Monday, 27 July 2015

Adventures in Horror Gaming: Penumbra Overture

Before I get to my review of Penumbra: Overture I just wanted to let you guys know some good news, I now have an agent! Now that that's out of the way on to the review.

Penumbra: Overture is the previous foray into horror by the team behind Amnesia. It takes place in an arctic mining facility that has been around for decades, but has fallen into disrepair, presumably due to some supernatural presence. From this game you can tell right off the bat that Frictional Games really know what makes for great horrifying atmosphere. It's similar to Amnesia in that the best strategy to survive is avoiding the enemies, some of which are capable of breaking down doors. You can fight back in this one however, just not very effectively due to how hard it is to control any of the weapons you find. We kept talking about how we wished we had a gun.

I've never been so afraid of a dog before.

Now unfortunately this game had a lot of things going against it. Firstly it was just too long and unless you had a walkthrough to read at the same time some of the puzzles made no sense or were just silly. For instance at one point you had to get past an electric fence, you would think there would be a way to turn it off or something, but nope you literally just had to stack boxes and jump over it (my idea, which my guy thought was going to kill us, especially since a tiny bit of steam can kill you in this game). There were also some parts of the game that took way too many tries to get through and I swear we died at least 10 times trying to get past some spiders.

Apparently spider eggs have built in motion sensors that tell them when to hatch.
The real nail in the coffin for this game though was when we were trying to figure out how to solve one of the puzzles, tried a bunch of stuff, relented and used the walk through then when we did what we were supposed to have done it still wouldn't let us advance because of what we had tried to do to solve it. The weird physics of this game meant that we were stuck in this room with no way to get out without turning off the game and hoping it hadn't saved. At that point we gave up, while the story had been fairly interesting it just wasn't worth the frustration we were having. Overall I wouldn't recommend this game because of how frustrating it was. That being said I am curious as to what SOMA will be like once Frictional releases it in a few months.

Were they mining spice all this time?

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Adventures in Horror Gaming: Amnesia the Dark Descent

My second foray into horror gaming has been in the world of Amnesia the Dark Descent. Now this time I managed to play a lot more of the game due to it's lack of combat, but whenever I thought one of those monsters was going to show up I promptly jumped away from the keyboard and let my guy take over. I even managed to figure out solutions to a few of the puzzles in this game.
Most castles have rooms full of corpses right? RIGHT!?!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Adventures in Horror Gaming: Silent Hill 2

Recently I started playing horror games so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about my experiences playing them. Of course I haven't been playing them alone, I tried that once and I lasted maybe 40 minutes before I turned the thing off and just said NOPE. It was on the urging of my boyfriend that the first game we played was Silent Hill 2. I really wanted to put the action on beginner, since my gaming skills end at random button mashing in Super Smash Bros., but we ended up settling on playing it on easy mode.

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Creepshow... Show

Earlier this month an opportunity to see a band I've recently started listening to cropped up, so I decided to seize it. It's all thanks to my buddy Topher that I got into psychobilly music and right now The Creepshow is one of my two favourite bands in the genre (the other being Kitty in a Casket). As a part of their 10 year anniversary tour the group came to Funky Winkerbeans here in Vancouver. They brought with them four opening acts the first of which (Lust Luck) amazed the audience not only by climbing all over their stand up bass as it was played, but also setting it on fire! Nothing makes for a better show than a little fire that's for sure.

Now when The Creepshow finally took the stage with current lead singer Kenda nothing could contain my excitement. At the show I got to hear not only some of my favourite tunes like The Devil's Son and Demon Lover (which I ended up wholeheartedly singing along to), but also some songs I was unfamiliar with and plan on investigating further. The band was full of energy pumping up the audience and putting on an excellent show. The next day my neck was very sore as a result of my head banging ways and even the people I dragged along who'd never heard the band before had an awesome time.

If this band from Ontario ever comes to your town I highly recommend checking them out. As someone who doesn't go to live music very often seeing them urges me want to make a habit of going to shows more often. If you want to check out some of their music you can click here.

I leave you with the music video for The Devil's Son

Friday, 8 May 2015

Where Have I Been These Past Few Months

For those who read my blog on a regular basis you may have been wondering that. Well I'm here to answer that (and trying to write posts more frequently).

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Netflix Recommendations: January 2015

Alrighty, was your New Year's Resolution to watch more horror movies? Well if it was then I'm here to help with my recommendations for Canadian Netflix this month. As per usual new additions to this list are bolded and I only speak of films I've already seen.

Two friends plan the trip of a lifetime in this found footage film, documenting the journey for a website they've created, but after a chance sexual encounter one of the two friends starts to undergo some unexpected and violent changes.

-The Den
One woman's research project exploring the world of random online video chatting turns dark when she witnesses what she believes to be a murder on the titular chat program

-The Sacrament
Based on the Jonestown massacre this film is a modern smaller scale retelling of what dreadful things occurred brought to us by Ti West.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Best of 2014 in Horror

Here (in no particular order) is my list of the best horror films of 2014, or at least the ones I knew were released in 2014 when I saw them:

I will now never purchase an antique.

This is one of the few films that has had me leaving the theatre with a feeling of dread. This tale of two siblings' attempt to clear their father's name and destroy what drove him to madness artfully mixes flashbacks and the present. Of course things don't go as planned. It's really hard to explain what makes this film so good to others because the best way I can describe it without spoiling anything is that it's about an evil mirror that kills people. Sounds like a bad 70s B-movie right? Well just trust me when I say it is awesome and you should check it out when you get the chance.

So why weren't there more shirtless scenes in Downton Abbey?
The Guest

I went into this movie expecting an average thriller with a buffed up Matthew Crawley, what I got instead was an amazing dark comedy with a buffed up Dan Stevens and a plethora of genre actors. The actors bring their a-games which isn't hard with such a witty script. And of course what tops off this piece of art is the beautiful cinematography and stand out soundtrack. I can't remember the last time I heard such a great soundtrack.

And here's to more shirtless Daniel Radcliffe scenes in the future.

I've been a Joe Hill fan ever since I read Locke & Key, so when I found out one of his books was being adapted into a movie I was thrilled (it was filmed in Vancouver!) This movie was like nothing I'd seen before, the closest thing I could compare it to was John Dies at the End. It artfully used the west coast setting to portray a story of love and betrayal with Daniel Radcliffe looking progressively more badass as every minute of the film passes. Although I wasn't a big fan of the third act it was still an awesome film that stuck with me.

ABCs of Death 2

This is a great example of a sequel surpassing it's predecessor. Learning from the shortfalls of the previous film (segments like L and F spring to mind) ABCs 2 managed to improve on pacing, there was never a moment where I was waiting for a segment or the movie to be over, as well as having more memorable and innovative shorts than the previous film. Definitely the anthology film of the year.

Well you never really use your pinkie anyways.

Cheap Thrills

The best of the "What would you do for money" films I saw this year, Cheap Thrills brought some great performances by both some name actors, such as scream queen Sara Paxton, and lesser known actors like Pat Healy as the down on his luck family man lead. It's the well defined characters that make this movie shine, along with some particularly gruesome scenes that show how desperate some people can get.

The Editor

Astron-6 knocks it out of the park with this homage to Italian giallo films. Not only does it manage to be laugh out loud funny, but it also shows how far the group has come as filmmakers. The stylized cinematography was beautiful and the plot managed to continue to raise the stakes even past the climax. While at times, especially the end, you were left scratching your head and wondering "what does it mean" that is what made the film work. I can't wait to see what Astron-6 comes up with next.

Now there were also some films I didn't get a chance to see, but was really excited for and will be finding as soon as I can, so here is a list of them:

The Babadook, Dead Snow 2, Starry Eyes, It Follows, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Housebound and Late Phases.