Monday, October 29, 2012

Extreme Pedaling

It's a rare thing for me to get into a racing game. In fact, for the most part I hate them. Especially the ones that use "realistic" physics and handling. Games like Forza or Gran Turismo absolutely bore the shit out of me. When I played the XBLA title Trials HD though, I almost immediately fell in love. It's not exactly a racing game I suppose, you basically ride a dirt bike from one end of a track to the other, driving over various obstacles and terrain. And yes, it's totally a physics based game. You have to maintain your rider's posture while at the same time taking into consideration the amount of throttle to give the particular bike you're on, and control your momentum as you move from one obstacle to the next.

This year, a sequel was released, Trials Evolution. It's even better than HD was, and when it first came out, I was hopelessly addicted. Eventually, I moved on, but have gone back to it once or twice since. Last week though, the first big pack of downloadable extra content finally arrived, and I've once again been playing incessantly. New tracks, new achievements, new mini-games, new tournaments, new gear to equip on your rider, and last but not least a new bike. Not motorcycle, BIKE. Like a BMX bike. That might not excite you, friend, but I was absolutely giddy. Why, you ask? Easy, you can tweak most of the colors on the rides in the game. What the addition of a BMX bike meant to me was I could create a replica of Cru Jones' bike from one of my most favorite movies of all time, the BMX cult classic "Rad"!!! Below is a pic of the bike, as close to Cru's as I could get it.

How freakin sweet is that?! I love it. At this point, I'm using it almost exclusively. One of the new achievements from the dlc actually requires you to pass one of the "Extreme" difficulty tracks while riding it. Well, being the achievement whore that I am, you just know I took my Cru Jones bike and gave it a shot. For those of you who have never played Trials, let me assure you that these extreme tracks earn the shit out of that name. The track in question is called "Back to the Attic", and you can see someone who is clearly WAY better at this game than I am giving it a run through in the video below...

Now, as you can see, this player faulted 22 times and finished in 2 minutes and 16 seconds. That may sound like a lot, but for every track the game allows you to fault up to 499 times and has a time limit of 30 minutes. People, my first attempt ended when I hit my 499th fault about halfway through. My second attempt ended when I ran out of time about 3/4 of the way through, at 370 or so faults. My Tourette Syndrome was in FULL effect throughout my 3rd attempt, I called the rider on this game so many names that I actually ran out and started creating all new ones. The thing was though, I pushed through and at the next to last obstacle, the large swing that you have to jump from onto the piano, I was sitting at 86 faults and was somewhere around 11 minutes. I got this, right? Well, take a look at the fault count and time remaining in this photo:

You want to talk about heart attack-inducing suspense? Yeah. My hands were pouring sweat and shaking, I was standing in front of the television, rocking back and forth like Rain Man, my heart was pounding in my throat, and when I finally crossed that finish line and saw the achievement pop, the adrenaline rush hit me like a nuclear bomb, causing me to break into a victory lap around my house that was the stuff of legend. I ran for what felt like forever. 

Was it worth it for a measly 10 point achievement? Damn right. Will I EVER play this track again? Hell no. But I got the damn achievement, and I'm proud of that fucker, even if it did take me 455 faults and over 29 minutes to get it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween 2012

Yesterday our town did all of it's Halloween celebration stuff, blocked off the streets down town and a lot of the local businesses and churches and whatnot had tables set up, some with games, for the kids. We are still doing trick or treating on Wednesday of course, but just as with probably everybody reading this blog, Halloween is a month long celebration for my family, and we look for any and every reason to dress up and go out for free candy.

The kids went as Gotham City Impostors this year, which was great for me for a lots of reasons. I freakin LOVE that game, love the art design, costumes, etc. and I love Batman and Joker, obviously. So I had a blast coming up with stuff to put into the costumes. Being that in the game the costumes are all made up of homemade stuff, I got to flex my creative muscles a bit, and only made one trip to Dollar Tree and one trip to Walmart, for a combined total of less than $20 on both costumes. Halloween costumes are great, cheap homemade Halloween costumes are AWESOME.

Jacob went as a Bat...

 The cowl was the first thing we decided on, I had been wanting to make one of these since the first time I saw it in the game. It's hilariously awful, and I knew it would look awesome. I took a cardboard box from work, spray painted it blue, cut out the eyes, drew the mouth on a piece of paper and taped it to the front. I got the gloves at Dollar Tree, cut the fingers off, and drew in the Bat symbols and stripes with Sharpies. You can't see them in the picture, but he's also got some old school looking knee socks with black and yellow stripes at the top, which also came from Dollar Tree. For the cape, I just safety pinned a blue towel to around his shoulders. The handcuffs we found at the bottom of one of the toy boxes in the kids room. Finally, I let him draw and color the Bat symbol, then cut it out, and I safety pinned it to his shirt. All in all, I was really happy with how it turned out, even though absolutely NOBODY got the reference. The most frequent questions we got were "Are you Lego Batman?" and strangely "Are you a robot?". I don't know what the hell kind of robots these people grew up watching, but I've never seen one that looked like a Gotham City Impostor.

For miss Caitlin, she was all pumped up to be Joker...

 For hers, the most expensive thing was the shirt. I got a dress shirt/tie combo thing at WalMart for $8. I also got the makeup and green hair spray stuff at WalMart. The purple and black tights, and purple skirt we already had, as well as the boots. The feather boa we found at Dollar Tree. Again, I was really happy with how the costume turned out. She looked great, and was immediately recognized by almost everyone as Joker.


I had intended for us to carve our pumpkins this year when we got home, but everybody was too worn out and I decided to just wait until this morning to do them...

 I had seen a Leslie Vernon design from "Behind the Mask" online earlier this month, and figured I would give it a try for mine. As per usual, I don't print out stencils or anything like that, I free hand sketch on the pumpkin with a sharpie and then do my carving. Unfortunately I couldn't find my saws when I went through the cabinet I keep them in, which means either the kids got them out and lost them, or a Halloween enthusiast broke into the house and stole only my pumpkin carving tools. In any event, I had to carve Leslie with a regular kitchen knife. I'm pretty happy with it, but can't help but feel like it would've looked better if I had my stuff.

Jacob kept with the Batman theme and did a Bat symbol. I told him this year I wanted him to do his own, without my help. I sketched the symbol on the side of the pumpkin and let him have at it. I was highly impressed with the end result, I think he did a great job. This kid just might have a future in pumpkin carving...

Finally, for Caitlin's, the original idea was to do the classic Jack O' Lantern from the credits on John Carpenter's Halloween. She seemed to dig the idea, but when I cut the top off and started cleaning out the guts I had her helping me, and after pulling out her first handful of pumpkin guts, she looked at me and said.."Dad, this is's making me sick." in true dramatic fashion. I asked her what she thought about having the pumpkin puking his guts out, and of course she loved the idea. I know it's cliche, but I had never actually done one of these before and I figured it would be fun for her.

There ya go, Halloween at the Bones household this year! The kids got tons of candy and we all had a blast. And there's still regular Trick or Treating on Wednesday to go! This is exactly why October is my favorite time of year. Happy Halloween kiddies!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Infinite Playlist - Night of the Chainsaw

New video from ICP from their latest effort, The Might Death Pop. I always love it when ICP puts some money into a video and turns it into a short film. In this particular case, the video is actually better than the song. Enjoy Night of the Chainsaw.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

Tonight it's the one you love to hate, I'm keeping the Halloween love rolling at the Drive-In with The Revenge of Michael Myers!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I sat down to watch Chained hoping it would be the first film this year to truly leave me an emotional wreck, huddled in the corner of my living room sobbing uncontrollably, questioning the obvious mental instability that makes me want things like that to happen to me. If you read my Excision write-up, you already know 2012 has seen a fairly significant dry spell in terms of the truly disturbing for yours truly. As it turns out, Chained left me a bit torn when all was said and done. It was a very well done thriller, and yes, it had some disturbing content, but at the end of the proceedings there really wasn't anything that I found all that hard to watch, or that got to me in the way that I wanted it to.

Bob is a taxi driver who also happens to be a serial killer, who patrols the city at night looking for female victims to bring back home and brutally murder. He happens upon a woman and her eight year old son, Tim, outside a movie theater, and picks them up. He brings them to his house, and leaves Tim locked inside the cab while he drags his mother inside and murders her. Bob decides to keep Tim, to make the most of his being there even though it wasn't in his plans. He decides to call him Rabbit, chains him  up, forces him to cook for him, clean up after the murders, and basically care for him in any way he sees fit. If Rabbit doesn't submit, he gets beaten. Years pass, and as Tim gets older, Bob attempts to turn him into his protege, teaching him all he knows about murder. He begins by giving him biology text books, encouraging Tim to learn as much about the human body as possible. When the time finally comes for Tim to choose his first victim, he resists, which only makes Bob more insistent. Tim struggles with his twisted sense of loyalty to Bob, and his unwillingness to take another human's life, all the while wondering where his real father is, and why he eventually gave up on looking for him.

I hate it when people over-analyze movies, I really do. I'm perfectly capable of looking over little story inconsistencies, and even glaring plot holes from time to time. But when something happens that is so obviously out of the way, so much so that it's basically the movie giving you a big wink that "this is happening now because it plays into the twist at the end that you aren't supposed to see coming", it irks the shit out of me. Unfortunately Chained gave me the old wink and nudge pretty early on, and while I hadn't necessarily nailed the twist down to the detail, I had more or less figured things out. I always hope I'm wrong, and the movie will flip the script on me, making me feel stupid for thinking I had it figured out the whole time. Chained didn't.

Everything else about the movie is great though, which only added to my disappointment. The pacing was good, there was some clever camera work, and the performances were all solid. Vincent D'Onofrio is particularly good as Bob. So many times we are presented psychopaths in movies and either given a quick, watered down cliche of a back story, or no explanation at all, as to why they're crazy. Chained gives us an extremely disturbing look at a younger Bob and his home life with an alcoholic, abusive father. As a matter of fact, despite all the killing that took place in this movie, Bob's back story is hands down what got to me the most. I'm not saying it's right for Bob to do what he does, but goddamn, if I had been through what he had, I probably would've been severely fucked up too. Eamon Farren also did a fine job as "Older Rabbit", the one that gets the most screen time, and has the most interaction with Bob. You can't help but feel sorry for the character given what he's been through, and Farren has that "broken and lost" look to him that plays perfectly to the role.

Chained ended up being a disappointment, only because of my expectations going in to it. Had I just decided to watch it, knowing absolutely nothing about it, I can't help but think my opinion would've been extremely different. As it stands, it was a perfectly enjoyable thriller, well done, well acted, but a tad predictable. This is  the kind of movie that I could see myself getting wrapped up in if I ran across it on HBO while channel surfing or something. Going into it hoping for way more from it ended up being it's downfall for me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Silver Age Horrors!

Ah, the Silver Age of comics... A simpler time, when even horror in comics was so innocent and lighthearted, you just can't help but smile. For today, I thought I'd post a few of my favorite Silver Age DC superhero "creature features" from my collection. The pics are some I found online, as it would take too much time to dig these out of my stash, but rest assured I own all of these, and love them dearly.

I gotta tell ya, they're not really very popular at all, but damn if those Jimmy Olsen comics aren't a hell of a lot of fun. I always look for them at conventions. They're usually cheap, not all that hard to find, and I adore them. That dude got himself into some serious shit back in the day, hah. 

Hope you enjoyed these throwbacks to a more innocent era in comics. While it's not the first medium that comes to mind when one thinks of horror story telling, there has always been a big presence in the comic book world. Any horror fan who shuns comic books is seriously missing out on some of the best examples of the genre available.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Infinite Playlist - Abominationz

Brand new Twiztid for that ass today! Their latest album Abominationz is now in stores, and I've been listening to it non-stop since I got home from work today. For anyone who may not have been all that into their last effort, Heartbroken and Homicidal (I was!), rest assured this is a return to the Twiztid we've all known and loved for years. I dig every single track, and haven't come anywhere close to deciding on a favorite yet, but I am going to post a couple for the Playlist today. Check out "Rep that Wicked" and "Unstoppable"...

Sunday, October 21, 2012


2012 has been a relatively dry year for truly disturbing films for yours truly. Sure there was The Bunny Game, which I didn't so much "watch" but more like "survived" or "endured" but other than that one, I can't think of anything that really left me with any new permanent mental scarring. Enter Excision, which I bought blindly, having only heard a few random mumblings about. I wasn't familiar with the director, Richard Bates, Jr. (as I would later learn for good reason, his only other credit is a short film also entitled Excision), and although I've seen things with her in it, I wasn't really familiar with star AnnaLynne McCord. It was the rest of the cast that caught my eye though, specifically Ray Wise, Malcolm McDowell, John Waters, and Traci Lords. I don't do a lot of blind buys, but every once in a while I'll either get a feeling about something, or it will just have been a while since I got a new movie, and I simply can't resist. Excision ended up being a bit of both, but damn I'm glad I gave in.

The movie focuses on Pauline, a teenager struggling to find her place in life, dealing with the hell that is high school, along with her home life where she is under the constant stress of a controlling mother who is desperate for her daughters, both Pauline and her younger sister, Grace (who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis), to be beautiful, proper, popular girls. Pauline is different though, she's an aspiring surgeon with a bit of a dark side. As with most teenagers, her hormones are in full swing, only her dreams are filled not just with sex, but with blood as well. As she explores her own sexuality, her situation at school begins to worsen, as she crosses one of the popular girls, which eventually leads to a physical conflict. Things are going from bad to worse for Pauline, both at school and at home, where her mother is becoming more and more controlling, and her younger sister begins to severely struggle with her Cystic Fibrosis. Seemingly unable to satisfy anyone else, Pauline decides to fix the one thing she feels like she actually is capable of, and Excision closes with a scene that will leave your jaw hanging open.

Well, it may not leave everybody's jaw hanging open, but it did mine. Maybe I was just in the mood for something fucked up, maybe it struck a chord in me that I didn't know was there, I don't know, but Excision really fucked me up. I came away from this one with a feeling similar to the one I got from Martyrs. It didn't go to the extreme that movies like The Bunny Game or A Serbian Film go to, but honestly I almost prefer a movie that is a bit more subtle. It's not a lot of subtlety, mind you, but at least it stops short of baby rape. Again, that could just be me though.

Performance wise, AnnaLynne McCord carries the movie well as Pauline. She's an awkward mess of a girl who really only comes to life when she's giving in to her darker side, and McCord seems to do the same in her performance. Ray Wise, Malcolm McDowell, and John Waters are sadly in limited roles, barely getting any screen time. Roger Bart as Pauline's dad, Bob, ends up being the film's only comedic relief, and there isn't much. You can tell he comes the closest to understanding where Pauline is, and while he doesn't appear to approve of his wife's actions towards her, he isn't willing to confront her either.

Traci Lords goes a long way toward stealing the movie as Pauline's mother, Phyllis. This woman is borderline batshit crazy herself. I'm not talking "Joan Crawford level", but still. At first I almost chalked her actions up to poor writing, as she clearly favors her younger daughter and is basically verbally abusive to Pauline, but the more I thought about the character and her situation, the more I felt sorry for her. She has one daughter whom she feels like she's basically lost at this point, teenagers are difficult enough to live with, but her's is a reclusive with a blood fetish and obvious mental issues, so she's decided to focus on her younger daughter, feeling like Grace is her best chance at having the daughter she's always wanted. The only problem there is, Grace is constantly struggling with her health. I eventually came to realize it wasn't poor writing, it was that Phyllis is just as fucked up as everybody else in Excision.

When the credits finally rolled, this movie did something that very few movies actually do, it left me still thinking about it. That in itself makes Excision a success in my opinion. I would recommend it to just about any horror fan. The film plays primarily to fans of psychological horror, but even gore hounds will find things to like, particularly in Pauline's dream sequences. Excision is smart, disturbing, and extremely well done. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Short Night of Glass Dolls

Still stuck in my seasonal funk lately, which is where the lack of posts has come from, but I have been doing a little bit of writing. I was asked a while back to participate in The Halloween 15 over at The Moon is a Dead World, and as always when being asked to contribute to a theme for someone else's blog, I graciously accepted. The original movie I was asked to watch and write-up was a J-horror anthology called "Tales from the Dead". Before I got around to watching it though, it was removed from Netflix instant streaming. I contacted Ryne, informing him of the dilemma, and was handed a different movie, a giallo entitled "Short Night of Glass Dolls". I had never seen it either, nor did I know what a "giallo" was, but nevertheless I soldiered on, and the post went up this morning. Of course you can check it out over there, but I'm also gonna go ahead and throw it up here as well, just so I can say I at least did something here this week. Here's what I thought about "Short Night of Glass Dolls"...

When I was asked to contribute to the Halloween 15, I immediately said yes, however when I was asked to take on “La corta notte delle bambole di vetro” (or “Short Night of Glass Dolls”) for those of us who don’t speak Italian, I must admit to being a bit nervous. Embarrassingly, my knowledge of Italian cinema in general is severely limited, let alone horror. Basically, unless we’re talking about Argento or Fulci, I’m clueless. I know there’s a lot of great material out there, I’ve just never been exposed to it. I even had to google the word “giallo”. I’m hoping I don’t come off sounding like a total moron with this write-up, but if that turns out to be the case, this was an attempt at an excuse.

Short Night of Glass Dolls opens with an American reporter is found seemingly dead in Prague by a groundskeeper. I say “seemingly” dead because as it turns out, he’s still very much alive, only trapped in his own body unable to move or speak. As he’s taken to the morgue, he begins to attempt to remember how he ended up this way. From here, the movie is primarily told through a series of flashbacks, narrated by the reporter (Gregory) as he presently lays in the morgue. We learn that his girlfriend strangely disappeared at a party the the two had attended. Unsatisfied with the work of the local law enforcement, Gregory begins looking for clues to her disappearance himself, and uncovers several similar unsolved cases of young women gone missing.

That’s about all I can say without spoiling the movie, and believe me this is one that you just need to experience for yourself. I’ve done a bit of research on the film since watching it, and it appears to be generally well-liked. Coming from someone who knew absolutely nothing about it, and as stated above, a limited knowledge of Italian cinema, it absolutely blew me away. I’m sad that it’s taken me this long to watch it. The movie is extremely slow paced, but performances never get boring, and the story kept my attention completely. I was glued to the screen waiting to see where things were going next. Then there was the payoff, the big reveal, and not only did I not see it coming, but I found it to be pretty disturbing and kind of hard to watch. High praise coming from yours truly, in case you’re wondering.There was even one final twist at the end, which I thought was great.

One of my absolute favorite things about watching older genre pieces is seeing how things that I am familiar with were influenced, even if slightly, by what came before. This one brought to mind a few examples. First and foremost was a Tales From the Crypt episode in which a doctor is injected with a drug that makes him physically appear dead, while his brain functions. The exact same thing happens here. Other things that came to mind included “Rosemary’s Baby”, which actually came out before this one, and more recently Ti West’s “House of the Devil”.

Overall, I have to say I genuinely enjoyed my time with Aldo Lado’s “Short Night of Glass Dolls”. It actually takes the term “slow burn” almost to extremes, but if you don’t mind that sort of film making, there’s a lot to like here. Nothing in the way of blood and gore, but it does have one fairly disturbing scene which got to me a little. Definitely worth a watch, although I might classify it as more of a thriller than true horror.

I’d like to take a moment to thank The Moon is a Dead World for asking me to take part in the Halloween 15. It’s always an honor to be asked to write for somebody else’s website, and I’ve been a regular reader of The Moon is a Dead World for a while now, so this one was particularly special. I also want to thank Ryne for bringing this gem to my attention. I had a blast watching this and writing it up. I fully plan to explore more Italian cinema, and if this one is any indication, I think I’m going to find plenty that I like.

If you didn't check out the link to The Moon is a Dead World above, I encourage you to give the site a visit. Immediately following my write-up in this post, Ryne also offers his take on the movie which is admittedly far more detailed and superior to mine, however be warned that he went into more plot detail than I did, so there are spoilers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

Proof that we'll watch just about anything here in the Batcave to get in the Halloween spirit! Here's the "not-so-beloved" origin of Michael Myers in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers...

Michael's work isn't done in Haddonfield...and soon, very soon, he'll return to kill again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grave Encounters 2

Being as I was a pretty big fan of the first Grave Encounters, it sort of came out of nowhere and really surprised me, of course when a sequel was announced, it piqued my interest. The first film succeeded in my mind mostly because it never harbored any delusions that it was any more than what it was, a pseudo-spoof of all the "paranormal investigation" shows that seem to be so popular these days, only instead of a bunch of footage of nothing being passed off as "evidence", the group in Grave Encounters got more than they bargained for when they discovered that the abandoned mental hospital they were filming at was not only haunted, but the spirits that inhabited the place were plenty pissed off. But that was basically all there was to it, not a lot of backstory, just a straightforward affair with some pretty decent effects and a couple of fairly creepy moments. To my surprise, the sequel actually turned out to be a bit more ambitious than it's predecessor, but I'll get to that. First, this is the part where I usually do a short synopsis...

Grave Encounters 2 picks up after the first film has been released on dvd, and follows an independent horror film maker who has become obsessed with finding out he truth behind the Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital after he begins receiving mysterious emails pointing to the happenings of Grave Encounters being much more than just a movie. His obsession turns into a desire to film a documentary about the movie, exposing the lies behind the incident, and culminating with he and his friends taking their equipment to Collingwood to conduct their own paranormal investigation.

That's vague, but with good reason. Grave Encounters 2 does basically everything I want from a sequel, it shows awareness of what's come before, takes it all into consideration, and builds upon it. It's not absolutely necessary to have seen the first film to understand what's going on, but there are things that happen in 2 that won't have the same impact for anyone who hasn't seen the original. I'll admit in the beginning to being a bit worried, as it begins somewhat slowly, and definitely gives off a "Blair Witch 2" vibe, but thankfully it gets away from that and manages to actually succeed in every way that Blair Witch 2 failed. Breaking the fourth wall (or is it third?), having the characters in a sequel actually being aware of the prior film is one of those things that rarely done, and done well even less. It worked for me in GE2 though, because the narrative is not only aware of what came before, but builds on to it, even answering questions raised in the first film.

Of course all of that is owed to the fact that just as with the first, Grave Encounters 2 is written and directed by The Vicious Brothers, whose work I was completely unfamiliar with the first time I sat down to watch Grave Encounters. They've made me a believer though, GE2 is a more than worthy follow-up, and has cemented them as "non-one hit wonders" in my book. I'll definitely be on keeping my eyes open for their next project. Grave Encounters 2 comes highly recommended for fans of the original, and I strongly urge anyone who is a fan of shows like Ghost Hunters on SyFy to give both of these films a watch. If you're a "found footage" hater, there's nothing really to see here, although I will give the GE films credit as we get to actually see everything, but still even with that I doubt it's going to change any minds.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zombie Batman by Neal Adams

I've got some brand new original art on display in the Batcave, and it comes from none other than the legendary Neal Adams. I've made it no secret over the years that he's hands down my favorite Batman artist of all time, and I would put his art from the 60's an 70's up against anything that's being done today. As far as  I'm concerned, the man is a God. This Zombie Batman is the new centerpiece of my living room decoration, and it definitely stands out, as well it should.

A friend of mine was lucky enough to have been in attendance at this year's Dragon Con in Atlanta, which named Neal Adams a special guest at the last minute. If he had been announced earlier, I would've made sure I was there to meet him myself, but as I've said a million times before, I have the best friends in the world, and my brother from another mother, Diptastic, was kind enough to not only snag this print for me, but he also got Neal to sign it to me, and told him that I thought he was God. I'm told the look on Neal's face was equal parts confusion and fear. Eh, I didn't want to scare the guy, but I still felt like it needed to be said.

For as long as I have left to live, I don't think I'll ever be able to thank the Big Dipper enough for this. I will forever proudly display this artwork in the Batcave. It stands now as my favorite item in my Batman collection, and can't imagine what would ever take it's place.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

Might as well get October off on the right foot at the drive-in....

I do love a good joke, and this is the best kind...a joke on the children.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


He's better than the Justice League, just ask him.