Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Play This You Bastard! - Vampire Rain Part 4

My team had just come across the "Advance" Team's van, which was riddled with bullet holes and had a little bit of blood splattered around for effect... but no bodies. This does not bode well.

Whilst inside the van we get a heads up from Hanson (The Tech Guy) who tells us we've got a lot of Nightwalkers travelling towards us. Their movement is strange however, as if they're looking for something... yeah no shit Hanson, they're probably looking for us and or the advance team (who I'm calling it, are dead or turned... we may come across one survivor but I reckon they'll not be long for the world)

Captain states that we need to kill the Nightwalkers so they don't discover the advance team's van, which by the looks of the van is a bit too late.

The Captain tells Kelly (The Lady) and Lloyd (Me) to take out the Nightwalkers in the area. "Shit" I think to myself, as I may as well be using harsh language against them for all the good my solo weapon efforts have done so far... but this time I'm given a Sniper Rifle. "cool" I think, but I'm still apprehensive, until Kelly tells me that when a Nightwalker is in human form, one shot to the head kills them.

...seriously, we're like over 4 missions in and she's only just getting round to telling me this now! This kind of information should be made known to the whole group, nay the world! But maybe this was covered in a tutorial I skipped, so until I play those, I can't really judge.

BANG! And the dirt was gone
I follow Kelly up to the rooftops and we're nestled safely up there. On the streets below are three Nightwalkers. I easy take them out with head shots, and they don't seem to mind when one of their own is blown away right in front of them, so that rain really must be effecting their senses (Or perhaps it's shoddy AI... I'm thinking the latter)

Suddenly the Nightwalker threat doesn't seem so much of a threat. These bastards go down quicker than a bottle of lucozade at a Tennis match. All it takes is a head shot when they're not all vamped out, and you can go home with a smile on your face knowing there's one less vampiric bastard roaming the streets.

Kelly tells me to relocate as she can't get a shot on the other Nightwalkers... why do I have to move? Perhaps she's higher up the chain of command than me, so I move and suddenly a Nightwalker is there and goes to attack me. I soil my pants and wait for the inevitable, but Kelly's got my back and the Nightwalker is soon pushing up Daisy's from hell.

I get a call from Kelly stating she's moving and that I've got to cover her, I get the sniper rifle out and follow her movements, but the only Nightwalkers about are on the street, so after taking them out she thanks me and tells me I have to move again as she can't see the Nightwalkers... if she can't see from there, why did she stop there in the first place?

Suddenly the Captain calls over the comms that the Advance Team van has been fixed and we should all rendezvous back there... all of us except me. There's some cheesy music played over this, hopefully to distract you from the logical thought processes that are being shat on by the Captain's orders as he orders me to kill any remaining Nightwalkers. Surely it'd make more sense for both of us to do it? Ah well...

I go jumping about the rooftops, killing several walkers on street level. This is easy. Then on my next building a door opens. I shit my pants, but the Walker (who is in human form) doesn't see me. A quick shot later (the bullet kind not the drink kind) and he's an Ex-Nightwalker.

A few more dead human form Nightwalkers and there's a cut scene of a Non-Human Nightwalker running... suddenly my team are under attack and I'm told to come help them. After a bit of careful navigation, I'm back at the car park with my team.

I don't think they're here to give me their ticket
Before you can say "Captain, the Advance Team are dead or worse" the door to the car park opens and a Nightwalker is running at me... great. However, as my team are here with me, we quickly take down about 3 of the bastards, with little to no hassle.

The Captain reckons that the Vehicle is too noticeable here, so we have to move it to a safe location. I want to suggest that Disney World is a safe location, but don't get the chance.

This was a fun mission which changed the way I viewed Walker battles. As long as I have a Sniper Rifle and they're in human form, they're no risk to me.

Play This You Bastard! - Vampire Rain part 3

Safe in the shadows
For the record, I'm an idiot. I have only just realised that the levels I was playing, were not tutorials. The tutorials are displayed underneath the story missions!

What you're looking at on the mission select screen is this:

Tutorial 1
Tutorial 2

I presumed that playing the story included the two tutorial missions underneath and that they were also selectable so you could try and beat your rank in that particular section without having to play the entire mission! I presumed wrong.

On my latest mission underneath it instead of Tutorial it says Trial, and has a description of "Get 5 of more B ranks to unlock" This is a nice addition to the game and adds to the level count. I'll try the trial once I've unlocked and tell you more about it.

So what happened on the tutorial missions?

Tutorial 1 - Don't Be Seen
This was a piece of piss. You literally had to sneak from one side of a road to another, without being spotted by Night Walkers. It took me all of 2 minutes and would have been quicker if not for being stopped for instructions.

Tutorial 2 - Necrovision
It seems that by pressing right on the D-Pad you bring up Necrovision. This handy little visual overlay reveals which humans are actually Nightwalkers. I'd presumed (again wrongly) from the missions I'd played earlier that any human could turn into a Nightwalker, but with Necrovision, it proves there are still humans about.

This tutorial mission has you on a roof with your team, using Necrovision to decide which human below is a Nightwalker so that the lady can take them out. It took me slightly longer as I found it hard finding all the humans, and the Nightwalker only came into view once you'd identified everyone else as humans.

So what have I learnt from the tutorials?

The first Tutorial didn't really teach me anything I didn't know from playing through the story missions, however it would have had me more prepared as as I stated in a previous post, when the Nightwalkers spot you there's a screen overlay of their eyes which becomes less and less transparent the more and more you are visible. When this first happened to me in the story mode I was a little unprepared for it, but soon realised what it meant. If I'd played the tutorial it wouldn't have come as a surprise.

The second Tutorial however introduced a new function that so far hasn't been touched on or needed in the story mode. Necrovision may come into play later, but so far I've got along fine as 100% of the people I've come across (who've seen me) have tried to kill me. A bit like a night out in Coventry.

Oh and I've also learnt the people's names!!

Me - Lloyd
The Lady - Kelly
Tech Guy - Hanson
Captain - ...Captain.

In my next update I'll check out the next story mission!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Two Weeks of Theatricality!

For the next two weeks I'll be hunkering down with my performance in "Dangerous Corner" at Rugby Theatre.

When I'm back I'll update with my continued play through of Vampire Rain.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Play This You Bastard - Vampire Rain Part 2

Cool and the gang
In my previous post I'd mentioned how I wasn't sure if there were even any vampires in this game, due to the fact that the villain's are called Nightwalkers, and I presumed they were referring to prostitutes and not blood sucking murderers... I presumed wrong.

Any doubt I had to the legitimacy of the threat was swept to one side in an excruciating trial and error 3rd level, which was way more error than trial...

On meeting up with the Captain and the lady, we were told we had to go knock out an antennae which  was enabling the Nightwalkers to communicate. Obviously, we split up, as it's the wisest thing to do. (?)

I got to shoot my gun for the first time before I was able to leave the roof. I primed my weapon, which is a silenced pistol, aimed the gun at my victim and with no regret or remorse I shot a cold bullet into my target, and it fell to the floor without so much as a murmur of complaint.

Adamicus3rd 1 - Padlock 0

After defeating my first adversary, I used the stairs to get to ground level, so that I could then make my way to the Antenna. I get to yet another alleyway, and a cutscene happens. This is where I see the first Nightwalker.

A woman and a man walk into the alley ahead of me, he's beginning to regret picking this woman up from whatever rock she was hiding under and before you can say "It's a trap" she has a freakish spasm and turns into this game's version of vampires.

Another cutscene happens next where I get a call from the Captain telling me to shoot some birds that are in the alleyway so they don't give my position away. I do so, and the vampire moves to investigate, after which she moves back to the end of the alley she was guarding.

This section took me a good ten minutes to figure out how to proceed, I foolishly tried to take on the vampire and found out that being seen by a vampire is pretty much an insta-death, they're faster than The Flash and deadlier than something very deadly.

Moments before I was about to turn the game off and move to something else, I found I had to sneak around a different path, leaving the vamp to her own devices. It appears that anyone on the street will turn into a Nightwalker if they see me. You get a pretty cool sfx and visual for when they've seen you, and have a few seconds to get out of sight before they turn and pursue. When they're a Nightwalker they have a strange visual effect following them, (alot like the monsters from Deadly Premonition) which makes them look mildly more threatening.

I snuck around for a bit and finally met up with my team. Then a random guy spotted us as he walked to his car, as quick as you like he was a Nightwalker and running after us. The other members of the team were separated from me and I was thrown a new weapon to take it down with. (An automatic machine gun)

The weapons in this game may as well be firing jelly at the vampires, as they don't really seem to slow down when hit or even notice any damage. Luckily this particular vampire died pretty sharpish (team must have been shooting too) and we could continue with the quest. The head honcho at base decides that my character should go alone to destroy the Antenna (I think he must have found out that my character's been sleeping with his wife/daughter/pets.

A few moments later I'm climbing ladders, drainpipes and walking across ledges to get to the Antenna. One cool moment was before I was able to scale the building that the antenna was on, a door opened infront of me and a person walked out. Knowing that they turn if they see me, it did make me jump and I went and hid. Well done game.

Needless to say I disarmed the antenna, and was told to meet the others at the extraction point. As I approached the alleyway (another) I saw birds on the ground, I decided to shoot them, just in case. Luckily nothing happened. Till I got to the exit, my team turns up and a woman behind me turns into a vampire. We take her down with ease (as there are more people than me firing, because if it had just been my guy... I'd be dead.)

I also learnt in that level that the rain is working to our advantage as it dulls the vampire's senses. So it doesn't appear that rain is turning people into monsters as I presumed it was.

The next level had the team relocate to a new area, where the advance team's van was located (in a car park) The Captain, The lady and I step out leaving the Tech guy to do the logistics of it all. I volunteer to go check the car park out by myself... the others agree (cowards)

I begin to walk down an alleyway (this game should be called Vampire Alleyways) and see a dumpster. These are for climbing on and I figure the game wants me to go this way... sure enough if I'd carried on, I'd be dead as there was a vampire waiting by the exit of the alleyway near a dead body. As I manoeuvre around above it's head, it begins to walk away and the body turns into a vampire in a gruesome cut scene.

Just hanging around.
Continuing undeterred, I get startled again when a vampire jumps onto the roof in front of me, it hasn't seen me, but it did make me wee just a little bit with the prospect of fighting it (aka, restarting the chapter)
Luckily for me it jumped away over other rooftops. These Nightwalkers should be called Nightjumpers as they are able to leap large distances in a single bound!

I get to the carpark and surprise surprise I can't get in as it's alarmed, so I have to go to the security building where the alarm is stored and turn it off. What follows is quite a labyrinth of alleyways and roads, as I try to avoid various Walkers that await me. I get to the building and have to scale it and drop down in the courtyard, where two annoying security guards are patrolling, it takes a few attempts to get by them, but when I do, I get into the building and press a button. All done!

Just have to return now, so on my way back to the courtyard I see another door with an exit sign above it... I'm glad I took it as it led to stairs, and the door I was going to go through burst open to reveal a cop. I ran to the roof, and then got back to the ground.

Meeting up with my team, we found the van bereft of life and no bodies, but plenty of blood and bullet holes. What happens next? Find out in my next post!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Play This You Bastard: Vampire Rain - Part 1

Splinter Gear Vampire
This arrived in the post for me, so I ripped open the packaging and looked in horror at the game sleeve. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was all in a foreign language! "Oh no, they've sent me a foreign copy" was my initial reaction, but after firing it up, I saw that this wasn't the case. Phew.

For a horror game, it had already scared me before I played it. Kudos.

It starts with a cut scene of a woman walking home from work, she hears a noise, runs down an alley, and she's vampire bait. (Said vampire is clinging to the wall above her) I watch the next cut scene begin which is a montage (Fuck yeah!), hoping to gleam some information of the plot, but apart from seeing some missing persons database and a few character's faces, there's nothing. Except at the end there was a genuinely disturbing vampire lady... I'm not even kidding, the scene in question just focused on this vamped woman screaming. The image stayed with me as the cut scene ended and I was transported to the Menu.

As soon as I get to the Menu screen I realise this is going to be a bit *special* as the left analogue doesn't move your menu selection, the D pad does this... I can't remember the last game to go back to the D-Pad for this kind of thing.

I've got the choice of Normal or Hard, and what I've heard about this game is that it's unfair... so Normal it is.

Intro Cut scene time!

It all begins in a stuff office where some suit is shouting at an employee about how they're going to strike back against the Nightwalker population. I presume Nightwalkers are vampires and not prostitutes, but it's never really made clear. Through some lazy writing, we're told that in 300 days (I can't remember the exact number) the Nightwalker population will outnumber the human population. The boss in this place begins saying how they're going to bite back against the Nightwalkers (how ironic.)

Now we're in a town somewhere... it's raining (Vampire Rain?) There's a team in a van who are waiting for contact from the advance team. It seems they're all here to take out a "Prime" Nightwalker. Does that mean they're transformers?

The team themselves are made up of the gruff African American leader and a woman and two men who have no distinguishing roles. It seems the guy I'm playing, whose name evades my memory at present, was the lone survivor of a Nightwalker attack. There's a flashback where we see the guy (who is Metal Gear's Solid Snake's illegitimate cousin or something) standing in a room panting.

Vampire Rain - Now with REAL Panting action!
Back to the here and now, there seems to be a problem. (Not just with the fact that all the character's voices seem to be echoing) The advance team aren't answering, which infuriates the Captain as he goes back a long ways with the leader of the advance team and is worried, so he decides to take the main guy along with him to the rendezvous point, whilst the other guy (who is now relegated to being the tech guy) tries to get the advance team. What of the lady? Well she's told to just wait in the van. Why the hell did we bring her if she's not going to help?

Anyway, we're out and I'm actually able to control the guy. Luckily the left stick works and I'm not using the dpad to move him, now that would have been hard! We're sneaking about this town, and it's pouring with rain (VR?) but there isn't a sign of anybody.

Down an alley and two people come into sight... cut scene time. One looks like a fat priest, the other a really long armed tramp, the priest says they've got to get inside or they'll disappear like the others whilst the tramp doesn't really seem to give a shit about anything. Rather than talk to these individuals, the Captain decides we need to go another way. (Well we do seem to be trying to be covert I guess)

On our way there's a blood smeared sign painted on a wall, the Captain takes a look at it and reveals that it looks like the astrological symbols for the sun and moon... right.. okay then. He asks what the used to pain the sign with, my guy says "blood", the captain says it's impossible as the rain would have washed it off, to which my guy replies "They must have used a hardener", the captain responds "What kind of hardener?", my guy quips "do you really want to know"... The Captain doesn't.

What the hell is a hardener and how is my guy the world's foremost expert on it? I mean he could be as all I know about the guy is that he survived an attack... He may have been attacked at "Hardener College" for all I know.

We go along another alley, the captain in the lead, and I'm told to put my back to a wall and look round a corner. Cue Cut scene. This time there's some cops investigating what seems to be a broken street sign. They had mentioned that this town was overrun by Nightwalkers... but where are they then? Maybe they're being stealthy too? The Captain gets the tech guy to re-route us, it seems we're going to be going into a sewer. The lady calls and says she'll meet us at the entrance to the sewers... which the Captain agrees to.

To get to the sewers we need to climb over a few rooftops, which isn't too hard to be fair and the controls aren't amazingly intuitive but they're responsive so far.

After sliding down another pipe we get to the sewer entrance, where the lady is waiting for us. A bit of banter later and we're in the sewers.

Not much going on down here, we come across a body that's been the victim of a Nightwalker attack. The boss decides that it's best that the lady waits with the corpse. Why? Because he wants more alone time with me it seems. I admit it's the most logical thing to do, leave a member of your team to guard a corpse... okay, maybe it's not.

A little while later and we find a woman who's being attacked and is suddenly dragged away, we don't see who's got her, and the Captain stops my guy from going to help. The next we see of the woman is her legs as she's pulled up through a sewer pipe, presumably to the street level.

We move on out of the sewers and come to the building where we're supposed to meet the advance team... but no one is there.

This concludes the first two tutorial levels it seems, and I'm returned to the mission select screen. So far the game hasn't been awful, the dialogue is poorly written, but the gameplay isn't terribly. It's serviceable, that's how I'd describe it. Hopefully the next level will clarify that the Nightwalkers are vampires, and not pissed off prostitutes! So far it's not as terrible as I expected... but we'll see if my opinion changes as I continue to play this hated game.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Play This You Bastard! - Vampire Rain

Will I be as happy as this chap once I finish the game? I doubt it.
As a fan of video games, I have played my fair share of great games with amazing narratives and stupendous visual/audio effects. Some games I've played have made me question things, others have made me laugh out loud and some have even left me emotionally drained.

Not all of these titles have been Triple A blockbusters from a renown studio, some have been from smaller lesser known studios, people with a passion and a story to tell.

It's no secret that Deadly Premonition, a game that's in the Guinness Book of Records for polarising critical reviews of it, is my favourite game narrative. I finished the game and for about a week, I couldn't turn my xbox back on as it had hit me right in the balls in the final act and the ending was both tragic and beautiful. The graphics and game play put a lot of people off of this, but for fans, it's part of the charm.

Which brings me to Vampire Rain. A game that is so fiendishly difficult that it has made grown man literally soil their pants and eat the contents rather than go back to playing another second of the infuriating horror-stealth game.

Blade's really gone downhill since Trinity
I had a very brief go on a demo of Vampire Rain when it first came out about four years ago. I do not remember it. I remember the reviews though, which went from scathing to mad scribbles on a piece of paper as the reviewer had lost the will to live.

This title is on it's way to me, for the low low ebay price of £2.00 (inc. P&P so you know it's good... I mean the guy is practically paying me to take it off his hands) and I shall be spending some time with it.

Will I tire of it within moments of loading it up, or will I strive through the poor game play/level designs/voice acting/insane difficulty and finish the game?

Well, there's one way to find out...

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Hero : Reckoning

There have been films, books and comics that in the past, have attempted to answer the question "What would happen if a real person decided to become a superhero?"

With an upcoming short, we're hoping to answer that question but in a way it's never been answered before and THIS time you can be included in the process by helping invest in our project.

We're hoping to raise a meagre £200 to be able to create a truly original (and dark) comedic view into the psyche of someone who'd willingly risk their life for other people in the name of "Justice". Richard Fingerling, a reporter, is invited to interview this new Vigilante, and follows him through his trials and tribulations.

So if you're interested, please click the link below and help us achieve this short, if you're not interested then thanks for reading anyway.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Stoopid Studios : The making of The Sandwich


So here's a link to Stoopid Studio's latest film. Our second scripted film (written by yours truly) and below is some waffle on the processes behind it.

One evening on my long walk home, I was thinking about my as yet unborn child and had an idea. I imagined that it was quite possible for my future son/daughter, to travel back in time and kill me, now that I had already done my bit in creating them.

My mind had an argument with itself on the nature of the paradox and before I knew it, I had walked the 3 miles home with no recollection of how I got there.

Well I wrote this down and changed some elements of it, but the idea of children from the future coming back to visit their father is the driving factor behind it. Instead of trying to kill the father they're trying to stop or encourage him to eat a sandwich.

It didn't take me too long to write but I had to keep going over it to make sure it made some sort of internal sense to the characters, even if the audience was baffled by the entire premise. I tried to explain all of this to my long suffering lady wife Louise, but honestly it took ages to read through it with her as quantum mechanics isn't her chosen subject in mastermind.

I gave the scripts out to the actors before the shoot and most of them had learnt their lines or at least enough of their lines for them to wing it (like I did) also at one point we realised that I'd written one of the characters to be pro when he should have been against, so a quick re-write and we were good. I also told the "children" to wear clothing that they think their character would wear in the future, which I felt would add a nice/subtle visual touch to it. Matt, who plays the last child of the father, hadn't got that text message, so instead I dug out some clothes and a wig which look suitably daft enough.

The Sandwich, I hope, is supposed to be a character in itself, as the whole future(s) fate(s) is(are) decided on if it is or isn't eaten. I'd written "Cheese Sandwich" in the script, but added a little extra something in the form of Jam. If you haven't tried a cheese and jam sandwich, I suggest you do so.

The piece took on a life of it's own really and I'm generally happy with how it turned out. The editing isn't as tight as it could have been, but I am going to say that this is part of the aesthetic of the piece because so much time travel is happening it's distorted reality. Music was nabbed as per usual from the same composer that I use for all our stuff (he has a great range and they're free as long as you mention him) the only bit that wasn't quite kosher was the music for the speed-up bit which was taken from Rayman Origins.

I've re-written the script after we filmed it as there are certain bits I thought could be improved, including the second time the first son appears, I thought it'd be funnier if he only had one arm this time and made out that he never had an arm. Also, Matt's character wouldn't refer to his universe's other dad being dead as he wouldn't know that in this universe his other dad had died.

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy. If you'd like a copy of the screenplay or think you could make a better version, send me a line to

Monday, 25 June 2012

Dangerous Corner

Recently I auditioned for a part in our local theatre's upcoming production of Dangerous Corner by J B Priestley and thankfully I landed a part! Huzzah!

For those of you who are unaware of just what Dangerous Corner is all about, here's everybody's friend Wikipedia.

"Robert and Freda Caplan are entertaining guests at their country retreat. A chance remark by one of the guests ignites a series of devastating revelations, revealing a hitherto undiscovered tangle of clandestine relationships and dark secrets, the disclosures of which have tragic consequences."

I'll be playing Robert Caplan, an inquisitive man who's never heard of the saying "Curiosity Killed the Cat!" and who believes that the truth should be out in the open no matter what the cost.

I'm quite looking forward to getting my teeth into an acting role as I haven't done any theatre work for some time. I've mainly been focusing my efforts on Short Films, writing and looking after my baby when my wife's been working.

Rugby Theatre's production will be directed by Ash Hirons, who did a great version of the better known J B Priestley play "An Inspector Calls"

The production will see the reunion of my good friend Mr. Pollard, who's not only a great friend, but a very talented actor. (Ladies should also note that my good friend Mr. Pollard is currently single, and also note that his moral compass is set in the Victorian era, meaning he won't mistreat you unless he's actually Jack The Ripper - which he's not)

The show dates : 17th - 24th November at Rugby Theatre

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Half Arsed Review : The Woman In Black

I was home alone last night and decided that I'd take a look at a horror film as I had some Doritos and Ice Cream, which are hard to consume when button mashing an xbox game.

The Woman In Black is a very atmospheric horror and is well worth a watch if you like ghost stories. It centers on a lawyer who goes to a remote house on a causeway to tidy up the recently deceased lady's paperwork and gets more than he bargained for.

I had a bit of trouble with the titular character's name. Arthur Kipps was also the name of the main character from half a sixpence, so there's part of me that likes to think of this as the unofficial sequel.

The film starts off really creepy with three girls having a tea party, which isn't creepy in itself, but it's when they suddenly stop and stare right at the camera that you get chills and what happens next sets the whole tone for the film. The special effects are very good and don't detract from the piece (here's looking at you Insidious) and the whole film is reeking in foreboding atmosphere.

My only complaint? Daniel Radcliffe. When he's first seen I found it hard to not think of him as Harry Potter, which isn't the actor's fault, it's just all I've seen him do for the past however many years he's been doing it for. It doesn't take long however for him to shake off Hogwarts and become a single parent/lawyer. But he's just not a very good actor in my opinion.

Case in point. At one moment in the film he's angry at someone for not warning him about the titular woman of the title, however instead of portraying a realistic amount of anger, bitterness and resentment he just comes across as being a little "ticked off"

He doesn't detract from the film as a whole, but I wish they'd have chosen a more well rounded actor who can portray emotions other than "teen angst" (I think Radcliffe may have played the part on stage, and maybe he's more suited for that version if it is the case)

But aside from this, I think it's a great return to form for Hammer Studios and a worthy addition to any horror fan's collection. The film made me jump, made me anxious and didn't outstay it's welcome.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Half Arsed Review: Grave Encounters

I was expecting to hate Grave Encounters, another found footage film in a long line of found footage film horrors. It seems most horror's I watch these days are this kind, because they're cheap to make and easy to do.

Grave Encounters is about a team of paranormal investigators who are filming for the 6th episode of their Most Haunted style TV show "Grave Encounters". They decide to lock themselves in a haunted asylum for the night and things don't quite go as planned which isn't good for them, but good for the viewer.

I'd previously watched a similar film called Episode 50, which had a similar concept, but was an awful awful movie that went from hand held camera footage to regular movie footage. It blew.

So my expectations were pretty low for this, but I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't say that this is an amazing film, but it's not awful either. I'd say it kinda sits in the middle, it's okay and has some good moments, but overall doesn't shock or scare you as much as the film makers intended.

Here's the good bits (Spoiler-ish)
Their "Psychic" is just an actor pretending to be a psychic, this is quite fun and as things go to shit he is a bit of comedic relief.
There's a great story device half way through that I won't divulge on for fear of spoiling it.
Unlike a lot of found footage films, stuff happens and you see it. The CGI is fairly good but there's a few moments where it's not quite as good as it could be.

Unlike other found footage films, you actually see shit happening!
The film started off with a producer stating that you're watching footage that hasn't been tampered with, however he's never seen again. Really they should have book ended it with him and not shown credits of the actors who were in the film (thus spoiling the illusion that this is found footage)

All in all it's a decent stab at the genre, has some okay scares and the internal logic of the plot and characters makes sense.

Rent it.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Great Rugby Tornado... cont.

Well there have been news hounds traipsing up and down my garden all day according to my long suffering lady wife Louise.

I also had the time to get in touch with the BBC, and this is what they put on their web page!

Just so you know, that's not my garden in the picture, but the trampoline looks familiar...

The elderly relatives weren't actually mine, they were elderly and had relatives... lost in translation I guess.

The Great Rugby Tornado

Over the years I've had various reoccurring dreams... most of them are horrific in nature, probably due to all the films and violent video games that I play. Some of them are weirder, like one where I'm at a presidential election where the person to win is the one who can sink a basketball shot from a certain distance.

But one that I've had on and off is the one where I witness a hurricane from the safety of my mum's living room. I casually watch out the window as trees and cars are flung about and I marvel in the destructive power of mother nature, all from the comfort of my home.

Well I wasn't at my mum's but I was at home when my dream came to reality. (I'd have preferred the dream where I'm rich to come true, maybe next year I'll have that one?)

I was sitting on my sofa whilst my long suffering lady wife Louise was ironing through a huge pile of wrinkled clothes. My daughter (9 months now!) was sitting on the floor playing with her toys. The TV was on and we were enjoying an episode of Community (check it out on Virgin Media, it's very good) when all of a sudden shit happened.

Something out the corner of my eye made me turn to look into the street from where I sat, it was the bush outside my house reacting to strong winds. I watched as the wind started increasing in ferocity, my wife said something I couldn't quite make out as the noise of the wind was growing. My ears popped, due to the atmospheric pressure I assume and then the fence panel from my garden was pulled up and out, which made me realise what was happening.

I picked up my daughter but was at a loss what to do next. Was I supposed to hide under the table, or was that earthquakes? Was I supposed to hide under the stairs? I had no idea. Both my wife and I stood there like rabbits in the headlights, whilst we waited for the tornado to pass.

It had gone as quick as it had come, just like a nervous client at a brothel. So I went out to assess the damage. The street was littered with roof tiles from houses across the road, my bins were knocked over, recycling trash littered the floor. A plant pot (not mine) sat on the front garden, and two fence panels were where they shouldn't be. Not too bad I thought, the car was intact and I checked my roof for missing tiles, which there weren't any.

It wasn't until I went round the side of my house to the back that I realised my garden was where the real damage had been dealt. First of all the fence panels were either damaged beyond repair or vanished. One was in a tree at the bottom of my garden. The metallic shed that my wife had recently spent a few hours tidying, was lying on my neighbours patio but the contents still stood where they had started. A trampoline from four houses down was outside my kitchen window and my neighbours garden that they looked after so well, was covered in glass from their greenhouse and various other debris

I called my mum up, as you do in these situations, as she's also local, and was upset to hear that she'd been alone when it had hit and was quite shaken up. She also told me that she'd heard a horrendous howl and seen rain going horizontally!

I couldn't quite believe what had happened, but what happened next really touched me. Our next door neighbours, the ones with the greenhouse, are an elderly pair of sisters and really nice ladies. Shortly after the tornado had hit, her family and some neighbours descended on her and cleaned up her garden. There was a real sense of community spirit around the whole area which I felt hadn't been around since world war 2 (I'd imagine)

My faith in humanity was restored... now I just have to pull some money out of my ass to fix my fences and get a new shed. Thanks for that God/Mother Nature/George Lucas.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Making Of...

Shortly after I finished College, I toyed around with the idea for a series based on a group of people making a movie. I'd forgotten about this idea till a bit later and then tried to improv the whole thing with some friends. (Some of which you can still see on Youtube)

We failed. It was a huge undertaking and we didn't have the time or commitment to be able to pull it off.

But as David Brent said "A good idea, is a good idea for life", so after being quite inspired recently after our filming of a script I wrote (The Sandwich) and one I co-wrote with my penpal Alex (The Dude, The Bitch and The Dead), I've decided to go back to the original idea and do something with it next year.

So if you happen to know anyone looking for a film project, fancy getting involved or would like to read some of the first drafts, then send me an e-mail. < The making Of (the subject line)

I'll update you as and when any news of this project emerges.

Ciao for niao

When is too much entertainment too much entertainment?

Not so long ago people complained that they had 80+ TV channels but there was never anything on that they wanted to watch when they wanted to watch it.

Fast forward to modern day and "On Demand" television has destroyed that previous complaint that we had. Now we can watch all those TV programs, sometimes entire seasons or series, whenever we want to watch them.

But a new complaint has arisen, just to prove that mankind is never happy. The complaint is this "There's too much to watch". Yes, we've gone from no choice to too much choice.

Now we come home after a hard days slog and there's a list as long as the full version of Free Bird, of must see TV that we have to watch before the world implodes! But there's just not enough time in the day to watch these programs and the fun of watching them is hampered by the daunting amount of time that needs to be dedicated to them, and to make matters worse these shows just keep coming.

I'm currently watching the following:
Breaking Bad Season 3, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Community, Damages and The Borgias. These are all on demand using Netflix or Virgin. However I'm also watching tv shows that are on during the week, like The Apprentice and Homeland. When am I supposed to watch all of this stuff?

Netflix is great for TV Shows, but damn their oily hides for having so much stuff on there!!
And that's just television! I also have an xbox, with a large array of games that I'm currently playing.

I'm currently playing the following:
Warriors Orochi 3, Skyrim, Gears of War 2, Kingdoms of Amalur, Metal Gear Solid HD, Silent hill HD and have just got The Witcher 2.

Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur and The Witcher 2 alone is over 60 hours worth of game play at the very least! I'm not even going to get into the amount of Xbox live arcade games I'm also in the middle of...

What about seeing friends? Making the movies I'm trying to make? Seeing my wife and child? It seems that I have too much entertainment to entertain me with and not enough time to be entertained.

The only possible way that you'd be able to focus on this so called entertainment would be to become a hermit. Then you could watch all those tv shows, complete all those games and die alone and miserable, like most of the characters I've made on The Sims.

So what is the solution? Sell the xbox? Focus on the one tv show? Get a clone?

I don't know, but I'm seriously considering winning the lottery, maybe then I'll have the time?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Half Arsed Review: Evil Things

Warning, another Found Footage horror has been made, and this time it's about a group of people who go to a house and are never heard of/seen again.

Sound familiar? It should do, as this is the premise for most found footage horrors. The footage is found and the bodies aren't.

Evil Things has five friends go up to a remote cabin that belongs to one of their aunts (Gail). During their car journey we get to meet them a bit better, there's Leo the camera guy, Mark the everyman, an overly dramatic girl called Cassy, a girl who is celebrating her 21st birthday and who looks like Miranda Hart but is called Miriam and some fickle ill bitch who whines and moans for the entirety of the film named Tanya.

As they travel the snowy roads, they have a duel-esque face off with a van. The van driver acts like a real dick and puts the Willey's into the teens by beeping his horn, speeding in front of them then slowing down, and by driving really slowly past them when they're eating in a road side cafe.

They are so creeped out at one point that they drive off and are suddenly attacked by a waitress telling them they've forgotten something and hands the startled passenger the item that she had left in the restroom. I didn't see what it was but I think it was feces.

When they finally do get to the house in the middle of nowhere, there is no electricity. Not a good start when it's freezing outside and you've got some weirdo stalking you in his van. Suddenly a vehicle drives up to the house and the young friends get the fright of their life when someone begins banging on the door! OMG, is it the van driver? No, it's friendly Aunt Gail to tell us that the power is out.

She somehow magics the electric on and then she goes off back into the frosty night, leaving them to their certain deaths and probably on to another niece of hers who's staying at camp Crystal Lake.

It's then revealed that it's Miriam's birthday and she gets a cake, and she didn't expect a cake... yeah whatever. The next morning the guys try to get the girls to go for a walk in the snowy woods with them, all of the relent as it's Miriam's birthday present apparently. I say all of them, but I mean all of them except Tanya, who lays on her bed and bitches and moans about the whole thing. Why the hell did they bring this bitch!? She's the biggest Killjoy since time immemorial!

Anyway, the kids go off into the woods and before long are lost. They start panicking! How on earth can they get back to the house now they're lost? Quick thought... how about you look down to the ground and follow your FUCKING FOOTSTEPS!!! It's not even snowing and it never crosses their collective minds to just follow their footsteps back the way they came.

Then there's creepy noises in the woods, OMG is it some kind of Blair Witch? They do the only sensible thing and run off in different directions, before finally finding the house again.

When they're all home safe and sound, guess who turns up. Friendly Aunt Gail? No, the Van Driver. They get a knock on their door, they find a video tape, and play it to see they've been filmed whilst they were sleeping and that the Van man has his own camera.

The Van driver then attacks, although you never see him attack and most of them are "killed off" outright. The final bits are a homage to Silence of The Lambs as the over dramatic Cassy is filmed on night vision by the Van driver as she tries to get out. Also, the Van driver is making the same noises as the strange creatures we never saw but heard in the woods.

It ends with a figure viewing all of the found footage, before seeing the next group of victims from the killers cam.

Was it any good? Meh, it was okay. It had some good ideas but never really paid off. The threat was formulaic, although the sfx of the Van driver/creature sounded good. For me the acting was a little OTT at points and I at least wanted to see Tanya get dismembered.

It's not a bad lost footage film, there are so many that are a lot lot worse than this. (Episode 50) But it never quite reached it's full potential in my opinion.

Rent it and make your own minds up.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Half Arsed Review : YellowBrickRoad

If you're looking for a well thought out, dark and foreboding (and more importantly, scary) horror film, then this film isn't for you.

If however you are looking for a surreal mystery headf**k of a movie, that never apologises for the fact it has less knowledge about the events of the movie than the viewers, then give this a whirl.

The set-up is pretty good: The population of a small town got dressed in their finest outfits and then all left to walk on "The Trail", some of them were found later, frozen to death or succumbed to some form of brutal murder, but others are still unaccounted for. The one lone survivor's voice is played to you at the beginning of the movie where he keeps asking if the interviewers can hear the noise...

What follows is bizarre to say the least. A team of would be investigators go off to the town where it all happened, the locals aren't best pleased to see them, apart from one who is desperate to come with them. The deal is struck, she shows them where the trail starts and she gets to tag along to their certain deaths.

I hate to say it as the found footage market is over-saturated, but this is a movie that would have worked better as a found footage mockumentary. Instead it's filmed like any other horror, which works okay, but the whole mystery of what happened (and ending) would have been better being left even more obscure.

For most of the movie I wondered if the main guy was actually the same actor who played Shane from The Walking Dead... it annoyed me so much that I IMDB'D the SOB, and found out that no. It wasn't. They're not even related. But in some shots, he looks just like him. So I've saved you some frustration there.

Spot the difference?

Speaking of the actors, they're all adequate. None of them pull an Oscar performance out of their ass but none of them are dreadful.

So the first half of the movie is just them walking. Walking on the trail, stopping to have interviews with the behavioural psychologist who is tagging along to make sure he documents their deaths... I mean, mental state.

Suddenly they start hearing music and before you can say "Oh my god, this music sounds really messed up and I'm not sure we should be continuing" one of them is dead. This act of violence was signposted for me, as the increased tensions in the group and the fact that this particular pair seemed more annoyed at each other than anyone else, suggested they'd be the first to go. I even knew what would spark the fatal argument off... I didn't however expect the act of violence that occurred to happen. It was so unexpected, what was done, not when, that I just stared at the screen with my jaw slightly unhinged.

The rest of the movie, especially the end, I realised that my mouth was never fully closed, as my brain was frantically trying to process exactly what was happening on the screen. The music that was playing became worse as they progressed and the actors did a good job of portraying their reactions to certain parts of the sound collage.

Did I enjoy the film? Well, yes and no. I enjoyed the theme and surrealistic nature of the whole movie, but couldn't help feeling that they could have used some more scares.

The film Rubber was a nod to all films that had "No Reason" in it, and this movie wreaks of No Reason. So if you like your movies unexplained and messed up, then take a look at this (free on lovefilm player atm) but if not then skip this movie like it's your gcse year and you've got double science (which you haven't done your course work for) this afternoon.

Friday, 30 March 2012

TRIPLETS - And more Un-Needed Arnie Films!

After the news that there would be another Anchorman movie, I didn't think life could get any sweeter.

Sure, I do have some reservations as to weather the cast and crew of the sequel can equal or exceed the hilarity from the original, but it's something that people have been clamouring for and the studios know they'll make a shit load of money from the stars.

So this morning I find out that there's yet more sequel news!! Black Dynamite 2? No...

A sequel to the 1988 movie Twins. (HERE'S HOPING IT'S AN ELABORATE APRIL FOOLS JOKE!)

For those of you who are unaware of the movie, shame on you, this is the basic concept:

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito were part of a genetic experiment to create the perfect child, they are actually brothers where Arnie got all the good genes and Devito got all the bad genes. Arnie finds Devito and Devito (who's a small time crook) uses Arnie's naivety to his benefit. They go on a road trip where Devito wants to sell an engine (illegally) to a guy call Beetroot. It all goes sour, Devito kills the baddies and the twins reconcile. They later get their girlfriends pregnant, both with twins and meet their long lost mother.

Ironically that is also the plot for the 1988 movie Twins.

Since Arnie has stepped off of his political throne, he's trying to get his steroid pumped acting  muscles flexed with a much requested follow up to a film people kind of remember.

So, it's Twins 2? No... No it isn't. It's called Triplets. AND, here's the best part. They have a long lost brother... played by? Eddie Murphy.

I loved Eddie Murphy in his 80's movies, then he did a Steve Martin and stopped being funny, or at least he stopped being funny for anyone over the age of seven.

My main issue however is with the revelation that they have a long lost brother, they kind of shit all over the first movie's logic. Surely, the scientist who revealed to Arnie that he had a long lost brother would have mentioned another brother? SURELY?

So what's next for Arnie, if he's trawling through his old movies, what delights can we expect? The Last Last Action Hero? 1st School Cop? Batman & Robin 2 : The Return of Mr. Freeze?

There's only one film he needs to make a sequel to. That movie?


If you are unaware of the film it's about Danny Devito getting Arnie pregnant. Arnie gives birth to the mutant and they all live happily ever after.

I want a Junior 2. I want to see what happens to that kid when he goes to school and meets other children, all of whom have mothers, with wombs! I want to see this kid grow up and take his girlfriend home to meet his "mother/father hybrid". I want to see the looks on the faces of the kid's parents-in-law when they also meet the monster that is Arnie's character. I want to see what kind of spawn that Junior would produce.

THAT my friends (and Studio people who are no doubt reading this), is a movie worth watching.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Half Arsed Review: Insidious

James Wan, the same guy who brought Saw to the screen, brings us a new take on the tried and tested haunted house genre of horror films.

My favourite haunted house film is, and probably always will be, the Japanese version of The Grudge. It's just a perfect supernatural threat, as it's inescapable and as mysterious as it is deadly. Why this terrible murder at this house? Was it built on an Chinese burial ground? They don't tell you. They just present you with a fact, and that fact is, "anyone who goes to the house will die".

Now let's get back, or begin, talking about Insidious. It's very similar in plot to Poltergeist, with Patrick Wilson stepping in as the sceptical father and Rose Byrne as the "hysterical" mum character.

It all follows the same plot as it always does, "House is haunted, move house, new house haunted, actually it's the boy that's haunted, dad goes into other world, everyone lives happily ever after" Well, most people live, but happily ever after? Hmm...

So it's just the same as all the other films out there then? Well, no. This has an ace up it's sleeve. That ace being that this film is scary. It's expertly made to lure you into a false sense of security before making you jump (or in my long suffering lady wife Louise's case, scream as loud as possible into my ear).

There's a bit with some really creepy photo's, a bit with a scary moment where you really don't expect there to be one, and the film warrants a second watch as you will pick up more the second time than the first (with regards to certain plot elements being signposted earlier on)

So as a whole, the plot is similar but the scares are fresh. The acting in it, is also top notch, and even the child actors don't come across as the usual whiny little kids like the kid who played Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars Episode 1 : A Phantom Menace... which brings me to two things that Insidious and Episode 1 have in common.

Firstly is the CGI. Insidious is scary, till they bring in some Jarring CGI that looks out of place and subsequently ruins the feel of the film (Just as in Episode 1, where everything looked "too new" to happen a long time ago in a galaxy far far away)

Then there's the main (or secondary) villain in Insidious. I'm not the only person who noticed this, as I found the following picture quite easily. So tell me, do you spot any similarities?

Granted, they aren't Identical... but they're certainly related, surely? When you want to make a scary monster, do NOT make it look like a character from another movie, as it'll detract from your monster's terror factor. After I'd seen the "demon" for the first time, all I could think was "So this is what happened to Darth Maul after Star Wars!"

That aside, the film is a pretty good modern horror. I suggest watching it with the lights off, the sound up and on your own.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Half Arsed Review - Rubber

Being a glutton for bad movies, I decided to scour through Love Film's Xbox Live App, to find the worst possible movie to watch with my good friend Mr. Webb. (Who is also a connoisseur of bad movies)

As I flicked past all of the titles, I came upon one that sounded too bad to be true.

The film was called RUBBER, and had a picture of a rubber tyre with a stream of blood behind it. So I anxiously selected it and read the following blurb:

"Deep within the desolate landscape of the Californian desert a merciless killer roams the land looking for victims. With his terrifying psychic abilities he leaves a blood soaked trail of chaos and..."

Unless I'm doing it wrong, the love film player only ever has the first two sentences of a film synopsis. So you kind of hope that the first two lines will describe the film with good effect, for all I knew the rest of the synopsis could have said:

"With his terrifying psychic abilities he leaves a blood soaked trail of chaos and freshly pressed shirts. The Rubber Tyre is killed off by the police early on and the rest of the movie focuses on hardcore gay pornography and ends with a baby being murdered by a clown."

Luckily, that didn't happen.

So, my expectations were that I was about to watch a movie about a killer rubber tyre with psychic abilities. It would be a funny movie with over the top gore and plenty of stupid teenagers/law enforcement agents, that would be killed off. Just turn my brain off, and enjoy.

Luckily, that didn't happen.

Instead, I was treated to one of the most bizarre movies I have ever seen. (The happiness of the Katakuris being one of the weirder ones I've seen to date) From the offset you knew it'd be weird...

A desert highway, with an assortment of chairs dotted around it. A police car drives towards the camera and purposefully knocks over each and every chair before pulling up. The boot of the car opens and a Sheriff steps out, goes to the driver and takes a glass of water out. He then approaches the camera and addresses the audience with this speech.

"In the Stephen Spielberg movie E.T., why is the alien brown? No reason. In Love Story, why did the two characters fall madly in love with each other? No reason. In Oliver Stone’s JFK, why is the President suddenly assassinated by some stranger? No reason. In the excellent chainsaw massacre by Tobe Hooper, why don’t we ever see the characters go to the bathroom? Or wash their hands like people do in real life? Absolutely no reason. Worse, in The Pianist by Polanski, how come this guy has to hide and live like a bum when he plays the piano so well? Once again, the answer is no reason. I could go on for hours with more examples, the list is endless…all great films without exception contain an element of no reason. And you know why? Because life itself is full of no reason…the film you are about to see today is an homage to the no reason, that most powerful homage of style"

After this he pours his water on the floor, gets back into the boot of the car and is driven off. From this point, you are either hooked or know this is not a movie for you.

The Sheriff seemed to be actually talking to a group of people behind the camera who act as the "audience" throughout the film. At points, we watch them whilst they watch and describe action. It'd be a disservice to the film to reveal what happens in it, suffice to say this film is a journey to be had if you appreciate film as an art form. If you like films that seem to be trying to convey a message, or that are just filled with randomness for the sake of it, then this film is for you.

The tyre itself moves of it's own accord, you never see any strings and I'd love to know how they actually got it to move the way it moves. At points you empathise with the tyre, other points you are laughing, and then you're wondering what the hell is going on... to which you answer yourself "No Reason"

Do yourself a favour and check this film out, you'll either love it or hate it, but it's worth checking out either way.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mass Effect Recap

So you've decided to play Mass Effect 3 and you've either A) Forgotten what happened in the first two games or B) Never played the first two games.

Here's a quick summary of the first two games to refresh your memory. But if you answered B, don't read this crap, go and play the games you loser!

Mass Effect - Shepard became the first human jedi, sorry, spectre, and was sent after the borg like Saren (ex-jedi) After chasing his ass all over the galaxy, you find out that the really cool ship he's been flying about in is actually a sentient robot fella called Sovereign. Who belongs to a race of robot fellas called Reapers. You made a few choices which resulted in a male or female crew member dying, shagged someone and even perhaps killed or never even met a Krogan buddy. After all that jazz you learn that the citadel, the squeaky clean deep space nine, was actually a mass effect gate, and sovereign along with the borg (geth) attacked.

You killed Darth Saren, and either saved the council or told them to go f**k themselves. In the end you all live happily ever... oh wait... ME2.

Mass Effect 2 - On a routine patrol you get horribly murdered by "The Collectors" a race that was not even mentioned or hinted about in the previous game as far as I'm aware. So the fact every race knows who they are was a bit perplexing. Anyway, your good old pal' The Illusive Man, (Charlie Sheen's dad), decides that he's got six billion dollars lying around and always wondered if he could make a six billion dollar man. So he brings you back to life and tells you to go out and kill the collectors as they're bad guys stealing humans. The game then consists of you going round the galaxy meeting up with old friends, meeting people who you wronged/helped along the way, shagging someone else and then playing everybody’s favourite batman villain Joker as he defends the ship from a collector attack. (Joker by the way is probably the most ironically named character in the game as he's the least funniest.) After this you go on a "suicide" mission (that wasn't a suicide mission if you trawled through the painful scanning for minerals on a million different planets routine)
where your team die or survive to attack a collector base. Here you get to chose who goes with who out of your allies and then you face The Terminator. A half built Reaper that looks like a metallic human skeleton (terminator). After you kick it's bony metallic ass Charlie Sheen's dad asks if you want to hand over all the technology to the sinister organisation that he works for who aren't at all space Nazis. most people told him to go f**k himself and blew the thing to kingdom come. Then Shepard decided to play Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear The Reaper until Mass Effect 3 came out.

I've not included any DLC in my summary because I'm a bastard. Hope this helped. :)

Monday, 23 January 2012

What do we have here?

Hello true believers!

It would seem that my blog hasn't been updated for a long time. Well, it's very rare that I get an opportunity to sit down at a computer now that I've got a little bambino!

My ongoing project "Journal of A Post Apocalyptic Office Drone" is at a standstill and I don't feel like continuing it at the moment. Sorry bout that.

If you wish me to continue it, let me know, otherwise I'll just write it off as a good idea gone to waste.

I'm not sure what (if anything) my blog will cover over the next few months, but I'll try my best to get five minutes to do something with this for all of you who enjoy reading my writings.

Ciao for now.