Taking Inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Dungeons & Dragons

I wanted to write a blurb on using Marvel’s cinematic universe in D&D. I’ll either come back to this topic and inject some more specific examples and references…

Daemons & Deathrays

http://assets2.ignimgs.com/2013/11/13/marvel-logo-1280jpg-8851ea_1280w.jpg

Admittedly, I’ve been away from the boundless realms of graphic novel and comic books.  Whether it’s because I’m hesitant to try new series or because money is always tight, I haven’t really gone too deep into comic books, especially nowadays.  Now, I’ve caught up on a few series and read many of them after the fact, but I’ve never really gotten active within any fandoms… unless a handful of defunct and finished web-comics count for anything, that is.  That said, I’ve been slowly been brought back into the fold thanks to Disney and Marvel teaming up for the relatively recent series of films that have been mostly pretty damn good.  Save for a few sub-par installations, the films that have been released (sometimes more than) once a year have been fantastic.  At the best, an excellent journey of action and heroism… and at worst?  A good way to spend an…

View original post 2,562 more words

Ghostbusters the Video Game (2009)

https://thecinematicpackrat.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/ghostbusters-the-video-game.jpg?w=572&h=717

People have been asking me to check out the continuation of the Ghostbusters franchise for a while… so here it is!

In all seriousness, all of the attention the franchise has gotten recently has encouraged me to dig up Atari’s 2009 release for all major consoles and PC.  At the time, it was quite well received.  In fact, Dan Aykroyd himself said that this is basically the “Third Movie” that fans had been waiting for.  In those 7 years since then, this leaves quite a few questions.  Has it aged well?  Was it as awesome as we remembered?  Did we get the 3rd movie we wanted or were we clouded by nostalgia?  Let’s crack open the Terminal Reality version (for PC, in my case) and crack down on some paranormal activity!  More after the jump.

Author’s Note: Pardon the lateness.  When a tree slams on your house due to a storm, that takes a little bit of precedence over writing, which sucks.  In fact, malevolent ghosts could have been behind it, for all we know.  After all, they say my town is haunted… or at least the large historic hotel is!

Continue reading

Album Review: Christmas – A Ghostly Gathering

Tired of the saccharine crap that floods radio waves from early November to early January?  It’s the same old derivative playlists only lightly spiced up by flavor of the year bubblegum pop.  After a while, it’s grating to the mind and soul.  Now, for gloomy souls like myself, there’s a genre of music that appeals as a proper alternative.  I speak of dark ambient/atmospheric music.  Combining this with the motifs and inspirations of the early winter holidays and you have the recipe for a fantastically freaky but festive experience.  Groups such as Nox Arcana have created their own contributions to yuletide terror, with their own excellent releases.

This time around, it’s Midnight Syndicate’s turn to show their musical mastery for a truly magical christmas time.  When I speak of “christmas magic”, I’m not talking about holly jolly merriment, I’m speaking of the twisted and bizarre folklore that extends several centuries at the very least; strange shadowy beings, seemingly alive winter winds, strange monstrosities, wandering ghostly spirits and tons more.  These are the myths crafted in small villages and written by just as crafty poets.  Whether it be St. Nick’s demonic helper from the Alps or the ghosts that haunt Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the weird and supernatural is just as much a part of Christmas as it is Halloween.  With that, there’s plenty of reason behind a horror-oriented Christmas album.  I’m referring to the latest release by atmospheric gothic music group, Midnight Syndicate.  Their newest release, “Christmas A Ghostly Gathering” has a mix of original pieces and dark takes on traditional hymns and holiday essentials.  In a sense, it’s like Midnight Syndicate heard the soundtrack to “A Nightmare before Christmas” and wanted to make their own take on Horror for the Holidays.  Read on for more.

Continue reading

Film Review: Krampus

https://i1.wp.com/www.followingthenerd.com/site/wp-content/uploads/unnamed-137.jpg

For those who have been following me long enough, you can tell I’m quite the fan of Santa’s Satanic Helper!  Of course, I’m referring to the Krampus.  For those out of the loop, Krampus is a creature originating from Germanic folklore.  He trails Santa around the world to punish naughty children, while Santa takes care of the good.  Specifically, Krampus hits you with his bundle of sticks before sweeping you into a bag full of little hell raisers!  This holiday horror looks like a diabolic monster with coarse black hair all over him, usually with horns and cloven hooves.  For centuries, the image of this creature has haunted and fascinated countless people.

Needless to say, Krampus has slowly been catching on in the United States.  Whether it’s pop songs or animated parodies, the Christmas Devil himself has been popping up in public consciousness.  A couple of years ago, the creators of “Trick R’ Treat” had announced they were bringing this being to life in a new movie.  As of December 2015, that movie is out and the Krampus will punish all of those who dare act naughty during this season.  So, how does the movie itself hold up?  Read onward to find out. (Warning: Some spoilers ahead!)

Continue reading

Happy Krampusnocht!

1510-20131203-Merry-Krampus

I almost forgot it is one of the most wonderful times of the year!  I’m not referring to Christmas, no.  I’m referring to the night where Santa’s Satanic Little Helper scoops up all the naughty kids Santa doesn’t wanna deal with.  This is the Night of the Krampus, of course!  Over recent years, he’s even obtained more popularity with plenty of pop culture attention.  In fact, I might turn my attention to a new movie very soon…

IMAGE SOURCE: Chris Piascik

Movie Review – What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

How every Vampire the Masquerade game ends up.

Initially, this film slipped past my radar, as I’ve seen many contenders tackling the mockumentary genre, aspiring to be like some of the greats within the genre.  However, what I also missed was that it was from the creators of Flight of the Conchords, and that is by all means a favorite of mine.  Instead, we follow a group of vampires living within an eerie old flat in Wellington.  Each of them contends with their own problems, usually initiating more squabbles in the process.  But, the petty drama of long time roommates in a world they don’t understand is all part of the fun.  So, what can these flatmates teach us ignorant mortals?  Read on and find out!

Continue reading

The Doc Speaks: Do I want to believe?

https://i0.wp.com/crooksandliars.com/files/primary_image/15/04/the-truth-is-out-there2.png

Lemme start by saying that I am not a superstitious person, but it’s hard to deny some things in this world (let alone universe) defy our comprehension and will probably continue to do so for eons to come.  What could this be?  Alien beings, parallel universes, otherworlds seen in myth and legend?  Beyond the fantastical, we have theories of sinister organizations working underneath our thumbs, pseudo-government tyrannies run by companies, among other things. Sounds like science fiction and are probably inventions of creative minds, but what amount of truth can be found in those statements?  Sure, this is quickly starting to sound like the beginning of a poorly written creepypasta, but it does make one wonder.  Whether intended for plain old entertainment or an attempt to broaden our horizons, various bits of media have wondered what lurks within our own world, as well as what lurks beyond ours.  And beyond the media, such notions are ingrained into countless cultures around the world.  Even if it’s popular mythology, these stories continue to live and breath much like we do.  Let’s have a look at some examples I personally enjoy.

Continue reading

Game Reviews: Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a 2015 video game developed by Supermassive games for the Playstation 4.  In an essence, it’s a horror film simulator, right down to all of the tropes and cliches.  You guide the protagonists along various plot paths of the story and see who makes it out and who gets chewed up by the monster/psycho of the week.  Now, this sort of gameplay or idea in general is far from new.  Games like Clock Tower involve you running away from a maniac wielding giant scissors, while Manhunt involves you playing the serial killer.  Meanwhile, upcoming projects like Last Year, Summer Camp and the latest adaptation of Friday the 13th also plan on hitting the market in their own murder-happy fashion.  Not to mention, there’s plenty of twists that go beyond just some boogeyman in a house.  In fact, the mountains themselves hold an ancient evil to compliment many a horror classic.  With that stiff competition ahead, what does Until Dawn that sets it apart from the crowd?

Continue reading

Cult Film Review: Grabbers

https://vareverta.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/grabbers.jpg?w=693&h=974

Directed by John Wright and story by Kevin Lehane, Grabbers is a 2012 horror-comedy about small island town that faces off against tentacled horrors that dwell in the sea.  It follows two Garda officers as they’re deployed to the seaside community, only to discover their problems lie beyond rude dock workers, drunken fools and deranged scientists.  Teaming up with various survivors of “The Grabbers”, the motley crew does all they can to keep these monstrous horrors from consuming the entire island.  As one would expect, it’s campy and schlocky, but that’s what the film was intending to go for in the first place.

Author’s Note: I was originally planning on reviewing this for a magazine, but some things sadly didn’t quite work out.  As a result, I revisited what I wrote and used it as notes as I watched it again.  Needless to say, not many of my opinions have changed.  Enjoy.  Also beware, this review contains spoilers.  If ya wanna avoid spoilers, hop down to the smiling Erin Island sign! 

Image Sources – Grabbers Screenshots via Horrorhoneys, Bloody-Disgusting, Slant Magazine; Grabbing Arm – Amazon

Continue reading

Film/Mini-Series Review: Over the Garden Wall

https://i1.wp.com/www.timewarner.com/sites/timewarner.com/files/otgw-poster.jpg

Since this past year, I’ve been slacking off on watching various shows/movies.  Sounds kinda funny considering I’m all about reviewing movies and shows too, right?  Needless to say, I’ve been catching up on tons of content I’ve missed for a while; whether that be through video release or the divine gift to the masses that some people refer to as “Netflix”.  Among those things was a charming animated dark faerie tale called “Over the Garden Wall.”  This mini-series/movie (either works, depending on who you ask) involves two boys lost in a strange otherworld full of anachronistic people, horrible creatures, and some really catchy music numbers.

It’s not exactly easy to nail down what Over the Garden Wall is.  Is it comical or dramatic?  Is it merely an homage to the works of yesteryear or the expectation of tomorrow?  Is it a tongue-in-cheek folktale or something right out of The Twilight Zone?  And this doesn’t even cover a lot of the mini-series’ countless mysteries that countless fans are still trying to figure out.  That combined with the questions above, people are still coming back for more.  From a small cult hit to a recognized Emmy winning masterpiece, it’s likely one that will endure for a while yet.  But this begs the question, why?  Well, I’ll certainly do my best to try to figure it out!

NOTE:  This review contains heavy spoilers.  While this mini-series has been out for almost a year and was recently released on DVD, you have been warned.

Continue reading