Friday, 31 March 2017

March's Retro game purchases 2017

The first Retro purchase in March wasnt until Sunay the 12th of March, on the way home from work I went into an indy game store and I got Knights of the old republic 2 complete for xbox for £3 and Final fantasy tactics (budget re-release version) complete for psp for £4. Which although a late start I dont think it was a bad start. If anything it had taken me so long to get something as I hadnt really been looking for stuff as I had started the month by buying a Nintendo Switch and so didnt want to spend too much on other things for myself.

The following day Monday the 13th I went in to a charity shop and picked up a few bits and pieces I got Buffy The Vampire Slayer Chaos bleeds complete for Xbox £2, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 Jedi Outcast complete for xbox £2, and Burnout 3 Takedown complete for xbox £2

This was followed by a quick look in a retro games shop which got me James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing complete for GameCube £1, GripShift complete for PSP £1 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash Up complete for Wii for £4. For those who dont know Smash Up is basically a Ninja Turtles themed Smash Brothers clone which a lot of people have spoken favourably about, I have seen it for sale before but it has always been either a lot more expensive in really bad nick or both of the above, so I was pretty happy to be able to get it at this price in good condition.
On friday the 17th I got a nice little haul from a charity shop, I got Sonic Heroes complete for ps2 50pence (platinum version), Star Trek shatterd universe complete for ps2 for 50pence, The Sims 2 for psp complete for £1, Medal of Honour for psp complete for £1 (platinum version) and Tekken Dark Resurrection for psp complete for £1 (platinum version) now while none of these are exactly the best or rariest games in the world they were all in good condition.

On the 20th I hit another Indy game shop, this is one of those places that doesnt tend to price up its gear instead running on a you take it up to the till they tell you what they want for it, they also tend to give you a pretty good deal if you grab a pile of stuff as apposed to one game. So in the end I got the following little pile for £23. Ape Academy 2, Final Fantasy 2, and Ultimate Ghosts n Goblins for psp disc (UMD) only, Space Station Silicon Valley, Turok Rage Wars, 1080 snowboarding and jet force gemini for n64 Cart only. As far as I am concerned the best two parts about this were getting Space Station Silicon Valley as whenever I have seen this before its been around £16 and getting Ultimate Ghouls and Ghosts as I have never actually seen it in the flesh before, sure its a little dissapointing that its just the UMD but its better to have just a disc or cart than to not have a game at all.

It was a sort of slow month admitidly but I was always sure that it would be with it being the same month that the Swith came out. I only spent £46 but I did get somethings I really wanted so I cant complain. So will I get much next month? To be honest I am not sure, I guess time will tell.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Why You should watch Boston Legal

 So I admit that my blog seems to get more and more random and I pretty much talk about anything and everything, what started as a Video Game blog and then somehow morphed into a Video Games and Horror blog started to get sprinkles of fantasy and science fiction, and then it got some polotics and oppinion pieces and now I am set to talk about a comedy law show, I could try to slide this in without making a fuss I already know the excuse I would use. I would state the case that as this show deals with all kinds of political issues with a sense of passion and humour that this fits in with my whole style, I would argue that I share the same sort of sense of morals as one of the main characters in Boston Legal Alan Shore, in that I believe an individuals morals are more important than the law, in that if it really came down to it I would rather break the law than my own morals. Yet rather than try and slip things in to this blog through the back door I freely admit that the scope and contents of this blog have ever widdend, I guess part of it is that my own intrests have widdend and widdend as time goes on. Plus well there is a deeper point to this blog which I will get to latter.

I have just finished watching the first season of Boston Legal not for the first time, I watched it when it originally came out, I have then watched odd episodes of it out of sequence but I was lucky enough to find the whole 5 seasons second hand and cheap. I had watched season 1 and 2 of Blakes 7 and then ran in to a problem, basically the third season is stuck in the post, so I decided I needed to watch something else. The thing I love about box sets is that its easy to know what to watch next. When you have the free time and decide to try and fill it by watching films you always have this big pause when going from film to film with a series you know what to do if you own the boxset, you simply throw the next episode on.

So why do I want to recomend that everyone watches Boston Legal? Well for a start because it is an absolute return to force for William Shatner. As most people will know Shatner became the icon we all know and love through Star Trek, a science fiction show which was equal parts cowboys and Indians in space bang bang fun and a way for political and world issues to be talked about which other shows couldnt manage. Star Trek could manage it because they wrapped the problems up in face paint and pointy ears, those who just wanted to see it as a silly space show saw it that way those able to read between the lines got to be faced with deep issues being handled in an entertaining way. This is William Shatner again dealing with world issues and politics but this time instead of through the shield of fantasy it is being done through the sheild of humour. I like Boston legal because it makes me do two things I very much enjoy doing one of those is to laugh and the other is to think. There is something utterly delicious about how Boston Legal can have you laughing your socks of one second and then qustioning the very things you hold to be true and believe in the next.

Now days so much of TV's sceduling is filled with reality TV, shows in which we watch real people going about there day to day lives, unfortunatly most of the real people these shows are focused on are in one way or other shallow. Sure you can say there are shows about the rich and the poor so they cover diffrent types of people with diffrent issues, but ultimatly I would say that all of there issues are shallow and that there are only 3 reasons they exist one of which is to feed people with the intelectual equivalent of a cheap TV dinner a lot of people swallow the limited ideas represented in these programmes without even thinking if they are right or wrong. One of the others is to use them to push certain agendas I think for example a portion of the point of Benefit street was to help push the idea that those that are on benefits are scum, it was feeding in to a certain belief a belief that had largly been pushed by the government at the time, but mostly the kind of people who would watch a show like that were the people who would already believe in a set idea or set of ideas and who want these ideas to be reinforced, they dont want to be faced with new concepts or ideas. The last thing I think brings so many of these TV shows to our screen is Schadenfreude. For those who dont know Schadenfreude is a german word/concept it means to take enjoyment in another persons misery, I think we like to see misery in reality TV and laugh at it.

I am not saying that I am any better than anyone else or even that I do not watch reality TV in fact I watched and enjoyed both Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity dating, I have even watched bits of random American rich person based Celebrity TV shows with my girlfriend. Look they can be fun, it can be enjoyable to take a look into someone elses life but these shows simply do not present people with new ideas and I think that when a person is not presented with new ideas thats when they begin to stagnate to stop moving forward intelectually and to fear the new, to fear change and to become unflinching in there own oppinions which as far as I am concerned is a very bad thing.

If you watch just one season of Boston Legal then you will be met with a whole host of diffrent ideas, you will see court room scenes in which both sides of an idea are debated and most of the time you will find yourself instantly falling on one side or other of the argument, but you will be met with new idea, new arguments for and against and just every now and then you will find that the oppinion you walked in to the episode with has been challanged, you have began to doubt something you were once very certain about, it will make you stop in your tracks and it will make you think, and hopefully in doing so it will make you grow as a person, all while it makes you smile and laugh, it offers entertainment but it also offers from for growth now who can say no to that?

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

DPP72: Tenebrae

Tenebrae is a film by the Italian Director Dario Argento. I am obviously talking about it because it is on the DPP72 list of banned films but unlike some of the films on the list in my opinion this is not a film thrown together just for shock and awe, I actually believe that Dario Argento is a great writer and director, I could easily write a post about him even if this film wasn't on the DPP72. In fact I wrote about him a few years ago when talking about one of my favourite horror films Demoni which was part written by him. If you didn't read that post and would like to read it you can follow the link below.

Tenebrae is what I would describe as a stalk and slash thriller an interesting one at that. It stars Anthony Franciosa as a an American novelist who goes to Rome to promote his new detective novel. Once there he finds himself embroiled in a series of grizzly murders, as one of his readers starts to imitate the killings from his book. The author is then bombarded with threats as well as pictures from the murders, murders which include amongst other things stabbings, garrotings and razor slashings. I find this deeply interesting maybe its because of the fact that I am an author myself or because of my interest in the whole Video Nasties thing but it basically feels like it is dealing with the idea of whether or not the creator of a piece of fiction has any responsibility for what someone may or may not do because of what he views or what he hears or reads. I think horror works at its best when it plays on peoples very deepest fears. Now I know that not everyone is a writer but all of us are in one way or another creators we all create ideas and we push these out in to the world be they in the form of a piece of work or in the way in which we present ourselves in the things we say, our thoughts and feelings constantly seep out of us and everyone will at some time worry that these will get us in to trouble or cause someone else to say or do something that we don't agree with that something terrible will grow from the seeds we have planted. To me this film is a manifestation of that very fear and that's what I feel all great horrors are, they are films which bring a fear to life in an interesting way, and that is something I feel Argentino is a Master of.
Some people have claimed that Tenebrae is a sexist film and I do agree that the killings in the film are almost all inherently sexual. The authors book within the film is all about “human perversion and its effects on society,”. The murders in the film are largely erotocised, two women are killed in a state of undress, another being force fed as she’s throttled and while I do not wish to spoil everything lets just say that it is penetrating in more than one way.

 I would give this film a very strong 9 out of 10, I can not get across my appreciation for this director or for this film any more than I have without fear of spoiling it. I think that this film is and was a piece of art it was wrong that this was banned it was not a case of violence for violences sake or gore for the sake of gore it is a deep story which happens to contain violence , as far as I am concerned this is a piece of art in much the same way the works of Shakespeare is, if you need to see a good horror film then watch this it might be on the DPP72 but it is not one of the films which tried to use gore to cover up a none existent plot, to try and push a hastily put together piece of rubbish into profits it doesn't really deserve, it is an actual brilliant film expertly crafted which deserves every bit of attention it has and could get.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Why David Yost The Blue Ranger left Power Rangers and why he is a real Super Hero.

So a new Power Rangers film is currently either in Cinema's or making its way to the cinema depending on what part of the world you live in, will I go and see it? In all honesty I am not sure, I have seen the trailers and in all honesty my feelings on them are very mixed, parts of it look funny other bits look cringy. I guess if its shown in the right cinema at the right time when I need something to do then I wil see it otherwise I will wait till it hits DVD. So why am I brining it up? Well I wanted to talk about something, something I think is very important that not many people know about.

I am sure that most people who remember the original Power Rangers will remember the first 5 Rangers, they will remember the ridiculous choice when it comes to colors with the oriental girl being the yellow ranger, the other girl being pink, the black guy being the black ranger, they will remember the zords and martial arts. While some of the colours were a little bit questionable the thing that was good was that there was a character that every youngster could relate to.

For the intelgent kids there was Billy, Billy the Blue Ranger, he was a bit of a glasses wearing nerd but he was also very clearly the brains of the operation, the one most able to understand the technolodgy and able to help in a way that didnt involve fighting. Billy was played by an actor called David Yost.

Billy wasnt my favourate ranger if I think about the first 5 rangers it would proberbly be Jason (It would be Tommy if I count the Green ranger without a shadow of a doubt) but I liked him, he always felt like an important part of the team and like he had more of offer than some of its other members as a character. He was brave even if he wasnt as cocky and willing to run in to trouble as some of the others but most of all he was an ultimatly likeable character, one who felt like a solid member of the team, someone who they would be lost without. For those who dont remember what eventually happend to Billy he was written off the show by being sent to live on another planet. I was very sad to see him go, he wasnt the first ranger but by the time he left he was my second favourate ranger and he felt like a key part of the show, I was worried that with him leaving a part of the shows heart would go with him. What I didnt find out until much latter was that he had left because he was being bullied.

Years after leaving David Yost opened up about his stint on the show and during an interview he revealed what it was like for him working on Power Rangers. The reason the original Blue Ranger left wasnt because he had been written out of the show it was because the actor actually walked off set one day after being teased about being gay. Now before anyone says he should have grown a harder skin or just taken it in his stride it needs to be pointed out that this was not the first time it had happend in fact it sounds like this was the straw that had broken the camels back. This can be seen from the following quote “The reason that I walked off is that I was called ‘faggot‘ one too many times, I had just heard that several times while working on the show from creators, producers, writers, directors… Basically I just felt like i was continually being told I was not worthy of being where I am because I’m a gay person. And I’m not supposed to be an actor. And I’m not a superhero.”.

 After leaving the show, Yost had a nervous breakdown, he left because he had been pushed so hard that he felt that if he didnt walk away he might end up trying to take his own life. I have to say that I am very glad that he left the show, so many people sit and take crap that they shouldnt risking there own mental health and well-being and I applaud him for having the guts to get himself out of a toxic situation even if it resulted in a loss of earnings. I hope that he knows how much everyone loved him as the blue ranger and how much they missed his character after he left. David Yost went on to try and fight being gay by praying it away before coming to terms with who he is. He stood up and talked about all of this in an interview finally as he wanted others who were experiancing confusion about who or what they were or intolerance from others to know that there is light on the other side, to know that you can push through it all and take control of your life.

I salute you Mr Yost the Blue Ranger as far as I am concerned you are and always will be a Super-Hero as far as I am concerned.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A bit about the Media and certain stories in it, how I feel about them, the media and freedom.

I had sat after hearing a report on the radio thinking that I would write a piece about the news issue that had been raised, but then when I did some research into it I found out that the story being talked about wasnt a current issue it was in fact something that happend around 4 years ago. Then I was again listening to the radio latter when they annoucned a news story which I really did not think was news worthy at all, apparently the child of the singer Adele calls her a bum head. This made me stop and think about how the actual media itself is crazy. It makes news out of things that are not news at all and are in fact just bits of random celebrity dribble while also dragging up events that happend ages ago again and again when there is very little happening. Then when something dreadful actually does happen they drip feed you all of the details piece by piece sometimes with acompanying photos and videos which are sometimes far more terrfying than the horror films or video games that the same media has screamed will ruin are children by showing them gore and mayhem that they shouldnt really be subjected to. The media seems to want a free pass to titilate its viewers/readers/listeners with ghoulish delight by giving your fear center a little tickle while also trying to take the moral high ground.

Still in this post I want to both my feelings on the media as well as my feelings on some of the stories that have recently been in the news, I dont promise all of these stories will have recently happend, I just want to talk about things that have been in the news in the last few days (although unlike the mainstream media if something is old I will point this out).

So to start Home Secretary Aber Rudd has demanded that Whatsapp must allow security services to access users’ messages in the wake of the Westminster terror attack. Ms Rudd said it was “unacceptable” that the security services were unable to see messages sent by terrorists. The problem here is though that it is basically a polotician saying that they should be able to spy on the people they represent. Yes right now she just wants to look at what proven terrorists have communicated through online services but its a slippery slope, the next step would be to look at the communications of suspected terrorists. Then after this they could widden the definition of terrorist up to the point where anyone who disagrees with anything the goverment says can have there deepest most secret messages looked at just incase they have said anything they can possibly be punished for. I think the simple truth is that the government needs to be denied some powers in order for its citizens to have freedom, if you strip away basic freedoms like the freedom to have private conversations then your trying to take away peoples right to disagree with the status quo and in the words of Yoda ''that path leads to darkness''.

I suppose I should go back to the old news story. I said at the start of all of this that sometimes something that happend a long time ago is reported as if it just happend. Well in this case it was a 4 year old story in which a man who had murderd someone had got a sex change on the NHS and gone into a Women's prison as he was now a Woman. My instant response to the story was that the man commited this criminal act as a man, was tried and found guilty as a man and therefore should serve his sentance as a man. I thought that he should loose his rights as a person for killing a person, for breaking the rules of society, after all he had killed someone and had taken there rights away from them alone with there life.

If you look at my oppinions on the two above stories then you will see that on the one hand I am wanting the goverment to let people be free to have there own oppinions yet I am also wanting criminals to loose there rights, it could be argued that I am controdicting myself. This is not the case though, what I am really saying is that I think people deserve to have there own freedom and oppinion up until the point they prove they dont deserve it, but the thing I fear is that those in power will use criminals and extremists as an excuse to take away everyones rights, they will use our fear of these things to take away our freedoms under the illusion of protecting us.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

How I got the horror bug, and how to handle it when your kids want to watch Horror.

 I adore horror but this was not always the case, in fact when I look back to a certain part of my life when I was very young  the limited exposure I had to mildly frightening things scared me silly. I remember 5 things scaring me stupid all of which I adore now but at the time seemed terrifying, I will let the cat out of the bag a little now and tell you what they were. One was the War of the Worlds musical, the martians screaming Ulaaaaaaaa used to send me diving under my pillows terrified and one of my brothers would insist on playing it when I had gone to bed loudly enough for me to hear.  Two of the others were the little bits of Little Shop of Horrors and Critters that I accidentaly saw while walking in on adults watching them, and sods law I walked in at the very worst points in the films I could have, neither film when watched from start to end are that scary but seeing the wrong little snippet and beng left to try and find some form of meaning in these brief moments absolutly terrified me, I had an active imagination which spun far worse nightmares out of these pieces than it should have. The end of the film Gremlins terrified me, I was happy to watch the film to see the creatures, but the suggestion at the end that if the lights go out there could be a gremlin in your house coupled with the power cut we had about a week latter sprinkled with one of my brothers deciding that this was the prime time to make gremlin noises was enough to turn my blood to ice and scare me to the bone. Last but by no means least the thing that terrified me arguably the most was Michael Jacksons Thriller or to be precise it was Vincent Prices voice over speach/rap. There was something about how he deliverd the words the terms he used but also how he said them, when he talked about grizzly ghouls leaving there tombs in search of blood it painted a real picture in my mind one which terrified me to the core. It scared me but I couldnt seem to leave it alone there was something so special about his delivery.

I remember going through a process as a child where my mother would decide what I could and could not watch, a lot of the time she would do this by watching things first and deciding if she felt I could deal with the content. Then there were general rules she decided on like there came a day when she decided that despite me being younger than 15 I was mature enough to watch anything that was a 15 certificate and that I would just have to get permision when it came to 18's. The honest truth is I was watching quiet a few 18's from a young age, my mum essentially worked as a mini certifications board putting her own thoughts and feelings into both how mature and mentally devloped I was and into what she felt about a films contents and I think she was far better at it than the actual BBFC (British Board of Film Classification). I watched Bruce Lee films at a young age because my mum didnt think a bit of martial arts fighting really warranted an 18, and I am quick to agree after all a few years latter most kids would be watching the Power Rangers which was just about as violent (yes there was no blood and you didnt really see death but I would argue that just makes it less realistic not less violent). This is a process I have led my own daughter through, I watch what she wants to watch, I read about it and I make an informed decision on wether I think she should or should not watch something yet. I think the BBFC might be qualified to give films an average rating (although I would argue they get this wrong a lot of the time) but I think no one is more qualified to know what a young person should and should not watch and have access to than there own parent(s).

I started by watching a lot of older horror films and 80's 15 certificate stuff we had a rental shop near us that used to charge 50pence a night per rental and on weekends I would go and rent 4 typically B movie 80's horror films, this was combined with recording a lot of hammer horror films of the TV and other older films. The more I watched the more I learned what I enjoyed, I found that for example I had a thing for zombies and vampires. I think the Zombies came from a lot of 80's films and then the Vampires was very much the influence of the universal and hammer films (although The Lost Boys helped too). I would find names of actors that I liked, I had enjoyed them in one film so I would look for other films with them in, for example Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee. Latter I would progress into looking up the names of writers and Directors. So I would say if you are new to horror then try a small sampling of diffrent types of film with diffrent levels of budget from diffrent decades and try to find the things that appeal to you. the same applies for if you are trying to get someone else into horror or allowing your children to get into horror, try lots of diffrent things start soft with the tame ones and work from there.

I would recomend if your letting a youngster your responsible for watch horror then to start with let them watch some with you, watch some tame stuff that you have deemed appropriate try to enjoy it with them but pay attention to the reactions they display. Make sure that your always available to discuss anything in any form of media that has botherd them and dont pressure them in any way, always remember what bores one person will terrify another we all have our own thresholds for certain things horror/fear being one of them. I would say dont feel pressured to let your kids watch anything because of what there friends are allowed to watch. The simple truth is there is always going to be kids who are allowed to watch more, this could be because they are more mature or simply because there parents dont care about there children enough to say no. It is also important to remember that a lot of the time a lot of kids absolutly talk crap. I remember my daughter telling me that a whole bunch of kids at school were claiming to have watched NightMare on Elm street at a pretty young age, now this turned out to be untrue. They were all talking about the rhym in the film and they were all getting it tottally wrong, along with the plot of the film, they were also trying to claim that anyone who hadnt seen it was a pussy ecetera. So what did I do, well I gave my daughter a verbal account of the film that was in no way as intense as the real film but told her enough of what happend that she could tell them they were wrong and it didnt happen like that, this is what happend. Ultimatly I think the moral is that as a parent you should be the gate keeper to what your children do and do not watch, the BBFC and other such guides are there to help you but overall you need to take control and responsability yourself but you need to do it in a respectful way in which you work in partnership with your children in order to help them watch the things they want to watch when they are mature enough and adequatly prepared for them.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

DPP:72. 3 More Cannibal Films

So I figured I would need one more post in order to finish up discussing the Cannibal movies which are a part of the video nasties controversy of the 1980’s.

Cannibal Terror
Cannibal Terror was one of the films to end up on the list of video nasties which was not prosecuted. In fact compared to some of the films on the list this films stay there was rather brief as it was removed from the list in 1985. It was suggested that this film ended up on the list purely because of the word 'cannibal' in its title. A lot of people question how in depth the research in to these films was as Cannibal terror was treated as if it contained the same violence and questionable content as Cannibal Holocaust, and Cannibal Ferox, but it is in fact not even close to the level of violence depicted in those films. 

The plot in brief is that two criminals kidnap a girl and hide out in the house of a friend who lives by trading with the natives in a nearby jungle. The friend's wife is raped by one of them; in return for this she ties him to a tree and leaves him to be eaten by a local cannibal tribe.

The film shares some footage with another film called 'Mondo Cannibale (also known as White Cannibal Queen). While there are many sources which try to suggest that the footage from 'Mondo Cannibale' was borrowed for Cannibal Terror to save money and pad the film out there are more connections than this between the two films. Both films share a number of locations, cast, and even dubbing actors. In this way I view this as similar to the situation with the Spanish version of Dracula, which was filmed on the same sets as the British version, its sort of a way of trying to make the most out of your resources, one would imagine in the case of Cannibal Terror if any of this was done without permission there would have been legal action by now.

The film is full of nudity and has some blood but in comparison to Cannibal Holocaust, and Cannibal Ferox it is more comical than disturbing. In my opinion it is just one of those ‘’me to’’ films which was trying to cash in on what was at the time a popular genre, if it wasn’t banned it would have faded away so quickly that it would barely have made its way on to anybody’s radar. In this way the whole Video Nasties thing proberbly did this film a favour. I have always said that the easiest way to make sure someone watches something is to try to tell them that they cant, after all most people dislike being told what to do in there own personal life.

I would score this film an utterly forgetable 5 out of 5 , only watch this if your a completionist that feels they need to see all of these films.

Deep River Savages
Deep River Savages also known as Man from Deep River is an Italian exploitation movie from Umberto Lenzi the maker of Cannibal Ferox (Which I mentioned last time). It is considered by some to be the start of the whole cannibal movie phenomenon in fact and inspired many of films which followed it.

The plot can briefly be explained as the story of a photographer who is ambushed by a tribe while on a photo assignment in the rain forest. The tribe initially treats him viciously and uses him as a slave. The chief's daughter takes a liking to him, and her mother, who can speak English, helps him to attempt to escape. During his attempt encounters the fiancĂ© of the chief’s daughter and kills him. Soon he is recaptured but the chief’s daughter decides that he will be her next fiancĂ©. He then decides to live with the tribe; helping them to fight against a cannibal tribe that they're at war with

Just like Lenzi’s other film Cannibal Ferox this film largely found its way on to the video nasty list because of its scenes of animal cruelty. Unlike Cannibal Ferox there is not actually that much attention paid to the act of cannibalism. It is not so much a cannibal film as a film which happens to contain a bit of cannibalism in it.

I seemed to enjoy this film more than his latter film Cannibal Ferox, maybe it was the fact that it seemed like a more complete story, the things that happened in it even when they might have been a little gory seemed to exist to further the story as opposed to being there just to appeal to gore hounds. I still hate the whole animal crulty for the sake of a film thing and it seriously makes me want to punch the director in the face, I dont think the film should have been banned or prosecuted but if the director had been done for animal crulty then I would be quiet happy, heck I would love to see some kind of fine slapped in place where any old film that had real animal death or crulty loses a percentage of its profits to charities to help animals but I guess If I carry on talking about this anymore then ill be going really off on a tangent. Id give the film 7.5 , ignoring the above of course.

Cannibal Apocalypse
I want to explain this film but avoid giving to much away so I will start by saying it is not exactly your typical cannibal film in fact the title is in my opinion misleading the Spanish title Virus fits the nature of the film a little better. 

It rests almost between a cannibal movie and a zombie movie. The film starts in Vietnam where prisoners of war have developed a craving for human flesh. The film then goes forwards a decade or two and catches up with the Veterans who are now developing a real taste for flesh. As they bite people a rabies like infection spreads which gives the infected the same desire to eat human flesh. The film is not set in the jungle like the other Cannibal films it has a city setting more akin to the usual zombie fare. There is something I love about this film though maybe it is the fact that it features the acting talent of John Saxon which seems to push it beyond the other films I have been talking about with their largely unknown casts and low production values, every minute he is on screen is a bit of gold. Although this is the film I have talked about the least this is no bearing on my opinion on it. If you can only watch one of these films then make this the one. I would go so far as to give the film a nice solid 8, it is an under discussed film but its really a case of I think the less I say about it the more your likly to enjoy it.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Why You should Watch Blakes 7

So I have been knocking around online now writing blogs and occasionally doing other things such as making youtube videos for quite a number of years now and the entire time I have been doing it I have been using the name Kerr9000, from time to time I get asked where this name came from well to put it simply it comes from an old BBC Science Fiction show called Blakes 7. This is why I want to talk about Blakes 7 today, its not simply the fact I got my name from it, its the fact that I valued this show enough for it to come to mind when I needed a name, this is because the show has never really left my mind. Blakes 7 was originally broadcast between 1978 and 1981. I was born in 1981 so I didnt see Blakes 7 when it was first transmitted, I saw it when my Dad began to buy it on VHS.  In this post I am going to explain to you why you should watch Blakes 7

Blake's 7 was created by Terry Nation, yes that Terry Natuion the guy who created the Daleks for the television series Doctor Who. If you stop and think about Doctor Who as sort of being the BBC's light and happy Sci Fi show then Blakes 7 would be its polar opposite. What do I mean by this? Well in Doctor Who there might be the odd monster or two but the show is about the Doctor a wild eyed super intellgent alien who most of the time manages to save the day, the show by and large tends to have a certain life affirming quality to it. Blakes 7 is by contrast very dark. Apparently the series was inspired by a great many sources some historical some other science fiction shows and
real-world political conflicts. If you want to know what it is like I could best describe it as Robin hood meets Star Trek with a budget, props and effects simmilar to the episodes of Doctor Who made during the same sort of time frame.

Blake's 7 was popular from its first broadcast, it was watched by approximately 10 million  in the UK and shown in 25 other countries. The show does feature many typical science fiction tropes such as spaceships, robots, galactic empires and aliens, some would argue that its budget was inadequate to do its self justice but I would strongly argue against this. I think the show features some great acting a very intresting dystopian theme, a wide selection of varaible characters with strong characterisation. Yes you could argue that StarWars had already done the whole evil government thing but Blakes 7 is not quiet that basic, you see the resistance characters are not exactly your regular heroes, one of them is a theif another is a computer expert who tried to use his knowledge to commit fraud, then there is a smugglar, a man who commited murder and then there is a political idealist who was wrongly convicted of crimes he didnt commit. What makes the show intresting though is the fact that not all of these characters agree all of the time, sure they all want to be free but thats about the only thing they can all agree on. I think this makes the show fascinating, most people I know who have watched the show have found a character who they can closly relate to, someone who they see as either a representation of themself or someone they can get behind because they admire there individual qualities or agree with there outlook of the situation, this is part of what I think makes it a brilliant show.

 Blakes 7 only had 4 series with 13 episodes a piece, it did have a few books and audio plays as well, it has also almost found its way back to TV a few times with various diffrent networks and outlets seeking out the rights to make either a TV movie , a new series or even an animated series and although none of these has actually happend yet I think it clearly shows that there is still a lot of love out there for the show. It might not have made it back but I think a lot of its sort of DNA has actually made it into more modern Science fiction projects, for example I can see a lot of Blakes 7 in FireFly.

You should give Blakes 7 a chance if you want to see intresting characters in intresting situations and your not one of those people who cant suspend there disbelief enough to look past the late 70's early 80's effects and props and if this stops you from watching it then I really pitty you cause your missing out on an absolute treat.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Fire Emblem Heroes Review (Yeah the Mobile phone game)

So as a massive fan of Fire Emblem I await the introduction of each and every release with baited breath. I have from time to time talked about various mobile games so I figured with a Fire Emblem Mobile game now out I should review it so without further ado here I go. Fire Emblem heroes is not too bad, its a cut down mini version, basically the fights are all on tiny maps where its ussually about four on four. On the good side this means it takes like 2 minutes to play a level which is good for bus journeys and to otherwise just kill dead time but then it has that sort of stanima system a lot of mobile games go for where you have a set amount of some bar or points total and each time you have a go/play a mission your total goes down and then you have to either wait to play again or pay some money to get something to raise this to let you carry on. It does have a cool Fire Emblem vibe having the music and featuring characters from like pretty much all the Fire Emblem games, the graphics are also very good for a mobile phone game with the menu screens basically looking pretty much like a normal handheld Fire Emblem console game and the in game graphics providing super cute chibi versions of the characters, this really helps it feel better than it otherwise would.

It is not bad for what it is but yeah deep down you kind of know that its a bit of a cynical cash grab. Like most games of this type though a lot of people will just play it using what you get for free and have quiet a bit of fun with it for awile but there will be people who stupidly sink a lot of money into the game, money it doesnt deserve. The main money pit I would imagine would be for the orbs which you use to buy characters. All of the characters you get have a Star ranking from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, when you buy a character with orbs its random who you will get and how good they will be. I have managed without paying a penny to get like 3 five star characters and I have managed to get a few characters I really like from the franchise but if you were determined to get someone you like and to get them in 5 star form then you could spend a lot of cash. You can up lower star ranking units up all the way to a 5 star but it basically takes a lot of time as you go through a ritual of getting them to level 20 then spending resources to swap all of your levels for a star so theyll go for example from being a Level 20 One star unit to a Level 1 Two Star Unit and youll have to start building those levels up again. Theres so many missions that are part of the game itself and then there are like daily challange ones and such. In fairness I am on the last set of story missions and I havent found any of it hard so far. Units come back when defeated though unlike the normal difficulty settings on most regular Fire Emblem games.

The thing the game really says to me is that if Nintendo actually wanted to, like for example if they decided to get out of the hardware business then they could build a perfectly good workable fun Fire Emblem game on a standard mobile phone platform. I wont pump money into this kind of thing where you get characters randomly but if they did a Gameboy Advance sort of quality Fire Emblem game where everything was won through gameplay, there was a full real story and a good number of levels and they just charged one set fee to buy it like you do with most regular games then I would pump like £10 in to that no problem.

As for this game as it stands how would I rate it? Well this is a tough one as I cant really rate it against the usual kind of Fire Emblem game as this is free, so I guess I would have to give it a rating out of 10 which is based upon what it actually is which is a free to play freemium mobile game (as in a game which you can play for free but have to pay for content, and/or to regain stamina to make moves without waiting). I guess under the circumstances rating it as what it is I would have to give it a 7.5 out of 10. It is a good bit of pick up and play fun but you need to remember you need an always online connection to play it which if your doing so out of the house could get expensive, fortunatly the bus I take most of the time has free wifi so this helps but others might not be so lucky.

 Nintendo clearly have made money from this game though as it was announced that during the first day of release the game generated more than $2.9 million. The game also ranked in third place in Japan when the game launched, also making shares skyrocket for the company. So I guess all in all Nintendo has to be considering this game a pretty big success, I have no idea what they invested in this game but they have to have turned a very handsome profit from it.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Happy Birthday XBOX (UK Birthday)

15 years ago on this very day the 14th of March 2017, the original Xbox was released in the UK. Now I am not going to bullshit and claim that I was there cuing for the machine on its very day of release, the only machine I got near its release that generation was the gamecube (I didnt even preorder that or get it the day of release, I got it a few days latter), I did however love the machine once I got one.

So what was the first game I played on my Xbox when I got it, well it was Halo of course. Whatever you think of the Halo franchise the original was simply put a system seller. It was a very impressive game for its time and it marks a very good early console business decision by microsoft. Originally Halo Was set to be an apple Mac Exclusive. Now Mac owners dont always have that good a time when it comes to games, not that many end up being made to work on the system and even fewer have been made exclusivly for it but a title called Marathon was proberbly one of the biggest highlights game wise for Mac owners, this was made by Bungie, at one stage Steve Jobs announced that Bungies next game Halo would be a Mac Exclusive and it was looking darn impressive. Microsoft needed a good looking strong game for their Xbox launch lineup and so what did Microsofts Bill Gates do? Well he simply bought Bungie outright thus claiming Halo both the game and the intellectual property and had it rebuilt to be an Xbox exclusive. I doubt Microsofts gaming division would be where it is now without Halo but they didnt just buy an impressive game that people would feel they need, oh no they advertised the hell out of the machine. The original advertising campaign for the Xbox was pretty darn crazy, it went by the name 'Champagne' it was a TV add in which you saw a woman in an emergency room delivering a baby. The child shoots out of her like a cork from a champagne bottle (hence the name) and flies into the, traveling rapidly and ageing at an alarming rate. By the end of the advert the small child has become an old man and you get to witness himcrashing into an open grave, this then cuts to a black screen which shows the words ‘Life is short. Play more.’

The ad was a little shocking and was in fact banned after airing for three months due to complaints from viewers to the Independent Television Commission. I think though that by then it had done what it set out to do. People talked about the advert which then often transitioned into people talking about the console and about Halo which drove sales. The machine didnt turn out to be the greatest selling console of all time or anything in fact it basically got its ass handed to it by the PS2 but importantly it managed to go toe to toe with Nintendo selling a very simmilar number of units, which for a company new to the console market is very impressive, sure Sony might have been even more impressive with its first console the Playstation crushing both Sega and Nintendo but Microsoft had certainly built a firm foundation upon which they could and have built.

There are a million stories I could tell you about the Xbox, about all of its possible names, some great games which came to the system or about how brilliant a hacked one can be, seriously a lot of things that we take for granted now that a console can do home entertainment wise the original Xbox was doing years ago with a little gentle nudge from chippers and home coders, ultimatly though I just want to end this here by saying Happy Birthday Xbox.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

DPP72: Cannibal Holocaust

So today I am going to be handling a second Cannibal film from the DPP72, this film is called Cannibal Holocaust. The film caused a scandal in Italy when released. Ten days after premiering the film was seized and the director, Ruggero Deodato, was arrested and charged with obscenity first and then eventually murder, there was allegations that it was in fact a snuff movie. For those not in the know the term Snuf film refers to a movie in  which a person is actually murdered on camera in reality, now its debatable if this kind of film has ever been made as far as I know every film to ever be accused of being a snuf film has been disproven, the FBI have been involved in investigating some of them and every time they have found proof that people have merly thought something was real that wasnt in fact real.

Despite it being proved that Cannibal Holocaust was not a snuf film and was instead an actual regular movie the film was still banned in Italy, the UK and several other countries because of its extreme gore, sexual violence, and the fact that a fair amount of animals were genuinly killed on camera. I have already talked about my oppinion on this when talking about Cannibal Ferox but I feel I need to state it again because I have strong feelings about this. I disagree with the idea of killing animals for the purpose of making a film, I wouldnt care if it was a low budget horror or the work of the most renowned director in the world I simply think killing any sentient living creature for pure cinematic entertainment is wrong; as I previously stated if you can simulate the deaths of people using effects then you can either simulate the death of an animal or merely offer up enough to suggest what has happened. I wont however judge the film based on this, I will for the purpose of reviewing it as a film without bias pretend that these deaths are artificial and not real (I really hope no film ever does this again as I hope we have evolved somewhat as a society).

Ok so I will try and briefly explain the plot without running the film. An anthropologist is sent to South America find out what happened to a previous film crew. His team on arriving are assigned a guide at first they meet one tribe and see several of their practices before meeting another tribe and helping them. This second tribe seems nervous of them despite the help they have given. It would seem that the tribe had killed the first crew but the anthropologist manages to barter for the crew’s films footage and leaves with it. He then views this footage so that he can learn what became of the first film crew. 

There are lots of opinions about Cannibal Holocaust. There are those who feel that the film is a sick piece of filth which should be banned. You can point to the murder and cruelty directed to animals or the level of gore or even the sexual violence. Then there are those who would argue that the film has a political message which it tries to put across to the viewer; that it is in fact a piece of social commentary about civilized society. Then there will be those who just simply enjoy violent, films full of gore and sadism because they happen to enjoy it. So which camp do I fit in?

I think that there can be an argument made that there is a degree of social commentery in the film, that the director is asking questions about if modern man is more or less civilised than the tribes that we look down upon, but this point is a little ruined by the animal crulty and on top of this the reports that the film maker treated his cast and extras like shit. The film is  a 7 out of 10 in my humble oppinion. It took a lot of supressing biases to score this film so highly though, I cant stand that animals were killed for it or the strong proof that the person behind it was suge a massive dick to those who worked for him. Also I guess I should have said this a long time ago when I did the first of these reviews but please remember that I am scoring these with fans of horror in mind, if you dont like horror and you have found my blog then you would most likly not get 7 out of 10 enjoyment out of something like this, I would rate them far more harshly if I thought I was communicating to the overage viewer who is more into hollywood style films.

Friday, 10 March 2017

DPP72: Last House on the Left

So what can I say about the The Last House on the Left well as you have proberbly guessed from the title of this post it was one of the DPP72 (to find out what this is look at my earlier posts on the subject), it is a 1972 American exploitation-horror film written, edited, and directed by Wes Craven, Yes that Wes Craven, the man who brought Freddy Krueger into our lives and dreams, and it was produced by Sean S. Cunningham yes that Sean S. Cunningham the creator of the Friday the 13TH series.

The story is inspired by a Swedish film called The Virgin Spring from the 1960’s which I have to admit I have never seen. It was the directorial debut of Wes Craven. The main thing this film is famous for in my opinion was bringing the phrase "To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie'..." in to the public’s eye with its advertising campaign. This phrase had been used by earlier film ads but it was really hammered home here and this phrase become highly associated with the whole Video Nasty’s scandal. 

The brief story of this film goes something like this, there is a group of wanted criminals who the police are looking for. A girl tells her parents she is going out to a concert with a friend, the girls run in to one member of the group of criminals who leads them back to their current hideout under the pretence of selling them drugs. Once there the girls are taken hostage, this leads to them being taken to a forest where they are physically and sexually abused for the groups amusement and finally murdered. The film was accused of being over the top in this regard but while it has a certain sadistic streak with members of the gang taking definite pleasure from the fear and humiliation of these young women, less is shown than in various other films. It can be disturbing at times but that is because you see enough to know what is happening and the villains come across as so deeply dislikeable that on any occasion where your imagination is left to fill in the blanks it is going to think of the worst possibility. 

I imagine back when this film was banned one of the things that led to that decision was the mixture of sexual assault and violence, I would say that there was a definite worry that with young ''attractive'' ladies being naked on screen while you saw characters clearly enjoying assaulting, humiliating and raping them worried some people. It perhaps made them wonder if there naked presence might somehow stimulate the viewer and cause some form of association between torture, assault, humiliation and gratification. It took until March the 17th 2008 for the BBFC to pass the full film uncut as fit for release. This was one year before this film would actually recieve a remake

People have argued over whether this film is an import piece of horror history or a piece of gutter trash and I have to admit I do tend to agree it’s a part of horror history. It is the editorial debut of Wes Craven, a man who is huge in the world of horror, it’s not a great film, he has done much better films since, but it is where he started. I don’t agree with any worries that people will be taught to associate any of the unpleasantries in this film with gratification, I watched it and I felt sorry and uncomfortable with the victims and I didn’t want their killers to get away with it, because I thought they deserved to be punished. This shows that the film had an effect on me, it got me to feel one way or another for most of the characters in it and surly that is one of the main reasons for film to exist, to get us invested in stories, to get us to care about who lives and who dies, what they do, who they are and how this is dealt with by the world that that has been created. Yes I agree that there are some shocking things in this film but I think a lot of them were handled as tastefully as they could be without rendering them pointless and nuterd beyond point and purpose.

Some of the music and the attempts of humour with strange police characters threw me a little but I think it was a conscious attempt to throw something in to the mix to stop everything from getting overly bogged down in doom and gloom, when you look at a lot of cravens latter work there is humour mixed in there often far better than it is here but it needs to be remembered that he was finding his feet here. 

I would give this film a 6 out of 10, it’s not brilliant, it’s not bad though, it’s watchable and you can see some good ideas and good implementation shining through. Due to the rape this film tends to get compared to I spit on your grave and I can see why, I certainly think this one is far easier to watch though especially if your squeamish, everything in this in that particular area can be cut down to about 5 minutes and it’s a lot more implied than in I spit on your grave so this is a much better starting point if your looking for a film of this type which is a little less full on, in honesty though unless your looking at this film for its historical value I would tend to recomend that for a more enjoyable film you look at something a little latter in Wes Craven's career.

Friday, 3 March 2017

I got a Switch, how well Nintendo sold it and my first impressions

So with about a week to go until the release of the Nintendo Switch and everyone seeming to be super excited about it I sat there wondering why? It was going to cost more than I had wanted it to cost, it wasnt going to come with a game included and the main title that it was launching with was also getting a release on the Wii U on the very same day. I had made my plans to try my very best to ignore the Switch and grab one when there was more out for it. I had originally ignored the release of the Wii U after all only getting one when I could get it for £50 less than its recomended retail with an extra full price game thrown in for nothing (It wasnt long after release a month maybe two but I got a cracking deal due to HMV nearly going under).

I knew that the switch coming was pretty much curtains time for the Wii U, Nintendos previous home console and I kind of think its a bit of a crying shame, as the machine never really got a chance to fly, sure some might argue that its not really the end as Zelda Breath of the Wind is releasing on it as well as on the switch but thats mostly just because Nintendo promised that it would and its more of a last Hurrah than anything. I had pinned my hopes of not caving in and buying a Switch on the fact that I have a PS4 and an Xbox One and that with the new Mass Effect and South Park the Fratured But Whole coming out well I thought I would be able to just throw myself into games like that and ignore the Swich. It was a nice idea but with a few issues, the main two being that the Switch released before those titles and the other being that I could never have dreamed that I would have had the Switch pushed at me so hard.. The Switch appeared in adverts everytime I tried to watch something on youtube, it was there on bus stops and billboards as I was leaving work, and even when I would sit down with my girlfriend to watch some TV every add break there would be a Switch commercial. What can I say to Nintendo other than I take my hat off to you, yes some of your ideas and practices can be very stupid and you screwed up the release of the Wii U but by joe did you do good this time when it comes to pushing this thing. I could justify it by saying I have a child in the house or that I wanted it for the purpose of having all the latest systems for my blog for reviews and such but yeah that would just be BS, I got excited like I was still young and I needed it, thats how simple it is.

Nintendo essentially managed to talk me, an individual who has a rocky relationship with the big N, one which has swayed from Love to Hate into buying there new machine on launch day, and to put it out there in short hand I have had a great time with it so far and I am very happy I grabbed one. I cant say getting one was easy, fortunatly I was working a very early shift, I had tried to last minute preorder one for collection and all sorts but in the end I had to depend on running out of work the second I finished and rushing from shop to shop asking eventually finding the last remaining Switch HMV had in stock in the store relativly near my work and purchasing it but they had no games left, so I ended up getting Zelda from Tesco's and Bomberman R from Argos, it proberbly took an hour and a half of running about to get sorted and then get home but it could have been far worse. For example there are people who have had one preorderd for ages from all mannor of diffrent companies even directly from Nintendo themselves who I know are still waiting for either the machine or the games they have orderd to arrive, but this is Nintendo after all, if stock was plentyful and everyone who wanted one could just get one straight away I would wonder what had happend and think that body snatchers from deep space were proberbly involved and trying to use the console to take over mankind or something.

So first on impressions with the machine itself, well its smaller than I thought it would be but it looks very smart, the portable part is a lot more portable than I thought, the two joycon controllers are a little tiny when used on there own as seperate controlers but when put togther with the middle piece they make a pretty darn fine pad, I was certainly jumping into Zelda with them and loving every second of it. I had the sort of usually Nintendo frustrations setting it up, they certainly havent quiet go to the point Microsoft and Sony has were you easily lift the user ID from one console to the next and carry on within minutes but thats a minor gripe as its only a hoop your going to have to jump through once when your setting it up for the first time. In reality a machine is only as good as the games on it, now it needs to be said that the Switch does not have a massive launch line up, there are a few retail games then there are a few download only ones and a handful of sort of virtual console old NEO GEO games to be getting on with currently, but so far I have to say Zelda is a real beauty and if you dont have a Wii U already I think its well worth picking a machine up just for this game if you can afford to do so. I would describe it as a sort of blend of the old Zelda games and something a bit more large and less linear like an elder scrolls game for example.

It is really hard to tell how things will go with the Switch, will it be another Wii or another Wii U or something in the middle? It has started off a lot better than the Wii U did but I guess the true answer to this will depend on how Nintendo handle things from here, I wait with baited breath holding my new baby Switch.