Articles on this Page
- 09/03/13--17:00: _Take a Peek at Knot...
- 09/04/13--08:00: _'American Horror St...
- 09/04/13--09:00: _TV Recap: 'Face Off...
- 09/04/13--10:00: _'Day of the Dead' S...
- 09/04/13--11:00: _Nine Inch Nails: 'H...
- 09/04/13--12:00: _Monster-Sized Allig...
- 09/04/13--13:00: _Book Review: 'Summe...
- 09/04/13--14:00: _Ten of Horror Cinem...
- 09/04/13--15:00: _Gift Guide: This is...
- 09/04/13--16:00: _Screamfest LA Annou...
- 09/04/13--17:00: _iOS Game Review: 'T...
- 09/05/13--08:00: _iOS Game Review: 'B...
- 09/05/13--09:00: _Tim Burton-esque Fu...
- 09/05/13--10:00: _The Ruins of Bevera...
- 09/05/13--11:00: _The Horror Ice Crea...
- 09/05/13--12:00: _University of Calif...
- 09/05/13--13:00: _Looking for a Good ...
- 09/05/13--14:00: _Ten of the Coolest ...
- 09/05/13--15:00: _Watch the First Cli...
- 09/05/13--15:30: _New 'American Horro...
- 09/03/13--17:00: Take a Peek at Knott's Scary Farm's 2013 Attractions
- 09/04/13--08:00: 'American Horror Story: Coven' Reveals Poster, New Cast Member
- 09/04/13--09:00: TV Recap: 'Face Off' Episode 504 - 'Subterranean Terror'
- 09/04/13--11:00: Nine Inch Nails: 'Hesitation Marks'– Album Review
- 09/04/13--12:00: Monster-Sized Alligator Caught in Mississippi
- 09/04/13--13:00: Book Review: 'Summer’s End' by Lisa Morton
- 09/04/13--14:00: Ten of Horror Cinema's Most Badass Ladies
- 09/04/13--16:00: Screamfest LA Announces Their First Wave of Programming
- 09/04/13--17:00: iOS Game Review: 'The Drowning'
- 09/05/13--08:00: iOS Game Review: 'Bloodmasque'
- 09/05/13--09:00: Tim Burton-esque Furniture By Designer Judson Beaumont
- 09/05/13--10:00: The Ruins of Beverast: 'Blood Vaults'– CD Review
- 09/05/13--11:00: The Horror Ice Cream Man Returns... One Last Time!
- Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: is survival just about being alive?
- Social order and structures: from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
- Social identity, roles, and stereotyping: as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
- The role of public health in society: from the CDC to local community organizations
- The spread of infectious disease and population modeling: swarm!
- The role of energy and momentum in damage control: how can you best protect yourself?
- Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world: are squirrels really good for you?
- Managing stress in disaster situations: what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?
- 09/05/13--13:00: Looking for a Good Scare? Five Classic Horror Stories
- 09/05/13--14:00: Ten of the Coolest New Items at Your Local Halloween Shop This Year
- 09/05/13--15:00: Watch the First Clip from 'Curse of Chucky': 'What's for Dinner?'
- 09/05/13--15:30: New 'American Horror Story: Coven' Teaser: Coffin
Theme parks are awesome. Theme parks dressed up for Halloween are friggin' outstanding. This time of year, Knott's Berry Farm becomes Knott's Scary Farm, and has a parked jammed full of tricks and treats.
The biggest event of this season stands to be "Trapped: The New Experiment." Going into its second year, "Trapped" is Knott's reservation-only maze that promises a bigger and more intense experience filled with puzzles that you must solve in order to escape.
The most important parts of any haunted theme park are the mazes. With 10 mazes this year, we will get old favorites like "Trick or Treat," "Pinocchio Unstrunt," and "Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse." New for 2013 are "Black Magic," in which you tour one of Houdini's demonic seances; "Forevermore," which imagines the twisted worlds of Edgar Allan Poe; "The Gunslinger's Grave," a ghost town inhabited by real ghosts; and "Mirror Mirror," where mentioning the "skeleton key" can open up secret rooms and extra scare zones.
One of the shows I remember most from my youth is "The Hanging," a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the year's current events. It used to be hosted by Bill & Ted, but they are not exactly scary, and I imagine most of the visitors are too young to be familiar with Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, so this year, the theme will be gothic fairytale. Other shows this year include "gypsy dancers," a comedic magician, drummers, a "live possession," and an all-new Elvira show.
And finally, the "Atmosfears," scare zones where monsters walk freely in themed areas including carnival freaks, a ghost town, Dios de la Muertos, gypsies, and vampire steampunk.
Knott's Haunt runs from September 26th through November 2nd.
American Horror Story: Coven has added its 87th cast member (or something like that). Newcomer Alexander Dreymon has landed a "major recurring role" as the new neighbor who moves in next to Jessica Lange's witch academy. He joins a long, long list of stars that includes Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Patti Lupone, Leslie Jordan and Gabourey Sidibe.
The have also launched the new poster art for the season. (Why'd it have to be snakes?)
American Horror Story: Coven is set in New Orleans and revolves around witches. Jessica Lange plays the "supreme witch" Fiona; Kathy Bates plays historical socialite and serial murderer Madame LaLaurie; Angela Bassett plays voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. The season is said to cover 300 years of witchcraft history, and modern witches who are fighting against extinction. The season premieres October 9th on FX.
Face Off Episode 504
Original Airdate: 3 September 2013
In This Episode...
The contestants must create their own subterranean creature. They are sent beneath an abandoned power station, where six “rooms” have different clues and themes. Each contestant must choose a room to interpret. Art director and creature designer Jordu Schell is the guest judge this week.
Roy had some major problems. He planned a gigantic octopus / worm creature that would have his model crawling on all fours. Unfortunately, he poured the wrong type of foam into his massive mold, and had to scrap the whole thing. He had a face sculpt that was still useable, and built slap-dash tentacle arms to go with. The judges knew it was bad; Roy knew it was bad. They all kind of accepted it and moved on.
Scott... well, I’m not really sure what he was going for. Neither did the judges. Ve found his sculpt too messy, and Jordu thought the bright spots on the head looked like Fruity Pebbles. Neville thought there was a cool concept under there, but it was killed by a terrible paint job.
Adolfo’s concept was that his guy was on death row, but the electric chair gave him power instead of killing him. Besides the fact that he painted his makeups bright, bright orange (it looked like a pumpkin), his sculpt was “rudimentary” (Glenn) and “looked like a cheap Halloween mask” (all the judges).
Frank imagined a creature who had lost its eyes through evolution, and instead had a massive amount of teeth that expanded well beyond the gum line. I think this was my favorite makeup tonight. It was Jordu’s favorite as well. Glenn was pleased with “tons of intelligent decisions;” Ve loved the fingernails and claws; Neville thought it had great airbrush work.
Miranda’s mole rat was wonderfully creepy. Neville thought the skin wrinkling was spectacular. It was natural and organic. Ve loved the subtle paint job.
Laura also had a mole rat of sorts, but a little more emphasis on the “rat” part. Glenn loved every aspect of this, especially the oversized forehead which made the face seem smaller and squishier. Ve thought it was unique and cool-looking, but she thought it was a little pink for a creature that had never seen daylight.
Other creations this week:
Miranda won this week, the second week in a row. Adolfo was sent home because, as Glenn said, they “couldn’t get past the mask-factor.”
Dig It or Bury It?
I wasn’t particularly taken with this challenge, but the results were great. It didn’t help much that there were a lot of mole rats in the mix, and quite frankly, the vast majority of the contestants had very pedestrian makeups. The top looks were pretty great though.
I wasn’t surprised that Roy got to stay. His entry was clearly a disaster, but the judges gave him “points” for his catastrophe - and his previous work. I think this will be the last year they do veterans vs. newbies because I think the veterans have an unfair advantage. Regardless of what the judges claim, you know they remember the vets from previous seasons and it colors their perception of them as artists.
Hippie alert! Next week is a mother nature goddess challenge.
I am not often left speechless, but this decorative hair comb, made to resemble dentures, has left me a little "WTF?" It is made to order, so I assume that this is not made from teeth that have actually been inside someone's head... I sure as hell hope not. I want one just to see what kind of looks I will get and questions I will be asked. I'm sure most of the comments will ask if I fought off a zombie (the teeth would be more rotten and facing in to my head) or if it is a trophy from a recent kill. I like to imagine it as the few remaining pieces left of a parasitic twin.
The 13th Annual Screamfest kicks off in Los Angeles on October 8th and the group has just announced the first wave of films.
Beneath (US) – Directed by Ben Ketai. A crew of coal miners becomes trapped 600 feet below ground after a disastrous collapse. As the air grows more toxic and time runs out, they slowly descend into madness and begin to turn on one another. Inspired by true events. - World Premiere
The Hunted (US) –Directed by Josh Stewart. Chasing their dream of landing their own hunting show, Jake (Stewart) and Stevie (Blevins) head to the dense, secluded mountains of West Virginia. Equipped with only their bow and camera, they have just three days to kill a monster buck big enough to grab the attention of the Outdoor Channel...and they've found him. But the sun has set, and they realize they’re not alone. The pair decides it’s time to call it quits and leave the woods and their dreams behind. With the setting sun, their realization may have come too late as they are finding out escaping may not be so easy. Being a professional hunter, Jake has the skills and survival instincts necessary to make it out, but will that be enough? Has the sun set on their lives as well? Have the hunters become The Hunted? World Premiere
Schism (US) – Directed by Adam Gierasch starring Callum Blue. Dylan White has a normal, boring life. Then horrifying visions start to interrupt his waking moments, and he must face the fact that he literally doesn't know who he is. Following clues that take him to the dark underbelly, Dylan soon finds both his life and soul in danger. Featuring a masterful performance by Callum Blue, SCHISM is a trip to the dark side, noir-style: bad men, bad dames, bad sex and bad intentions. World Premiere
308 (Indonesia) –Directed by Jose Poernomo. Desperate for a job, Naya lucked out as her best friend offers her a job as a housekeeper at a 5 star hotel by the beach. But the hotel has one strange rule… Rule #1: Never ever open room number 308 under any circumstance. Based on the true legend of Nyi Roro Kidul, the spirit of the Queen of the South Sea that supposedly lives in room 308 in Samudra Hotel. US Premiere
Haunter (Canada) – Directed by Vincenzo Natali starring Abigail Breslin. The ghost of a teenager who died years ago reaches out to the land of the living in order to save someone from suffering her same fate. LA Premiere
Cannon Fodder (Israel) –.Directed by Eitan Gafny. Doron, a security operative, who takes on one last mission: to capture, number 3 in the terrorist organization of Hezbollah, in Lebanon. With an elite force, Doron enters Lebanon to complete his last mission. Very soon he discovers that reality is not so simple, and that a new and unknown enemy is to be dealt with - and Hezbollah are the last thing on his mind. Doron has to deal with a ticking clock in the form of extensive I.D.F attack and a bloodthirsty enemy, Now that their enemy has changed its face, it's up to him and his unit to wage a new war, a different war, to find an antidote, get back across the border, before the middle east conflict is changed forever. LA Premiere
For more details and ticket info, head over to ScreamfestLA.com
First-person shooters have always been a challenge on touchscreen-based devices. The lack of physical controls means that games are usually reliant on virtual joysticks, which harm the experience in two different ways: the game’s playfield is often obscured by the player’s thumbs (especially dire with my bratwurst-like digits) and the lack of any real tension from a physical stick make precision shots a daunting affair. Mobage’s The Drowning aims to rectify both of these issues by completely eschewing the virtual-stick control scheme (although gluttons for punishment can enable it) by redesigning the interface from the ground up for touchscreens, making their attempt at zombie-horror a more palatable affair.
There are your usual zombie apocalypse tropes on display here, although there’s a twist of eco-consciousness in the cliché corpse cocktail. Strange black oil has turned millions into murderous, monochromatic monsters that want nothing more than to batter your body into a bloody bouillabaisse, and it’s up to you to make sure that you stay a survivor.
This is achieved in a series of small, arena-style environments, where you either Attack or Defend. Both are almost completely the same, but with minor differences to justify two different buttons in the menu. Attack mode has you running down a timer, blasting black-and-white beasts back to the oil from which they sprung, whereas Defend has you doing the same…but in a more controlled scenario where you protect chokepoints from their animalistic assault.
The controls really are a revelation, making this fairly mundane concept into something that’s worth revisiting again and again. Tapping on the screen will send your character to the spot in your field of vision that you’ve pointed out, while tapping two fingers on the screen will fire your weapon to the spot located between your depressed digits. The only real onscreen button is a 180 degree spin button located at the bottom of the screen, helping speed up the process of looking around the environment with a swipe. It’s genuinely strange the first few times you try it, as it’s so different from any control scheme featured in an FPS before—iOS based or otherwise—but once you fall into its intuitive groove, it makes you wish that more games featured this remarkably strong interface.
Once you run down the timer, you’re given a load of loot based on your performance. New weapons and items can be crafted from the scavenged items, so repeated playthroughs of the game’s arenas becomes a necessity…unless you want to pony up some real scratch for extra items via the dreaded in-app purchases.
Yep, The Drowning is free, and as a result it constantly harangues you to buy flares and other items to increase item drops. While one can theoretically complete the game spending no more money than the kWh to charge their iPad, it’s a slow process of repeated replays that preys upon players’ lack of patience. I understand why this business model is used nowadays (some MMOs that have switched from traditional subscription models to “free-to-play” have reported an increase in revenue), there are times when it becomes a bit tacky.
But if you can get past the persistent panhandling, The Drowning is probably the best FPS that mobile gaming has to offer. Its graphics are gorgeous, its controls are revolutionary, and it’s quite a bit of brainless fun in the short bursts that it’s designed for.
With the App Store being absolutely flush with zombie games—much like the rest of the industry—it’s incredibly refreshing to see some other monsters, in this case vampires, getting their time in the supernatural spotlight with Bloodmasque. Set in 19th century Paris, Bloodmasque tells the all-too-familiar (but no less satisfying) tale of a half-vampire hunter who joins up with a French rebellion to undermine and overthrow a vampire dynasty that keeps the City of Lights under its spell. The game sticks firmly to its guns in its audiovisual direction, with the game’s Parisian landscape seeming almost like an interactive Les Mis, complete with jaunty string-and-accordion soundtrack.
On the surface, Bloodmasque feels much like Infinity Blade or any number of other swipe-to-attack combat games. Tapping your foes will unleash a flurry of attacks, and swiping the screen allows you to dodge around them. Eventually, after chipping away at their health enough, they blow out of their waistcoats to reveal their more ghoulish countenances so you can continue the process, until you finally get to drive a stake through their heart in a ridiculous, oh-so-Japanese display of impalement. It works well, even if the touch-based combat is quickly becoming cliché in the wake of Infinity Blade.
Where Bloodmasque sets itself apart in the single most ridiculous way possible is the ability to take a trio of pictures of yourself using your iDevice’s handy-dandy camera to be mapped to your character’s in-game face. I don’t post screenshots in my reviews very often, but it needed to be done so I could show you the glory of this:
Sorry ladies, but I’m spoken for, and possibly quite drunk when I took that picture.
The technology is still a little flakey (I, for the life of me, could not get my schnoz to line up with the geometry of the character model) but there’s some completely ridiculous fun to be had in trying out the ability to texture-map your puss onto your in-game avatar.
The other interesting addition comes from the game’s unique take on multiplayer. Instead of being actively pulled into battles with other players, your avatar and its stats are put up for grabs on a roster, allowing other players to use you in battle, earning you valuable blood and bonuses even when you’re not playing the game.
If there are any complaints to be made about Bloodmasque, the game’s dubious use of in-app purchases is rather grumble-inducing. Like many games on the App Store nowadays, there is the carrot-on-a-string tactic of offering in-game currency in exchange for real-world dough. This makes perfect sense in a free-to-play game, but it seems a bit swindly in a game with the (relatively) premium price of $6.99. Also, there is a certain degree of sameness between many of the game’s vampiric enemies, especially when they shed their human facades for one of a small handful of more monstrous forms. However, there is no requirement for players to pony up the extra dough, and the game’s bite-sized bouts of bloody battle mean that, unless you’re playing a marathon session, the repeated character models aren’t a real sticker of an issue. What’s left behind is a deliciously melodramatic slice of European gothic horror that takes itself seriously enough for deeper consideration, but is irreverent enough to fit its bathroom-break structure.
Canadian designer Judson Beaumont makes fantastical furniture. He is best known for his cabinets, especially his curvy, warped, and comic book-style cabinets. But what strikes me most about Beaumont's work is how much of it looks like it belongs in a Tim Burton movie.
The collection I dig the most is Squiddy. "Wee black monster tables" look like they have tentacles or are covered in monster fur.
They get even cooler when you light them from the underside, and you are besieged with an army of alien invaders.
In addition, Beaumont has a signature piece called the Little Black Dresser. Playing off the "little black dress" that all girls have in their closets (or their dressers), this chest of drawers looks like a dress on a hanger. Beaumont took it one step further for Halloween, and dressed up one of his Little Black Dressers as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Check out more of Judson Beaumont's whimsical furniture at StraightLineDesigns.com
The latest teaser promo for American Horror Story: Coven is less of a head-scratcher than "Staircase" or "Detention." A simple cross-section of a coffin with a woman inside, buried. Alive. Hey, I said it was less of a head-scratcher; not that it was any less creepy.
American Horror Story: Coven stars Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Taissa Farmiga, and Gabourey Sidibe (to name a few) and premieres on October 9th on FX