The Art and making of Alien Covenant, a Alien book (2017)

I sometimes just get the best gifts. This year the movie Alien Covenant was released, the follow up to Prometheus, and prequel to the legendary Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott. A lot of people were not very pleased with it, but I ended up liking it a lot as you can tell by reading my review for it. Knowing I am a huge fan of the Alien franchise in general, a very special girl that goes by the name of Ludija, bought this great book for me that deals with the making of this latest movie in the franchise. And what better way to thank her, than by dedicating this review to her. So Ludija: this one is for you!

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An example of the terrific artwork contained within this book. 

The best thing about this book is the lavish illustrations and photographs that are contained within it’s pages. Including stills from the movie itself, as well as artwork and behind the scenes photography, this book really is a feast for your eyes. All of the photographs have an incredibly high quality, and I can honestly say that some of these rank amongst the best that I have ever seen for books like these. The layout is very pleasing as well. The book is divided into chapters and pretty much follows the story of the film from beginning to end.

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Yup, never denied the fact that some of this artwork is pretty gruesome. 

The book starts with a (short) foreword by director Ridley Scott himself. This was just added as an afterthought I think, as Ridley seriously has not much to say. In fact, it is so short that I wonder why they bothered including it in the first place. The rest of the written stuff includes a few interviews with the cast and crew, and of course some outlines and background story about the making of the film. All of this is written in a pretty basic style, and doesn’t include overly difficult technical terms or things like that. It’s not exactly boring, but I do have to admit that I have read making off books that were much more appealing.

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The photography really has an incredibly high quality. 

That said, this book is worth it for exactly what it says on the cover: the art. I can also say that this book will only appeal to you if you were a fan of the film, as there is nothing else about this book to recommend. I for one loved it because of the beautiful artwork and photography contained within it. If I were to judge it purely on the written text I would give it a 6 out of 10 score. But it is the imagery that raises the final score for this book as you can see down below.

I give The Art and making of Alien Covenant a 8 out of 10 score.

 

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Saw, American movie (2004)

And…..we’re off! This is the first part of The Countdown to Halloween special feature,  where I review a classic horrorfilm of a franchise that has at least had 5 or more parts. The Saw movie franchise has a terrifying reputation, and admittedly it deserves this. Decribed by many as torture porn, the films feature increasingly brutal and horrifying ways where people get maimed and killed. I can’t really argue with that, but more on that later. But what a lot of people don’t know, or might even have forgotten, is that the first Saw film did not really focus on this. It certainly contained horror elements, but it was more of a thriller along the lines of movies such as Silence of the Lambs and Seven. And even more important is that it featured a very good script, with some nailbiting sequences.

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Erm……yeah you don’t have to look so surprised. This movie is called Saw. 

Just imagine the scene: the lights turn on and reveal a very filthy room where two men are chained by their ankles to the wall. In between them lies the corpse of a man who seems to have committed suicide by blowing his brains out. Who put them there, and more importantly: why? It soon becomes clear that the pair have become the victims of the sadistic Jigsaw serial killer. Although technically he can’t really be called a killer, as all of the people he kidnapped eventually killed themselves. Every single person that has been captured by him, gets put into a situation where they have to complete certain things in order to save themselves. But these are no ordinary things, and often involve really stomache churning traps or tasks they have to perform in order to escape. The men in the room have to start working together if they have any chance of getting out of the room alive. But trust is hard to come by, and there seems to be more of a connection between the two than either of them realise. With time running out, will the two of them become the next victim of Jigsaw, or will they be able to solve the puzzle……?

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This takes shutting someone up to the next level. 

One of the hardest things to realise in any movie is a good ending. I have seen plenty of films that got ruined by a horrible finale that truly made the entire movie a waste of time. Saw however, has a twist at the end that you will never see coming. I remember my jaw dropping to the floor the first time I had seen that ending. Yes, it really was that good, and it still ranks as one of the best endings that I have ever seen for a movie. And trust me when I say that I have seen quite a number of films. As mentioned this first Saw movie really is more of a thriller and doesn’t feature the gore that the franchise became so infamous for in later installments. There are certainly a couple of bloody scenes, and this is where the horror elements come in, but it never gets especially horrific. That is why this film can be enjoyed by people who like thrillers, but don’t like being grossed out by a lot of ketchup that splatters everywhere.

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Sometimes you just want to lay down and die. 

The actors in this film give decent enough performances though none of them are Oscar worthy. But they are good enough, and that is what counts. Veteran actor Danny Glover, who most people will know from the Lethal Weapon series, plays the part of a cop that has become obsessed by finding Jigsaw. So obsessed in fact that he pretty much loses all sense of everyone around him, and almost doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. Actor Tobin Bell plays Jigsaw, and that role could not have been cast any more perfectly. His natural creepy charisma, together with his chilling voice, give life to a terrifying but equally fascinating movie villain. Though his part in this first movie is admittedly minimal, a fact that would change in the sequels.

The Saw franchise

As with most horrormovies sequels are hard to pull off, especially if the first one was such a strong movie. It also usually involves turning the things that made the original such a great watch, into something more bloody and gory. And never was this any more true than with Saw. The first sequel kept things relatively mild, but with part 3 things really went downhill…..fast. After the first part, Saw spawned 6 sequels with the last installment dating back to 2010. One of the strongest points of these movies is that the twists at the end were still usually very cool. Except for the last part which was really a horrible film, and had an ending that you could see coming from a mile away. But I won’t lie to you, the sequels are downright nasty. They feature seriously gory scenes, and I can understand that most people get turned off by them. For me the entire franchise is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I liked the traps that got more eleborate with every sequel made, and I still enjoyed most of the scripts for the films.

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This image sums up the feelings most people have for the sequels. 

 

This year Saw returns with part 8, and it will be interesting to see in what direction the franchise will go. I personally hope it returns to the thriller aspect of the original and will feature less gore. The first trailer, which I have included down below, looks promising enough, and I guess we just have to wait and see if this will turn the series back on the right track.

 

The verdict

The first Saw movie is just simply put, a classic in the horrorgenre. Every fan of horror or really good thrillers should see this film at least once in his or her life. While it certainly won’t please everyone, I do think that most people will enjoy the film, and don’t get me started again on that twist at the end. So, I guess that’s it for part 1 of this special feature. The next movie in this 5 part series will be the original Friday the 13th film. And now it’s over to you! Have you seen the first Saw movie? What did you think of the franchise in general? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

I give Saw a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Countdown to Halloween

Hello everyone. Hope you are all doing well. I want to make an announcement for a special feature that I am going to be focussing on in the next couple of weeks. As most of you know, the horrorfilm is one of my favorite moviegenres. I can enjoy really bloody horrormovies as much as a good and subtle psychological thriller. Now, as Halloween is a celebration of all things horror, and it usually means we get a new dose of bloody goodness that will hit the cinemas, I thought it would be fun to do a sort of countdown to the 31st of October. You know, that day when all hell will break loose, humanity will end and creatures that go bump in the night will take over the world. Erm, yeah I know I like to exaggerate. So how am I going to do this? Starting next week, I will review a classic horrormovie from a franchise that has released at least 5 or even more movies. The post for that movie will feature a review for that film, as well as a brief overview of the rest of that franchise. So which movies are going to be reviewed? You can see the list down below. So, lock the doors, check under the bed, and try not to be afraid……..much……

1. Saw

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2. Friday the 13th

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3. A nightmare on Elmstreet

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4. Final Destination

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5. Halloween

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Special Features presents: First full length The Punisher tv series trailer

Netflix has been expanding their list of Marvel tv series quite steadily. It all started with Daredevil back in 2015, and since then they have rounded out their universe with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the most recent one The Defenders. In season 2 of Daredevil a character was introduced that made an enormous impression on pretty much everyone. That character was Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Played by Jon Bernthal, who most people probably recognise as Shane from the Walking Dead, he single handedly created the best live action Punisher to date. It was pretty much inevitable that he would get his own series. In fact there were so many people that wanted this to happen, that it would have been weird if they would not have listened to the fans.

And listen they did as the first season of The Punisher will be making it’s debut later this year. Today the first full length trailer for the series was released, and I can honestly say that I was completely blown away by this. In fact I dare say that this is without a doubt the best trailer that I have seen for the entire year. The trailer is accompanied by the terrific song One by Metallica, and to say more about it is to spoil your fun. I have included the trailer for your viewing pleasure down below. Enjoy it, and please let me know what you think about it in the comments section. I would love to hear your thoughts about this one.

Event Horizon, American/UK movie (1997)

Every movielover probably has their own favorite kind of films. While some might have a very broad taste in movies (and I certainly count myself as one of them), there are usually some genres that have a certain preference above all the others. For me those are science fiction and horrormovies. And of course it is even better when a movie combines both of those genres. Ever since I saw the first Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, I have always been on the lookout for movies that could rival or even surpass that classic masterpiece. But let us be honest, that is a very hard task to achieve as that film is pretty much in a league of it’s own. Throughout the years a lot of attempts have been made, and most of these have resulted in films that were mediocre at best. But there is one film that came unnervingly close and is in my opinion a highly underrated gem that is still awaiting discovery by many people. The name of that movie is Event Horizon.

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This pretty much redefines the word meatgrinder. 

It is the year 2047. Seven years after the research ship Event Horizon vanished without a trace, it suddenly reappears near the planet of Neptune sending out a distress signal. Soon a rescue vessel, called the Lewis and Clark, is dispatched to find out if there are any survivors and of course what has happened to the ship during all those years that it was presumed lost. Headed by captain Miller, he and his crew are accompanied by the mysterious doctor Weir, who was the original builder of the Event Horizon. It soon becomes clear that the ship was one of a kind, and had an experimental drive system installed that allowed it to create an artificial black hole. With this drive it could travel farther than any human vessel ever went before. When the Lewis and Clark eventually arrives at the location of the lost ship, captain Miller and his crew are about to find out just how far the Event Horizon truly went. Because there are some places in the universe that are better left alone, and seem to resemble hell itself…….

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Sam Neill’s role in Jurassic Park left him a changed man. 

Event Horizon is a movie that still creeps me out after having seen it multiple times. It is truly a very disturbing and chilling film, that throughout the years has created a cult following. In still think it is one of the best science fiction horrormovies that I have ever seen. For starters the atmosphere in this movie is what sets the tone right from the very first second. It’s dark, scary and you constantly feel as if the bowels of hell are about to open and swallow you whole. The amazing setpieces that were created for this film only add to this feeling. This was a time when the use of CGI backgrounds was pretty much unheard of, and as such everything was build by hand. And then we have the music for the movie that seems to have been created by a madman and will make you feel even more creeped out than you probably already are.

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Yep, that really is the man known as Morpheus. Now where is Neo when you need him?

The cast for Event Horizon is headed by two very well known actors. First up is Laurence Fishburn who plays the role of the heroic captain Miller. It’s amazing how young he appears to be in this film, but his performance is as solid as ever. Miller’s character is truly the driving force for this one, and you really feel his desperation when the horror of what is happening around him keeps growing and growing, and almost threatens to send him over the edge. The other well known actor in this film is Sam Neill and he performs the role of doctor Weir. And it is a role that you have never seen him play before, and that only makes it that much scarier. Weir becomes increasingly more unstable throughout the movie, and his descent into madness is something only a very capable actor can pull off. Needless to say Sam definitely succeeds in that and then some. The rest of the cast for this movie also manages to shine, most notably Joely Richardson and Sean Pertwee. Every single actor in Event Horizon contributes to the film in his or her own way.

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Don’t let the ship’s beauty fool you. 

I’m not going to lie here, this movie contains some very, very disturbing imagery. It sometimes might remind you of Hellraiser, and if you have ever seen that film, you probably know what I mean. Yes people, this is a true horrorfilm in every sense of the word, and as such it certainly won’t be a movie that everyone will enjoy. If you have a strong stomache though, and like to be scared out of your mind, this film is definitely the one to watch. It will at times leave you breathless, and might even give you nightmares after you finished it. But I guess that is also part of it’s charm, if you can call it that. If you are interested in finding out more about the background for this movie you might want to check out this great post written by mr. Bobinsky. It contains not only a great review but also some great info about the making of the film that I myself did not know about. And while you are there, you might want to subscribe as well, as it is a really cool blog. So, all I can say is: watch this film, and I dare you not to be scared while you are at it.

I give Event Horizon a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Castlevania, American (Animated) tv series (2017)

Some of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that in the distant past I used to be a very fanatical gamer. I played computergames pretty much non stop, and I did so with a lot of enthusiasm. All of that changed after a particularly nasty session of online Call of Duty. I will spare you the details, but let us just say that it involved a lot of cursing and broken controllers. Not one of my finest moments. After that night, I just stopped gaming altogether and went back to older hobbies including boardgames. The world of computergames is still a part of me however, and even though I haven’t played in ages, I still enjoy reading news and watching videos about new games that will hit the shelves. There are certain gameseries that are legendary and very well known by most people. A few examples are Doom, Resident Evil, Super Mario Brothers and Castlevania. Interestingly enough, for this last named series a four part animated show was released a few months back on Netflix.

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I think you might have something in your eye. Let me help you. 

The story of this animated series starts off in the year 1455 in Wallachia. A young woman doctor called Lisa is searching for the infamous Vlad Dracula Tepes, in order to enlist his help in acquiring scientific knowledge. Eventually the two meet up, and Dracula is pleasantly surprised by her great courage. He agrees to help her, and in turn Lisa tries to make him reconnect with his human self. Eventually they fall in love and are married. Twenty years later though, disaster strikes and Lisa is burned at the stake for witchcraft by an insane bishop of the holy church. Dracula is ofcourse furious and heartbroken, and he warns the people of Wallachia that they have exactly one year to make their peace. After that he will wipe out every single human being by his own hands. Dracula begins raising an army of terrible creatures to carry out his revenge. The only hope for the human race seems to lie in the hands of Trevor Belmont. He is the last remaining member of the disgraced noble Belmont family, who were experts in fighting monsters. However Trevor will first have to find back his faith in himself and decide if humanity is even worth saving…..

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Your hair smells lovely. What kind of shampoo are you using? 

I have always found the story of Dracula incredibly fascinating. Throughout the years there have been numerous adaptations of this classic tale in the form of movies and even tv series. The Castlevania gameseries has been around for quite a while and is very popular. I can’t say that I am very familiar with, having played only two or three installments of it, but I do know that it’s a gameseries with a pretty rich history. This animated show was a pleasant surprise. It drew me in right from the openingscene and did not let up for one second. The animation style is very good, but it’s also very graphic. This is certainly a series intended for a mature audience, as there are some incredibly gory scenes in it, especially in the first episode. The show is full of action and these scenes are brought to life by the animation in a great way, which certainly adds to the overall appeal of this series.

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Watch out you might get a whiplash from this…..get it? 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the voice acting which is really topnotch. Richard Armitage brings to life the character of Trevor Belmont, and he seems to have a lot of fun in doing so. Trevor is a sometimes pretty sarcastic character, and some of the comedy relief in the show, that was a welcome reprieve from the pretty dark story, was provided by him. But the rest of the voice acting cast also did a fine job and included the likes of James Callis and Tony Amendola. These last two names should be familiar to most science fiction fans. Callis is of course best known for his role as doctor Gaius Baltar from the new Battlestar Galactica series, and Tony appeared in Stargate Sg-1 as master Bra’tac. It’s always important in animated series to have voices that act as if you are watching a live action tv show, and the cast for Castlevania certainly managed to accomplish that.

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Hi, I would like to make a purchase. 

The downside to Castlevania is that it’s only four episodes. This almost feels like you are watching a pilot and that it serves as the set up for the story that is yet to come. Luckily I can out your minds at ease and tell you that the series will indeed continue with 8 more episodes. Which in my opinion is very good news. I really enjoyed this first taste of what might develop into a pretty good animated show, if it continues along this path. If you like horror and vampire stories, or if you are a fan of the video game series, I highly recommend that you check this series out. It doesn’t take up a lot of time, as it is only four episodes of around 22 minutes each, but it’s time that is very well spent. I’m really looking forward to what the second season will bring, and I think it can only become even better than this first appetizer.

I give Castlevania a 8 out of 10 score.

Comments malfunction?

Hello everyone. Now this is a bit of an unusual post, but I have a question and a  request at the same time. As of this morning I have been experiencing problems with  giving comments on posts that I enjoyed reading. At first I thought it was just going into a moderation status, but the comments just seem to disappear into thin air. On some posts I even tried multiple times to place a comment, but every time it just vanishes after I press sent. So, my question is: ” Is anyone else experiencing these problems? “. So far I have succeeded on placing exactly one comment for a post for the entire day, which is seriously getting annoying.

The request I have is could you perhaps check your spamfilters if maybe any comments from me got lost in there? I certainly haven’t commented on every post from today, but I did do so on quite a few. I’m really sorry to be bothering you with this, but if there is one thing I like about blogging it is interacting with everyone. I have no idea what exactly is going on here, or if it’s maybe an error on the WordPress servers or something like that. Whatever it is, it is really annoying. Thanks in advance for checking, and of course let me know in the comments section (if that works that is), if maybe you have ever had a problem similar to this and if there is a solution for it.