House (Not the show. DEAR GOD, NOT THE SHOW)

This is not a writeup about the show House, where a snarky doctor pops Vicodin and solves medical mysteries. If that’s what you’re looking for, turn back now. This has nothing to do with that show, and never will. There are no similarities, except for maybe that some of the actors are male.

There are lots of movies out there about haunted houses and people getting trapped in them. Or people spending the night in one and then getting trapped in them. Or people going to a house because they’re lost/car’s broken/think it’s a nice hotel and then get trapped in it. It’s a familiar story, and it can be said that it’s a little played out. But then, you could really say that about every movie out there, couldn’t you? All stories have already been told, it’s the way in which they’re done that we should be looking at.

And by god.

I think I originally began to watch this because I thought it would be crap, and maybe it would help me fall asleep. Michael Madsen was obviously another pull. He’s okay in my book. But it’s very likely that I didn’t really have much hope, though I swear to you now that I recall no such thoughts happening.

Mostly because this movie just blew all such thoughts right out of my pretty little brain. Then said brain was splattered against the wall.

This is, apparently, also a book. Which I’m going to have to seek out. Because wow. If this is what I get from the movie, I can only imagine what I’ll get from the book (*knock wood* please, don’t jinx me, please don’t let me be wrong, please don’t let it be horrible since I opened my damned fool mouth).

This doesn’t just get you through plain old every day fear, either. This really fucks with you all over the place. It’s like it had a party in your brain with Motley Crew and Guns ‘N’ Roses and didn’t tell you. It also didn’t tell you that it invited some heroin junkies and gave you some acid in your sandwich. Every single angle, this thing is coming at you. I loved it.

I think that more horror should be all encompassing, instead of just focusing on the physical horror or the psychological horror. Combining it can make some very beautiful music. Haunting, melodic music carrying a chainsaw. Oh, I know it can go the other way, too. I’ve seen it happen. I’m not an idiot. But more should at least try. If we do not try, we do not learn.

We can take notes from this movie, and spread them all over the place, and hope that little baby movies with this much intensity are born. Or something.

Dante’s Inferno

Have you ever been really bad at a game you really loved? I haven’t. Well, not until Dante’s Inferno. And that sounds really arrogant, but it’s true. When I find a game that I adore, it’s like I already know what to do. My brain and my hands communicate perfectly, and everything comes extremely naturally.

Again, that was until Dante’s Inferno.

I picked this game up as soon as I could. The moment that it started to be talked about, I was interested. I am a huge fan of the Divine Comedy and have had multiple copies of it over my life. Currently I have an older set in a three book arrangement, and a giant copy complete with the woodcuttings. You can imagine that I was pretty excited to hear that they were going to make a game from this.

I knew, of course, that they wouldn’t be following the story exactly. How could they? And that things would be left out, other things would be added in that weren’t there originally. I made peace with these facts long before the game was released. The point was, it was going to be Dante’s Inferno. That’s all it needed to be, for me.

When I got the game, I was more than pleased with what I was seeing. I had no complaints to make, and happily worked my way through levels, deciding (of course) to damn everything as much as possible on the way.

The only problem was – I kept dying.

There’s something to be said for getting used to a game and dying a couple of times in the very beginning, but that wasn’t what was happening here. This was an extraordinary amount of dying. This was me kicking the bucket every few minutes. This was the sort of dying that makes you feel really bad about yourself as a gamer. It was getting to the point that I was only able to get through one level each time I played before I found myself extremely frustrated and having to quit. This is not the kind of thing you want happening in a game you adore. And despite my inability to stay alive, I was still in love.

It got to the point that I decided I was going to have to go for the easiest difficultly level. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I went to the options and lo…

I have it set on the hardest. The hardest is called “Hellish”. Yeah. No kidding. It appears that Dante’s Inferno doesn’t work the way that other games do, with an “easy” “medium” and “hard”, but rather “Normal” (medium) “hard” (Holy crap) and “What the fuck” (dear god, save me). When I saw it, I thought that “Classic” was what they were calling “Easy”, so I skipped to “Zealot” which I thought was “medium”, and accidentally went down too far on the list, putting myself on “Hellish”.

You see, I do all my games on Medium. I’m arrogant, I’m not cocky. I know my level of gaming, and I know what I’m comfortable with. I like a challenge, but I don’t like to be constantly frustrated. Rarely will I go above Medium, and really, those times, it has to do more with getting an achievement. Like if you beat a boss on Hard and don’t have to do the whole game on Hard in order to get it.

So I’m pretty proud of the fact that I got through so much of the game on Hellish, but I was really happy when I knocked myself back down to Classic and stopped dying all the time. The game became fun, and my love grew. I could actually get through entire sections without a single death.

I enjoyed the game enough to play it through twice back to back, and loved all the interactions with Virgil (there could have been more). I loved the way that they made the circles look, there was definitely a feel of what kind of people suffered within them. There was no sugarcoating of what was going on, and the damned echoed (alright, and amplified) the kind of brutality that Dante wrote about. In the Divine Comedy, he certainly doesn’t give mercy to the souls he speaks about, and it was nice that the game didn’t either.

The Vanguard

I know this was a requested movie. Somebody said that they wanted me to review it, but I can’t think of who it was now.

Whoever you are? I’m sorry. But I couldn’t get any further than about 10 minutes in. It was so very bad. The acting was horrible. The story stopped appealing to me entirely right away, and even the way it looked turned me off.

I’m not a big budget snob, I’ve had plenty of low budget films I’ve enjoyed that look low budget, but there was something about this one I couldn’t tolerate. Maybe because of the other factors. I don’t know.

I tried. I’m so sorry. But I did try.

But obviously I can’t give this a full review.

The guy on the bike also pissed me off for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint.

Mogworld

I can say it – I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how fun and entertaining this book was. I was highly amused the whole time I was reading it. I really enjoyed the book, and hope that he writes more in the future.

It may sound unfair that I should say that, I do, after all, enjoy his reviews of games. I have so enjoyed his game reviews in the past that I’ve been able to overlook if I agree with him or not and just watch them for what they are. And I don’t always agree with what he has to say, of course. Nobody always agrees with somebody unless they’re a complete nutjob.

But just because he does a good job at those doesn’t mean he’s got what it takes to write a book. I don’t think that just because I enjoy writing that these reviews I do are actually viable for money. I do them because I want to talk about the things I interact with, not because I want it to be my job. I think I’d actually hate to review things because I had to.

People who can’t and shouldn’t write are getting a lot more book deals these days. That chick from The Hills got two. Should she be writing? No. Will people buy her shit? Yes. Because they’ve seen her face on TV.

I got a copy of Mogworld at PAX and sort of put it off because I was unsure if I wanted to taint his game reviews with disappointment in his book. I shouldn’t have worried. Because he’s not some twat who got famous doing something else so they gave him a book deal to make cash off of him. He’s really quite talented. I’m very pleased to be wrong in my waiting.

The type of book that Mogworld is is the type that only comes from a writer that really knows their characters. Some writers just push things out for the sake of getting shit done, and some take time to really evolve what they’re writing about.

Not to mention that it was really funny. I literally laughed out loud a couple of times. That’s not an easy task to accomplish. Not that I’m a humorless bitch, but I generally keep quiet while reading. Comes from spending many hours in libraries as a youth, I think.

Sorry to say, anybody who doesn’t have it already is going to have to wait for a second printing. But when that happens, I suggest reading it as soon as you can. Don’t put it off like I did. Because you’re missing out.

Let The Right One In/Let Me In

I’m sure we all recall how I feel about the book and the movie Let The Right One In, yes? That I adore it to pieces and make everybody watch it.

When it was announced that there was going to be an American version made, I was curious. The Wiki for it said the director intended to include some of the things in the book that the Swedish version didn’t. I was expecting that they meant the really vampirey parts. The things where you go “oh shit!” and got kind of excited about it. I mean, it’s not that I wanted a replacement for my movie, it’s just that I wanted to see what could be done with it.

THEN it turns out that instead of adding things, the American director has removed some things. Some VERY IMPORTANT THINGS. I am a little ticked off that names were changed. Yes. Okay. But that’s minor.

It seems that they’ve removed entirely the fact that Eli/Abby is not really a girl, and just made the character a girl. Hello, that’s sort of really important to the story, thanks. That irritates me. There are a couple of other things, too. I was just generally unhappy with the whole thing.

Then, of course, I read up some on it because I was curious again, and discovered that they’re not trying to remake the Swedish movie, but make another version of the movie. Okay. Fine. And then it turns out that the director holds the movie in high esteem, both the original and his own. And that the book is something he adores.

After that, I watched a couple of the trailers for it and now I’m back to being curious and wanting to see it. I want to see what this guy does. I want to see how it all comes out. He’s quoted as saying he thought that the book could make a really great scary story, and while Let The Right One In is psychologically scary, I think I’d like to see what this American director did. And if I’m honest, I did enjoy Cloverfield. I think maybe this guy can do it, do what he thinks he can do without fucking shit up too much. Despite what he did with Eli/Abby.

So I’ll give it, and him, a chance.

Pet Sematary

I have finally become upset over a Stephen King novel. And it’s probably not for any reasons that people normally get upset over them.

I discovered myself increasingly uncomfortable about a third of the way in, when the cat dies and the father decides to bring the cat back. The thing that bothered me? The way he and everybody else treated the cat. The way they ignored it, called it names, stopped referring to it as a he and started calling it it.

It’s not like the cat made the decision to come back to life. It’s not as if it dragged itself up to the super secret special burial ground, dug it’s own hole and plopped in. It’s unfair to treat the cat as some kind of horrible abomination because something was done to it that it had no choice in.

I can see now why in the movie they change the entire emotional makeup of the animal. Making it into some demonic bastard instead of just dumber and ungraceful. Because if they had portrayed the cat the same way as it was in the book, I think a lot of people would have been monumentally unhappy with the treatment it received. It’s one thing to kick a cat and throw things at it when it’s hissing at you and trying to claw you every time you pass by. Quite another when it’s just sitting there being mildly creepy in your general direction.

Now, it’s not like I’m a PETA member, over here. I do love animals, I think they’re awesome. I have my own and they’re spoiled rotten. The Queen’s family isn’t pampered as much as my animals are. But I’ll also eat them, and I’ll also wear them. So don’t get your defenses up and come babbling at me that I only care because it’s a cat.

No, I believe in fair treatment for all our undead brethren. Unless, of course, they decide to mob together and shamble toward me demanding to eat me while I live. Then I’m going to have to take them out. But if they’re just going about their unlives, not hurting anybody, just trying to get along, we shouldn’t treat them poorly. Especially when they’re that way BECAUSE WE DID IT TO THEM.

Bastards.

What did he think, really, what did he think was going to happen when he brought the cat back to life? That it was going to be a normal, living, breathing animal? That it was going to retain all the signs of what it is that makes alive things alive? I say the prick got what he deserved.

An American Haunting

Oh, how I tried to like you, movie. I tried so very hard. You had so many elements that I find enjoying. So very many of them. It started, but didn’t end, with Donald Sutherland. I know, not everything he’s been in is the best thing on the planet, but he’s done better at choosing his roles as he gets older. Knowing more what will have public appeal and what will just fail. So I had hopes for him, I did. You were also a movie about haunting, from everything that was written or said about you – EVER. I do like hauntings, movie. I like them quite a bit. It’s really not difficult to please me in this realm, movie. Even if I don’t think I’ll watch a movie again, I can usually derive something from some part of it and come away feeling as if I’ve not wasted two hours of my life.

But you, movie. You did not pass muster. You did not even attempt to meet up with Muster on the battlefield of cinema. I’m pretty sure, actually, that you couldn’t even see Muster from where you were standing – back there in the woods, over an embankment, hiding behind that tree.

What you turned out to be, movie, was a colossal waste of my time. I came away feeling cheated and sad. Used and put away wet. I feel like you didn’t even try to be a real movie after the first twenty minutes. If we’ve learned anything from Pinocchio, it’s that we must try when we want to be real, we must put effort into life, or it’s meaningless.

You, movie, are meaningless.

I was so disappointed as I watched you and you just kept getting worse. I didn’t think it was possible, but it kept happening. I should have known when my gut said “My, those slaps are awfully silly.” But I didn’t. I tried to reason that away with the excuse they tried to give in the script. I should have listened to my gut, really, I should have.

But that hope, it lingered. It lingered until the very end when I just had to finally give in and recommend that they take you out and shoot you, to put you out of your misery. Because you are a lame horse, movie, and you’ll do nobody any good. You’ll probably just suck on the fence and hurt yourself by trying to run when all of your legs are broken.

I do have a tip for you, movie. Hopefully if you ever get reincarnated, you can hold onto this – if you are putting entire scenes that are use IN THE MOVIE with your “alternate scenes” just to have more padding and content, you are failing. If most of your “alternate scenes” are just the same exact scene from a different camera angle, you are failing. And, should I watch your “alternate scenes” and not actually be able to tell the difference between what I just watched and what is supposed to be new, you have failed completely.

I have to give you an F, movie. In all subjects. Believe me, it makes me sad. But remember, I tried – oh so hard – to like you. I was rooting for you from the start. I was behind you, cheering you on, and you let me down.

I hope I never see you again, movie. Because I feel that if I do, I may have to find some matches.