Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bowl on the Run

This is just cute.

This film was made for the Antarctic 48 Hour film competition at McMurdo Station.

Film requirements were it had to be made in Antarctica within 2 days, had to contain a bowl, an ice cream cone, a sleeping person, the sound of a phone, and the line "We've lost another one".

This won best film.

...because there's not a whole lot else to do in Antarctica.

Phil Foglio is a God among Men

This is just a brief post to affirm my undying love and admiration for all the works of the great and powerful Phil Foglio and to inform all of you that if you're not reading any of his webcomics, which are updated daily, then you should be ashamed of yourselves and should start reading right now as penance.

That is all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Magic Set Editor

Speaking of MTG, Magic Set Editor is a fun program that lets you design your own card sets. I was fooling around and made a few cards, including two for a couple of friends of mine (ya know who ya are).



(I don't know what to say about this other than that I was just fooling around with the multicolor settings.)





Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

Okay, time to show my nerdiness.

I found this cool music video tribute to Magic: The Gathering on YouTube. It's just plain awesome. You'll wanna play this with your volume on high because the music is just that good.

Beautiful art + EPIC music = WIN

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

13 Posts: Finale

And here we are at the end of the road. Let's finish this off with some good, clean fun, shall we? Here's Bobby "Boris" Pickens hamming it up with his novelty smash hit, "The Monster Mash", to some charmingly bad '70s animation:

This isn't something I'll do again, I don't think. It got to the point where coming up with something to post, often only a few minutes to midnight, felt like a chore, and I want to keep my blogging fun. In spite of that, though, it was a good exercise in stretching my writing muscles, and I found a few gems along the way that I previously hadn't known about. All in all, it was definitely not a loss.

I don't know if anyone has been following along, but if you have, thanks. :) I hope I wasn't too boring. ;)


13 Posts: Frankennerd

Well, here it is nearly two weeks after Halloween, and my 13 Posts project is at its end. And wouldn'tcha know it, I missed an update in my first week at this? Guess I'll have to double up.

First... well, it's gotten to be a running gag at this point. Here's James Rolfe one last time, in his signature role as the one and only Angry Video Game Nerd, reviewing several really bad video games based very (very) loosely on Mary Shelley's classic novel, Frankenstein, and meddling in That in Which Man Was Meant Not to Meddle along the way. Fair warning: Lots and lots of profanity ahead.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

13 Posts: Repercussions of Evil

Only one more post to go! I'm running out of steam, honestly, so I'll keep this one short.

There's not much to say about this video. It's a surreal recitation of the hilariously bad Doom fanfiction, "DOOM: Repercussions of Evil" (which has since vanished from the Internet), typos and all, set to music. If that isn't horror, I don't know what is.

Truly the work of a fevered mind.

Monday, November 10, 2008

13 Posts: Ravenloft

I'd be remiss if I finished this countdown without mentioning one of my favorite horror-themed publications: the Ravenloft campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons.


There isn't a single D&D setting that I honestly dislike (though Dragonlance grates on me at times), but if I had to play favorites, Ravenloft would be near the top of my list. The setting was never hugely popular - it was a product of the bad old days when TSR, Inc. would throw out a new campaign setting whenever their sales were slumping and hope to Pelor that it would stick. Rather than being a generic fantasy setting, though, Ravenloft mixed heroic fantasy with gothic horror. Elves and dwarves, wizards and warriors did battle with vampires, restless spirits, and evil geniuses, and a happy ending wasn't always assured.

The setting had its origin in the classic 1980s adventure Ravenloft and its sequel, The House on Gryphon Hill, written by Tracy Hickman, one of the creators of Dragonlance. These adventures gave us the tortured vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich, Lord of Castle Ravenloft, who went on to become the campaign setting's central villain and one of the most popular recurring villains in D&D's history. The original adventure Ravenloft has been reprinted no less than three times for three different editions of the game, and I've no doubt that a version of the adventure for the new 4th Edition will pop up down somewhere the line.

Strahd by *nJoo on deviantART

Ravenloft had something that most other RPG settings lack: atmosphere. An impending sense of doom hung over the very land, and the sinister mists constantly threatened to whisk you away to some new unspeakable horror.

If I had the ambition to do so, I'd love to run or otherwise participate in a Ravenloft campaign. If you're into D&D or tabletop RPGs in general, I can't recommend Ravenloft enough.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

13 Posts: The Enigma of Amigara Fault

Alrighty. You want creepy comics, I got 'em.


Unlike "Hansel and Gretel", which merely poked fun at a scary old story, "The Enigma of Amigara Fault" is downright nightmarish. Published as a backup story to Junji Itō's Gyo, "The Enigma" concerns an unnatural geologic formation that manifests a bizarre pull on the local populace. Itō, an award-winning author of horror comics best known for his series Uzumaki, is known for creating detailed drawings of the macabre, and "The Enigma" is no exception.

The comic can be read here; read the pages from right to left.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

13 Posts: Anatomy of a Scream

Time for another quickie! James Rolfe (*dreamy sigh*) examines the classic 1942 noir chiller Cat People, with a brief history of RKO Radio's horror library and an in-depth look at what makes one of the movie's scenes work. This is from his 2007 "Monster Madness" Halloween countdown.

13 Posts: That Lovecraft Feeling

Oh, dear - I missed an update. Ahh well, guess I'll just have to double up tonight.

One of my favorite short stories is "The Whisperer in Darkness", by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Lovecraft was an odd duck - fervently racist, sexist, homophobic, and nationalist, yet possessed of one of the most vivid imaginations in early 20th-century writing. His stories were often chock full with bigotry, but Lovecraft was a master at crafting atmospheric, nightmare-inspiring scenes.

"Whisperer" concerns one Professor Albert Wilmarth from the famed Miskatonic University at witch-haunted Arkham, Massachusetts and his inquiry into reports of extraterrestrial activity in the hills of Vermont. Published in 1930, it's one of the first works of fiction to deal with alien abductions, though they take a much different form than in modern media. It also invokes the dire god Nyarlathotep, who plays a central role in many other stories by Lovecraft.

There is (or was) apparently a film version of "The Whisperer in Darkness" being produced by an independent studio in the style of classic black-and-white 1930s chillers, but I haven't heard any news of it in over a year. Here's the trailer, which does a commendable job recreating the feel of the story.

And here is a gorgeously macabre picture of one of the alien creatures from the story.

Buzzer by ~psychohazard on deviantART

Stay tuned - more is on the way!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

13 Posts: Hansel and Gretel

When you think creepy comics, you probably think Tales from the Crypt, the classic flagship title of the now-defunct EC Comics. EC published many other horror and suspence comics, including Shock SuspenStories and Crypt's two sister titles, The Haunt of Fear and The Vault of Horror. These comics were wildly popular in the late '40s and early '50s, and known for gruesome depictions of violence and gore; they were the main target of the anti-comics movement spearheaded by Dr. Frederic Wertham.


"Hansel and Gretel", from Haunt of Fear #23, is a classic example of the "twisted fairy tale" convention, which would become popular in later years with a slew of dark-'n'-edgy (and often tasteless) remakes like Snow White: A Tale of Terror and Grimm Fairy Tales. This story stands out from the others, though, with its subversive, sarcastic sense of humor, going to show that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Hosted by the Old Witch (the better-known Crypt Keeper's distaff counterpart), it retells the classic tale by the Brothers Grimm from a decidedly different perspective.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

13 Posts: Death Seen

I said I'd revisit James Rolfe, and I'm as good as my word.

Death Seen is a very short film Rolfe directed in 2005 as part of the 48 Hour Film Project, in which directors are given 48 hours to create a movie using a few elements given to them at the start. Death Seen was assigned a genre (mystery), a prop (an umbrella), a character (a political activist), and a line ("I've never seen one of those."). What follows is the end result.

The film won the award for Best Cinematography.

A Brief Political Interlude





We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

13 Posts: The Max Headroom Incident

I'm working on another long post, but Election Day has had me occupied (GOBAMA!). For now, here's another creepy quickie.

On November 22nd, 1987, an episode of Doctor Who on Chicago network WTTW 11 was interrupted at 11:15 p.m. with a broadcast signal intrusion by an individual wearing a mask of cult character Max Headroom. The man had hijacked another local station, WGN-TV 9, earlier that evening, but was booted off the air before he could say anything. During the 11:15 attack, the man made a variety of cryptic remarks (including some in reference to a commercial for New Coke starring the "real" Max Headroom) accompanied with some truly bizarre images before the network regained control of their broadcast.

Here is a video of the incident with subtitles.

The man's identity was never discovered.

Public Service Announcement

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program with this important PSA for our fellow Americans.


Get out there and vote!

Monday, November 03, 2008

13 Posts: The Doctor is In

What's Halloween without Frankenstein's monster? And what's Frankenstein's monster without Doc Frankenstein himself? The mad scientist, cackling over beakers of bubbling substances best left unidentified, seeking out forbidden knowledge, daring That Which Man Ought Not to Dare, is a classic stock character that works in almost every genre. From horror to sci-fi, superhero adventure to medieval fantasy (mad alchemists count!), and even mundane fiction, popular culture just wouldn't be the same without the mad scientist. It's safe to say that the character type originates from the (sadly still very prevalent) phobia of scientific advancement that permeates our culture, though personally I think all the Victor Frankensteins and Lex Luthors are balanced out by scientists like Emmet "Doc" Brown and Agatha Heterodyne who use their prodigious brainpower to help the forces of good, not hinder them.

Dr Sivana pinup by ~simonpimpernel on deviantART

Without a doubt, my favorite mad scientist is the one and only Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, archnemesis of your hero and mine, Captain Marvel, and RIGHTFUL RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!!! HEH HEH HEH! He's just so willfully, deliberately, unequivocably, and joyfully eeeeeeeeeeevil! How can you not love a villain whose stated goals are as follows:

1) Become RIGHTFUL RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!!! in fact as well as in name;
2) Further the spread of evil, cruelty, and nastiness throughout the cosmos; and
3) Humiliate, discredit, and ultimately KILL CAPTAIN MARVEL!!!!! HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!!!!!

That's in no particular order, of course.

Doctor Sivana (RROTU!!!) is like the perfect mad scientist. Disgusting little troll? Check. Lab coat? Check. Giant glasses that take up a full third of his face? Check. Bald of Evil? Check. In a comic book cosmos of increasingly gray morality, it's oddly comforting to read about a card-carrying villain who just wants to take over the world and make everyone miserable, no ifs, ands, or buts.

(Re: The hours upon hours of your life you're now going to waste surfing TV Tropes Wiki? You're welcome. HEH HEH HEH!!!)

Admittedly, the good bad doctor isn't the most complex villain out there, but when you're a snarky super-genius prone to fits of histrionics in a comic written for children and your archnemesis is a 12-year-old magic-powered Superman ripoff who hangs out with a tiger in a tux, you don't need to be. Captain Marvel has a mess of cool villains, from Mister Mind to Black Adam (hey, DJ!), but Sivana is the exact opposite of the Big Red Cheese (brainy old man who couldn't break a wet noodle with his bare hands? check), and no one can take his place as Cap's number-one nemesis.

Incidentally, I mentioned before that I thought Armin Shimmerman - Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - would make a good Sivana, and that's him in the picture above, buried under 20 pounds of Photoshop magic. That's my choice for a live-action movie; in a cartoon, no one but no one should play Sivana but Wallace "Inconceivable!" Shaun.

Can we get another shot of Sivana? Preferably by Mike Wieringo?

DR. SIVANA by *Wieringo on deviantART


Sunday, November 02, 2008

13 Posts: Always 2

I had a longer post planned, but today pretty much kicked my ass. So in lieu of that, let me present something considerably shorter but hopefully still very awesome: a dream sequence from the beginning of the Japanese comedy/drama Always 2: Sunset on Third Street that's sure to wash the bad taste of a certain shitty Matthew Broderick movie right out of your mouth, and I'm not talking about Inspector Gadget.

Kick! Ass!

(Don't ask about the guy with the hair... I have no idea.)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

13 Posts: The Deader the Better

I don't mind admitting that I have a bit of a man-crush on James Rolfe, known to the wider Internet as the Angry Video Game Nerd. I was first exposed to his work through his video game reviews, which are so chock full of profanity and scatalogical references that it made my head spin, but downright hilarious because of just how over-the-top he takes it. If you're a fan of NES games or just enjoy a blast from the past, you've gotta check him out.

Recently, though, I've been enjoying some of Rolfe's non-AVGN material. The man is seriously into horror and suspense cinema, and his devotion to the art of filmmaking is inspiring. He's created over 200 short films since his childhood through his production company, the Cinemassacre, and shows no signs of stopping. One of these films - and expect me to go back to this well more than once - is a zombie flick titled The Deader the Better.

Let me warn you - this is an extremely gory movie, though the blood 'n' guts are obviously (and deliberately) fake. The Exorcist it ain't, but as a send-up of the zombie genre it's good fun.