Author - Ripper71

School Girl Zombie Hunter Review

School Girl Zombie Hunter is a tale of five school girls who are the only ones left in an all-girls school overrun by zombies.  One girl is self-assured and positive, she is your first character to control and starts with a pistol.  The second school girl is withdrawn and feels very unsure even though she is a bad ass with a machine gun. Each character has her own strengths and weaknesses. The after-mission grading system seemed sort of messed up at the moment, as I did better on a mission I barely completed than one I finished with bonus time to spare. So unless you are going for trophies I’m not sure I would care about anything except finishing the mission before its time runs out. That’s easier said than done on some missions, which can be fairly challenging.  It seems like the time limit was chosen randomly, as it is almost arbitrary. It’s as though they wanted the game to last a certain length of time so missions are usually 10 minutes long.

I enjoyed the zombies pretty well, I thought there was a decent enough variety as well as a couple other kinds of enemies that kept things interesting. I wasn’t just dispatching the same generic zombie over and over again.  The game dumps weapons on you every mission, all you have to do is pick them up and complete the mission in time – no completion no weapon.  I didn’t care for the auto-aim system, but I used weapons with it for my other teammates since it worked well enough for them.  I have always been a shoot them myself, no thanks auto-aim kinda guy.  I want the zombie head shots to be all me thank you, not some fickle aim system.

Another couple of sets of drops are dresses, wigs and… underwear.  I’ll get to the last one in a bit.  The dresses can work as a couple different ways, the first being like armor, the more beat up you get the more holes in it with peeks to the undies set underneath.  Now if you are excited about seeing under the school girl uniforms here is step one, get them shot up.  Apparently though zombies are just as attracted to school girl uniforms as you are because you can throw them off and they become zombie bait with the zombies piling up on top of them.  They have some kind of attraction but if you wanted to see the zombie hunting school girls in the fancy panties or keep your team from dying this can be a good way to accomplish either or both, I will try not to judge.

As you progress new objectives and some stranger zombies start to show up but your fighting is pretty much just kept to part of the school grounds.  As the zombies get better so do the weapons to a degree, there are a few times you have to think and come up with strategies on what is the best weapon choices to take on a certain zombie type.  You will also need to figure out what zombie killing combo might open up otherwise blocked off ways and find hidden treasures on each of the levels.  It’s always about watching the timer, keeping your team alive with healing or cloths zombie traps and finishing whatever the job is.

When you get further into the game you get an option to help keep your team alive by just throwing uniforms out anymore… and it gets kinda lewd.  The game makes fun of itself for it and makes a couple of not the most tactful jokes but when you are going there I guess they figure all is fair in zombie fighting and lewd game development.  So if you like to associate your school girls with fruits and vegetables you’ve found your game.

There is also a multiplayer mode so get your buddies on if they like what they see on your playing and team up against the zombie hordes.  If you don’t bring any friends you might just find yourself alone in a multiplayer match with tougher enemies.

When All Is Said And Stripped:

School Girl Zombie Hunter is an alright game with a nice selection of enemies and tasks to complete and a creative method to keep its characters alive.  Personally I would rather they had armor, thrown that off then maybe uniforms if it came to that but the developers were aiming for a crowd that liked their animated games a bit more, ahem, exposed.  If that is your thing the game has 50 levels of normal and 50 of hard, enjoy!

School Girl Zombie Hunter Review Score

(3 out of 5 Stars)


Nioh: The Complete Edition (PC) Review

Those gamers who prefer to hack and slash their way instead of shooting through a game should check out Nioh: Complete Edition. Nioh: Complete Edition was recently ported to Steam and has just enough of a Dark Souls feel to get players comfortable with the mechanics combined with plenty of original touches to keep things fresh.

Nioh: Complete Edition takes place during the late Sengokuhara period of Japan in the 1600s. This period of time saw Queen Elizabeth trying to find the Philosopher’s Stone to win the war they had been waging with Spain.  However, something darker than war is brewing in the search for the stone and it involves some poor Irish sailor named William Adams who woke to find himself in a prison he would rather leave.

For a port, this game does have some issues. Visually, the game is locked to 720p resolution, and it does take a pretty hefty setup to run it smoothly, so be sure to checkout the system requirements. Nioh: Complete Edition also features some weird controls. Also, if you re-map the key commands, the hints that pop up will not adjust themselves, leaving you with bad information. On the good side of things, very few people complain about the gamepad setup, so I recommend using one here.

Replay value isn’t an issue with Nioh: Complete Edition because this game is gigantic!  You get the base game as well as the Dragon of the North, Defiant Honor, and Bloodshed’s End expansion packs – plus even more extra story lines.  That equals hundreds of hours of playtime, even more if you are an achievement chaser because this game has 79 to collect!  Players will also get a special helmet for their character. Personally I think a special chest piece would be better because I like the sort-of bowler style helmet you get in the first part of the game, but samurai are kind of known for their helmets.

Fights rely on managing your health and stamina. Attacking, dodging, and moving all require stamina so you never want to bottom it out. Health doesn’t regenerate, it requires health potions so try to use them sparingly and learn to dodge!  Once you get your dodge and attack timings down you can do some serious damage and not be destroyed so easily.  Fighting also makes it so that you can improve and master a weapon, develop specialties, choose armor and spirit specialty, and break down weapons for transferring abilities.  The game isn’t just fighting and questing though one can spend hundreds of hours doing just that. Those gamers wishing to go deeper will spend massive amounts of time working on customization projects and mastering different aspects.  This game may look fairly simple at first glance and during the first section may be a bit easier to settle you in but it isn’t very long before it becomes massively more intricate.

If all this wasn’t enough, there are skill trees to learn and choose to customize your play style.  Before that begins to make you sweat know that you can reset the skill points in case you are fighting a boss and it just isn’t giving you the results you want.  You also get to select a Spirit Guardian which will help you along your journey – hopefully complimenting your play style (if you chose right).

There are also a limited Co-operation, Multiplayer, and Clan play that seems to still be in the works.  Co-operation involves someone posting they need help and you go and try to, Multiplayer partly involves if you get killed someone can go to where your corpse fell and try to get some of the items from your corpse by playing what is basically an essence of what you were, it also tells you what the person was killed by so you understand what to expect. Clan play where you wind up completing quests for a Clan and getting rewards.  There are also in-game prestige points which are earned by completing in game achievements that can be used to purchase passive abilities.

If you manage to finish the game to your satisfaction?  Go back through using a whole different build of weapons, armor and Spirit Guardian and see how different it feels and how many more hours you spend in it…

Time To Rest My Mortal Coil:

Nioh: Complete Edition was a huge, outstanding game in its original form – but when you add the three expansions and more story lines to the mix, this game became one of the largest and most fulfilling games I have played in recent memory.  There are lots of big problems with the port but if you have a fast enough system and you can get used to a slightly different gamepad setup this can be your go to game for months to come.

Nioh: Complete Edition Review Score

(4 out of 5 Stars)


Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers Review

During my favorite holiday, Halloween, I got sick with a massive fever, sweats, etc. I am very lucky to be married to a nurse who kept me from well.  Upon returning to to the West coast, I hit the pillow and slept for 30 hours straight!  Unbeknownst to me, the Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers by 2breathe would be waiting for me so I could do some product testing while trying to heal and rest!

To properly test the Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers, I had my wife lay in the bed next to me to see how much of the sound a person next to me would hear and possibly be interrupted by. The Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers claim to be directional and low-annoyance, but I wanted to know for sure!

First I started with a no-name pillow speaker from another company.  That model comes in the shape of a bear’s head and is extremely soft, however the speaker is just a disc sewn into the pillowing so when listening to music the bleed out is really strong, my wife could hear the music almost as good as I could! The pillow is also pretty small so it shifts around during sleep. On a hygienic note, the slip cover can be removed so that it can be cleaned.

Since that was a no-go, I returned my attention to the Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers, which have an unusual design where they are semi rigid going across in what look like a large eye mask shape pad. Each end of the pad has a small driver, allowing you to basically have a pair of stereo speakers next to your head.  The section under your head has a little give, allowing the ear pieces to bend slightly toward your ears.  This directional audio made it so my wife could barely hear the music.  If I rolled onto my side in my sleep, my ears would position naturally over the speakers by slipping into foam which cups the ears when in them then pops back into shape.

While both pillow speakers had stereo cables to running down to your input device, the Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers went the extra mile by having breakaway cable in case you are listening to your phone and go to leave the room forgetting it is plugged in.  It will simply pop loose and you can plug it in later.  This is also nice if you want to use a different length of cable!

Both have the ability to store their cables during travel, and either one can have the pillow unzipped and tuck the cord inside. However, the Soft-Tones Pillow Speaker also has an outside pocket to store the cable in. 2breathe, the company behind the Soft-Tones Pillow Speaker, did a great job on thinking about practical usage of the unit.

A couple things I would have liked to see in the Soft-Tones would be a strap to fasten it to your favorite pillow. Also, some additional give between the speakers and a head strap would be good to make sure the headset moves with you precisely and lowers the bleed out even more.  These really aren’t a consideration on the no name pillow speaker I compared the Soft-Tones with since it is considered a fluffy pillow with a speaker and has really bad bleed out anyways.

Back To Rest With Soft-Tones:

Soft-Tones by 2breathe showed up at just the right time to bring some great comfort in a time of need.  With stereo sound but minimal bleed over this is a great system for someone who wants to rock all night in their sleep and party every day.

Soft-Tones Pillow Speakers Review Score

(4 out of 5 Stars)

You can get your own Soft-Tones pillow speaker at the product’s official website.

Predator Vs. Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens: Splice And Dice

When I sat down with Predator Vs. Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens: Splice And Dice, I expected something kind of deal where the Predators had dropped a bunch of Aliens in Mega City One and then hunted them down much to the displeasure of Judge Dredd.  Sounded simple enough – but, what the story wound up being was much deeper than that.

In Mega City One a cyber messiah named Archbishop Emoji arose promising Armageddon.  His followers branded emojis into their foreheads and joined him in a terror through town that included everything from murder to speeding.  As Dredd and his backup start to close in on Emoji he shot out into the Wastelands, leaving some of his followers as traps as he went into the Alabama Morass jungles and swamplands where it was rumored you enter alive but you never leave.

Meanwhile, in that wasteland, a bunch of Island of Dr. Moreau type hybrid creatures are hunting down a Predator from a crashed ship.  The last thing that this predator does is pop an S.O.S. as he is captured.  It isn’t long before we see a strange standoff with stolen DNA from an Alien on the crashed ship, a tech monster, and a human-arachnid hybrid and two of the galaxies best warriors working side by side to take on various versions of the galaxy’s best surviving nasty beast.  It really keeps you on your toes how it is going to work out right until the end.  Let’s face it when you have a name like Judge Dredd he is going to survive, and if you remember Anderson from the more notable Dredd works you have a pretty good idea about her too but everyone else really is a toss up.

Good Until The Last Egg:

Now that Predator Vs. Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens: Splice And Dice is available in graphic novel with sketch work at the back I highly recommend this read that stays true to it’s know characters and creates some really interesting new ones.  You should be able to find it at your local book store, or if you are like me, your mom-in-law.

Predator Vs. Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens: Splice And Dice Review Score

(4 out of 5 stars)


Pinball FX 3 And Universal Classics Pinball Review

I  love pinball and have been playing on machines since my great uncle had a small arcade when I was around six.  It was an easy babysitter – load me up with quarters and I could play on them for a good while.  So I though I was pretty good.  I can’t come even close to affording my own machine so the next best thing is a console. I got Pinball FX upon its release and it was very clear that Zen Studios had done their homework and they completely out shown the competition.  The physics of the bumpers and flippers – it all felt like and looked like a real machine. Not to mention the fact that the tables are entertaining in subject and diverse in play speed and length.  Some were based on existing boards and others were entirely new creations.  When Pinball FX 2 came along, suddenly there were tons of animation and movement on the board that wouldn’t be possible in the real world.  Characters jumped around the board, things levitated up above where the glass should be and basically what was a little animation in the first game was completely bringing the table to life.  Now, Zen Studios has released Pinball FX 3! What new things will Pinball FX 3 bring to the table and how do the new Universal Classics Pinball tables play? Let’s find out!

Playing A Mean Pinball:

Pinball FX 3 has taken the beautiful physics and graphics of the series to the next level and tried to tie in concepts of community and personal challenges to keep gameplay fresh.  Now you can play games that work towards your rating on online leaderboards! Now you are not just playing against the table but your score is up against anyone else who has the game and is playing competitively.  There are hundreds of achievements and completing them helps unlock such things as slow motion table so if you think you are going to lose the ball you can slow-mo, nudge, and (hopefully) save your ball.  There are passive unlocks too that will make it so you have like a 5X multiplier to your score on the next game or something like that which can boost your score. There is still Hot Seat play which is where you have more than one player in the room and you hand off the controller to the next player. There is even a practice mode that gives you unlimited balls to keep practicing how to hit the ball off the flippers to hit the right bumper, during this mode you don’t get achievements or unlocks but you do get what everyone who wants to get better needs: practice, practice, practice.

There is a feature that has gotten some mixed attention and that is forward conversion of tables from Pinball FX 2.  The creators said they would be forward compatible but a bunch of them were removed and, for some reason, didn’t make it.  I thought I had noticed a couple missing but thought it was “just me”. After checking the community boards, however, I discovered I wasn’t wrong.  That being said the most important ones to me were the Star Wars tables and they made it.  I’m not sure if the Aliens Vs. Pinball tables are new but I have an eye on them next after The Universal Classic Pinball tables.

Universal Classic Pinball:

If you are a horror and Halloween fan like we are here at GamingShogun, then when you hear “Universal Classic” you immediately add “Monsters” to it.  I don’t think we are to blame, the studio was built and flourished on those classic films. As a matter of fact the last section of one of the balconies from the original The Phantom of The Opera (1944) was just torn out a few years ago. I got to see it moments before it was torn down while on the tram.  So when I say the Universal Classics boards and an alien, a really big fish, and a time traveling Delorean were on display, I was kind of shocked us as they weren’t so classic as say the Daughter Of Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.  Then I got to thinking: The pinball tables are a big “ride surface” for the pinball and how are the rides for E.T., Back to the Future, and Jaws were removed from the West Coast and the rumor mill says it might be in danger on the East Coast due to expansion. Both the Back to the Future ride and the Jaws rides are gone.  I guess that can qualify them as classics if you can’t ride them anymore (if you go to Universal Orlando ride E.T. while you can, it still holds up beautifully!).

First table I did was the Back to the Future Trilogy. It is a short board with a moderate speed with tons of animation going on constantly.  You have native american warriors going up on a belt like ducks at an old style shooting gallery that you tried to knock down with the ball, the train moves off to the side, and the Delorean lands on the table. When Doctor Brown flips some switches and you get someone really good on it there were animated things happening all over the place – both on the table surface and even into the air above it where the glass should be.  Of course, it has a flux capacitor which no Back to the Future game should be the same without, and when things are right you can spin the “OUTOFTIME” personalized plate. You just want to keep playing to see what happens next!

Next was Jaws which I had the highest hopes for because for deeply personal reasons Jaws is very near my heart.  The middle field of the table was wide open but displayed bonuses being worked on and such.  The plunger is the fishing pole, the left top has Quint on the spear ramp of The Orca, the boardwalk, and beach complete with umbrella are on the top right and in the top middle is the shark cage, which is encircled by an ominous fin.  This is one machine that if you aren’t too hot at it you might not have a great time.  It is a fairly short table with fast play meaning you have to have your reaction times on point.  I would not be surprised if tables like this are the reason the practice section was created. Once you get the ball rolling so to speak this board proves its worth in excitement, I mostly watched my wife play because she got her groove down faster on it. Then it was like watching a short film about a great white shark, an obsessed man, and the silver ball that brought them on a collision course!

The last one I played was E.T. and that was probably for the best.  E.T. is a longer table with a decent speed but gets a little nicely slowed by all the beautiful animations and mini-games happening everywhere! You use the Jaws Pez dispenser to bite at the ball to launch it then it goes into so many details from the movie.  There are the dead plants that if you look closely have droplets of water coming down the side of them.  Elliot leaves a trail of Reese’s Pieces (best marketing placement ever!) for E.T. to follow down to the bottom of the board.  They talk while the ball triggers all kinds of events all over the table.  I was so proud the first time I got E.T.’s ship to take off then dropped a ball underneath.  The multi-ball seemed more forgiving as you were able to lose them both longer before the ball didn’t save.  Of all the tables this is the most family friendly, not just in the play but because of the character and the animation, it is probably one of the most fun and cool looking table I have ever played.

Last Ball:

Pinball FX 3 and Universal Classic Pinball are the next evolution in the video pinball gaming world.  You can play tables alone or in leagues and online leadership boards, you can unlock passive and active attributes to improve your game by leveling up through scores and achievements. To me the best part will be doing it by making a time machine fly, helping a little fella phone home, all while dealing with the white beast in the dark waters off Amity Island. Just remember when competition gets stressful, Amity means friendship.

Pinball FX 3 And Universal Classics Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)


Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 Review

The first thing that struck me about the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 was its small size. Most keyboards both gaming and non-gaming have a set of numbers off to the side to interchange with the ones that go across the top of your keyboard.  This is known as the numeric keypad and I know people who use those side number keys, but it is very seldom used in video-gaming.  That numeric keypad is mostly used when balancing the bills, adding and subtracting what someone owes them, mostly that kind of thing.  I know a VERY small group of people who game using up, down, left, and right keys instead of WASD and they then usually use the number pad because it is closer to their arrow keys.  This becomes less and less common the higher the player rankings until when you get to the pros or at least tournament players that “numpad” becomes near useless.  Programming types might use it but gaming it just becomes extra bulk in the way. This is why the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 simply got rid of it!

With the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2, Razer removed the section gamers don’t need, the numbers pad, and placed a wrist pad on it instead to help prolong wrist comfort and tournament longevity.  That way you can practice and play longer! Also, because it doesn’t take as wide of a footprint on your desk, you can have more room on the side of your keyboard for things such as a larger profile mouse pad, a well-secured beverage or even a pastrami sandwich with extra pickles!

Another big feature of the Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 is its ergonomic wrist rest.  Strangely, over the years these have faded out of connection with the keyboard becoming more of a separate thing mostly associated with the lower section of the mouse mat. As a result instead of both wrists getting rest when you are working on typing or gaming only the wrist that does any of the mouse work gets any of the cushiony comfort.  The result is that your wrists will start to become sore over prolonged use.  Everyone has heard of carpal tunnel syndrome by now and what was previously known as tennis elbow has become more associated with computer use.  People are notorious for not treating an issue until it becomes a problem and damage due to computer use is definitely one of them.  That’s where this keyboard is playing smart, it removes keys you don’t need and gives you ergonomic wrist rests that everyone can use.

The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2’s small size helps in carrying it to events or just on the road for when you need to do a little writing. This keyboard fits into most backpacks, making it terrific for traveling especially since the wrist rest can be removed for travel. In fact, even the USB cable has a quick-detach feature where it connects to the keyboard itself, meaning that it won’t get in the way of things when you are carrying it around in your bag!

Being a Razer Mechanical Switch product means you can count on an 80 million keystroke lifespan – Razer has definitely done their stress testing!  Up until 2010 mechanical switches were only used for typing because they seemed to be the only ones who needed to type keys between 60-100 times a minute, then Razer realized that competitive gamers were hitting those speeds and so put mechanical switches in their keyboards.  So a type of key switch that was once an obscure workplace tool helped usher in a new renaissance in the world of e-sports.  If you have ever watched professional a StarCraft tournament, you will see the insane level of moves made per second that some of those players are capable of.

Also of great usefulness if the ability to program key macros on-the-fly so that you are able to top you speeds by removing repetitive strokes.  The keyboard also includes 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting and it purrs along at a 1000 Hz Ultra-polling rate. This key switches are of the clicky variety, so they should add some audible satisfaction to your keyboarding.

Now for one of my parts and least important one the Razer Chroma customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options.  It is rather pointless for the most part but darned if I am not in love with being able to make it “shiny”. I did put black lights in my rig for pretty much the same reason and I doubt I was the only one to buy it off that shelf.

Official Specifications

  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 80 million keystroke lifespan
  • Tenkeyless compact layout
  • Ergonomic wrist rest
  • Instant Trigger Technology
  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 50g actuation force
  • Razer Chroma customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options
  • Compact layout
  • Razer Synapse enabled
  • 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling
  • Detachable braided fiber cable with cable strap

My New Little Love:

The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 is a beautiful and more compact replacement for full-size gaming keyboards that also manages to take tournament gaming to the next gaming level.  When it comes to gaming keyboards, this model’s portability and reliability is hard to beat. The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 retails for $139.99 and is available now. It also deserves the Seal of Approval!

Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)


Inmates Review

Inmates starts with you at the bottom of a very high flight of spiraling stairs with no hand rails that look exceptionally creepy. They just keep on spiraling upward while unknown people hang in the center of the structure via chains and cages. During the player’s ascent, you also get treated to game developer credits.  Interestingly, the people hanging in those cages aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary, just looking downtrodden and defeated.  I got to the top of the stars and found this place is some sort of prison, but there aren’t many prisoners left.  You find matches that help illuminate your way in darker parts but need to be used somewhat conservatively, you only get a couple each time you find a box.  As you go you find a picture of wife and yourself torn in half, you find blocked off corridors as if during a riot desks and tables had been used as barricades.  Periodically, you find notes in a cell and on rarer occasion you’ll encounter someone locked in a cell, just shaking their head ultra-fast like you see in horror movies such as Jacob’s Ladder. It’s a creepy effect, to be sure.

After a while, you find clues to talk to people, warnings to avoid some people, and puzzles to open locks which will further travel you into what you realize is your psyche. Saying anything more about the game’s story would be a spoiler since the game average playtime is  only 3 or 4 hours depending how fast you are with puzzles. This time would have been decreased considerably if the player had the ability to run. Not being able to move fast made me feel like I was dragging an iron ball and chain on my ankle, constantly slowing me down.  When I discovered the run-time and had experienced the game I decided to check into things, thinking maybe it had funding issues or something but found it was actually the fact that it was written and developed by one solitary person!  This really explained a lot and made the game feel more ambitious but also made me wish that he had asked for a hand from a friend to give us a bit more game to enjoy.

Inmates uses the Unreal Engine 4 and when you consider it’s not a high-action game, all that power is getting put into an extremely detailed and claustrophobic environment.  The deeper you get, the more things make sense but that depth has to be reached through puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles.

Final Thoughts on The Game’s Final Thoughts:

It’s always interesting when a game creator tries to capture metaphysical concepts in the form of a puzzle game.  Inmates captured a dark horror feeling but didn’t seem able to quite keep hold of it.  The atmosphere was beautifully rendered and immediately filled the player with dread, maybe the game should have been held back to make sure that feeling could be maintained.

Inmates Review Score

(3 out of 5 stars)


Michael Myers: Absolute Evil Mockumentary Review

Fan films can offer horror fans a welcome break from the stresses of the day. One such fan film is Michael Myers: Absolute Evil, a mockumentary that attempts to address how the town of Haddonfield, Illinois would first try to handle the Michael Myers incident. It looks at how law enforcement would react to his continued slipping through their fingers and how copycats and cultists would no doubt pop up to worship Michael Myers.

The film starts with one of Michael’s first and longest surviving targets, Lindsey Wallace, as she talks about how all small towns have secrets and the one Haddonfield tried to bury was Michael killing his sister. Then it moves on to an author who wrote “The Devil’s Eyes, The Story Of Michael Myers” and nicely picks up speed from there.  It would be really easy to fall into the trap of having one or two talking heads be the sole narrators through the mock documentary but it actually keeps a nice pacing. There are interviews with his mother, a documentary filmmaker knowledgeable about child murders (I fact checked and they were true cases going back to the early 1900s), and it even talked about other movies being made about Michael that had wrong facts about his family.

Later on in the mockumentary, they have Lindsey describe what happened on that fateful Halloween night from her point of view, that of a terrified little girl, which was really well done and believable.  The next time I watch the first Halloween movie I will be thinking of what happens with her and what was said in Michael Myers: Absolute Evil. It also has a journalist who had been extensively through the case notes and reported on the hospital attacks and describes things from an outsider’s point of view.  The last bit I will say without trying to spoil much is the coverage of the cult and copycat were very believable too.

The stylized name plates and photo filters are a bit too heavy handed, making them a little distorted, but it is manageable.

Michael Myers: Absolute Evil isn’t a lovefest mock documentary it is a very well done attempt to imagine what historical documentarians would have tried to piece together about the tragedies created by the serial killer Michael Myers. It is a good watch with just enough historic truth interwoven to make Michael seem that much more believable.  It would be a great watch as part of a marathon.

Michael Myers: Absolute Evil Mockumentary Review Score

(4 out of 5 Stars)


GameACon Convention Postmortem

Some conventions are started by people who have a whole bunch of industry connections that can put out advertising and pay for lots of big appearances.  Others have to start small and work their way up by way of grass roots efforts. GameACon in Las Vegas was one of these smaller events. I had heard about it rather last minute and it felt like most people who went did so the same way.  It was a nice little event! There was fun tournament play, lots of Jenga sets to topple, a few cosplayers in attendance, and a couple important companies that showed up as anchors such as Microsoft and Alienware.  There were also a handful of booths there, one of which I had to be dragged away from because it had Pocky and glow in the dark toys!

We took in an enjoyable panel about the fun and pitfalls of cosplaying, watched a few tournament rounds, and I debated picking up a straight razor from the weapons merch booth (I am “Ripper” after all).  We saw people running in and hugging each other, especially among the few cosplayers since they had planned to meet up which was definitely the way to do it.

GameACon has its share of growing pains right now but I really hope that they are able to get stronger and give it another shot next year.  Some word of mouth will kick in from this year and they just need to get some print notice out and maybe a few celebs (I hear some will fly out for airfare and room!) which are always a draw.  Here’s to hopefully seeing you again next year!

The Houses October Built 2 Review

Over the years, there has developed a more extreme sort of haunted house. One that pops up around Halloween in far smaller quantity than traditional haunted houses. I call them “shock houses”.  Those looking for them can find them through word of mouth and other underground channels.  There is a huge market for these extreme experience too, and they generally require a reservation and sell out early in the scary season.  The fact that the public can’t just walk up and buy a ticket adds to the mystery and, when we talk about how we go to haunted houses, people always want to know if we have been to one of them.  These places have you sign waivers for indemnity that aren’t just for theatrics.

A few years ago, The Houses October Built was released. The film was about a group of twenty somethings, four guys and one girl, going around the country trying to find the scariest haunted house for a documentary they’re filming.  In discussing what entails the “scariest” haunted house it falls somewhere between a haunt and a shock house.  In their search, they end up getting the attention of a legendary underground shock house called the “Blue Skeleton” that sends them a private invitation.  The first film is a combination of found footage from the group and found footage from various security cameras.

Now, The Houses October Built 2 is getting ready to be released, and we got the chance to see an advanced screener for review.  In the film, which takes place after the events of the original, the crew is back on a quest for intense haunted houses. After the events of the first film, Zack (Zack Andrews) is tight on money and wants to cash in on their 15 minutes of internet fame by going to haunts across the country and rating them as pseudo-celebrities.  He gets the four guys together no problem but Brandy (Brandy Schaefer), who is the real draw thanks to The Houses October Built, has had enough trauma in her life.  Now known as “coffin girl”, she is reticent to return on the haunted house quest due to the trauma she previously-incurred.

They talk her into coming along with the promise that they will only attend normal haunted houses. Knowing her one friend is severely tight on cash, she agrees. During their travels, they get the attention of an extreme shock house known as “Hellbent”.  Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

That is all in the setup you need, and I’ll avoid spoiling anything else for you.  The movie shows some of the very good and well known haunted houses from around the country and has some creepy surprises and twists.  It’s nice that they are using actual haunted houses too instead of just setting up fake ones. In The Houses October Built 2, you are shown the haunts and you can look them up if you like!

I’m trying to decide which of the movies I liked better but I think they follow a nice, natural progression. Zack, who was the mastermind behind the search for the shock house in the first one is still hooked on the idea. Brandy, who was jumpy to begin with in the first movie, winds up with the a rough, lingering reaction to the Blue Skeleton and definitely doesn’t want anything to do with them. The Houses October Built 2 attempts to ratchet things up.

One thing I watch for in found-footage films are cameras or angles that aren’t explained in a movie.  You would be amazed how often what is supposed to be a three camera shoot suddenly has a completely unexplained shot or uses a camera view that nobody would care enough about to have pointed a static camera at (a chair storage room for example).  This movie not only explains how every shot could happen but showed just about every cameraman in one of the shots so you knew they had even more than you probably thought to get all the angles. Technically, it makes sense.

The film moves along nicely with good pacing thanks to director Bobby Roe, who is also one of the writers and actors in the film. Unfortunately, the climax of The Houses October Built 2 is not quite as satisfying as the original’s ending was, but the entire film is a fun ride. The Houses October Built 2 is due out on September 22, and I highly recommend you watch both films back to back. The two of them a great double feature on an October evening with the lights turned down low.

The Houses October Built 2 Review Score

(4 out of 5 Stars)