Crawl or Die

Dixi's Donjon

Wednesday
Oct292014

Scream Country/Evil Dead the Musical

 

The sun goes down on a lovely Saturday in Oklahoma and the screaming begins.  I can only be in Scream Country.  Truthfully, Mother Nature worked well with this experience.  The moon was a sliver of a crescent and the stars were shining bright, but the trail was dark and spooky.  I was put with a group of ladies that made the experience very enjoyable.  I won’t give anything away, but be on the lookout for things to happen even when you expect it.  One of the ladies I was with saw the upcoming scare and yet because of the timing of it, she jumped and grabbed my hand.  The only true thing I had a problem with was just the marking of the path.  This is a common problem I have with many haunts, indoors or outdoors. And I can’t blame the people who put the things together because they have to balance between too much lighting and not enough.  So, if a trail is not easily marked it can cause problems. I never truly got off the trail and I’m sure that if I had there would have been a monster there to guide me back, it was just a worry I had.  The thing that I really appreciated this year and probably what helped to keep me on the right path was that Scream Country provided a light for each group.  When I had visited Scream Country in past years (and it has been a couple of years since my last visit) no such thing was provided.   In an indoor haunt, not such a big deal although there can still be hazards.  In an outdoor haunt, however, there are many hazards.  Having the light to be able to avoid tripping on tree roots was very handy. 

Also, while not actually on the trail the scare that was wandering around the lines was great.  That monster had the people talking and creeped out.  And yet, many wanted pictures with it.  Definitely a love/hate thing going on.  But the makeup and costume were fantastic.

My visit to Scream Country wouldn’t be complete without a visit to see my favorite deadites - Evil Dead the Musical in the splatter zone!  Now, for any primitive screwheads that are not aware, the musical actually takes elements from all three of the Rami/Cambell Evil Dead movies.  The blending of the three works well for the theater and these guys and gals put on a great show.  The campiness was perfect.  There were elements that were added since the last time I watched the show.  The giant squirrel was quite a hit with the audience.  I wanted to say something to the effect of “Watch out for that Candarian… oh squirrel!” and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking similar thoughts.  The trees always seem to enjoy doing their thing of messing with our doomed, carefree kids.  It was fun seeing the updates and added lines from popular horror movies.  In fact, the audience joined in on reciting some of the lines, especially the “Shop smart, shop S’Mart”.   The cast really did a good job of engaging the audience into the action and this year the Candarian Demon possessed characters brought someone on stage, which might have been started in the two years I haven’t been out there but it was my first time to see that.  No, I was not that lucky audience member.  But from what I can tell the guy they did pick was a bit surprised by what happened to him.   Admittedly, when I showered all the blood off, it looked like the shower scene from Psycho.  That is a job well done, which, even knowing the ending, I was a little concerned how much splatter would come my way.  This year, I sat to the left side on the end and during the first act the group I was still with from the trail barely got a drop of splatter.  True, someone showed up to the show with a spray bottle of blood and in intermission he got quite a few people.  Ok, while waiting in line to get into the theater he got people, waiting for the show to start he got people, and during intermission he got people.  But that was how the people I was with really got their first splatter of blood.  I know there are sometimes when it just is hard to get the spray going to the sides such as with the Linda’s head’s death.  There are props and such in the way making it difficult to get more than the middle.  And it does make sense that the middle gets the most.  But the second act the group got more of it especially at the end.  I even ended up with a bucket of cold blood in my lap.  Brrrr. 

I can’t say that the show went without a hitch.  It’s live theater and there are always going to be problems.  But this group kept going and judging from what I overheard after the show, the audience didn’t pick up on too many.  They thought that the things that happened were supposed to happen. 

I would absolutely recommend that people go out to see the show, but sadly Saturday night was the last showing in Tulsa this year.  Hopefully next year there will be another opportunity to see it.  And I would also recommend that people go out to Scream Country.  It will be going on next Thursday and Friday.  It is a bit of a drive, yes, but it has the scares and is worth it. 

 

Monday
Oct132014

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Are you ready to go back into the madness that is Borderlands?  I know I am!

 

 

Saturday
Sep062014

Bitten: Book vs TV Series

 

I have talked about True Blood several times on my radio show, comparing the series to the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris.  I am curious as to what season 7 holds considering how 6 ended.  I am continuing the precedence I set on air.

            One day while browsing the good ole Netflix (by the way, you can now stream your Netflix through your XBOX 360 silver account), I found a TV series titled “Bitten”.  I read a werewolf book by Kelley Armstrong with the same title.  Reading the blurb and it was the same as the book.  It has Laura Vandervoort as Elena Michaels, the main character, so I figured I would give it a chance.

            Now, first I will compare Laura to Elena physically.   Elena is about 5’10” whereas Laura is 5’6”.  Laura has a very good (busty) figure while Elena has more of an athletic build.  I always think of a runner's body with that description. They both are blonde & beautiful, though, with much inner and physical strength.  Perhaps Laura had an advantage in getting the role since she played Supergirl in the “Smallville” series.  The fight training she had for that character probably helped her in fighting guys bigger than her and coming out on top (and yes, I know, that is staged fighting but there is still some work put into it).  I just have to say that when I read the book I never pictured her as Elena.  I’m not saying she did a bad job and I really can’t think of anyone to play her.

            As usual, there are other changes from the book to the show.  The overall plot is there – rouge werewolves (called mutts) get together to over throw the pack and they bite serial killers to change them to werewolves.  Interesting concept of taking humans that already have no problems killing other humans and giving them the strength and hunting abilities of werewolves, what they will do?  Of course, they go on killing sprees which is what the mutts want. 

            The differences between the book and the show are a bit glaring.  One difference is that in the book Elena was molested by foster fathers and brothers, but that in the show for the purposes of drama they made her abuser one of the newly turned wolves.  Of course, there were scenes of the cat and mouse that you would expect of a series trying to build up tensions.  True, in a later book dealing with the pack one of Elena’s father’s does send her a letter asking for her forgiveness. 

            Another change made for the on screen conflict is that in the books Philip’s family absolutely adore Elena.  On the show though, while his sisters are okay with Elena his mother is not won over.  Elena of course has to win the mother over, which does happen.

            In typical fashion of trying to make things more dramatic some of the deaths were changed.  The two most glaring changes are Logan and Philip.  In the book Logan does die but not in the show.  And the season finale has the cliffhanger of Elena finding Philip’s head in her bed at the den for the pack while in the book only Philip and Elena’s relationship dies.  That just isn’t so appealing though to most audiences.

            With such a cliffhanger I was pleased to read on the internet that Scy-Fy picked it up for a second season.  I am very happy to see a werewolf series on TV instead of another vampire or zombie series.  The thing I am curious about is if the series is going to just follow the pack or if it will follow Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series bringing in the different type of characters: demons; sorceresses; and witches.  These stories do entwine with each other by referencing other character names or events. 

            Now I need to change my complaining from the series to the books.  I do like the books and Kelley Armstrong’s writing style.  I own three of her books and I’m always on the lookout for more.  My main gripe is with her mythos of the werewolves.  First, how can the authority pack that is supposed to be the ruling body for the wolves be comprised of only seven wolves?  That is barely a pack.  It’s just a small clan that can’t be everywhere it needs to be in order to uphold it’s laws.  To go with this train of thought, you were either born a pack member or if you were bitten you were a mutt.  Elena seems to have been an exception because she was bitten by a pack member and she wasn’t expected to live (I’ll get to that in a bit).  What kind of a society can you hope to have where the most common way to make one of your own is considered an outsider? Not sure if maybe they do talk about adopting a mutt but the main conflict in Bitten was that the mutts were tired of not being allowed to own property and not being able to set up stable roots anywhere.  That is enough to make anyone want to get revenge.  They do mention other families of importance but it seems like the ruling pack and then the next were like lords and ladies, important but not the king.  I will admit to only having read 4 books and only 2 of them dealing with the pack so I might be missing out on some of the hierarchy.  If that is true, then I apologize. 

            The other concept that I have major problems with is the concept that there can be no female werewolves.  Elena is the only one and no one is completely sure why she survived the transformation.  If they wanted to say that for the hereditary component the werewolf “gene” is on the “Y” chromosome then I might possibly buy that.  I personally have always looked at it as a virus because of the attack component.  Virus’ can be spread by bites, genes not so much. And I will accept that the transformation is going to be both physically and mentally difficult.  But to completely exclude a gender by saying that the female body isn’t strong enough to handle the change just seems preposterous to me.  If it were to have been stated that there were fewer female werewolves than male because of the physical trauma I could probably live with that although I know that in the matter of survival gender doesn’t play as much a factor as character.  I can understand why the born wolves came from human mothers.  The physical changes that the body undergoes during the moon cycle would be hard to protect a fetus and therefore is logical that a female wolf doesn’t carry a pup to term.  Other books explore options to get around that and I am perfectly fine with that because it does recognize the problem.  Now I do have to say, the last book I read was Frostbitten and there might be some changes coming.

            Overall, I would recommend this series to anyone that wants a change from your vampire shows, dead shows, even crime shows (just how many shows can you have about crimes – it’s going to get repetitious).  I would recommend it to anyone that likes werewolves specifically because it does give them something to watch.  And of course, if you are a Laura Vandervoort fan you should watch it.  I am excited to see the next season. 

 

Friday
Jun132014

 

I mentioned doing a quiz from the Deadlight game on my facebook page.  Here is the quiz.  Below is the list of ID cards that are though out the game.  Test your serial killer knowledge and answer the questions.  Who knows, you might just gain some nugget of trivia you didn’t know.  Have fun!  ~Dixi~ 

P.S. the order of the names is not necessarily the order you find the cards in the game.  ~Dixi~

 

A)     Arthur L. Allen                                   I)    J. W. Gacy

          B)      K. A. Bianchi                                     J)    E. Theodore Gein

        C)      D. R. Berkowitz                                K)   Karla L. Homolka

     D)     Robert C. Bundy                               L)    Henry L. Lucas

        E)      R. T. Chase                                     M)  Robert W. Pinkton

      F)      J. L. Dahmer                                    N)   O. Elwood Toole

  G)     A. H. DeSalvo                                   O)   A. C. Wuornos

                                                      H)     A. H. Fish

 

1)      Which killer listed here has never been convicted of the crimes attributed to him?

2)      Which killer listed is not a serial killer based on the official criteria of serial killings and the number of victims he/she was convicted of?

3)      Which killer listed is believed to be the person responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh?

4)      Which of the killers listed had his/her death sentence commuted to life imprisonment in ’98 by George W. Bush?

5)      Which killer listed made the “Deal with the Devil” to get his/her time shortened?

6)      Which killer listed is suspected of involvement in 2 different series of killings?  (Hint: Hillside Strangler & Alphabet Murders)

7)      Which 2 of the killers listed are women?

8)      Which killer listed had kills in the 21st century?

9)      Which killer listed was called “the Vampire of Sacramento”?

10)   Which of the killers listed was born in the 1800’s?

11)   Which of the killers listed was imprisoned for rape but confessed to being a serial killer, including giving details not released to the press?

12)   Which of the killers listed signed a letter with a moniker other than what the press was calling him/her?

 

 

Tuesday
Jun032014

Deadlight

Deadlight was originally released in 2012 as a part of XBOX’s Summer of Arcade Games by Tequila Works and that is when I downloaded the demo.  The game was ok to play but it just didn’t inspire me to spend the money on it.  However, it was also the Free Game with Gold in April 2014.  When I saw that it was free, I decided to get the full version and play it.

This game is a sidescroller and I tend to not be happy with those.  Why create such interesting backgrounds that I can’t explore?  That is probably most of my issues with sidescrollers, being able to only go left to right and back again with occasional up and down.  Anyone who listened to my shows know I prefer first person shooters by far.  But, as a gamer I will play other types of games.  There were a few areas that I had to replay simply due to mechanics or because I didn’t see where it wanted me to go the first time (like ducking when I thought it was trying to get me to go up).

To set the record straight, for any of you horror fans out there like me, this game has nothing to do with Stephen King’s “deadlights” from IT.  I think it could have been nice to have had an evil clown and I suppose in a way it did, but not Pennywise. 

This story takes place in Seattle Washington in 1986 and something has happened to the world creating “Shadows”.  As their name implies they are just black shapes with white eyes. (Visually it reminds me of Limbo.)  Yes, in case anyone was wondering, the Shadows behave like zombies and pretty much this is the game’s way of being a little different than all the other zombie games out there.  The game starts out with a “cut scene” where your character, Randall Wayne, shoots a fallen woman.  I put the cut scene in quotes because this game uses stills more than actual moving scenes.  It feels very comic book like and that has a certain kind of appeal.  The woman you shot was bitten but her sister, of course, is angry at you.  While she is expressing her anger the place your group is hiding gets overrun by the Shadows and you are separated from the group.  The goal of the game from then on is to try to find your group again with the ultimate goal of finding your family.  Yes, that is such a tired plot but it is something that most people can get behind.  The cynic in me really has to wonder how many men would actually be looking for their wives & children in a situation like this. And no, I don’t think it’s more likely that a woman will be more inclined to go through these extremes for their husband.   It’s a beautiful sentiment but the reality doesn’t look promising.  

One other aspect of this game is that for a while you don’t have a weapon.  You have to rely on being faster or gathering them in a cluster and then jumping over them to get away.  When you do get a gun there is a flashback to learn how to use it in the game.  The mechanics of the gun is a little different than just the point and shoot.  Not the best for rapid shooting of multiple targets which is probably something that the developers might have wanted to still encourage you to use the tactic of run more than just shoot the Shadows dead.  There was one point in a room where I needed to get to the other side but I was in a great sniping spot.  So, I decided to shoot them with the pistol and just clear the room.  In theory that should work.  In practice though, not so much.  It turned out that there was a spawning point in there and for every Shadow I killed another ran into the room.  Ammo shortages were not really a problem for me as I tend to head shot all my shots so I wasn’t worried about that.  The futility of trying to clear the room got to me and I did finally do as the game wanted and just called them to one area and then got out through the other side. 

The shooting mechanics brings me to talking about gameplay.  It’s a sidescroller so there shouldn’t be much issues to it, however, I had several times where I got hung up because I would press the jump button and it just didn’t want to jump.  There are some places where the environment is collapsing all around you and you must get out before being crushed.  Several times I was crushed because I couldn’t jump properly.  There were other times when I was running away from an enemy helicopter and again the controls were not as responsive as they needed to be.  Major negative for this game. 

Another negative is just how short it is, although I can at least respect that.  There is nothing worse than a game that is drawn out and monotonous and with the abundance of zombie games that happens often.  Truly, shoot a zombie in the head (or chop off limbs) and proceed on.  I am going to give the developers credit and say that they kept it short to keep the game from just running on and on.  It does have three mini games to play to change it up which you can play either in game when you collect the “hand held” devices or from the main menu.

Replayability is just not very high with this game.  There are not multiple choices to have different outcomes of the game.  My first play through I earned 23 out of the 30 achievements so even for the point of achievement whoring there isn’t much replayability.  Possibly the most entertaining thing about this game is the ID cards that you collect along the way.  Again, that is done in many games so nothing new, but this time the cards have a theme.  The first card I picked up was “R.T. Chase” which kind of stuck out to me but I couldn’t completely place it.  I think the next card I picked up was “E. Theodore Gein.”  That one I placed immediately.  The third one I picked up I want to say was “J. W. Gacy.”  After that, I knew, the cards were of people who are notorious killers or suspected of being killers.  That made me chuckle and look for the cards which on the first play through I found 11 of the 15 cards. 

For me, it had the appeal of being comic book-ish, famous killer’s ID cards (even if not all of them killed by 1986) and a title that made me think of Stephen King.  Gameplay left a lot to be desired and the brevity of the game do take away.  As a free game I cannot complain too much about it and would give it about 3 out of 5.