Sunday, 24 September 2017

My Review of Sara Pascoe's Pride and Prejudice

So I have to admit that I read the works of Jane Austen while I was in school, I also read a whole bunch of other things it was very unpopular for a young teenage boy to read including Romeo and Juliet, Little Women and all manner of other ''girly'' things, I also read Tolkien, Pratchet, the Omen, basically I was a big reader who was open to exploring as many fictional worlds as possible. I also flocked to watch as many films as I could and I was always willing to try out film versions of anything I have read. This is something which is still true to this day, I read Stephen Kings IT, I saw the mini series and enjoyed it and I have just recently seen the new film and enjoyed that as well.

So where am I going with this? Well basically I had seen posters around advertising a stage play of Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice which had been adapted by Sara Pascoe the Comedian. I mentioned this to my girlfrind who went on to say that it was one of her favourate books and while I dont feel that deeply for it, I did enjoy it so I suggested that maybe I should book us tickets for it as a part of her birthday presents/celebrations.

When booking the tickets I was a little worried I have to admit, you see I know Sara Pascoe for her apperance on various comedy pannel based shows and have seen her in the company of people like Frankie Boyle and such and well part of me was almost expecting this production to be full of jokes about the size of characters genetialia or for it to just try and be well too post modern and to far removed from the original material. Its not that I would have minded it if was that rude but I was kind of worried that it wouldnt be something my wonderful girlfriend would fully appreciate.

Personally I found the play to be very good, there was some humour injected into it but it was never over bearing or at the expense of the material in my opinion, it was at least to my sensabilities nice end of the peer comedy gently intertwined into the story, it made you giggle a bit here and there and kept your mood light but it didnt destroy the feel of the show. I was a little hit and miss when it came to the fact that there was this sort of  play-within-a-play structure to the show. You see we cut from the actual story to three diffrent types of scene which all sort of exist to critic the play, you see a teacher teaching girls about the play in a class room, you see people playing the characters in rehersal talking about the story how they feel about there characters there thoughts on the play, and then we also go to these two people who are adapting the story into either a TV show or film who talk about what they think of the characters and what they think they should do to sell individual scenes and to get characters across in a good or bad way. If this is a good or a bad thing depends upon what you think about this critique and if you even want one, at times I found myself enjoying these bits but at other points I kind of just wanted to get back to the main story, I guess I just felt like I had read the book and thought about the themes and the characters and didnt need certain points thrusting down my throat quiet as much, I do however admit that others might enjoy this and it might make them think about some of the issues more than they had before or in new ways.

If I have a critic which I feel is not down to personal taste and is more of an actual solid complaint then I dont like how many actors actually double dip and play two or more roles. Not only do you have to see the same person play multiple roles there are also bits where stand in wooden men are dragged around dressed as soliders. Now when the cheapest seats in the house were £15 with the more prime seats being more and the house was full to its 750 person capacity I can not for the life of me see how they couldnt offer basic none speaking stand there and smile or walk across the stage parts to some young aspiring actors, heck at the right point in my life I would have happily stood in uniform for free on the stage just for the thrill of being part of a performance and I am sure there are still plenty of people who would feel like this and be happy to do it just to fill there CV with something intresting.

Friday, 22 September 2017

SNES Review 130: Mystic Quest Legend AKA Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

So the game I am going to talk about now was released in the Pal region as Mystic Quest Legend, in America as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest,  and in Japan as Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest. Thinking how big Final Fantasy is as a franchise it seems kind of crazy now that for its release over here it basically had the Final Fantasy name ripped from it but you need to realise that the name didn't carry the kind of weight then that it does now.

Having heard the name Final Fantasy then you'll be thinking that this is a role-playing video game and well you would be right.The game is basically a spin-off to Square's popular Final Fantasy series that they designed and marketed as a simplified role-playing game with entry-level RPG players in mind.The whole basic idea behind the game was to get new people in to the genre, people who might previously have not paid much attention to RPG's previously. This kind of effects a lot of peoples opinions on this game. You can see why it was made, the sales of the last proper final fantasy in America before it really tanked despite it being an excellent game. So this game was made as something to try and court interest in the genre a kind of jumping in point for newbies and I would argue that when used in this way the game is at its best, the problem is when you go from playing an in depth RPG down to playing this, it comes of as incredibly simplistic in relation to almost any other RPG you could think to name.

You see while the game's  battle system is basically similar to that of a Final Fantasy game from that sort of period its kind of a little simplified with more action adventure game elements weaved into it. You dont really get a team like in other games instead you have your central character who you level up but you meet people who kind of fight alongside you and then clear off to be replaced by other latter companions. This simplifies things by meaning you only have to concentrate on your one main guy, heck the game itselfs controls your part time companions for you by default. Also when you move around on the overworld its fixed its less like moving around in most RPG games and more like moving Mario from level to level on the map screen in Super Mario Land. There are also no random battles, and no choosing who you need to take with you or making sure people level up evenly as companions kind of just drop in and out and your not responsible for managing there equipment or well anything.

The story by RPG standards is pretty darn basic there are no crazy big plot twists or things that will make you stop and think about whether what your doing is right or wrong or if your really a hero or not. Quiet simply you are a young guy called Benjamin on a quest to save the world. You do this by retrieving stolen crystals that control the world's four elemental powers and hold everything in balance.

One of the issues when a lot of people review this game is they just see it as a sort of Fischer Price Babies First RPG and tar it as nothing more than a cut down bastard of the Final Fantasy franchise and yes in some ways if your heavily into your RPG's what is on offer here can seem pretty darn simple. I would seriously argue though that its not a bad game and that if you look at it as its own thing and judge it based of that and not its various brothers then its a pretty decent game.

Now the game is pretty darn easy and that's a complaint that's been levelled against it a lot, its also short by RPG standards its about 10 hours long but hey when theres things like work to worry about sometimes its nice to have an RPG you can finish without having to dedicate your life to it. I need to say that I really do love the music in this game it just well its in many places just beautiful and has a sort of calming nature to it. The graphics are passable and work well but they are pretty no thrills graphics to be totally honest.

In conclusion well I think the game is a decent if overly simple game, its a hard one to score as it depends what your after and what kind of RPG experience you have.. If this was your first entry into the genre id give it a 7 out of 10 and say go grab it as I think it serves the purpose of easing you into this kind of game very well, If your a pro RPG gamer though then I would have to lower the score to a 6 and say that maybe this game is a little short, repetitive and over simplified to score any better. I do think though that this game gets a lot of unfair negative backlash, maybe some of this is simply because none Japanese gamers have disliked the idea that we were not buying previous RPG's simply because we were too green and in need of having our hands held to truly get there greatness? I paid £10 for my cartridge only pal copy of this game and if you really feel that you need it well I wouldn't pay over £20 for it as I don't think it will hold your attention long enough to warrant the money after all its short and not particularly replayable in my opinion.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

RIP Raymond Louis Heenan AKA Bobby "The Brain" Heenan

 So its been a while since I have posted anything most of this is due to my broadband modem dying and me having to get a new one and set it up and sort everything out. This hasnt only meant that I have posted on here it has also meant that I have been missing out on a lot of news, lets face it the stuff on TV and in the papers doesnt really cut it when your after the more geeky kind of info. This meant that I gave a very loud cheer when I got on the internet again but it soon turned into shedding tears when I foudn out that Raymond Louis Heenan better known as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan had passed away on September the 17th 2017.

Bobby Heenan was an American professional wrestling manager, wrestler, and color commentator, best known for his time with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was often called the Brain or the Weasel. In all honesty his wrestling career was well before my time, my earliest memories of him are seeing him manage Andre the Giant after he turned heel. He was amazingly skilled when it came to getting both himself and his guys over, if you wanted a wrestler to be despised and hated and considerd a real villian pretty much all you needed to do was put them with Heenan and he would get the job done for you double quick. He had an amazingly sharp mind and tongue, he could run circles around others with his quick delivery of epic put downs and no matter who he insulted even if they were your favourate wrestling hero you couldnt help but laugh at his lines, even when you really really hated him you couldnt help but also love him just a little. He also made more than his fair share of heroes of wrestling, you see everyone wanted to see Heenan get hit so all you needed to get someone over was to have them give Heenan a little bit of a bump and the crowd would go mad.

The thing is you always got the impression as a smart fan that Heenan was a real team player, not only would he give it his all to draw hate and heat for those he managed he also made sure to take good real looking bumps to help get the heroes over. He played a character who was at times a down right dirty cheat but deep down the guy basically wreaked of honesty, playfullness and a want to do not only his best but to help and inspire everyone else around him to do the same. He was and shall always be an absolute credit to the industry. His work as a color commentator lifted even some of the dullest of matches up to a highly watchable level, youd watch two useless meat heads throwing the worst fake punches at each other just to hear Bobby insult there intelgenece, or accuse them of being inbred or otherwise tear them to pieces and when you had this man comment on a good match well you lifted that up to a level of pure perfection.

I could talk about the man forever but I think I can some it all up with what I wrote about his Induction into the WWE Hall of Fame  ''As a kid I absolutely hated Bobby the Brain but as I have gotten older I realise just how much of my enjoyment of the WWF/WWE came down to this man. It was his motor mouth speech his on the spot insults, he knew how to get the kind of heat on a regular basis that most people in the world of wrestling would dream of striking once or twice in there career.''

RIP MR Heenan and thank you for the memories.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt presents: Body Count

Tales from the Crypt presents: Body Count was originally going to be the third Tales from the crypt film with the original Trilogy order being Dead Easy, Demon Knight and then Finally Body Count. If its hard to get info on Dead Easy then its basically imposible to get anything on Body Count no one seems to know anything about what it would have been beyond the title and a very basic plot outline. If the film had been made it would have been about a young guy who while compiling clips for a documentary about violent crimes, discovers his uncle's dubious past. I have never even been able to find out what it was about his uncles past he would find out but I would imagine that it would be that he was a serial killer hence the name BodyCount. I imagine it would be something a little bit like the film The GoodWife (which is based on a Stephen King story) but with it being a nephew finding out his uncle is a killer instead of a woman finding out her husband is one. I also imagine there would have been more gore and more humour to sort of bring it in to line with the whole Tales from the Crypt style. 

I wonder if this film actually had a proper complete script or if there was merly a few outline notes made, at the moment I have no idea how much work was actually done in terms of BodyCount. I didnt really think that there was enough here for a blog post but I wanted to cover this film without going on and on with nothing to really say about it. This potential film is really nothing more than a little footnote in the history of Tales From The Crypt and so thats exactly how I have treated it.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt Fat Tuesday/Dead Easy.

Ok so in my last post I mentioned the fact that originally at least there was only  two “Tales from the Crypt Presents” movies, “DemonKnight” and “Bordello of Blood.”. I then went on to talk about Ritual and how it was originally going to be the third film but then it was made to be a stand alone horror film before eventually being released on to disc as a Tales film a long time latter. There was however another Tales Movie apparently  filmed and completed between Demon Knight and Boredllo of Blood but never released. That film was the film I am going to talk about today, it was  “Fat Tuesday.” 
The trilogy might have started with Demon Knight the script for which apparently predated the Tales From The Crypt TV series but when they originally decided to make a trilogy of films it was  intended to be the second film in the trilogy. Dead Easy was at one stage intended to be the opening film of the trilogy. Dead Easy and Fat Tuesday are the same script/idea but it seems like they kept floating between the two possible titles. According to Gilbert Adler the reason for Demon Knight becoming the first film was issues they were having with the script for Dead Easy "We were rewriting it, and it was getting scarier and more intense, but a lot of the humor had been lost, and we always felt that was an important part of Tales from the Crypt -- scare people, then let them laugh.''. You might be thinking at this stage that Dead Easy had been dumped but no if you went and saw Demon Knight in the cinema then you would have seen it had a post-credits scene where the Crypt Keeper told everyone that if they hadnt had enough that they could return to the cinema soon to see the next Tales from the Crypt movie “Dead Easy”so for at least a time Dead Easy was going to be the second film in the trilogy.

The amount known about Fat Tuesday/Dead Esay well its not a lot really, most of what is known comes from magazine articles around the time Demon Knight was released. ''The next one is more psychological; than blood guts and gore'' according to A.l Katz ''As a Matter of fqact today we wrote a scene where a shadow figure squeezes through the skull of an old lady and into her brain and thats just where the movie begins.'' Adler was apparently directing Fat Tuesday and it was going into production in febuarary with a $12 million budget. The film was going to be based on a script by J.P kELLY. It was going to be set in the Deep South (possibly New Orleans) It was supposed to be about a man trying to determine what happened in his past and how his memories of this would bring back a malevolent entity if they are ever recalled. The closer the guy gets to the truth the closer he gets to releasing something inside of him. They claimed that they would be creating a unique bad guy one who would be unique and funny and like nothing we had seen before and that would also scare the shit out of people. I have found a scan of this article and I wrote the above by squinting like mad, I will share it below incase you can read it better than I.

I personally think that the plot for the film and what they had planned for us actually sounded great, yet we never got it so why not? Well apparently the reason we never got to see it according to rumors was due to with issues due to the films casting and possible racial implications. Since the script was very voodoo related youd imagine that they would have required a large African-American cast. Well during pre-production there was apparently a bunch of debates focused on whether the film would be commercially viable with a largly African American cast. The story goes that apparently the film was actually completed but the cast was entirely white. This apparently led to “Tales from the Crypt” producer Joel Silver steping in, claiming that he would be branded a racist if the film was released and because of this it was locked in a vault and has not seen the light of day since. It is intresting to think that there is a Tales from The Crypt film out there that we have never seen and I wish I could see it but I figure it will never be shown, I do wish that with the change in times they would either release the original script, noveilse it or remake it with an appropriate cast.

The two pictures I provided above and tried to read are from an article on “Fat Tuesday” that apparently came from a “DemonKnight” magazine that was published when that movie was released. There is also some art which has made its way online and I will post it here because its both intresting and I think its rather good too. Does this art really tell us anything? Well it supports the claims that the script includes a man looking after his child and it also shows that this villian as well as being described as a shadow and as having come out of the man it seems to take the form of an Evil Jester, its hard to draw anything concreate from this but maybe it was a bit like the creature in Stephen King's IT maybe it was an Evil Shadow which took the form of a Jester it sounds pretty intresting to me, I would still love to see it but I guess it will just have to live on as a movie legend.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt: Ritual

OK so I wanted to do a Post about Tales From The Crypt as well its something that is very dear to my heart. I don't just mean the HBO TV series I mean the comic books the 1970's films, the latter films such as Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood, the spiritual successors such as CreepShow and CreepShow 2 all of it put together just becomes this thing which was a massive influence on me. I wanted to become a horror Writer because of them, and even if it will never ever come true I have always had the secret dream that a story I have written would end up becoming the basis for something Tales From The Crypt related, as I think some of my work kind of has an EC Comics Tales kind of vibe to it.

I have decided that I want to talk about Tales from the Crypt films, no not Tales From the Crypt and The Vault of Horror nor the newer HBO connected films such as Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood, what I want to talk about is the films that either never made it to screen or didn't make it to screen as officially branded Tales from the Crypt Movies. I am going to start this today by talking about Ritual.

OK so the first think to say is that Ritual actually got made. Ritual was originally intended to be produced by Universal so that it could be used as the third instalment of a trilogy of Tales from the Crypt  movies. It was actually sort of going to be a replacement for other shelved films but I will talk about them in latter posts. Plans were scrapped for this to be a Tales from the Crypt film after Bordello of Blood the second released Tales from the Crypt movie (not counting the old Amicus ones here) bombed in theatres. Miramax purchased the rights from Universal and removed all references to the Tales from the Crypt franchise, so that it could be released as a stand alone movie.Eventually it was released as a Tales from the Crypt film years after with what seems to be newly shot CryptKeeper scenes with an unfortunately not great puppet. The funny thing being originally they thought the connection to Tales from Crypt might harm it then latter they felt that reconnecting it to Tales from the Crypt might improve sales of it on disc. In all honesty its a half decent film with the highlight of it for me being the fact it features Tim Curry. I personally wish they'd kept it a Tales from Crypt film in the first place . Its basically a retelling of the old film I Walked With a Zombie.If you enjoy films about Voodoo then you will probably like it, at times it does feel very much like a Tales from the Crypt film but then at others it feels a little slow paced and like it lost its mojo maybe some of this is due to alterations made to try and take it away from its Crypt past and treat it like a stand alone movie. I recommend that people watch it, I would also check out the latter filmed Crypt Keeper bits but I don't think its something that your going to keep returning to and you certainly need to watch it with your expectations dialled down.

I do tend to see this as a Tales from the Crypt film as I think at heart despite its original unbranding it always was a Tales film at heart, I don't think it was anywhere near as good as Demon Knight the first of the Tales Trilogy but then the thing is I would actually call Demon Knight one of my top ten favourite films of all time. If we were to consider the official trilogy Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood and then Ritual I would order them from best to worst in that very same order. Once I have talked about more of the potential sequels and kind of sequels I will have to come back and reassess this films place in the rankings but until then.... Good Night Boys and Ghouls.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Megadrive Box art comparison: Disneys Lion King

Ok so I am back onc3e again looking at Megadrive case art and in this case I am looking at the Lion King. I will be looking at its American, European, Japanese and Australian Platinum edition art and suggesting what I like and dislike about them before deciding what my ideal case art would be

So this is the American cover for the lion king, I started by showing this one for two reasons one its the version I actually own and two as far as I m concerned when you think oh The Lion King on the Mega Drive/Genesis this is exactly the sort of thing I think you would see in your head case art wise.

This is the English version all of the European versions basically looked like this but with The Lion King and the back info written in each country's language.  On the one hand I don't think the cover is very game like but then I also find it very classy. Its a newer Megadrive game hence the blue borders instead of the black which I would usually moan about but I think the blue actually looks good alongside all of the red and yellow in the central image. I think the central art of this case would make a great poster for adult fans of this film.

For once I really do not rate the Japanese case art, the fact it has a long slim almost spine down the front of the front portion of the cover is not a good look, it has the same art as the American version but smaller and more pushed to the centre which is the opposite to what a lot of my favourite Japanese cases do. If I had to try and find elements of this case I like, well I like the cartoon young Simba on the back and I like the sort of African pattern border it has but I do think this is the worse of the three cases.

This is the case for the Sega Platinum collection version of The Lion King and I actually kind of like it overall its very adult and sort of upmarket, its a bit like when you get the versions of Harry Potter books which have been published for adults with classy dust jackets instead of cartoon ones. I prefer it to the Japanese version but I don't think I am quiet as taken with it as the English one, I do think that a reversible cover would have been a good idea so you could pick between something like this and something a bit more bright and kid friendly.

I am usually a champion for Japanese Video Game art but I also say it as I see it, I don't think the Japanese art is good in all cases and because it is usually of such a quality it makes you almost dislike it even more when its poor because you have seen just how great it can be.

This is my idea of a classy cover adding my favourite elements of both the English cover and the Australian Platinum collection cover. Personally I think this is really striking but when I showed it to my daughter despite her liking elements of it she pointed out that in her opinion it should be the large sun dominating the front cover but should just have one large Simba shadow on it instead of a large variety of characters and although I don't agree I can see her point.