitude match what I remember of the original Doctor. Although Doctor Who enthusiasts might disagree, I haven’t had much exposure to Hurtnell’s character.

One technique that threw me for a loop is the almost choose-your-own-adventure scene. Cole brought me back to younger days with this addition. Although it was merely flipping from character to character, it drew me into the action and what was happening in the pages. Keep in mind this uses up plenty in terms of page count and could be a waste if you skip through fast enough. But, if you have the patience and don’t mind some page flipping, it’s worth milking it for all it’s worth.

In conclusion, Ten Little Aliens is worth picking up and giving it a read. Even if you’re like me and only want to read to get to the Doctor that you love the most, it’s worth starting from the beginning and although I’m anxious to get to the fourth title, Festival of Death by Jonathan Morris, I have hopes for the two titles that stand in between (Dreams of Empire by Justin Richards and Last of the Gaderene by Mark Gatiss, respectively).

[Comic Review] Week of 2013/05/01 Highlights

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I have to say…several titles of my pull list are now chalked up to Dynamite. Like any publisher, there are some series I personally feel are lacking here and there, meaning I just can’t get into them. However, the times are changing. This week alone several new releases of high caliber were released with their logo on them.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

First off, let’s look at Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4. For anyone not following this series, we find the famous detective duo of Holmes and Watson in Liverpool (hence…the title). This particular story we found are investigators sticking around after a previous case due to murders happening about town…most of which were being chalked up to Sring-Heeled Jack. Throughout the previous three issues, suspense abounds and with each new murder, new information and twists have been added to the plot line. In this issue, we find Holmes closing in on the killer. Following up on leads concerning the death of one Tom Christian, Holmes and Watson find themselves delving into catacombs under the city.

I’ve always been a sucker for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The creative team (which have remained consistent so far) have done well by him. The story is intriguing and has kept my interest with each and every issue. The changes between dialect add flavor and definition to scene changes within the books pages. The artwork here is also right up my ally. It’s dark and gritty, just the way that I like them.

If you’re looking for something more Victorian but still manages to maintain that dark pulp feel, I’d say give this series a shot and see what you think. So far, 4/4 isn’t bad, and if that’s any indicator, I will be enjoying the rest of this five-part series. I just hope the final issue isn’t rushed, which in my opinion, could hurt things overall.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Next comes Dynamite’s The Black Bat #1. This is probably one of the titles I’ve been looking forward too the most. Being a fan of their The Shadow and The Spider lines, I had some seriously high hopes for this title’s release. And, I wasn’t disappointed. This is classic pulp, plain and simple and in line with most of their other titles of similar setting. In this issue, we are both introduced to and the creation of the Black Bat. We follow along with Tony Quinn, a former Mafiosi lawyer turned vigilante in the 1930’s. The character is part Daredevil, part Batman and all pulp!

In this issue we follow along with Quinn as he begins his personal vendetta to make amends to the wrongs his committed in his past defending big players in organized crime. Tracking down a police informant capture by local thugs, we find it’s the same informant used to help spread the word of ‘The Black Bat’ on the street. And, bigger fish behind the scenes obviously have more in store for this newly arrived masked vigilante.

Dynamite’s talent in putting together creative teams still astounds me. The artwork adds to the story and the combination of both leave plenty to sink your teeth into. I have a feeling that if this title can stick around, it will just add to the new resurgence of quality pulp comics out there.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Another anticipated title of the week was The Movement #1. I will be the first to admit, I’m a little late catching the Gail Simone fan bus. But, nevertheless, I’m sold. Aside from The Talon, there hasn’t been legitimate NEW New 52 characters introduced to the shelves. Although not every character involved in this series will be a fresh face, several shall be. That alone piqued my interest. As much as I love Superman, Batman, etc…sometimes…I just need something different. I found it here.

Although a lot was thrown at me in its pages, this book served as a good introduction to the organization known as The Movement and some of the characters therein. A vigilante group whose mission statement is to protect the less fortunate from those of corrupted power. They have eyes everywhere and this issue made an appoint of showing as much.

Although still only issue one…if Simone and the rest of her creative team can keep it up, this will be a staple to anyone’s pull list that favors the dark superhero. Although most are more than just masked vigilantes, it still has that feel to it. Again…it’s almost pulp-ish (notice the trend?). It’s gritty and dark. I love it!

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

What week wouldn’t be complete without Dan Slott’s The Superior Spider-Man. This week, I found issue #9 waiting for me in my pull box upon my arrival at my comic shop of choice.\

I waited until today (Thursday) to read this title. Why? Because, I enjoy watching the drama unfold on Twitter. There is so much love, yet so much hate for this title…I get giddy. Some weeks, it’s like a middle school cat-fight and I can’t help my self but read Tweet after Tweet of what will be in store.

That being said…love it or hate it (and, just for the record…I love it), Superior Spider-Man has been one heck of a read issue after issue. Just when I think I have things figured out, Slott and team hit one into left field. Just when I think Peter Parker is going to be making that comeback, I find myself being proven wrong. This issue…really hammers it home.

Last issue, we saw Octo-Spidey acquire a device from Cardiac that can help him rid himself of Peter Parker permanently. Now, how permanently is yet to be seen. But, for now…well…Octavius has come away victorious. Facing off in the memories of Parker, no punches are pulled. Slott honestly had me going with just who was going to come out on top and although I was left with my jaw hanging open, I certainly was not disappointed.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

The last of my picks of the week can be found in All-New X-Men #11. This bi-monthly title as easily been one of the best ones to be had and one of two with Marvel (the other is The Superior Spider-Man).

Last issue we were left with one heck of a cliff hanger. My theories were abound with thoughts of just who would ‘defect’ from the old/young x-men. My first belief was that it was going to be Jean Grey. But, when I turned from the first page into the next…it was indeed Angel to cross the line and join up with Cyclops and Magneto. And honestly…I can’t think of a better character to do so.

Now, keep in mind, my reasons are purely selfish. I hate Angel with a passion. I can dig the newer incarnations…but the young and naive Angel always upset me. To see him join sides with ‘the enemy’ only made me smile. Whatever happens, whether he is doing it to aid Wolverine and company or ends up dying (yes…I am crossing my fingers) serving Cyclops…I’m just glad it’s hopefully going to be a side-story.

This event aside, the rest of the issue was primarily a Good vs. Evil X-Men standoff with not much fighting. They were on school grounds after all  Only a brief glimpse of Mystique’s plan is present (I believe via only two pages). Predominantly, this issue revolves around a life lesson for Jean Grey and several X-Men, Kitty Pryde included, hammer it into her she can’t use her metal powers when things don’t always go her way.

[Film Review] Evil Dead (2013)

Posted in Film Review with tags , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

So…I went into the theater to see the new ‘remake’ of Evil Dead. A movie directed by Fede Alvarez (who also had a part in writing the screenplay) and starring the likes of Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, amongst others.

The official blurp reads: “Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.”

I’m not going to lie. I walked into that theater more than just a little biased. Like so many others (Texas Chainsaw MassacreHalloween, etc.) I was actually expecting to be disappointed.

Although this Evil Dead was NOT Evil Dead, it was still a great horror movie. So if you haven’t seen it yet…then do not expect another rendition of Sam Raimi’s genius. Although still some cheese (which I will discuss later in the post) it is predominantly a kick-in-the-gut horror flick. Just the right amount of oomph combined with blood and gore. Could it have been a little more frightening? Yes. But to be honest, going into a movie named after one many of us (including myself) have watched a hundred times, it’s no easy task to top it.

The team behind the movie’s production did their best to create something new, yet still pay some homage to its predecessors. Small tidbits like the rusted out car behind the cabin, the swing, the vine-rape scene and others. It’s all there. My problem with this tactic is simple. It became a little old after a while. There was not one, but two hand/arm removing scenes, for instance. One with an electric carving knife (which I thought was genius…Easter ham anyone?) and the other via vehicle. But again, it looses it’s panache after the first few references and then moves on into actually hindering the movie from becoming something more.

There are also scenes that top that of films past. The tongue-forking scene was skin crawling. As was the bathroom face assault.

Despite the movies ups and downs, there is no mistake in how good it is. When I left the theater I had a little pep in my step, and although my personal experience was cut short (the theater crew were shooing people out before the credits stopped rolling), I managed to dig up the final credits scene to sate my Bruce Campbell infatuation. Although, I feel that the scene originally hinted at (which might make it to the deleted scenes upon its home video release) would have been great, I loved all 5 seconds!

This is a must see, if not at theaters than at least a renter if you don’t prefer to add it to your home video collection. Although no Evil Dead, it’s a great possession-turned slaughter flick and worth every penny.