Friday, April 30, 2010

Off to Elm Street for the remake...

The wife and I are off to brave the crowds tonight and see the
A Nightmare on Elm Street remake this evening. For those who are interested, I will be posting a review by weekend's end.

Not going to lie to you, but I expect utter disappointment right now.

Ok don't freak out. I'm sorry. I'll give it a chance.

Even if it sucks, at least I get to watch Katie Cassidy on the big screen for a little while, since every trailer and TV spot spoils her fate.

Hmm I think I paid to see this film already

Again I will be back later on during the weekend to weigh in with my opinion but I also hope there are lots of reviews to read in the Horror Blogosphere.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh (1996) video game review

About 2-3 months ago, I created a series on video games with horror elements. After doing Atari through NES, I decided to give it a bit of a break to cover other topics and ultimately became uninspired to return to them. Inspiration returned the other day when I read a post on the old PC game Phantasmagoria at a site that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, Strange Kids Club. The memories came flooding back in and I decided to continue my original post from that time-frame on Phantasmagoria's sequel, Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh.

Getting a perm the hard way

Phantasmagoria 2 is an in-name only sequel to the franchise, which was released by Sierra. Back in the day, Sierra was one of the top, if not "the" top, PC gaming company in the land with hits like the Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest, and King's Quest series. Phantasmagoria was going to be their horror series franchise, but Puzzle of Flesh wound up being the series' swan song. Poor sales and reaction to this game were the determining factors. Another factor was that like its predecessor, P2 was the same mix of point-and-click along with heavy full motion video that dominated in games earlier that decade. But the problem is that with the advancement of console gaming and other PC games pursuing different technological avenues, the full motion video format had become a dead trend by the time this was released. Enough jibber-jabber and on to the game...

P2 begins with "our playable" character Curtis (Paul Morgan Stetler) being wheeled around in a dingy sanitarium. This is happening as his doctor talks to him while injecting him with some weird substances. HUGE NOTE HERE: Craig's doctor, Dr. Marek, who plays the record producer who visits Holy Moses' zombified rock show in Hard Rock Zombies. Craig gets intense shock therapy before we are given a title sequence followed by a scene subtitled "One Year Later" with Craig waking out his bed.

"Is this my agent? Hi. Are you sure this is how DeNiro got started?"

Craig is now a tech writer at WynTech, a pharma company in Seattle. His best friend Trevor (Paul Mitri) and girlfriend Jocilyn both work at the same pharma firm as him. This is important to cite because it shows Trevor has no life outside his place of employment (which is very unhealthy) and he must have never heard the expression to not shit where you eat - an ETMC rule of thumb. His girl Jocilyn is played by major b-movie siren Monique Parent, an actress who always feels the need to show it all in every one of her films and P2 is no exception. Another co-worker Therese (Ragan Sigrun) is totally into him and flirts up a storm while her European accent keeps coming and going depending on the scene. She is also a bit of a sexual freaky deak, so she is a memorable character to say the least. His even-tempered supervisor Tom, not-so even-tempered co-worker Bob and the big exec Paul round out the main characters relevant to the story's progression.

Remember: Friends blackmail friends with Polaroids

Things start off pretty normal and is a bit boring at first as the game feels more like "Craig At Work" rather than something called "A Puzzle of Flesh". Finally things take a turn for the worst as Craig begins receiving crazy and totally inappropriate e-mails at work from himself, his pet mouse starts talking to him, he sees visions of his evil doppelganger rooting him on to kill people, and then his co-workers start getting picked off in rather gory fashions one-by-one. And for a game made in '96, the gore and murders were unusually graphic for the time.

Even though he appears as mild-mannered as Clark Kent, the creators used the introduction of Craig and his shock treatment at the game's pre-title sequence to make us think we are being given the whole "Crazy Craig is the killer" angle. In fact, you feel that you have everything all figured out, but you find out you are way off. And I mean WAY OFF. In fact, the ending is so completely unpredictable and out in another stratosphere that you couldn't even guess how it ends if you tried your hardest, well, unless you played through it already.

The original "Got Milk?" ad

Sure it's a game, but things play out like you are watching a movie even more so than in the original. When you do actually "play", all you do is point-and-click on objects to either solve puzzles or perform some actions to advance the story. The puzzles are not that difficult, except for one major puzzle at the end. There's no rhyme or reason to completing it, so you either need luck or find a walkthrough online...and bless those people who take the time to write-up game walkthroughs.

Zombie with a sledgehammer!!!!

This game is a game that has everything. Literally everything. Just look at the laundry list that makes this game complete:

-Batman...yes that Batman
-staple abuse
-head smash via sledgehammer
-reverberated voices
-eyeball eating
-denim jackets as a sign of toughness
-cliched police detectives
-fleshy mirrors
-science fiction
-lip stapling
-sex with a live audience
-electrocution in blood
-multiple endings
-a final act reeking of insanity
-a goofy closing credits theme song
...and much, much more

Puzzle of Flesh has the weirdest game ending

Is the game terrible? Absolutely not. But it is not without its flaws. It's a hokey and cheesy film with a $3 million budget disguised as a video game. In fact, the game has a place on my shelf in The Man-Cave and good to pop-in now and again for fun. I was severely pissed off that the original box for it was destroyed in my move to Philly though.

If you are a horror fan or enjoy playing horror-themed games, P2 is one you shouldn't miss. Even though it's 14 years old, this game and the original before it, broke some major taboos in the video gaming industry that laid the groundwork for horror themed games that followed. The game was wrongfully panned and buried for its use of violence and nudity even though it catered to a mature audience.

The first (and unfortunate) viewer of ETMC.

I won't spoil anymore in case you want to hunt this down and play it yourself one day. I'm sure Ebay has tons for sale at low prices. Trust me when I say that once the long, boring office conversational scenes in the first act are finished, it becomes a wild ride that you won't soon forget.



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Horror Movie Am I In? 4/28/10

Here's another round of the fun little game "What Horror Movie Am I In"?.

For the first-timers out there, the game is simple:

- I put myself in a horror movie situation and you guess what movie I am in.

- For example: "I am a girl who tries not to fall asleep so the evil spirit of some murderer does not kill me in my dreams."

You answer: A Nightmare on Elm Street . Get it? That's pretty simple, right?

Ok here we go...

1) I meet some chick in a bar and go have sex with her at her apartment in the shower. She claws the fuck out of my back and I go running home to my wife. I think I'm in the clear until I start turning into some creature or decomposing or something weird like that. That chick is definitely not human.

2) I am a great vampire who can shoot lightning bolts out of his hands and have a robotic sounding voice. I try to tame another legendary monster and have him join my team, which works until we have to battle it out just before sunrise. I rip his head off but am too slow to make it back indoors on time. The sun pwns me!

3) I'm a college dude who goes over to three geeky college chicks' house for an easy lay. Somehow they become really hot babes. Just when I think I'm going to get some action from this newly hot chick who gets on top of me, she shows me that she has a grill full of sharp teeth. Needless to say, I'm adios after this. The other two chicks are the same too.

Please have your answers in by next Tuesday (5/4). No cheating either. Just quickly scroll past any answer comments and post your own. Winner gets an ETMC $1!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Posh JAWS and Polite TAXI DRIVER



Preliminary Details on The Monster Squad remake

From the awesomeness that is 411mania. Too bad it's not much to go on at all:

Brad Fuller Talks Monster Squad Remake
Posted by Larry Csonka on 04.26.2010

- Brad Fuller from Platinum Dunes recently spoke on the remake of Monster Squad, here are the highlights…

Where is the Project Right Now?: "I'm in the process of finding a screenwriter. I'm meeting with writers every day. So we'll get someone in the next two or three weeks and get them writing."

Will He Use New Monsters Or Go With The Ones From The Original?: "That's something we're definitely talking to writers about and I don't have an answer for you yet."

What About The Storyline?: "We're definitely using the original film as a blueprint and love the fun parts of it. We have three or four different takes, some stick closely to the original - others are going to be a bit different. It's about sitting down with Rob Cohen and the studio and figuring out which storyline we're going to go with. But I can tell you all of the story lines, whereas Friday the 13th isn't like the original, this will be close to the original. It's about a group of kids who have a monster squad, monsters come to their town and they've got to figure it out."

Thanks to 411mania.

I'm curious to see what monsters they are going to use. Right now, these all seem like a bunch of answers with nothing to them at all, but I guess the line "looking for a screenwriter" was a big tip to why.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monster Mania is coming back to Cherry Hill in August

Monster Mania 15 is still a little under four months away, but I can't help talking about it as the first guests were announced sometime last week. While I am excited about the con coming back through my area in August, I can't help but be bummed out by the show going on in Maryland the following month.

Right now the lineups are nowhere near being completed but the MM con in Hunt Valley, MD is kicking the living snot out of the one in Cherry Hill, NJ. Here's are the current rosters as of 4/26/10:

Cherry Hill, NJ:
Tim Curry (he canceled for both...just wanted to mention that), Julian Sands, Barbara Steele and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child reunion. My least favorite ANOES installment even below Freddy's Dead. Although I have a crush on Lisa Wilcox. I met her before in person and she was absolutely beautiful.

Hunt Valley, MD:
Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors reunion (my fav installment) and a Return of the Living Dead reunion. That is a great way to start shaping an unbelievable lineup.

Again, there's still a bit of time between now and August but the thought of missing these reunions in MD are killing me. Especially if they can rope in all of the Dream Warriors. Do you know how bad I want to get Jennifer Rubin to sign an autograph that states: "I'm Beautiful and Bad" has been a goal of mine to accomplish for some time. That is one of my favorite awkward dialogue moments in horror cinema history.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase through the official website now. As more guess are added to the roster, I will post updates.

I guess I can start (and consider this) an official role call. here. I'm staying the entire weekend for the con in NJ, so if you are attending and want to meet up, please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Full Circle: Final Day of the VH1 Best Cruise Ever

This post concludes our last adventures of the VH1 Best Cruise Ever. We slept in after the party marathon the night before, so we started our last day out at sea with a late breakfast and early morning drinks with our friends.

I love these ladies. I really, really do!

Things started off on a good foot when Jules and I ran into Brad Arnold from 3 Doors Down by the pool and got a quick pic with him. We watched 3 Doors Down play outside at the Lido Deck later on in the afternoon. Our seats were on the cannonball plank that stretched across the pool.

Me, Brad Arnold and Jules

Minutes after meeting Brad, SafetySuit played their acoustic set... when the heavens opened up and poured down rain on all of us attending. We got soaked, but frontman Doug Brown said that he would dive into the pool toward the end of the show. And of course, that's exactly what he did. I was laughing too hard to get a pic, but he hopped off stage, ran through the crowd and jumped right into the pool. F'n hysterical!

After the show, we said hello to the band and got some pics with them:

Finally with clear skies and calm waves, I was alerted that the crazy slide at the stern was open for business. Not sure if I ever mentioned it or not on this blog before but I am a water slide-aholic, so I was bummed that the conditions at sea had caused it to be shut down for the majority of the cruise. No one wanted to go down it with me except for Jes. But we climbed the spiral staircase and threw ourselves into the cavernous void. That slide was ridiculously fast, but fun as hell. As I got to the bottom, I remember looking up and seeing a wall of water that I went directly into. Water up my nose, in my eyes and down my throat. Burned like hell, but the pain only lasted until I realized I needed to go down it again. This time Jules, Jes and I were in a longer line with the heavy wind chilling our wet bodies. That was when Will from Parachute came up the stairs behind our group and engaged conversation. Meeting him was pretty cool and chatting about things like Florence and the Machine helped pass the time.

The slide count: 3 times! Look at this sucker:

That's a pretty big slide to be on a cruise ship.

Once that was over with, I realized that I only had a little cereal for breakfast and not much else. After all that running around, hanging out in the heat and ingesting some "spirits", I had worked up a nasty appetite. We headed to the sushi bar again and no we did not see Jason Wade this time. Thank God. I told Jules that we are going to the buffet if I see him in line for fear of being considered a stalker. I just love sushi and our meetings were coincidental. BTW, my sushi intake count was 10 pieces.

Then we saw Jes and Amanda and decided to go eat dinner in out bathing suits, completely blowing off formal night. We had so many hilarious conversations and in-jokes going the whole time and it was truly one of my favorite dinners with friends in a long, long time.

Did I mention I love these chicks? Well I am going to again.

After eating the 10 pieces of sushi, I had a half a prime rib and a plate of my favorite Indian dish Mateer Paneer with Naan. Not to mention two rolls, a crab cake and a warm chocolate lava cake with a side of whipped cream. I ate way too much but needed to over-indulge at the cruise's last supper.

Witnesses to my gluttony

We attended the Carolina Liar - Lifehouse final doubleheader, which was a nice way to finish off the cruise. This would be the third time we saw "our neighbors" Carolina Liar play on the cruise and the second for Lifehouse. Check out the pics:

The coolest moment of the concert is when Carolina Liar was playing "Show Me What I'm Looking For". Jason Wade appeared from backstage to sing the chorus with the band a few times.

Lifehouse closed out the Paris Lounge concert with a memorable performance. I will admit to not being a big Lifehouse fan before this concert, but they sounded so good live that I cannot help but like them now. How down-to-Earth Jason was to us helped that fact as well.

One song I really liked that I was unfamiliar with was "Wrecking Ball" that bassist Bryce Soderberg provided the vocals for.

Post-concert, we ran into Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers (aka Tattoo Arm Guy to our group) and Nic Cowan. Cowan is another artist you all should check out.

Zach Myers

Nic Cowan

We finished the night with some drinking, dancing and cake-cutting education. I will have to make a post about cake-cutting one day on ETMC, so you all can join the club.

The next day at the airport, look who we ran into:

LOL! The girl in the middle is a new friend Ashley

So to close this series out, let me say that if you have some extra money to spend next year and you love to rock, the VH1 Best Cruise Ever is definitely the way to go. Sixthman knows how to put on a crazy ass party at sea and Jules and I have already decided to do it again next year. That's right...Sixthman and VH1 are going to be having a VH1 Best Cruise Ever II next year. As long as we are healthy and financially stable, we are going. No doubt.

Socializing with the artists, getting pictures with them and hearing them play live really made the cruise a fun time. I felt like I was at a giant rock-n-roll convention. It was that kind of atmosphere mixed in with a massive party vibe that never ended until we departed the ship.

But what made the cruise special for us was the great friends we made. We had so much fun with Steve, Cathy, Amy, Chad, Jes, and Amanda and were genuinely saddended when we said our goodbyes. The good news is that we all are keeping in touch on Twitter, Steve and I are planning to meet for lunch soon and we might be meeting up with Jes/Amanda sometime in the near future. Our friendships and bonds made at sea have seemed to continue on shore. And that is definitely a good thing.

My friends (sans Steve and Cathy absent in this pic)

Well that wraps things up folks! Thanks to all of you who read the entire series and I hope you all enjoyed it. This will be a nice trip down memory lane when reading it again in the future. VH1 and Sixthman got it right when they called it the Best Cruise Ever and it will be a trip that will be fresh in my mind for some time. The only question is: "When can we get tickets to the next one?"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Three of the VH1 Best Cruise Ever

This was the busiest day out of the four, but I mean that in a good way. Day three was the Grand Cayman excursion day. I have only been to the Cayman Islands one other time many years ago. I brought my fishing poles down with me for a fishing adventure...but then it rained and ruined my trip. Today was a day that was going to erase those bad memories, except for the fact that it f'n rained again! But I wouldn't let that ruin my trip this time.

Our excursion consisted of a trip to Hell, the Tortuga Rum Factory, the Turtle Farm, and a trip out to Stingray City to swim with the savage stingrays! And all in the pouring rain. That's ok because I have been told that I am the type of person who could have fun at a funeral.

Hell is one giant tourist trap. It's basically the "South of the Border" of the Cayman Islands. Hell is a giant rock formation with a post office and gift shops close by. I picked up some postcards from Hell that I will be putting in a soon-to-be-announced giveaway.

Bow Down Slaves!

You know what disappointed me the most about Hell? I could not find my residence there. People always tell me that I have an estate built for me in Hell for the way I act sometimes. Well then where was it?

Then I had four shots of rum at the Tortuga Rum Factory. Then I had a couple more. Rum makes me go bat-shit and do weird stuff like this here...

My Drinking Buddy

I thought the next stop, the Turtle Farm, was going to be lame. It wasn't the coolest thing I have ever done but it was alright.

Turtle signals a Touchdown!

This turtle looks like he wants to smack a bitch

The best part of the Turtle Farm was the gift shop. Why the gift shop? Because they had a hilarious sale on Men's shorts. The hilarity stems from the fact that they used what appeared to be a woman mannequin. I mean what pair of men's shorts sports camel toe? Look for yourself...


People were looking at me like "wtf is he taking pictures of that for?" Well, for ETMC of course.

Then it was time for the trip to Stingray City. The whole ride to the sandbar, it rained and the waves were rough. The Gilligan's Island theme kept playing my head. I predicted to all of the passengers on the boat that by the time we got to Stingray City, an Act of God will cause the rain to cease so we can have fun in the ocean. And my prediction was correct...but I can't take all of the credit because it was the rum talking. Everyone was so freaked out to get in the water except for me! I was the first one in.



Check out my underwater photography skills

Then it was back to the boat. I am sure you are all excited because you are reading this post to read about the bands. So let's talk about the Lifehouse concert that was moved to the Atrium from the Lido due to rain. An interesting move.

Then I felt the pain of band members who were being stalked on the cruise. You see Jules and I were being stalked and having creeper pictures taken of us at the Lifehouse concert...



... Steve and Cathy who were taking pics above! Haha!

It was 5pm and time for sushi once again! We ran into Jason Wade from Lifehouse in line to get some grub. Apparently he is a sushi fanatic like we are. We talked with him until it was time for him to order, but this time I got my pic with him. Real nice guy.

Jason Wade and Me

After sushi, we got ready and met Amy and Chad in line for the SafetySuit-Shinedown double header. I didn't get too many pics of SafetySuit this time around because I was seriously rocking out!!!

After a quick intermission, we noticed a woman who was sucking on a man's nipple for three minutes, no exaggeration. It was horrifying and made me think of Clint Howard rubbing his nipples to "I Need You" in Little Nicky.

Within minutes after witnessing that horror, the Michael Myers mask was placed on stage next to the drums, which meant it was time for Shinedown!

In the past year or so, Shinedown has become a real favorite of mine, even though they got trashed in my post about them last month. They led off with "Sound of Madness" which is a song that really gets me going crazy.

Tattoo-arm Guy (inside joke)

Like them or not, Brent Smith is a quintessential frontman who has a great storytelling technique on stage that really draws in your interest. He told a touching story of his uncle at the Lido show the previous night before the band played "What A Shame". And his "Rise" game was fun to participate in. You will have to see them live to learn what that the game entails. Then he makes you do it again right before the band goes into "Fly From the Inside".

They kicked serious ass on stage and played the longest shows of anyone on the cruise. If you saw Shinedown play at the Lido and/or Paris performances, you got to see a full Shinedown concert. They left it all on the stage for the fans.

How did we feel about it? Jules and I were going crazy. What about our friends...

Amy and Chad...Check!

Stay tuned tomorrow night for the finale of the trip. After that, it's time for ETMC to return to its regularly scheduled broadcasting.

One final note: Nick! Here's another gift for you. So how many points do I get for getting my cake cut in Hell?