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Articles on this Page
- 04/30/13--12:00: _FEARnet Movie Revie...
- 04/30/13--13:00: _Watch the Trailer f...
- 04/30/13--14:00: _Game Review: 'Gears...
- 04/30/13--15:00: _Slasher Cinema Show...
- 04/30/13--16:00: _Hell’s Designer: In...
- 04/30/13--17:00: _Dangerous Games: Va...
- 05/01/13--11:00: _FEARnet Movie Revie...
- 05/01/13--12:00: _Memory Garden: 'Doo...
- 05/01/13--13:00: _Game Review: 'Biosh...
- 05/01/13--14:00: _A Look at Neil Gaim...
- 05/01/13--14:30: _Check Out These Awe...
- 05/01/13--15:00: _The Epic 'Ghostbust...
- 05/01/13--15:00: _Horror Music Video ...
- 05/01/13--16:00: _Watch the Brutal Re...
- 05/01/13--16:30: _Exclusive: 'The Pro...
- 05/01/13--17:00: _These 'Dexter' Cupc...
- 05/02/13--08:00: _TV Recap: 'Supernat...
- 05/02/13--09:00: _FEARnet Movie Revie...
- 05/02/13--10:00: _Gift Guide: Zombie ...
- 05/02/13--11:00: _Killer Catfish Inva...
- 04/30/13--12:00: FEARnet Movie Review: 'Simon Killer'
- 04/30/13--13:00: Watch the Trailer for Horror Con Documentary 'Fantasm'
- 04/30/13--14:00: Game Review: 'Gears of War: Judgment'
- 04/30/13--15:00: Slasher Cinema Showcase: 'Disconnected'
- 04/30/13--17:00: Dangerous Games: Vampire Werewolf Fairies
- 05/01/13--11:00: FEARnet Movie Review: 'The Vampire Lovers' Blu-Ray
- 05/01/13--12:00: Memory Garden: 'Doomain'– CD Review
- 05/01/13--13:00: Game Review: 'Bioshock Infinite'
- 05/01/13--14:00: A Look at Neil Gaiman’s 'American Gods'
- 05/01/13--14:30: Check Out These Awesome Rejected Horror Poster Concepts!
- 05/01/13--15:00: The Epic 'Ghostbusters' Ride That Almost Happened...
- 05/01/13--15:00: Horror Music Video of the Week: Yeasayer – 'Madder Red'
- 05/01/13--16:30: Exclusive: 'The Profane Exhibit' Hires Two New Gentlemen
- 05/01/13--17:00: These 'Dexter' Cupcakes Are a Cut Above
- 05/02/13--08:00: TV Recap: 'Supernatural' Episode 821 - 'The Great Escapist'
- 05/02/13--09:00: FEARnet Movie Review: 'Phantasm 2' Blu-Ray
- 05/02/13--10:00: Gift Guide: Zombie Snuggie
- 05/02/13--11:00: Killer Catfish Invades Central Park!
For all its slow-burn weirdness and (sure) art-school floridity, an attentive viewer will accept Simon Killer as a simple but strange character piece about a young man with some serious problems relating to women. The film has a foundation of natural suspense, is bolstered by several excellent performances, and (bonus!) features some rather excellent music throughout. If you don't mind your indie thrillers a bit odd, intelligent, and slyly mysterious, odds are you'll find something interesting in this one.
Much like Halo on the original Xbox, Gears of War was the defining trilogy on the Xbox 360. Hyper-violent action, cover-based mechanics, a heaping helping of testosterone, and a gruesome glaze of horror all helped make Gears one of the most compelling reasons to own an Xbox 360, and its ever-expanding multiplayer options, which grew exponentially with each entry in the series, gave the series some impressive staying power. Gears of War 3 loosely tied up the three-part epic of manliness that pitted the humans of the planet Sera against the subterranean Locusts, with the Locusts in retreat and the remaining members of Marcus Fenix’ ragtag squad left to try and rebuild the decimated planet. It’s not the sort of ending that really lends itself to a continuation, so Epic handed the fourth entry in the series over to People Can Fly, whose history of balls-to-the-wall action (Painkiller and Bulletstorm) made them an ideal fit for a new Gears game, which takes place before the original Gears of War.
A prequel? Yeah, it seems like a cheap way to expand on the mythology of a game after you’ve painted yourself into a corner narratively (ironically, the similarly titled God of War just did the same thing), but Epic’s initial decision to set the first game well after the cataclysmic event of Emergence Day (when all of the Locusts started pouring out of the ground to raze the surface of Sera) gave a lot of timeline for People Can Fly to explore. Smarter still, they switched the focus from series mainstays Marcus and Dom to fan-favorite sidekicks Damon Baird and Augustus “Cole Train” Cole, who find themselves being court martialed for treason in the wake of Emergence Day. This leads to a smart narrative setup, as each member of Baird’s Kilo Squad gets cross-examined by the military tribunal. It’s an easy way to get each of the game’s characters their time in the spotlight, even if they all play in virtually the same fashion as every Gears game since its inception.
Judgment does find a way to inject new life into the single player campaign through use of Declassified Missions, which basically double the gameplay by adding certain additional rules to the game. Accepting a Declassified Mission, which is as simple as activating a pulsing Crimson Omen on the wall, adds “additional details” to a character’s testimony, such as a firefight in complete darkness, or being forced to complete a mission only using a specific weapon. These additional challenges may not add massive differences to the narrative push of the game, but they certainly change the overall flow of the mission quite a bit. The missions that cloak the battlefield in a choking cloud of dust or a smothering darkness can be incredibly harrowing, and bring a level of nervous horror to the game.
These Declassified Missions also help you fill up faster on Stars, the main currency in the game’s RPG-style leveling system which net you rewards (primarily different skins for weapons and armor) based on just how much of a badass you are. Filling up these Stars can be slow going, but accepting Declassified Missions, as well as performing other actions like gibbing your enemies or performing executions, helps build you up quickly.
There are also a host of multiplayer options including a class-based mode called OverRun and a classic every-man-for-himself deathmatch option called Free-for-All. As usual for Gears, these are handled seamlessly, merging together the single and multiplayer experiences in the overall game.
While some of the dramatic “oomph” may get sucked out of the game due to its prequel timing (you know who’s gonna make it out alive of this one), Gears of War: Judgment throws enough new twists into the franchise to keep it feeling fresh and exciting. It’s a hell of a sendoff to the series that helped define this console generation from the cradle to the grave.
Although probably best described as a "for fans only" blu-ray package, there's no denying that this late-era Hammer Horror treat has been digitally preserved in very fine fashion. For those who know and love the old Hammer fare rather well, this disc is a must-own proposition. And I don't care if you're a Hammer newbie or the world's leading expert on lesbian vampires: you simply haven't lived until you've seen the young Madeline Smith on blu-ray. Her body, her face, all of her. Wow.
2007’s Bioshock was a once-in-a-lifetime title, a game that revitalized the long-stagnant FPS genre with deeper mechanics and one of the most compelling and original stories ever coded. Ayn Rand-inspired objectivism was folded deftly into an introspective narrative that explored identity, destiny, and free will. It elevated the shooter genre and set the bar to a level that hasn’t been matched since. The sequel was handed off to an internal development studio at 2K (2K Marin, to be exact) and…well, didn’t quite meet expectations. It ran with a seemingly surefire concept (you were a Big Daddy) but it never reached the provocative narrative greatness of its predecessor.
Now, Irrational Games has returned to the Bioshock franchise with Bioshock Infinite, a title that shares many of the thematic elements of its progenitor while setting off in a different direction…literally. The waterlogged utopia of Rapture has been replaced with the airborne city of Columbia, and the choking, perpetual night of the ocean has also been swapped out for the hope of a sun-kissed day. However, things are not as they seem.
You play as Booker DeWitt, a war vet turned private detective sent to Columbia to retrieve a mysterious girl named Elizabeth by some rather persistent bookies. “Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt” quickly becomes the mantra of Booker’s life as he ascends from a lighthouse to Columbia (shades of the original Bioshock), undergoes a literal baptism, and enters the city. The beauty of the city stands in stark relief to Rapture, with the sun-drenched streets promising hope and idealism. Dirigible-powered parades tell the oddly Christian tale of Comstock, the founder of the secessionist nation, and serve as a strangely spiritual counterpoint to the relentless patriotic imagery that festoons the skyways. It’s odd, but oddly pleasant.
All of this falls apart with a single pitch of a baseball. Winning a raffle starts to reveal the ugly truth behind Columbia, as you’re given the unpleasant prize of “first pitch” at an interracial couple, flanked on both sides by black-faced cutouts. This sets an incredibly uncomfortable tone for the rest of the game, as Columbia is revealed to be an elitist society, rife with the racism that was, sadly, part of America in the 1900’s that Bioshock Infinite is set in. Prepare yourself for this sort of nastiness for the rest of the game, as Comstock’s utopia is filled with it, with xenophobic images that attack literally every possible minority group. Bathrooms are flagged as “Colored and Irish Only,” certain mechanical vending machines have anti-Semitic slurs scrawled on their clearly Jewish automatons, and the Chinese and Native Americans are portrayed in a less-than-flattering light. It’s an uncomfortable place for gamers of all races, creeds, and colors, but Bioshock Infinite demands that you immerse yourself in it because, alternate history or not, this is what America was. It’s a bold move, and could easily be misconstrued as exploitative, but Irrational handles it with a gravity that makes it thought-provoking and introspective rather than an excuse to plaster the walls with Little Black Sambo and spray painted slurs.
Once you finally find Elizabeth, the game spins you even further into madness, as your target is no ordinary girl. Elizabeth is kept in a tower like a fairy tale princess, and with good reason: her quantum-manipulating abilities make her crucial to Columbia, with her story peppered with false details of a miracle birth in order to maintain her title of “The Lamb of Columbia.” Once you convince her to leave the tower—much to the chagrin of her guardian beast The Songbird—she becomes a crucial ally in her quest, manipulating “tears” that open holes to other realities and times. In combat, she can materialize ammo caches, robotic allies, and even cover for you to hide behind. Even when not opening tears, she’s constantly finding you ammo and health, which she tosses to you with a press of a button. Game designers everywhere, take note: this is how you handle AI-controlled companions.
The tears also open much bigger possibilities as well. An early opening shows a French Cineplex showing “Revenge of the Jedi” (Lucas’ original title for Episode VI of the Star Wars saga), and there are times that your entire reality shifts so that you can complete missions. It’s fascinating to watch reality unravel and reweave itself in ways both subtle and pronounced, and adds immeasurably to the game’s tone. There’s definite hints—no spoilers, so no worries—that tears have been used in a less-than-scrupulous fashion, especially in the game’s unique soundtrack, which includes a barbershop quartet singing The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” and a ragtime rendition of “Tainted Love.”
Of course, with all of this great texturing of the game world, it’s even more wonderful to report that the gameplay has not been forgotten. The gameplay is still what one would expect from an FPS developed by Irrational, with a few upgradeable guns supplementing Vigors, Columbia’s version of plasmids. Vigors give you supernatural abilities that range from lobbing fireballs to launching enemies skyward to, most gruesome of all, rending enemies’ flesh from bone with a murder of carnivorous crows. Despite the new setting and uncomfortable tonal shift, the game is still Bioshock through and through. The biggest addition to the game comes from the Skyhook, a Swiss Army knife of pain that acts as a melee weapon, a death-defying means of transport, and a horrifying way to finish off your enemies. Your first use of the weapon is ramming a constable’s face into its spinning rotor, and it only gets worse from there, letting you snap necks, sever heads, and launch your enemies skyward after grinding through their solar plexus. Even this grizzled gorehound found some of the Skyhook’s furious finishers wince-inducing.
Bioshock Infinite may not be the sort of “typical” horror that FEARnet discusses, but it’s certainly worth any discussion that it brings up. Once you peel pack the layers of more overt horror (The Boys of Silence…’nuff said) it raises a lot of questions that make you feel uncomfortable and frightened overall. While Comstock may be a more extreme representation of xenophobia and racism, this is how people used to think…and some still do. Now that’s scary.
As a fan of extreme horror - both in tone and gross-outs - I have been keeping a close eye on The Profane Exhibit. The anthology of extreme horror will include segments directed by a collection of internationally renown filmmakers like Sergio Stivaletti (Dellamorte Dellamore), Coffin Joe (At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), and Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) who returns to horror after over twenty years.
Each segment will be introduced by a different person, known collectively as the Gentlemen (regardless of gender), storytellers from important moments in horror history. Previously announced Gentlemen include Bai Ling (The Crow, Dumplings) and Tony Todd (Candyman). Joining that list are Laurence Harvey and Christina Lindberg.
Laurence is best known for his role in The Human Centipede 2, and will appear in The Human Centipede 3. Christina is best known for Thriller: A Cruel Picture (aka They Call Her One-Eye) a Swedish rape-revenge film that Quentin Tarantino often sites as a favorite of his.
If we do nothing else here at FEARnet, we will make sure Dexter fans eat well.
What’s the perfect follow up to “Fried Eggs” ala Dexter? These bloody Dexter cupcakes. New York’s Magnolia Bakery (which is super delicious in case you’ve never been there) sliced and diced their classic red velvet cupcake recipe with pieces of candy broken glass and red syrup to create these cupcakes for the Season 7 Dexter premiere.
While the original Magnolia Bakery recipe is kept under wraps, buried deep inside their walls, we found several fans that were willing to sacrifice their hands to recreate this killer treat. The step-by-step recipe below is from domesticingenue.com, read the entire post here. The broken glass is surprisingly easy to make.
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a couple of cupcake tins. I usually get about 18 cupcakes from this recipe. In a bowl whisk together the sifted flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a separate larger bowl, use a mixer to beat together the room temperature, liquid ingredients (oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla). Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Note: the liquid ingredients must be room temperature so that the batter doesn’t separate and become oily.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full and bake for about 20-22 minutes. When done, the cupcake should spring up when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy.
For the Blood Red Simple syrup (or raspberry preserves)
1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup water red food color
Bring to a boil and use the wooden spoon to stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add food color until you get a blood red shade. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
For the Broken Glass
The recipe for the “glass” is essentially one for caramel. The trick is to cook it for a shorter amount of time than usual so it stays clear.
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
Bring the sugar and water to a boil and use a clean wooden spoon (to prevent crystallization) and stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. In the meantime, heavily spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Reduce heat to med high until it begins to barely turn a golden brown color at the edges, a candy thermometer should read 300 degrees. Immediately take off the heat to keep the crystal clear color of your “glass”. Pour the melted sugar onto the pre-sprayed cookie sheet and tilt the pan to spread it to the edges making a thin layer. Work quickly so that it doesn’t cool too fast. Let cool completely to set. Once fully hardened, the “glass” can be cracked/smashed to make the shards.
Warning: Liquid sugar is very hot and will stick to skin causing severe burns. I recommend wearing rubber gloves.
Supernatural Episode 821
“The Great Escapist”
Written By: Ben Edlund
Directed By: Robert Duncan McNeill
Original Airdate: 1 May 2013
In This Episode...
Crowley has enlisted in a couple of young men to pose as Fake Sam and Fake Dean, to earn Kevin’s trust and find out what is going on with the tablets. It’s not clear how these guys do the glamour (I guess Crowley did it...?) and why they can’t be harmed by holy water yet can be trapped in a demon trap, but whatever. Kevin figures this out fairly early on in the episode, but doesn’t let on until he lures the fake Winchesters into a trap towards the episode’s end.
The real Winchesters get an email from Kevin. Essentially it is a video with a dead man’s switch. If Kevin doesn’t log in once a week it sends off this video, in which Kevin explains why the boys are getting this message: it means he is dead and Crowley got him. The reality of the video is never explained. Was Kevin really dead? Was this a trick, maybe from Crowley? Did Kevin just forget to log in? Again, whatever. This video also triggered all of Kevin’s notes about the tablet to be uploaded to the Winchesters, and they push their grief aside to try to figure out the third trial. Sam is in bad shape and won’t accept the TLC that Dean is forcing on him. Perhaps it is his fevered brain, but he recognizes a symbol that Kevin has made over and over in the margins of his notes. It is a glyph that belongs to a Native American tribe. Loosely translated it means “messenger of god.” Sam believes Metatron is in the mountains with this tribe.
So Sam and Dean head out to Colorado and check into a hotel on the tribe’s land. The manager is suspicious, silent, and borderline hostile - the boys later learn that they are the only guests to have checked in since 2006. Sam is so ill he is acting drunk, so Dean leaves him to rest while he checks out the local museum. There he learns that this is the home on earth to a sacred messenger who likes to hear stories. Dean recognizes the hotel manager in a photo - dated nearly 100 years ago. Another “whatever” moment, this is never revisited.
While Dean is taking in the local history, Sam follows a high-pitched hum that only he can hear and discovers that one room has dozens of boxes of books stacked up in front of the door. Dean returns and tells Sam about the messenger who likes to hear stories, and Sam puts it together. He leads his brother to the room. All the packages are gone, and the door is ajar. They slip in and are greeted by a modest middle-aged man with a shotgun. This is Metatron, and he is no Transformer. He can see that Sam is more than halfway through the trials, and fills in the details. He is not an archangel; he was just an average “typing pool” angel until god asked him to take down “the word.” God disappeared and the archangels took over. They started to scheme, and if they couldn’t have their father back, they would take over the universe. Of course, they couldn’t do that without the word of god, and Metatron feared for his own safety. So he went into hiding and has no notion of the outside world. He is the only angel who doesn’t know who Sam and Dean are, but he reads everything. Dude needs a Kindle. Dean and Sam blame Kevin’s death on Metatron, that he had to fill in as prophet because Metatron wouldn’t step up.
Kevin, meanwhile, is with Crowley, who is sick of Kevin being a “brat” and has begun strangling him. Blinding white light emanates from Kevin’s eyes - then suddenly he is with Sam, Dean, and Metatron. Metatron has healed/saved/resurrected Kevin. Kevin is still unconscious, and Metatron agrees to share the third trial with them, but it is unnecessary. That loud hum that Sam has been hearing has been “resonation.” He is now on the same plane or can share thoughts with Metatron. The third trial is to cure a demon - whatever that means.
Meanwhile, Castiel has been hiding in plain sight from Naomi and her goons inside of Biggersons, a Denny’s-like coffee shop that is identical across the country, so it has been throwing off the tracking angels’s sensors. They lock him down by killing everyone in one location. He is distracted long enough for Naomi and her goons to find him. They still want that angel tablet; Castiel won’t budge. Crowley pops in and kills one of the goons; the other is an angel who flipped and works for him now. He essentially scares Naomi away and figures out that if touching the tablet was what broke Naomi’s hold over Castiel, why would he stop that? He reaches into Castiel’s gut, roots around, and pulls out the blood angel tablet.
Dig It or Bury It?
This was one hell of a dense episode. I think maybe too dense. There was lots of important information here... it just made my head hurt. Info overload, and there were a lot of little nitpicky things. At the end of the evening, I was too focused on the little questions to absorb the big picture. The more I think about it, this episode was a fail for me.
Familiar faces return when Sam and Dean find a strange unlabeled film in the Men of Letters’ belongings.
It's hard to imagine the Phantasm fan who prefers the sequel over the original, but if this kooky little horror flick holds a place in your nostalgia vault, this blu-ray is a no-brainer acquisition.
Normally, I cannot abide by the Snuggie. It's stupid, it's cheap, it has become a pop culture joke. I have only ever met one person who owned one (not ironically, too). So I am not down with the Snuggie. But then I saw this one, and at the very least, I think it is both clever and ridiculous. That's right folks. You too can dress like a cartoon zombie with this Zombie Snuggie.
I think this is a sign the zombie fad has jumped the undead shark.