Tag Archives: Horror

Special Features Presents: My favorite creature feature movies (part 1)

It has been quite a while since I did a special features post. A couple of weeks ago I was trading thoughts with Karandi from 100wordanime (and yes this is also a shameless plug to get you to follow her blog if you have not done so already), after she reviewed the movie Deep Blue Sea. I thought it might be interesting to write a post about my favorite movies that feature some kind of creature scaring the crap out of people. After having recently seen the movie Anaconda, I recalled this conversation, and now finally I have gotten around to writing this post. Sorry it has taken me a while to do so, but I still hope you will enjoy reading it. Why part 1? Well, in this post I will focus on movies that are at least somewhat realistic, and part 2 will focus on science fiction movies that feature terrible creatures from beyond. Well, enough small talk, let’s get on with it!

1. Jaws (1975)

image
Hmmmmm….tasty……

To not include this classic Steven Spielberg movie, would simply be impossible. For maybe the only soul on this planet who has yet to see this film, I will give a short description of what it is about. The summer town of Amityville is all of a sudden being terrified by a great white shark, with a taste for human flesh. After a number of people have been attacked, it is up to the local sheriff, a marine biologist and a shark hunter to take care of the beast. A titanic struggle between man and shark soon begins. Yes, this movie is now 42 years old, but wow it is still one of the best monster movies ever. Even though the sharkeffects may, at times, feel a bit dated, the movie is still very effective in bringing up the scares and the tension. A classic film in every sense of the word, this is an absolute must see movie.

2. Alligator (1980)

image
Did someone call the police?

After Jaws there were a lot of attempts to cash in on the success of that film. Most of these were very bad, but there were also a few movies that were quite entertaining. Alligator definitely fell into that last category. The premise for this film was pretty simple: a baby alligator was flushed down the toilet, but managed to survive and grow into a gigantic monstrosity. The beast eventually left the sewers and began attacking the local residents. This movie is a bit of a cult classic, but highly enjoyable. It does not take itself very seriously, but there are enough tense moments in this film, that will have you hang on to the edge of your seat. In no way will this one beat Jaws, but it is definitely not a bad movie.

3. Rogue (2007)

image
Here’s Johny!!

Staying with reptiles, the 2007 Australian movie Rogue features a giant crocodile. An American journalist encounters a giant man eating crocodile while on assignment in the Australian outback. He is trapped on a small island that is beginning to flood. And with a hungry crocodile nearby, that is really not a good place to be. This movie starts of somewhat slow, but makes up for it in the second half of the film. The creature effects for this one are truly astonishing, and especially near the end of the film you start to wonder how on Earth they managed to accomplish that. This is a relatively small, but very tense and exciting movie.

4. Arachnophobia (1990)

image
Itsy bitsy spider….

Now, I am not afraid of spiders, but after seeing this film, I could definitely develop a fear for them. A doctor discovers a new species of spider in the South American jungle. Travelling back to the States, the spider eventually manages to breed with a domestic species, and this is the beginning of a nightmare for the residents of a small town. Now, if you like movies with jumpscares, this one will give you more than you might have bargained for. I remember when I saw this film in the theatres for the first time. I had never seen an audience jump out of their seats so many times, myself included. It is a great and fun film, with a lot of tense moments, and some very decent special effects.

5. Cujo (1983)

image
No worries, he doesn’t bite……

Cujo is a movie that is based on the novel by Stephen King. A friendly St.Bernard gets bitten by a bat and contracts rabies. A mother and her son are trapped in a car, while the dog stalks them. It is the middle of summer, so the heat is scorching and time is running out for the both of them. This is a truly tense movie, and one of the better Stephen King films out there. What is interesting to note, is that they used a real dog for this movie. You really wonder how they have managed to train an animal to do all the things you see in this film. It is all very convincing and very scary.

6. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

image
Are you looking at us?

This movie is a very underrated gem. A bridge engineer while on assignment in Africa, has to enlist the help of an old hunter as his crew gets attacked by a pair of lions. It is not long though that the two of them discover that these are no ordinary lions. What is really interesting about this movie, is that this film is based on a true story. With veteran actors Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas cast for the two lead roles, this film really is a joy to watch from beginning to end. Filmed mostly in Africa, the scenery alone is one of the reasons to watch this movie.

7. Bait (2012)

image
The things you can find in a supermarket these days..

After the release of Jaws there have been so many sharkmovies that I have really lost count. Amongst all these it is very hard to find something original, but Bait really tries to be different. A tsunami strikes at an Australian town, and a number of people become trapped inside a supermarket. To add to their problems a couple of great white sharks have become trapped with them….This was really a very unique sharkmovie, simply because of the truly original setting. It was simply a blast to see people taking the fight to the sharks with only supermarket appliances. The result was a fun and exciting film, that was a really enjoyable watch.

8. Burning Bright (2010)

image
Here kitty, kitty, kitty…..

This small, and relatively unknown film was truly a surprise. A woman together with her autistic younger brother becomes trapped inside a house during a storm. This would not be so bad, except for the fact that a tiger has been let loose inside the house as well,  in order to kill them. This tense thriller really had some seriously scary scenes. Again filmed with a live animal, it served up some very realistic and horrifying moments. It is always nice when you don’t expect much from a film, and it turns into something totally awesome. Burning Bright is such a film, and I highly recommend seeking this one out.

Final Thoughts

Well, that just about does it for part 1 of this special features post. Ofcourse this list is by no means complete, as there are definitely a lot of other animal movies out there, that are every bit as enjoyable as the ones on this list. However for me, these movies were definitely my favorites. Coming up somewhere next week, will be part 2 of this post where I am going to focus on my favorite science fiction monsterfilms.

But now, it is over to you, my readers. What is your favorite animal monster movie? Are any of those movies perhaps included on my list? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you at the next post!

 

 

 

Anaconda, American movie (1997)

I have always enjoyed watching horrormovies featuring some kind of animal that terrorises people. It all started ofcourse with the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws. A classic in every way, this film was responsible for spawning a whole range of movies that featured some type of animal vs man. Over the years, I think nearly every animal on Earth must have been in some kind of horror film. Ofcourse some of these were seriously bad and incredibly cringeworthy. However occasionally a movie comes along that seems to be a B-movie, but is so enjoyable that you take that for granted. The 1997 movie Anaconda definitely falls into that last category.

image
I am wondering who is more scared here.

In Anaconda a documentary crew heads off down a tropical river in the Amazon, in search of a mystical tribe. While travelling down the river they come across a shady character who is trapped on a boat during a storm. The man introduces himself as Paul Serone and tells them he hunts snakes for a living. When the journey continues, the head of their team, dr. Cale, becomes seriously injured. Serone tells them he knows he a shortcut across the river, which will take them faster to a hospital in order to save their friend. While skeptical, the remaining members of the crew including filmmaker Terri Flores, agree to follow his advice. But soon it becomes apparent that Paul has ulterior motives. Not only does Terri have to face the increasingly more psychotic Paul, but she will also discover just what it is he is after. Soon they will have to face a monstrous snake, and the fight of their lives will begin in earnest. Will they all survive, or will they become snakefood….?

image
Now, that is one scary looking dude.

 

Anaconda does little to to hide the fact that this is obviously a B-movie. Although the impressive cast that is involved in this movie would have you guessing otherwise. One of the reasons to watch this movie is veteran actor John Voight. He plays the role of snakehunter Paul Serrone, and it is obvious that he is having a blast playing him. The character he portrays is a seriously evil one, but he plays the role so well, that you can’t help but root for him at times. Also included amongst the cast is Jennifer Lopez, who plays the feisty Terri Flores who is more than a match for Serrone. Finally we have Eric Stolz who plays dr Cale in a small but important role, and Ice Cube who provides some comic relief.

image
Seriously man, no joke, look behind you. 

The special effects in this film are a mix of animatronics and CGI and they are both a hit and miss in this movie. Some of the effects are pretty impressive, but there are also scenes that are seriously bad. But then again that is also part of the charm of this film. Anaconda serves up just enough thrills to make this movie exciting enough. It is a bit slow to get going, but in the second half of the film the tension begins to increase and we get a couple of fun scenes with the killer snake. There is no real gore or blood to speak of, so if you like your horrorfilms more in the style of a thriller this one is for you. Anaconda is a fun B-type horrormovie, that serves up an hour and a half of mindless creature filled fun. While this film certainly won’t win the award for Best Picture, it is entertaining enough all the same. And sometimes that is just all you need.

I give Anaconda a 8 out of 10 score.

Akira, Japanese (Animated) movie (1988)

It has been called one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that many feel is responsible for causing Anime to become popular in the Western world. Based on the Manga of the same name that consisted of more than 2000 pages, a lot of people still find this one of the finest anime movies ever created. I am ofcourse talking about the masterpiece called Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the man that also created and wrote the manga. So why is this movie so incredible, and still after all these years a classic that has withstood the test of time very, very well? I will get to that question shortly, but let me first start with describing what this movie is about, for those that are not yet familiar with it.

image

In the year 1988 a strange psychic event occurs that completely obliterates the city of Tokyo. Soon after, World War Three starts, and Tokyo is rebuild into a new city called Neo Tokyo. The movie itself picks up the story right after these events. It is now the year 2019, and Neo-Tokyo has become a city with wide scale riots and motorcycle gangs that rule the streets. One of these gangs led by the young Kaneda, one night gets into a fight with another gang called the Clowns. During the fight one of Kaneda’s best friends, Tetsuo Shima, nearly runs over a strange boy who is right in the midde of the street. Crashing his motorcycle, Tetsuo is seriously injured and is taken to the hospital. Once there it soon becomes clear that the boy he nearly ran over, was no ordinary boy but someone who possessed strange psychic powers. And it appears that Tetsuo has now somehow also received these powers. Meanwhile Kaneda desperately searches for his friend, while being pursued by secret government forces. However Tetsuo’s powers soon begin to grow out of control, and the event that destroyed Tokyo so many years ago might repeat itself…..

image

It had been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, but seeing it appear on Netflix was enough to make me rewatch this film. And it is still every bit as powerful as when I first saw it. The animation for this movie is simply amazing. In every scene there are so many things that are going on in the backgrounds, that you will probably see new ones every time you watch this movie. With so many details presented in each frame, the city of Neo-Tokyo truly feels like it is a character itself.

image

And speaking of characters, that is one of the other highlights of this film. The young and somewhat cocky Kaneda, the hero of the movie, is someone that is incredibly hard not to like. He provides most of the comic relief in this film, something that is very much needed as this movie can at times be seriously depressing because of it’s dark themes. Kaneda’s quest to find his friend is at times heartbreaking, especially during the final parts of the movie where he is forced to make some really tough decisions. Tetsuo is a character a lot of people might relate to. A person who has always stood in the shadow of someone else, and now comes into possession of something truly incredible. The powers change him entirely and it comes down to that age old saying: “power corrupts”.

image

The story of Akira is very dark, and it certainly is not a movie for everyone. There are some very brutal and graphic scenes throughout the film, and it definitely established at the time that animation certainly was not only for kids anymore. It is amazing that a film that was made almost thirty years ago now is still such an incredibly powerful movie. It’s fantastic animation, thought provoking storyline and dark and tense atmosphere make this an absolute must see for every anime fan out there. Akira is a timeless classic and will still be worth seeing even after another thirty years from now.

I give Akira a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Don’t Knock Twice, Uk movie (2016)

I think pretty much everyone as a child must have done some kind of prank. One of the most common ones of these are to either ring the doorbell or knock on someone’s door and run away. One has to wonder now what was so fun about something like that, but children seem to really have a barrel full of laughs while doing this. Why am I bringing something like this up? Is it some kind of misplaced sense of atonement for the pranks that I used to do as a kid that I am doing here? No, really no worries about that. The reason I am bringing this up, is that someone took this childhood prank and turned it into a horrormovie. Well…kind of a horrormovie anyway.

image

Don’t knock twice focusses on mother Jess, who nine years ago had to give up her daughter Chloe to an orphanage. Now, she wants her back, but Chloe wants nothing to do with her anymore. One night Chloe and her boyfriend visit an old house, where according to legend a witch resides. They knock twice on her door, and then quickly leave. This seemingly innocent event, soon begins to have very dire consequences. Chloe begins to see strange things, and weird events force her to leave her own house. In desperation she flees to her mother, who at first though very happy to see her, does not believe her story. However it isn’t long before Jess has to face the fact that a demonic spirit is targeting her daughter. Will she be able to save her, or will Chloe end up as yet another victim of this ancient evil…..

image

I have to say that the premise for this film was very original. Based in part on the legend of Baba Yaga (from Slavic folklore), it was the storyline that grabbed my attention for it. While there certainly are some horrorelements in this movie, I would classify this film more as a thriller. Unfortunately, it is not a very suspenseful one. The movie has a few interesting scenes, but it was not enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. The acting in the movie was pretty decent, especially by Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff, who played the role of Jess. She really plays a very convincing role as the desperate mother, who will stop at nothing to win back the love of her daughter.

image

This movie isn’t terrible, but it is not great either. The film is at times pretty slow, and some of the twists you can definitely see coming from miles away. The movie obviously had a low budget, but still it managed to hide that fact pretty decently. All in all there are worse movies out there, and together with the original story and the acting, just manages to keep it’s score on the positive side.

I give Don’t knock twice a 6 out of 10 score.

Crimson Peak, American/Canadian movie (2015)

Director Guillermo del Toro has over the years given us a whole number of great movies in a lot of different genres. From the visually impressive superhero movie Hellboy, to the scifi action blockbuster Pacific Rim, he seems to be able to handle any genre he can lay his hands on. The horror movie is another type of film he usually excels at. That is why I was really looking forward to the movie Crimson Peak, which seemed to be a good oldfashioned ghost story.

image

In Crimson Peak we meet the girl Edith Cushing, who is able to see ghosts. A gift she would rather do without, as at a very young age she gets a visit by the ghost of her dead mother. She warns Edith to beware of Crimson Peak. Years later, when Edith has grown up and has become an aspiring writer, she meets a mysterious stranger. The man introduces himself as Thomas Sharpe, and it is not long after that Edith finds herself falling in love with him. After a terrible tragedy, Edith travels together with Thomas to his family home. But the house is old, very old, and has some terrible secrets that should have remained buried. Edith is about to find out what the warning of her mother meant, but it may already be too late…..

image

If I could name one thing that makes this movie worth watching it is the visual aspects of it. The cinematography, costumes and set designs are absolutely breathtaking. As this is a period piece, del Toro manages to capture the timeframe perfectly and in that regard the movie is a feast for your eyes. Unfortunately the movie itself was a bitter disappointment. Despite containing terrific actors such as Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston, I found this film to be utterly boring. The movie starts off very well, but after that just settles into a very slowpaced film, that failed to keep my attention.

image

As this is a horrormovie I expect to be scared, well at least for a bit. Even though there were a couple of interesting scenes, they were just not enough and too far in between for me to become truly terrified. As far as acting goes, most of the actors did a fine job, most notably Jessica Chastain. She played the part of the sister of Thomas, a very chilling woman that at times truly gave me the creeps. The lead role of Edith, played by actress Mia Wasikowska was a character that was seriously boring. I really did not care what happened to her either way, and that ofcourse is usually not a very good sign. I honestly had expected more of this film. With a cast containing such good actors, and a director that can really do better, I had high hopes for this one. Alas, it was not to be. If you like haunted house movies, you can definitely find better ones out there.

I give Crimson Peak a 5 out of 10 score.

 

The Conjuring 2, American/Canadian movie (2016)

One of the questions that will probably always remain a mystery to us, is if there is life after death. Ghost, spirits and other supernatural beings have been sighted all over the world. Well….supposedly that is. While there is certainly enough documentation about paranormal occurences in the world, one really has to wonder if all of this is true. Honestly though, I do think there are things out there, that seriously can’t be explained. At least not by any normal means. The horrormovie the Conjuring, released in 2013, told the true story about a case witnessed by two experts on paranormal sightings. These experts, the couple Ed & Lorraine Warren, have given a lot of lectures on universities, about the cases they have come across throughout the years. With the original movie being such a succes, it was ofcourse inevitable that a sequel would be made. With the movie again based on one of the true stories from the famous couple, is this sequel as good as the original?

image

In the Conjuring 2 Ed en Lorraine have trouble keeping up the energy to continue investigating paranormal cases. Not only that, but the media also makes them appear as a bunch of scam artists, which further takes it’s toll on the couple. Meanwhile in England, a single mother together with her four children begins to experience some horrible events. One of her daughters called Janet, soon becomes the focal point of the paranormal occurences. At first people think that she is making things up. However as things begin to get worse, it is clear that something terrible has invaded the home of this family. Even though the Warrens at first are reluctant to take on the case, eventually they relent, and head on over to England. When they finally arive there, what they are about to encounter is more terrifying than they could ever have imagined….

image

The horrormovie has certainly a track record for releasing a lot of sequels, especially when the original film is succesful. Sadly though these sequels are often not as good, or even just quite simply put: absolutely awful. The Conjuring 2 however is certainly not bad. In fact it might be the best horrormovie sequel I have seen to date. The acting, especially by veteran actress Vera Farmiga as Lorraine, is done very well and makes the film truly convincing. The young actress Madison Wolfe, who plays the role of Janet, also does a superb job, and is at times seriously scary. And while on the subject of things that are scary, the Conjuring 2 definitely tries it’s best to deliver some seriously disturbing scenes. At some points it succeeds in that job, but there are also times that you just see the scare coming from a mile away.

image

As far as horrormovies go, this one is long, very long. With a runningtime of over two hours, I dare say that it is simply too long. The film takes it’s time to set things up, and I felt that a few cuts here and there, would have resulted in a better balanced film. Director James Wan’s visual style certainly is effective yet again, as the movie has a few camera angles that really make the film more scary. This movie honestly speaking was pretty good. Sure the original is better, but even though it has a slow start, when the film picks up momentum it certainly becomes an entertaining horrormovie. If you liked the first film, you will probably like this one as well, as long as you don’t expect it to be as good as part one.

I give The Conjuring 2 a 7 out 10 score.

Hush, American movie (2016)

Isn’t it sometimes amazing how much we take things for granted? Take your eyesight and hearing for instance. Have you ever stopped to take a moment to think about what it would be like if you ever lost one of those senses? The other day I was having a discussion with a friend of mine if you would ever have to make a choice about losing one of them, which one would it be. I would take hearing, as when I would lose my eyesight I would not be able to read books or watch movies anymore. Now before you think that I might have lost all my senses (pun intended) talking about this, it actually is leading up to something. Because I think the heroine of the movie I am about to review, would really have liked to have been able to hear.

image

In Hush we meet Maddie a writer who lives by herself in a secluded house in the woods. Having lost her hearing and the ability to speak when she was 13, she tries to make the most out of her life. But one day her life takes a turn for the worst. A deranged and masked individual suddenly shows up at her house, with the intent of killing her. With Maddie being deaf, the killer thinks of her as an easy prey, and begins to toy with her. But even though Maddie might have lost her hearing, she will soon show a remarkable will to live. A very dangerous game of cat and mouse begins between her and the psychopath….

image

Now Hush is a movie that falls into a kind of subgenre that over the recent years has emerged: the home invasion movie. Even though this genre has become pretty predictable, Hush tries to do something new with it, and succeeds in that attempt for the most part. First off lead actress Kate Siegel does one hell of a job in playing the role of the deaf/mute Maddie. It is very hard to act without being able to utter a single sentence, but Kate manages to portray her character very well. Her sense of fear and at times desperation comes across admirably, something that is very important in a film such as this.

image

The unique premise of the movie, with Maddie being deaf, creates a tense atmosphere. We as an audience can sometimes see and ofcourse hear the killer, but Maddie can’t, and at times I almost found myself screaming at the screen:”please turn around!”. You really get swept up in the moment, and it is very nice when a thriller is able to do that. Now I can ofcourse state that there are definitely a few situations in this film that come across as being all too familiair. But as far as thrillers go, this film is just a great watch. It has a cool female lead, some very tense and chilling scenes, and for once we also have a heroine who doesn’t act like she is stupid. All in all this is just a  fun ride for people who like good and decent thrillers.

I give Hush a 8 out of 10 score.

Predator, American movie (1987)

Everybody who likes monster movies probably has a favorite one. Looking back at the past, there have been so many good ones it is hard to pick a favorite. But for me, the choice has never been hard. At least not after seeing the monster in what some consider to be one of the best action films ever made (myself included). It was a film that was made in the 80’s and featured a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in his golden age of movies. The name of that film was Predator.

image

In Predator a group of special commandos led by  the battlehardened Dutch are sent on a rescue mission deep in the Central American jungle. A group of hostages have been taken by guerrillas, and it is up to Dutch and his group to get them out. At least that is what they are being told. It soon becomes clear, that they are not the first ones who have been sent out on this mission. When they come across the butchered remains of a former rescue party, things are beginning to get very weird. How is it possible that a group of trained soldiers can be caught so completely by surprise? And why would a group of guerrillas skin people and leave them hanging in the jungle?  Dutch and his men are about to find out the horrible answers to these questions. A thing that is not of this world has made the jungle his own personal hunting ground, and the hunters will soon become the hunted.

image

There are certain movies that you have seen so many times, and that still manage to entertain every single one of those times. Predator is one of those films. This is 80’s action film making at it’s best. Schwarzenegger is superb in his role as Dutch and delivers some of the best oneliners out of all his movies. (Who can forget the classic “Get to the chopppppaaaaaa” ). But the real star of the film is the Predator. I remember the first time I laid my eyes on the monster and I almost felt my jaw hitting the ground. Yes Alien is cool, I will not dispute that, but for me Predator will always be the favorite. The creature is just simply put: badass and the ultimate cool guy.

image

Ofcourse the story in this film is almost non-existent, but seriously who cares about that, when a movie delivers this much tension and terrific action. Accompanied by a fantastic score made by composer Alan Silvestri, there are so many scenes in this movie that are incredible, that it is hard to pick a favorite. Even though this film is now 30 years old, it has withstood the test of time very well. If somehow you have missed out on this film back in the day, track it down if you can. It is a classic action movie, that everyone who has even a remote interest in action films should have seen at least once in his life. Next year we will get a new Predator movie, sadly without Arnold reprising his role. I highly doubt it will be as good as this one though.

I give Predator a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Eldritch Horror, a boardgame for 1-8 players by Fantasy Flight Games (2013)

Now, this review is long overdue. I have had this game for quite a while now, but because of a lot reasons it has taken me a while to finally make this post. Before I get started I want to say that I dedicate this review to Kurt aka the Vitruvian Gamer. If you like boardgames, and also enjoy seeing them in action, I highly recommend to check out the boardgame channel of the Vitruvian Gamer. Not only is this one of the best boardgame channels out there, Kurt is a really kind person who always takes the time to answer any comments you post on his videos. And all of his videos are a lot of fun to see, and really help you to learn the rules of a certain game. I have included a Link to a playthrough series of his of this game, so you can watch the game in action, and ofcourse subscribe to his channel. (Which is pretty much a no-brainer). And now on with the review of this great game, which really has become on of my alltime favorite boardgames.

Components

image

This being a Fantasy Flight game, the components are absolutely top notch. Contained within the box is a lot of awesome stuff. The gameboard looks simply amazing, and depicts a map of the world across which you are going to be travelling in order to stop an ancient evil from rising. Also included are an enormous amount of cards that are used in a lot of different situations that will arise throughout the game. We get cards for spells, artifacts, assets, and encounters to name but a few. In total there over 200 cards that can be used in the game. Ofcourse there are also a lot of tokens included, that will be placed on the board in a variety of situations. Rounding out the game are 12 investigator sheets with matching tokens and plastic stands, which are the roles that the players will take upon themselves, and 4 standard dice. Last but not least we get two rules booklets, one to help you quickly get started, and the other a reference guide to be used when the more difficult situations creep up during a game. The rulebook is well written, and because of this system with the usage of a reference guide, it will not take you very long to set up the board and start your first game.

Game overview

image

In a game of Eldritch Horror players take on the roles of investigators, who are in a race against time to stop a being of immense power. This so called Ancient One is intent on bringing about an age of darkness, and possibly even end the entire world. Eldritch Horror is played in a series of gamerounds. Each round has three phases, that are resolved in the same order every time.

First off the players will spent some time to take actions. These range from moving across the board, gain assets that might help them during the game, or even rest in order to regain some strength. Next up is the heart of the game, the encounter phase. During this phase pretty much anything can happen. Players might get attacked, become cursed, gain clues which might help them to stop the Ancient One, or any other number of exciting things. This phase is really a lot of fun, and because of the number of cards that are included within the box, you never quite know what might happen. Finally the Ancient One takes it’s action, which is resolved by drawing a card and play out what happens. This usually means something bad, that will hamper the investigators, and sometimes turns the entire game upside down.

As this game is a cooperative game, either everyone wins, or everyone loses. To win the game, players need to find enough clues to resolve a number of mystery cards that put an end to the rise of the Ancient One. If they can’t do that before the Ancient One awakens (depicted on the board by a timer called the doom track), this usually means the players lose immediately or it becomes incredibly hard to win. Sometimes certain cards can also bring about the end of the game. This creates a tense atmosphere with players racing across the world to put a stop to the rise of the Ancient One.

Difficulty

image

Now one would expect that a game with this many cards and tokens to keep track of, will be quite hard to learn. Honestly, you might be really surprised by this when I say that is not the case. Reading the rulebook takes you about half an hour, and after that it will be not much longer and you are off to playing your very first game. The great thing is that when a certain situation arises throughout the game, you take out the reference guide and will quickly find the rule you are looking for. This works extremely  well, and because of that it will really not take you very long to learn the game.

Winning the game is a whole different matter though. Because of the sheer amount of situations that can arise in Eldritch Horror, no game is ever the same. There are a lot of ways you can lose though, and this does depend a lot of times on luck as well, I will not lie to you there. Sometimes getting a bad dice result on a very important test might cost you the game. I have so far only played this one solo (and really this is one of the best sologames out there), and have not yet managed to win. That said, this game is so much fun, that quite frankly I have not even cared about losing the game.

The Verdict

image

I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect game. Every game has it’s own flaws, but this one most certainly comes very close. Ever since I have bought this game, I have been enjoying it more and more with every session. Having recently bought a few expansions for it, it has become an even better game. The fun thing about this one, is the enormous amount of situations that can arise. One moment you are in a city being chased by evil cultists, and then you might find yourself in a icy cave tracking down an ancient artifact. One might argue that the amount of encounter cards for the cities in the basegame, should have been more. But that really is a minor note, to an otherwise splendid game. If you like adventure movies with a small touch of horror, this game is most definitely for you. I highly recommend it, and if you don’t always have friends to play a game with, this game provides a very satisfying solo experience as well.

I give Eldritch Horror a 10 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

 

Blood-C, Anime tv series (2011)

I think horror can roughly be categorised into two parts: psychological horror, and the often not very subtle gory horror. I like both genres, it often depends a bit on my mood, but I do have to say that I am more of psychological horror fan myself. It is usually more scary as well, and I do love the jumpscares that are almost always included within those movies. That said, there are also a lot of horrorfilms out there, that have buckets of blood in them, and are very enjoyable in their own way. In Anime enough examples can be found that contain enormous amounts of graphic violence and gore. But I don’t think there has ever been a title that described better what the show is about than Blood-C.

image

Blood-C tells the story of the young girl Saya. At first glance she seems like a pretty normal girl who lives with her father in a shrine in the woods. She goes to school during the day, and occasionally visits the small town located near her home. But as is so often the case, things are not always what they seem. Because during the night, Saya transforms into a fearsome monster slayer. Fighting creatures called Elder Bairns, the only one who knows about this side of Saya is her father. But when the attacks become more frequent, and the lives of everyone in town are threatened, Saya’s secret is becoming increasingly harder to protect. But just who is Saya? With strange memories beginning to surface in her mind, Saya is beginning to wonder if everything that she had been told is really the truth. The real horror might be more than Saya can handle….

image

 

To say that Blood-C is gory, is an understatement. This series contains more blood than 10 horrorfilms mixed together. Literally entire fountains of the red substance are shown in every episode. It contains absolutely incredibly graphic and violent death sequences, and as such is not for the faint of heart. Blood-C is a follow up to the (pretty amazing) anime movie Blood: the last Vampire, which in turn was followed by the series Blood+. Now as you might have guessed, this series is not very subtle. Every episode is basically Saya fighting some kind of new creature, and as such a storyline is almost non-existent. I do say almost, because a very interesting twist in the story that occurs during episode 11, saves it from becoming a really predictable show.

image

As for the characters in the series, they are very forgettable. Except for Saya, the rest of the cast in this series is very dull, and contain little to no depth at all. This also makes it hard to become attached to characters, and even when they die (and there are a lot of deaths in this anime), you could not care less. The animation style is very good though. The fight sequences, which are the highlights of the show, are cool and amazing to look at. The last thing worth mentioning is the musical score, which sounds epic, especially during the many fights that Saya gets into.

Now, I don’t know exactly why, but there was something about this series that I liked. Yes, it is bloody, and basically every episode is more or less the same, but the series is just very easy to get into and highly enjoyable to look at. If you get put off easily by graphic violence or squeamish at the sight of one drop of blood, you had best avoid this series. When you like action, gory horror, and don’t care if the story is almost not here, you might give this one a try. There will be blood though….oh yes…

I give Blood-C a 7 out of 10 score.