Tag Archives: Horror

Highschool of the Dead, Anime tv series (2010)

Sometimes you watch a movie or tv show that is just so bad or completely over the top that it becomes funny. A case in point could be made for most of the Quentin Tarantino movies. He has been known to include such incredible violence and gore, that it is pretty much his trademark. People almost expect to see it in his movies, and as such are not easily offended by them anymore. I have recently watched the Anime series Highschool of the Dead. It also takes things not too seriously, but does it in a completely different way. I guess the old saying “Sex sells” has been pretty much invented for this one, but more on that later. So lets find out what the story of this show is, and I use the term story pretty loosely.

Highschool of the Dead pretty much sums up what the show is about. Yes, zombies are on the loose again, the end of the world is here, and a couple of highschool students have been caught up right in the middle of it all. As the outbreak begins to spread the group first has to survive an attack on the school, and then try to escape to a safe haven. The leader of the group, well if you can call him a leader, is the young boy Takashi Komuro. Together with his old girlfriend, and an assortment of other characters they have to try and survive in this new and dangerous world. However with the world falling ever more rapidly into total chaos, it is something that is easier said than done.

Okay, I love zombies and that is why this series had my interest. I wasn’t quite prepared for what this show turned out to be though. The fanservice in this is, too put it mildly, completely ridiculous. We have got a couple of increasingly scantily clad girls fighting zombies, and the camera just tries to show them as much as possible in pretty indencent ways. In the beginning this was actually funny, but as this trend continued in pretty much every episode I soon truly become annoyed by it. The characters themselves, especially the girls are pretty much a bunch of airheads. The only ones that I found mildly amusing were the chubby Otaku boy Kohta Hirano, and his secret crush Saya Tagaki. They actually had some funny moments, and as such managed on occasion to save a certain episode. The animation and action in this show are actually pretty good, and there were definitely some pretty cool fight scenes that are worth watching. I guess you could say, this show isn’t a total loss. If you are easily offended by scenes involving a lot of fanservice in sometimes enormous amounts you had best avoid this show. If you can look past it, I guess there is just enough to enjoy in this series, that you might give it a try.

I give Highschool of the Dead a 6 out of 10 score.

Advertisements

Nightlords The Omnibus, a Warhammer 40000 novel by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (2010-2014)

The Warhammer 40000 universe has a very long and dark history. Literally hundreds of books have been published in this series, set in different periods of the timeline. For those of you not familiar with it, the Warhammer 40000 universe has it’s origins in a tabletop boardgame published by Games Workshop. It details a grim and dark universe where humanity is constantly at war with either themselves, a myriad of alien races and the horrible forces of Chaos. Pivotal in this universe are the Space Marine legions of the immortal Emperor. The Emperor once united humanity and created the supersoldiers called Space Marines. Divided into Legions and commanded by his sons, the Godlike beings called Primarchs, they set forth to conquer the universe in the name of humanity. Thousands of years ago the Emperor was betrayed by one of his sons, the Primarch known as Horus. Aligning himself with the Dark Powers of Chaos, Horus started a war against his father. Several Space Marine Legions joined forces with Horus and that event came to be known as the Horus Heresy.

In the end the Emperor prevailed against Horus, but he was mortally wounded and placed in The Golden Throne. The Traitor legions, as the Space Marines who allied themselves with Chaos were called, retreated. Most of the books that have been published in this universe concern themselves with the loyal Space Marines. Interestingly the Nightlords omnibus focusses on a Traitor legion: the so called VIII legion, also known as the Nightlords. And oh wow, is it good. It has become the best Warhammer 40000 novel I have read to date, and not only that, it has made it’s way into my personal top 5 of best books that I have ever read.

This omnibus collects the trilogy of Nighlords books that have been published, and also throws in 3 short stories. One thing that I really loved about this book, were it’s characters. The main character Talos, also known as the Prophet, is truly a horrifying and evil being, but still has his own code. The warband he commands also includes some very memorable and equally evil men. This tome is a true pageturner, and a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. The action and horror included is absolutely breathtaking, and writer Aaron Demski-Bowden, has truly written a tale that can be enjoyed by sci-fi and horror fanatics alike. If you are already familiar with the Warhammer 40000 universe, this is an absolute must buy. But even if you are not, but are a lover of dark science fiction than this book is truly a great introduction to this dark universe. Even though this book has nearly 950 pages in total, I was not bored by it for even one second. I highly recommend this novel and want to warn you in advance that you will probably have trouble putting this book down. Be prepared for some long nights staying awake, reading this fantastic novel.

I give this book a 10 out of 10 score.

 

The Diabolical, American Movie (2015)

I love movies that put a spin, or at least try to put a spin, on a moviegenre that has been spit out and chewed on so many times. The horror movie genre, definitely has a number of sub categories that have been done way too much. So much in fact, that they usually become predictable. Take for instance the movies about haunted houses. There is some kind of evil ghost or spirit, that has to be put to rest in some way. The ghost appears a few times, puts some scares into us, and in the grand finale it is usually taken care of. Yep, I know, some of these movies can be pretty good, but honestly I think that there have been enough movies about haunted houses to last me a lifetime. The Diabolical that was brought out last year, is also about a haunted house. Yawn….no thank you right? Wrong….this movie truly tries something different, and succeeds, at least for the most part.

Ali Larter plays the role of the single mom Madison. She lives in a house with her young son Jacob and daughter Haley, and tries to keep her head above water. Her husband is gone, and she is in financial trouble. If those were the least of her worries, things would not be so bad. But suddenly strange things start to happen at her house. At night truly terrifying apparitions appear, and it is beginning to look that her house may be haunted. Haley thinks it is the spirit of her father. Madison however, will soon find out that something very different is going on….however it may already be too late when she does.

The Diabolical was made by first time director Alistair Legrand, and I honestly think that he is off to a great start. I really like how this movie puts a fresh spin on the haunted house genre, and truly tries to do things differently. The movie contains one or two bloody scenes, but mostly this is more of a psychological thriller. The acting, especially by the two young children, was done very well. Ali Larter, who most of you will know from the tv series Heroes, also does a more than decent job in her role of the distraught Madison. The only thing in the movie that could have been handled a little better was the ending. There are a few questions answered, but you are also left with a few unanswered ones. But luckily it wasn’t an ending that ruined the entire movie or something like that. All in all I was really surprised by this small movie, and I hope we will get to see more of Alistair Legrand in the future.

I give this movie a 8 out of 10 score.

Daylight’s End, American Movie (2016)

Ever since seeing the first Mad Max movie, I have been an enthusiastic follower of all things post apocalyptic. No, I am not a guy that would like the world to end, I like life a little bit too much for that, thank you very much. But I do love movies, books, games and tv shows set in settings that show the end times, especially if they are done well. It is a very popular setting, as we currently have a lot of things that feature the end of days in one way or another. I saw the trailer of Daylight’s End about a week ago, and as it featured Lance Henriksen, one of my favorite, and if you ask me most underrated actors of Hollywood, it definitely had my interest. As luck would have it, it showed up in my local dvd shop yesterday, and as the pricetag was pretty low, I bought it immediately.

Daylight’s End tells the tale of the lone warrior Rourke, who drives around the wastelands of America in a beat up car. The world has come to an end, and what is left of humanity tries to survive a plague that has turned people into vampires. (and not zombies for a change). Rourke has turned bitter after the loss of his wife, and is out for revenge on the creature that killed her. One day he comes across a woman who is in the middle of an attack by a couple of human thugs. After saving her, she asks him if he can accompany her back to her compound where she and another group of survivors try to make a stand against the vampires. Upon returning, Rourke meets up with the leader of the group a man called Frank. When an Alpha vampire makes it appearance, things become very grim indeed. Rourke thinks the only way for the group to survive is to take out the Alpha on his own turf, but Frank has other ideas. With night closing in, both men will have to find a way to work together, or the end will be there, in more ways than one.

A couple of years ago I saw a briljant post apocalyptic vampire movie called Stakeland. (If you have not yet seen that one, track it down, it is very good). This movie, though not as good as the former, reminds me of it in a lot of ways. Daylight’s End is a pleasant surprise. There are a lot of well executed action sequences and some great performances by the actors. Lance Henriksen is always just a very solid actor, but Johny Strong who plays the lone wolf Rourke, also does a pretty good job. Strong also performed the score for this movie, and it set the tone perfectly. Sure, this movie doesn’t do anything that you haven’t seen before, but it is definitely not boring, and especially if you like movies such as these it might be worth your time to see this one.

I give Daylight’s End a 7 out of 10 score.

 

The Complex, Japanese movie (2013)

Every person that loves movies probably has a few movie scenes that they find pretty much unforgettable. They can be memorable because of a certain number of reasons. Either they shocked you in some way, made you feel goosebumps, or are just so incredibly horrifying that they have been edged into your mind forever. Whatever the reason may be, the impact they made on you will never be forgotten. A scene that I recall vividly was the moment that Sadako appears from out of the television screen in the original Ringu (Ring) movie. I was absolutely terrified, never having witnessed something that scary in a movie before. It is moments like those, that make me love movies so much. To date, even though I now know what is coming, I still find it a truly horrible scene, but wow it is so good. The director of the Ring, Hideo Nakata, has since made a lot of other horrormovies and one of those is The Complex.

The student Asuka together with her parents, has recently moved into a new appartment complex. As with every new residence it usually takes a while to get used to your new surroundings. But in this complex things take a bit longer than normal. Asuka constantly hears strange scratching noises coming from the apartment next door. One day she finds her neighbour dead in his home. But the noises continue after his dead, and it doesn’t end there. When confronted by the ghost of her dead neighbour, she learns that there have been more people that have died in the complex. Soon, terrible secrets come to light, that will drive Asuka to the edge of insanity…

To get started right away, this movie definitely is not The Ring. There truly are a few pretty scary scenes, that will sent shivers up your spine. But those moments are scarce, this being more of a supernatural mystery than a true horror movie. As I expected this to be a movie more in the style of the Ring, I was a bit disappointed by it.  But that being said, this movie is not bad. The story is pretty good, and has some nice twists in it, that I certainly did not see coming. It is one of those movies that when you finish it, it does keep you thinking about it in your mind. The acting was fairly decent, and as far as cinematography goes that was done allright as well. The movie moves along at a slow pace, but has just enough in it to keep your attention. In the end I found this movie okay, but not great.

As such I give this movie a 6 out of 10 score.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, American movie (2015)

Halloween is fast approaching so I am currently watching more than my regular fill of horrormovies. In horror there a few franchises that are well known amongst fans. Usually all these movies and their sequels have one thing in common: they start off really well, and usually go downhill fast with every sequel made. Ofcourse there are a few examples of sequels that are so bad, they become entertaining just because of that. Take for instance Friday the 13th. With a whopping twelve movies to date (including a remake and Freddy vs. Jason), it is a prime example of a horrorfranchise that produced sequels that were so bad, they were good. Last year another franchise released a sequel which is supposedly the final chapter. I am talking about Paranormal Activity 5: the Ghost Dimension.

The original Paranormal Activity was a classic. It was made with very minimal means, and told the story of a family being threatened by supernatural forces. It was made with handheld camera’s and showed in a very realistic way what happened to the family at night. And it pretty much started the whole “found footage” craze in horrormovies. With three sequels, and two spin-off movies, this last installment marks the end of the road. In the Ghost Dimension, two parents and their little girl take up residence in their new home. While cleaning up the house, the father finds a camera that is very unusual. Looking through it he is beginning to see things that are definitely not of this world. When his daughter is subsequently beginning to act very strangely, he soon realises that an evil demon has set his sights on his little girl. However getting rid of this demon is easier said than done…

The problem I have with this final installment is that it has lost sight of the original movie. Where the first one was made with little to no means, this one is full of special effects (and not very good ones either). That in itself would not be so bad, if the movie was any good. Unfortunately it is not. The creators of this film must have thought that throwing in a few jumpscares at 10 minute intervals would make for a scary film. Well it really doesn’t work like that. Except for maybe one or two scenes, this movie is pretty boring and not really scary at all. Having seen all the previous parts, I wanted to know how they would end it. Well I guess I have my answer now: pretty badly. As I said this is the final chapter, but let’s be honest we have all heard that before. I would not be surprised if in one or two years part six will be released : Back from the Ghost Dimension, or another name such as that. If you have watched this franchise from the beginning, as I have, then I guess you almost have to watch this one. Be prepared for a bitter disappointment though.

I give this movie a 4 out of 10 score.

I Am A Hero Omnibus 1, a Japanese Manga book (2016)

The Walking Dead is returning to your television screens in October with it’s seventh season to date. One would almost forget that this fantastic television series all started with a comic book created by Robert Kirkman. Even more impressive is that it has just reached issue number 158, and there is no end in sight yet. Not bad, considering that this a series that tells a story about a Zombie Apocalypse. Not that stories like that are bad, mind you, but to keep it interesting for 158 issues is nothing short of amazing. Ofcourse as is always the case with things that are a succes, we get copycats. Most of these are just poor substitutes for the real thing, but occasionally something arrives that truly impresses. And that, in a roundabout way, brings me to the I am a hero manga. This also tells a story of a Zombie Apocalypse, but that is where the similarities with the Walking Dead end.

I am a hero, tells the story of the aspiring Manga artist Hideo Suzuki. Now Hideo is not your typical guy. For one thing he is plagued by hallucinations of varying degrees. He also likes to talk to himself: a lot. The only person who seems to accept him is his girlfriend Tekko. Hideo has been struggling for years to break through in the Manga world and not for lack of trying. Unfortunately he is just not very good, even though he thinks so himself. But then things in the real world begin to change. At first it is hardly noticeable, but when there are increasingly more people acting strangely, Hideo is beginning to realise that this is not another hallucination. People are actually starting to change into zombies. With the world heading slowly to an Apocalypse, Hideo has to find a way to make himself survive, and care for the girl he loves.

I am a hero, is being released by Dark Horse Comics into omnibus editions, which contain two volumes of the original manga. This is definitely a story for a mature audience. There are some seriously bizarre and adult situations that pop up from time to time, and this can sometimes for a casual reader be distracting. However once you get past these, this makes for a very entertaining read. This Manga starts very, very slowly. It takes it’s time (one could argue for too long) to set up the characters and the storylines. However the art of this Manga is so incredibly beautiful that I did not mind this at all. Every frame is almost like a painting, and that alone makes it worth the purchase. I do think that this Manga won’t be for everyone. Even if you like zombiestories, this is not your usual Zombie Apocalypse epic. However, if you want to read something other than the Walking Dead, and are willing to take a chance, you might definitely be surprised. I for one loved it, and am looking forward to the release of the 2nd omnibus in October.

I give this Manga a 9 out of 10 score.

Another, Anime tv series (2012)

Sometimes a cover of a book or a poster of a movie draws your attention. At times you can’t even explain why or find a reason for it. It just holds power over you in some mysterious way. This does not always mean that because a book has a cool cover, or a movie has a neat poster, that the book or movie itself are good. You do know you can’t judge a book by it’s cover right? Why am I even talking about this you ask? Well, when browsing for a new Anime I came across the picture that I put above this review. For some reason it drew my attention….and boy am I glad it did. Because Another has been one of the best animated shows I have ever seen. Not only that, it also featured one of the most intriguing stories I have ever come across, in either live action or anime.

It is 1998 when the 15 year old boy, Kouichi Sakakibara returns to his hometown of Yomiyama. His father has to work abroad, so he now lives with his grandparents. Before going to school, he unfortunately has to spend a whole month in the hospital. A few of his new classmates of the 9 th grade class 3 eventually come to visit him, but they act very strangely. When Kouichi finally has recovered enough to go to school, he is beginning to experience some very weird things. He meets a mysterious girl with an eyepatch, called Mei Misaki. But why is it that at times it seems only Kouichi can see her? When people in his class begin to die, it is beginning to dawn on Sakakibara that there is a terrible curse on class 3. A curse that apparently no one in class 3 can escape from….

Now I know there are some people out there who might not even try to watch this. It is animated, and so it must be for kids right? Wrong….this is definitely not for kids. It is one of the best horror/mystery shows I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Another is based on the novel of the same name by author, Yukito Ayatsuji. (A novel I have now immediately ordered online after concluding this series). The best way to describe it is a mix between one of the best Agatha Christie novels and the Final Destination horror movie series. It draws you in with the first episode, and keeps you in suspense right up until the end. Everything about this 12 part series is simply put: awesome. The animation is spot on, the music is fantastic, and the voice acting is superb. This has been one of the best things I have seen all year, and yes it is animated but it almost doesn’t feel like you are watching an Anime. It really is that good. Now please don’t take my word for it, but just give it a try. I dare you not to get drawn in right away and try to figure out what is going on. Be careful not to get caught up in the curse though…

I give Another a 10 out of 10 score.

From Dusk Till Dawn, American Movie (1996)

Vampires. Besides zombies, I don’t think there is a single monster that has been featured in so many movies and tv series as this creature of the night. The fun thing is that each movie or show has it’s own set of rules for them. One basic fact, however, almost always stays the same: simply put it is a monster that feeds and lives on human blood. There is a certain fascination we keep having for these mythical beings, and that is probably why they keep making movies and tv series about them. I have recently started watching the series From Dusk Till Dawn, (you can find my review for season 1 here ) based ofcourse on the classic movie from 1996 starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. And as such I thought it was a nice opportunity to watch the original again.

The criminal Seth has been freed by his brother Richard from police custody. Richard is a bit on the crazy side (and that is putting it mildly) and leaves a trail of destruction behind. Seth always tries to be cool in things, but also has to deal with the antics of his brother. Trying to get away from the police and escape to freedom, the brothers search for a way to get across the border to Mexico. As fate would have it, they stumble across a family travelling in a big motorhome. Seth takes advantage of this and hold the family hostage. Jacob Fuller, the head of the family, is a priest that has lost his faith after the death of his wife in a car accident. In order to keep his children safe, he agrees to take the two brothers across the border. Eventually they arrive at their destination, an enormous strip bar called the Titty Twister. (Sorry folks, I did not come up with this name). Thinking themselves safe, they soon find out that things are not what they seem in this bar. As their hosts don’t have a particular love for liquor, but a very different form of drink. A substance that is red and often found inside a human body: blood……

Having rewatched this classic, I can honestly say that when compared to the tv version, this is definitely superior. Sure the televised version has it’s own charms, but this is so much better. For one thing there is the acting. I had forgotten how good George Clooney was in this movie. His portrayal of Seth is nothing short of astonishing and has been one of the best roles in his career. The fun thing about this film is how this movie changes halfway through. In the beginning you are watching a gritty crime thriller, only to end up with a hardcore horror movie, with blood and guts flying everywhere. This definitely makes it a movie that is not for everyone. I for one do think this is an absolute classic, and should be seen by every horror fan at least once.

I give from Dusk Till Dawn a 8 out of 10 score.