Posts Tagged ‘world

05
Apr
09

Dead Snow: The Next Great Zombie Film

The Next big thing in Undead Cinema.

The Next big thing in Undead Cinema.

For those of you who may not know, I have a serious love for anything involving the use of zombies or the undead.  From movies to video games to literature, I am fascinated by how versatile they are in any storytelling medium.  So imagine how excited I was when I first heard about a foreign zombie flick, taking place in the snowy mountains, that feature…(drum roll please)…Nazi Zombies.

Oh yes kids, it’s true.  And you know what is even better?  It is a superb horror flick.

Now, a little history.  There have been some exploitation style movies, back in the 60’s, 70’s and I think even up until the 80’s, that have tackled the idea of having undead nazi soldiers, but most were completely and utterly terrible.  I’m not talking “funny Ha-Ha get drunk with your friends and watch it” terrible.  I’m talking bad to the point of nausea.  For evidence of this, please see (read: download illegally for free) Zombie Lake. /End history lesson.

But enough wasted time establishing the immense uphill battle that Dead Snow faced, and let’s get on with the review.  The plot of Dead snow is a simple one, but simple doesn’t imply that it isn’t well utilized and perfectly solid.  Some 20 somethings are going on vacation, and decide to go up to a cabin in the snowy mountain woods.  The “old crazy story teller guy” warns them of some old wives tale about soldiers who died in these woods surrounding the cabin.  Of course, our 20 somethings, including a great “movie geek guy”, cast him off as a crazy local, and shortly there after, all hell breaks lose in the form, you guessed it, Nazi Zombies.

Fantastic make up on the Nazi Zombies

Fantastic make up on the Nazi Zombies

The magic of Dead Snow isn’t it’s plot though, it’s in the characters and the fantastically rewarding pace.  The group of friends aren’t typical zombie fodder, there isn’t a clear cut stereotypical “slut”, nor is there the guy who is hopelessly in love with a girl he can never get, and there isn’t a clear “dick” character, who is rude and crass but painfully funny and accurate in his social observations.  Instead, everyone character feels a bit more three-dimensional, they all seem to have a good, general sense of wit, and while they each have unique personality traits, like a knack for humor or a knowledge of movies, they come on as more than just TV sitcom characters who are helping to strengthen rigid stereotyping.  Also, characters evolve, something rarely seen in horror today.

The pace is the second most important piece to the Dead Snow puzzle.  From the opening scene, we are treated to classical music as a Jane Doe gets hunted down by our ruthless zombies at night.  This is a great way to introduce people to the movie antagonists without spoiling there appearance, and combining it with a classic misdirection “boo” scare makes it all the more fun.  There is no notion that in order to create good characters, that we the audience can relate to and invest in, we have to stare at them doing mundane things for 45 minutes.  Dead Snow introduces everyone quickly, letting you adapt to their personal behavior and traits on the fly, all the while keeping the tension high by inventing some new and resurrecting some old classic boo scares.  And when the well dries up on tension and suspense, the movie goes into absolute overdrive, providing the kind of kick ass orgy of violence only true horror can deliver.

Sometimes, you just gotta fight back the undead horde with garden tools.

Sometimes, you just gotta fight back the undead horde with garden tools.

The last thing I would like to touch on is the special effects.  Minimal CGI means that lots of fake blood, limbs, and intestines get strewn all over the place, and the choreographing of the fight scenes is so tight and visceral, that it really helps bring you into the struggle.  It’s a scrappy, survivor type of fighting, nothing fancy or cool about it.  It’s a nice contrast to the modern day practice  of ridiculously complicated and illogical battles between good and evil in horror movies, when instead you would just be reduced to dirty tactics and savagery in the case you were ever attacked by the undead.

So, in the interest of keeping this one short and sweet (just how I like my women) I will wrap this up by saying that Dead Snow has all the earmarks of the next big independent horror film, especially in the flooded sub-division of Zombie films.  It shows an intimate knowledge and respect of its’ ancestors, most notably Raimi and Romero, but it also comes packing a slew of original ideas, as well as innovative implementations of standard tricks of the horror movie trade.   It is  unpredictable, direct, funny, unapologetic, and wholly satisfying.

It is at this point in time where you should be googling your ass off trying to find this flick.

BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!

BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!

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07
Dec
08

Guitar Hero World Tour – Xbox 360

Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour

Everyone knows that Horror and Heavy Metal are made for each other. It’s a fact! So being able to sit in your bedroom with a miniature plastic guitar and play along to songs from Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne – to name but two – is something of a wet dream cum true.

That’s my lame excuse to justify my review of Guitar Hero World Tour…

Guitar Hero World Tour is the fourth game in the Guitar Hero franchise. And certainly one of the most elaborate. I played a fair bit of Guitar Hero III which (I believe) was one of the first guitar games to use motion capture technology to capture the performances of Brett Michaels, Tom Morello and Slash (they were also the ‘bosses’ that you had to beat in a duel) but Guitar Hero World Tour (aka: GHWT because I’m too lazy to keep typing the full name for the entire review) has upped the ante with motion captured Ozzy, some drummer guy that I’ve never seen before, Sting (no, I’m not kidding, it has Sting in it. Maybe they were strapped for cash after getting Ozzy and went for some lower priced talent, I dunno, but he looks totally out of place) and Jimi Hendrix, I’d be interested to know how they got the motion capture for him (just kidding). GHWT is also the first game, in the series, to include Bass, Drum and Vocal tracks for players to use, hence the inclusion of motion captured drummer-guy and Sting. So, yeah, you can terrorize your neighbourhood with a plastic drum kit too! Yay!

Just a side note about the instruments: I played GHWT with no problems at all using my GHIII guitar.

Why would GUITAR Hero include other instruments? Because it has begotten a bastard son, named: Rock Band. It was the first game to use several instruments and a serious rival to GHIII, so GHWT really had to include other instruments to keep up with Rock Band 2. So there’s also Rock Band 2 to satisfy your finger twiddling delight, but for me the song list in GHWT is far superior.

Speaking of songs: this is also the first guitar game to use the original songs in the game, 86 songs to be exact. Guitar Hero III had some original tracks, but some were recreations of the original, but for the most part they sounded ok. Here it’s the real deal. For a full song list from GHWT, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_in_Guitar_Hero_4, just be aware though: that isn’t the order in which you play the songs. It starts off nice and easy and increases in difficulty. Even when you’ve completed all 86 songs, there’s a ton of downloadable content including the entire Death Magnetic album from Metallica, oh how they’ve changed their tune since Napster. It also has a built in music editor for creating your own music! AAAAAND it can also use XboxLive to exchange songs and do musical battle with. If they could include an option for it to give out slippery hand-jobs, it’d be the greatest thing since the invention of the sex doll.

Anyway, I digress. You start the game by deciding which instrument you want to play, then create your guitar hero (or drum hero, whichever). Like GHIII, you start by playing dingey, smokey, clubs and work your way up. Along the way you must battle musical greats such as Zak Wylde, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne and drummer-guy. You can begin by playing on the Easy setting (using only three out of the five buttons) and unlocking songs along the way. When you’re ready, you can move up to the more advanced settings using four, and eventually all five, buttons. Don’t worry, you can also practice songs too (once they are unlocked) section by section to get it nailed. Scoring is done by not missing any notes and by using your ‘star power’. Some notes will be star shaped, play the entire string of star notes and you get one star power. When you reach three, four, or five, stars you can unleash your star power which will increase your score for the length of the power, more stars means a longer star power.

Good as it is, GHWT does have a couple of little flaws:

  • Tool. The band Tool, that is. There’s a section of four Tool songs that look totally out of place. Why not scatter the songs throughout the game? Why do I have to play four boring Tool songs in a row? And why does the background need to have a large eye with little floaty eye things? Every other section shows the stage with the musicians doing their thang, for the Tool section its some weird trippy looking background.
  • Sting. What the hell is he doing in a rock/metal game? I hope he was cheap!
  • The last section of the game. This is where the creators obviously wanted their monies worth from using Sting, Ozzy and drummer-guy. For the last section it wheels them out and, including yourself, is the ultimate band. Fair enough. Not so bad you think. Yeah, great until you see Ozzy dancing and singing La Bamba! Then have Sting headbang to Trapped Under Ice (Metallica)! Utter madness.
  • The end. The game doesn’t have a story as such, but still, I won’t spoil what happens at the end but, suffice to say: it’s completely out of place, surreal, and could easily have had a Dio song in the background… odd, VERY odd…

But even with those flaws, GHWT is still an awesome game! I’m no guitar virtuoso by any means, but I’ll certainly be going back to it again and again to play the songs and up the skill level.

For more background info and history on GHWT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_Hero_World_Tour