THE FOREST [the game] Early Access Review

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[PC GAME—NO RELATION TO RECENT FILM OF THE SAME NAME]

! ! ! THIS GAME IS VERY VIOLENT—SOME SCREENSHOTS MAY DISTURB ! ! !

Just had to check Wikipedia to help me remember when I had first started this journey through… THE FOREST… (sorry) and it was upon release of the early access alpha version—that it’s technically still in, but beta and release must be coming soon if it can be judged by features, content, and playability—in May of 2014. From the beginning, I knew there was something special about this game. Until recently, though, it was not possible to finish the game’s story, and it had slowly been unlocked and built upon with well-guarded secrecy.

You start the game as a man on a plane sitting with his sleeping son in the next seat. After picking up a survival guide book from his small plastic dinner ‘table’—a detail added more recently and a nice touch, since you’ll use this book throughout to build structures, fires, etc. from—the plane hits heavy turbulence and proceeds to break apart as it crash lands on a forested peninsula. While you come-to writhing on the cabin floor, a half-naked man covered in red paint and looking like some sort of tribal native picks up your unconscious son and leaves the back half of the plane while you lose consciousness again.

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So, it’s simple—you want your son back. Except that it’s not.

Continue reading “THE FOREST [the game] Early Access Review”

AFTERGLOW: SOMA

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[AFTERGLOW: a mini-review series of my just-finished-this impressions]

Just finished this masterpiece.

I loved this game. Can’t think of a more nuanced way to express it. I’d played the majority of it several months ago, but the intensity of the stealth-based horror sections just wasn’t what I felt like immersing myself in after a hard days work, considering many other things eating at my emotional energy since then.

Finally committed and I’m really glad I did. I loved Frictional’s first game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but I have to say that this one is my heavily weighted favorite of the two.

The horror is strong and disturbing–and heightened due to a story filled with misdirection and perfectly vague and well-paced revelations–which makes the well-written and sometimes surprisingly intimate and touching story all that much more powerful. The stealth sections are sometimes so dread-inducing that it became hard to play for chunks longer than an hour or two.

That intensity coupled with the existential quandaries and implications of the unfurling dark science fiction story really made this a special piece. I’d go so far as to call it transcendent.

I say all of this as a huge fan of well-thought-out fusions of Science Fiction and Horror, but if that’s not a combo that does much for you, YMMV.

pml

Fright Fest: Planet of the Vampires (1965)

Fright Fest: Planet of the Vampires (1965)

My review for Thomas S. Flowers’ Machine Mean blog Fright Fest film review series. -pml

Machine Mean

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[WARNING: EXTREME DIGRESSIONS, LATERAL ASSOCIATIONS, AND UNSOLICITED MUSINGS FOLLOW] To start, a confession—as much as I enjoy Italian horror (and horror in general), I’m not sure if I’d ever seen one of Mario Bava’s films in its entirety [preemptive update: since choosing this film for review and watching it through a couple times, I coincidentally had the pleasure of finally watching Blood and Black Lace at a good friend’s birthday movie party]. I’d seen a few of his son Lamberto’s, but looking over the Elder Bava’s filmography I couldn’t honestly say I could attach a title listed to a film I could clearly remember. My early days of watching Giallo and other types of Italian horror coincided with attending art/film school in San Francisco, so you’ll have to forgive my own uncertainty—as I wasn’t always completely sober while viewing a great deal of the offerings from “Le Video” and other…

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Universal Monsters in Review: The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Universal Monsters in Review: The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

My review for Thomas S. Flowers’ Machine Mean blog Universal Monsters in Review series earlier this year. After an intro by Thomas, I give my thoughts on this enjoyable(spoiler!) film. -pml

Machine Mean

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Taking a cue from the original The Invisible Man, the Return seems to keep with that same breakneck speedy opening, forcing the audience to catch up as the story progresses rather rapidly. I’m not sure if I was just totally exhausted before watching this movie last night, but it took me a while to figure out what was going on and who was who. Sure. It doesnt take Sir Sherlock Holmes to figure what the scientist is doing, or when the guards in the prison discover the remnants of Mr. Griffin’s clothes on the floor.  It did take me though almost half the move to realize who Cedric Hardwicke was playing as. Was this intentional or just the style of classic Invisible Man tropes? Who knows. What I did enjoy, other than the superb acting on all fronts, was the overall deeper theme of the movie, much like the predecessor, The Invisible Man Returns

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