The Mummy (Movie)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by thiathebard

Written by: Bridget Cannon

The-Mummy-2017-1-1

Written and Directed by: David Koepp and Alex Kurtzman
Starring:  Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis

What was it about?

War profiteer and soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) is looking for artifacts to sell on the black market while being stationed in the Middle East. His antics lead his commanding officer to him, and a site of a hidden tomb. Jenny Halsey (Wallis) is a Doctor working with the US military and demands to examine the site. Within the tomb, an ancient mummy has been buried in an odd fashion. Halsey convinces the military to help her transport the Mummy back to London with her. During the flight strange things begin to happen and an evil is set loose.

What did I think?

I really wanted to like The Mummy. It is the first in a number of horror movies that Universal Studios is remaking. The Dark Universe will be bringing all of these remade monsters together with a cool team trying to track, study and contain them. That idea is really promising and, frankly, exciting to me. The Mummy just did not deliver.

I did not care about the main character. At all. Nick Morton is a terrible person at the start of the movie, he is still terrible in the middle of the movie and he is just boring by the end of it. I didn’t care if he was safe or if he reached his goals. Which is a shame because if you are going to have a character set up a big franchise, who viewers will probably be stuck with later, it is a good idea to make them at least a little interesting. Not even necessarily likable, but at least give the man some layers to his personality.

Other characters had potential. I could see Jenny Halsey being more interesting as a recurring bit character, without Nick’s blandness holding her back, in future movies. Doctor Jekyll, yes THAT Doctor Jekyll, was very well played by Russell Crowe. His character and the organization he heads are both saving graces for the story.

The Mummy herself (Boutella) was a fascinating character. I enjoyed her effects. I just didn’t understand her and Nick at all. Her story seemed to take a backseat to his shenanigans a lot of the time instead of showcasing a great villain. They had no chemistry. In short, The Mummy was pushed back in her own movie for a boring man to just make poor life choices. Can we finally stop Hollywood from believing that we want our heroes to be wrecking balls who don’t seem to care about anyone around them except for sexual purposes? 

Seriously, though. Why was Nick so important again? We had a cool organization and an awesome Mummy to play with. Honestly, Hollywood, we could have had it all.

I also was a little… okay more than a little… off put by a few big mistakes about Egyptian mythology in the movie. There are fact checkers in Hollywood. Did The Mummy even have one? It was difficult to take a universe seriously when the building blocks are not there. Particularly when misinformation keeps being thrown at the audience.

The Mummy is also just not a strong horror movie. The themes were there, but it just did not deliver. Again, because I think that too much of the focus was on the wrong character. It was like the movie was reaching for something great, but then Nick would come on screen and it would just give up. The scenes that focused on the Mummy were good. I even jumped at one of the jump scares. However, one jump scare does not a horror movie make.

Would I recommend it?

It kills me to say this because I want the larger project of the Dark Universe to succeed, but no. There were a few laughs. A couple scares. Even with a fascinating premise, The Mummy just fell flat in the end.

I will say this, though. I think there is great potential for the greater universe that is being created. If they can tighten up their storytelling and focus more on the monsters, the rest of these films could be a fun ride for horror fans. Just not The Mummy

Advertisements

Mother Knows Best (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

cat-1690799_1920

By Lilliandra Winters

You know it sucks when your own parents don’t believe you.

I can’t even tell you when it started. That stir in sleep that would tempt me to roll over, opening my eyes for just a moment just before falling back asleep… was that movement? In my closet? No.. no no no, I’m just tired. It’s the cat. I grumble and pull that warm pillow to my face and my blanket up over my shoulders and I drift off.

***

As I stare out the window in class the next day, the memory sneaks up on me. I shake it off because it’s absurd. The cat wasn’t in my room… Isn’t ALLOWED in my room at night. Bastard always attacks my feet while I’m sleeping.

I mean, I love the cat but sleep is the most precious thing to me. It escapes me so often that when I do finally sleep… Sweet bliss.

Of course, if the cat bugs at my door long enough, Mom just let’s her in. I have no idea why she loves to sleep with me. Maybe she hates me, she causes my parents no trouble. Nope, it couldn’t have been the cat. It was probably just the remnants of whatever twisted dream I was having.

***

Again, I am stirred from sleep, but can’t tell you why.

I roll over to my left side, the side that makes it so easy to fall back asleep…

What the hell was that?

I’m startled. I spied it. There was more pronounced movement, but I couldn’t tell you what the hell moved.

I’m being stupid. I’ve thought about it several times today; I’m just feeding a tired mind. Nothing is there. You need to sleep. Go back to sleep. With that, I close my eyes and drift off, but it isn’t easy.

***

After a week of these nightly disturbances, I find myself somewhere between anger and fear. I’ve laid awake after catching that first glimpse, waiting to see another, but it’s only ever the one. I was awake for hours and saw nothing. The movement is always different, never in the same location, never the same thing. Not that I even know what IT is.

Saturday comes and I’m too tired for this bullshit. I’m so tired that it took me days come to the conclusion that I should just leave the light on. So simple. So that’s what I do; I leave the light on in my closet. Because simply closing the door at this point is no longer an option. If I close the door, that doesn’t mean the motion doesn’t happen, it just means I can’t see it and that seems far worse.

I don’t remember falling asleep, but I stir and hear the pop of my light bulb going out. I’m already facing the closet, I fell asleep on my left side this time.

THERE!

The movement! What the hell is that?! I want to get up and throw the lights on, but terror sets in and I can’t move. This movement was no more profound than the last but here I lay stuck in my bed. I have no idea why I am scared shitless. Maybe it’s just rats or some shit. Or how about an overactive imagination?

Teachers loved to write that on anything I added creativity to at school. “Shows promise, but let’s reign in that overactive imagination.” I could feel myself relax enough to actively eye roll at the thought. The distraction helped and soon I drifted off.

I’ve examined my closet every single day. Nothing is amiss or out of place. I bring it up to my parents at dinner one night. They don’t even look up from their plates.

“Can’t be rodents. Not in THIS house.” It must be my overactive imagination.

I roll my eyes again, not that they saw it. She drones on about how I’m so imaginative at school, at home, with the cat. She wishes she could direct it in a more productive way. I promise them it’s real, but mother knows best. Dad replaces the bulb in my closet and I’m expected to go back to sleep as if nothing was out of place.

I do one last check of the closet before I’m off to bed. I flip the lightswitch off and something cold and soft grasps my hand. I squeak in terror and spin on my heels to look in the closet only to see nothing different.

I know I felt it.. Something… someone grabbed my hand.

I look at my right hand and it appears just the same; however, I can feel the lingering sensation of whatever it was. The skin on the back of my neck is so tight it hurts. I can feel my back clenched as I step back from the closet door.

I shiver unintentionally and climb onto my bed backwards. I don’t even change into my pajamas, I just stare at the door, curled up at my pillows with my back against the wall. I am NOT crazy and I am NOT imagining it. SOMETHING is going on.

Of course, if I told any one of my friends, they’d just assume I’d finally lost it. It doesn’t matter. No sleep for me. It’s just me and that fucking closet. My body is weak with exhaustion but my heart is thumping in my chest. I’ve got this.

***

I jolt awake but there is so much fuzz, I can’t make my way through it. My senses are overrun. Too long with no sleep means I’m fighting to remain conscious. Something is happening. What is happening?

I look at the closet door and it looks fine, but I’m hearing a thudding noise coming from the door leading to the hallway. I shuffle my feet under the blankets. Damn it! Mom must have let the cat in my room. I can feel her pawing through the blankets. I kick at her a bit, trying to focus. What the hell is that noise?

I rub my face with my hand and it feels like it wipes some of the fuzz away. There’s a THUNK THUNK at the door. I slowly part my fingers and look in that general direction.

I know that sound.

It’s the cat; she claws at the bottom of the door when she wants to be let into my room. I feel it again. Tap tap at my feet. I freeze. My breath is caught hard and painful in my chest. I’m trembling and trying not to cry. I don’t want to look. Oh God, I don’t want to look.

My eyes move from the door to the end of my bed. I can’t tell what’s there, but it sure as hell isn’t a cat. Without thought, I yank my legs up against my body. There is a pause in the air before this dark thing reaches itself up onto my bed. It has short stubby arms. Its body is no longer than a large cat. Its dark matted hair hangs in front of its face and, as it climbs up my bed, the hair shifts, revealing glowing red eyes and an impossibly wide smile.

I try to suck in air to scream, but I can’t. I can only feel hot pain spread across my chest.

Mom was right. Mom told me the cat never bothered either of them when they slept.

It grabs my body, pulling itself up along my shivering useless form. I can smell the hot garbage of its breath before I can feel it brush across the skin of my face. The weight of it on top of me feels no heavier than a medium sized dog, but I can hear its mouth moving with wet sloppy noises. It lays pressed against me, breathing forever before it finally mutters in the most deep demonic tone I’ve ever heard.

Meow.”

Friday the 13th, The Game Review

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

header

Developer: IllFonic
Released: May 26th, 2017
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

I’d like to tell you that this is going to be a calm and observant review of a horror game, but it won’t be. Why? Because this game is my shit. I’ve been playing the game for MONTHS and WILL NOT STOP ANY TIME SOON.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the game. I was interested in it from the moment I saw it. I wasn’t able to get in on the Kickstarter, unfortunately, but I got the game and that is all that matters.

It is the early 80s, you are a councilor at a summer camp. All of the kids have gone home for the summer and it’s just you and the other counselors for a couple days before you return home. One evening, between your premarital sex, drinking and marijuana smoking, JASON APPEARS OUT OF FUCKING NO WHERE AND MURDERS SOME GUY YOU’VE NEVER MET. Five minuets later, you collect yourself and it’s time to survive.

tld2nzy5o5m8w5kyfmqs

Fucking Chad

You can play as either a counselor or Jason. Matches consist of 8 players, 1 killer and 7 survivors. If you are a survivor, your goal is pretty simple. Survive for 20 minutes, escape the map using the car or police, or kill Jason. If you are Jason, your goal is to kill everyone.

There is a character for everyone. I haven’t played them all because AJ is my favorite. She has a high stealth and high repair skill. These are most important to me. She runs like a pack a day smoker, which would fit the character. I did play Tiffany for a bit because of her high stamina, but she is awful at repair and that is constantly what I am trying to do. Fix the phone or fix the car and GTFO. There are several female and male characters, with ethnic and social range. Just don’t play Chad. I can’t stand Chad.

You can use earned points to buy perks as either killer or survivor. Characters unlock as you play the game. You can also unlock different movie versions of Jason, each with different strengths and weaknesses. You can buy different kills as Jason and perks as counselors. Perks range from a faster arrival time with the police, a chance that Jason won’t notice you in a building, easier repairs, faster sprints and more. The possibilities are huge. Each come at different levels (common to legendary) and can have different pros and cons (like a boost to your sprint, but a reduction in stamina).

As a counselor, you can change your clothing some. The more you play a specific character, the more you unlock.

There are various ways to survive as a counselor. You can work together or lone wolf it to survive. You can find the phone fuse and repair the phone box to call the cops. You can repair one of the two cars, a two-seat or four-seat vehicle. They both need a set of keys, gas and a battery installed. (Who is taking the batteries out of cars in this damn camp?) When repaired, you can hop in and hope to escape before you are stopped. In the same vein, you can repair and escape in the boat (not all matches have boats, though). You can survive the entire 20 mins without being killed or you can kill Jason. I named each of them in order of ease (in my opinion). Calling the cops and waiting, at most 5 mins, feels like the easiest when there are plenty of other people to distract him.

The car is up in the air and can require cooperation. Surviving is hard if the killer isn’t new to the game and I have yet to kill Jason, however I will fix that soon. To kill him, you need to have knocked off his mask, a female must be wearing a dusty old sweater that can be found in Jason’s shack (hidden somewhere on the map) and Tommy Jarvis must have the machete. Or so I’ve been told.

Can’t believe I forgot about Tommy. You will find a radio in the camp, using it gives you the ability to alert Tommy Jarvis. When people escape or die, there is a chance one can come back as Tommy. He is pretty handy at everything (straight 10s on all skills) and comes with a shot gun, map and walkie talkie.

20170622103917_1Maybe people think that Jason has too much power over the counselors and use it to criticize the game, but I disagree. I find it hard to kill the counselors as Jason. There are many factors against you and I can’t use the shift power well. I only play basic Jason and recently got my first 8/8 kills.

As Jason, you have 4 abilities. You can stalk (the music won’t play when you are near your victim), you can shift (become incorporeal and dash around, popping up behind people), you can sense where people are (making buildings bright red if someone is in them) and you can morph to any spot on the map. As plain Jason, I also have an ax and some traps, and I can pick up knives from around the camp and throw them at people.

You have four different executions, if you’ve spent your points on them, and once you grab someone, you can chose one of those ways to kill (choked to death, axed in half, jaw ripped out, etc). There are environmental kills, also. You can crush their skull against a wall, drown them in a toilet, impale them with a bird bath and straight up drown them in the lake. (Oh, the murderous possibilities!)

I will note that I am disappointed that there isn’t word yet about Pamela being a killer option at the moment. She was in an underachieved stretch goal for their Kickstater, but I want to see her soon.

That is the basics of the game. It’s difficult to master and oh so much fun to play. Kill your friends, kill strangers, kill everyone! I love this game and I play it weekly. I’ve made friends because of this game. It is easily one of my favorites, but it’s far from perfect.

Before you go shelling out $40, let’s chat about the cons.

The community isn’t great at all. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it Overwatch toxic, but there are some salty players out there. They can make the experience pretty awful. I typically mute everyone that I don’t know personally when entering a match for several reasons. First, so I don’t have to hear their cursing, nonsense, racists/sexist hateful bullshit. Second, because hearing 8 year olds play this game disturbs the fuck out of me. Finally, the lobbies aren’t separated by native language. No matter how much I don’t mind playing with someone from say Russia, if we can’t speak to each other, there isn’t a point.

Let’s also talk about the assholes who are so salty that they got killed by Jason that they will leave the match mid-execution, meaning that the Jason player doesn’t get points for the kill. If you do this, you are going to the deepest, darkest level of Hell full of atrocities that even I can’t fucking imagine. Or they will leave before the end of the game, which is just annoying as fuck, especially when you’ve got no one to come back as Tommy Jarvis.

There is currently no way to report people in game. Of course, in-game reporting can also be a slippery slope of abuse by salty players. Oh, and don’t get me started on those assholes that use the car to run over other players. The only deterrent is a loss of 1000 exp, which, honestly, they don’t give a crap about. How about match timers? Killed a teammate? Can’t match up for 30 mins!

friday-the-13th-game-4The game is also buggy as hell. Not horribly so at the moment, but enough to cause issues in game play. I’ve been bugged out and killed when I shouldn’t have been, my hair has gone wonky and there are plenty of disconnects. Nothing so major that I won’t play. I will, however, protest the choice of colors for AJ’s bathing suits (available in the Summer DLC). They all have pink in them. Seriously, wtf? She’s GOTH.

Should you get this game? Hells yes! If you can afford the $40 price point, go for it. It’s a great game with endless amount of fun, and hey, you can kill your friends. Do you play the game? Who would you like to see make an appearance? Is Freddy Kruger a viable option for the game? Let us know in the comments below!

WintersOver4

Together Forever (Short Story)

Posted in Short Story with tags , , , , , on October 4, 2017 by Xander Woolf

woman-2701765_1920

By: Xander Woolf

He broke up with me. I can’t believe he broke up with me. No, I won’t believe it. He can’t break up with me. I love him too much. It’s not fair. My love burns eternal. There’s absolutely no way I’m letting him break up with me. NO.

He will be with me and only me. I’ll make sure of that. I just need a few things to… convince him.

First thing’s first, I need to learn his schedule down to the second. That way, I can figure out the best possible time to approach him and bare my heart. I’ll wait outside his house in the morning and mark down the exact time he leaves for work. Then I’ll sneak into the building so I can keep an eye on him. I need to protect him from all the whores that he works with.

Second, I’ll need some rope. If he won’t listen to reason, then I’m going to have to make sure he can’t get away so I can tell him everything I absolutely need to say. I need to make sure he’ll hear me. I should get some duct tape, too. That way he’ll have to listen without talking over me, like he always liked to do.

Hmmm. Maybe I should pick up some knives, too. That’ll be fun. I can play, maybe scare him a little bit. I bet he’ll find that such a turn on. We’d talked about knife play before, but never got the chance to do it. Oh, he’ll love the idea. Once I’ve convinced him to be with me forever, I’ll bring out the knives.

Yes.

This plan is brilliant. It has to work. And if it doesn’t… Well, if it doesn’t, I don’t know what I’ll do.

***

Oh, there you are now. Perfect timing, there, my love. Have I ever told you that you look so cute in your suit and tie? With your little briefcase. I could just eat you up, you’re so adorable.

That’s right, come a little closer.

Oh, now don’t struggle. You’ll just make this harder for both of us if you struggle. We both know you’re stronger than me, but I came prepared.

See? That’s why you don’t struggle. When you wake up, you’ll be so surprised.

God, you’re heavy. When did you get to be so heavy?

I’m sorry I have to tie you up in the trunk, but I can’t risk you misunderstanding me and leaving. You need to hear everything I have to say, otherwise none of this is worth it.

***

Oh, good, you’re awake. I was starting to worry. Oh, no no no. Don’t struggle. You’ll hurt yourself if you do that. Those ropes are tied pretty tightly. I also bolted the chair to the floor to make sure you can’t fall over. I’m so thoughtful, I know.

Stop trying to scream through your duct tape. Nobody is going to hear you and it’s getting a little annoying. Besides, if you keep trying to scream, you won’t hear what I have to say.

HEY.

I asked you nicely to stop screaming. Look what you made me do. I can’t concentrate if you’re screaming, baby. I brought you here for a reason. I’m sorry for my outburst, but I just need to say what I came here to say.

What’s that noise? Is that your cell phone?

It is! Who’s calling at this hour?

Who’s Jackie Lane?!

You have a date with someone already?

Oh, no no no no no. Not on my watch. How did I miss that? I’ve been so vigilant.

We were supposed to be together forever.

Who the fuck is Jackie Lane?!

No no no.

We were supposed to be together forever.

If I can’t have you, Jackie Lane certainly can’t.

Oh no no no.

We were supposed to be together forever.

Why do you make me do these things to you? All this blood.

We were supposed to be together forever.

And now we can be.

Top 10 Things that Scare The Bejeezus out of Xander

Posted in List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Growing up, I was a scared kid. I mean, I was scared of everything. Put me in a dark room, near a clown, around some bugs, and I was a crying, blubbering mess. Every single night I went to sleep, I would think, “Tonight’s the night the ghost is gonna decide to get me.”

I forced my siblings to leave the bathroom light on so it would pour into my bedroom. Nightlights weren’t enough. It had to be the bathroom light or my bedroom light. I slept in a fully lit room for about a year in middle school.

It was bad.

Now, I’ve tamed those irrational fears.

Well… most of them.

Check out what I’m scared of now.

Continue reading

Why I couldn’t finish “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Curse of Sleeping Beauty Poster

Supposedly based on the Grimm fairy tale “Briar Rose,” The Curse of Sleeping Beauty follows Thomas, a reclusive artist who consistently dreams of a beautiful sleeping woman that he just can’t wake up. When he inherits a property that’s been in his family for generations, his nightmares become real. He has to free Briar Rose from her prison in order to free himself from the property.

It sounds like it could be a beautiful story… if done right.

The movie was so awful, though, we couldn’t even finish it. We got about half-way through and turned it off. This is actually a big deal for Winters and me. In our entire friendship, we’ve only ever turned off three movies.

It’s especially a big deal for me given that I love bad horror movies. I’ll watch bad horror until the cows come home, but I couldn’t finish The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Here’s why.

1) The acting was atrocious. While the actors were all beautiful in their own right, they weren’t right for the roles. Ethan Peck, at first, seemed perfect for a reclusive artist role. As the movie went on, however, it became obvious that Thomas was supposed to care about both Briar Rose and Linda, the woman helping him learn more about the mysterious property. Ethan Peck, however, continued with his emotionless character, causing his lines to fall flat. India Eisley, who played Briar Rose, was gorgeous in her outfit, but could have spent more time with a dialect coach. Her English accent was reminiscent of that of a teenager pretending to be “posh.” Finally, Natalie Hall’s Linda attempted to be the comic relief, but the delivery of her lines combined with the overall feel of the movie made that attempt fall short. We felt as though each of these actors was only hired because of their good looks.

Thomas-and-Briar-Rose-the-curse-of-sleeping-beauty-39497814-600-400

2) The script was just bad. The acting probably would have been better if the script was better written. Instead, there were lines that made no sense and major plot holes. Not only that, but near the middle of the movie, the plot changed from straight horror fantasy, where one or two people deal with an evil force, to an ensemble let’s-tackle-this-together movie. The dynamic completely changed when the two extra characters were added. Thomas and Linda were all that were needed, in my opinion.

3) They mixed several cultures together. This goes along with bad script writing, but deserves a point all to its own. The Sleeping Beauty story is of French origin. The movie takes place in America (I think!). All the characters seem to be American or Canadian, with the exception of Briar Rose, who is supposedly British. Richard (Bruce Davison), shows up in a car with a European license plate. And, finally, when they determine what the actual curse is, they reveal that it’s Middle Eastern… Dear writers, pick one and stick to it!

The_Curse_of_Sleeping_Beauty_HD_Screencaps-11-1-1

While those are my three big points, there were a lot of little points as well. Let’s call it nitpicks. First, Thomas’ uncle supposedly lived in the mysterious house for 40 years, but it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for quite a long time. Second, Thomas at one point says he just wants to get out of this “godforsaken town,” but there was no introduction of the town itself or Thomas’ interaction with it. Finally, there’s a scene where a bunch of mannequins are attacking Thomas and Linda, attempting to protect the secret of the house from outsiders, and I was just reminded of an episode of Doctor Who, which took me right out of the story.

I didn’t see the ending, but absolutely nothing could have made this movie worth it. I assume Briar Rose turned out to be evil and they had to defeat her. Otherwise, they never would have introduced Linda as Thomas’ other love interest. I also assume that the 53 people who had gone missing on the property were the people inside the mannequins. But, hey, I could be wrong.

Watch it for yourself and tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

9th Circle of Horror Returns

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2017 by Xander Woolf

9cohreturns

Hey, Horror Fans!

I know, it’s been awhile.

Don’t you worry, though. We’re not going anywhere.

We had some hiccups. Depression mixed with busy schedules do not mix well.

But we’re back.

And we have some exciting stuff in the works.

So stay tuned and be sure to keep checking back on your sleepless Friday nights for reviews.

Sleep tight.

wolfout