Movie Review: Grave Halloween (2013)

This film market itself as “J-Horror” despite the fact that it is a SyFy Original and has a predominantly white cast (even though it is set in Japan, which is another topic entirely). The main character, Maiko (Kaitlyn Leeb, who has set herself to be a big time B-Horror babe with roles in Wrong Turn 4, the three-breasted woman in Total Recall, upcoming film Wolves and a recurring role on “Bitten”) sets a college thesis project with classmates at her college in Japan (full of white people) to find where her mother committed suicide and perform an exorcism. This will be filmed. And she intends to perform an exorcism. Their journey lead them into the famous “Suicide Forest”

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We start out with vague dreams and memories from Maiko’s youth, she is on a swing and her mother turns into… pretty much the girl from The Ring. Or The Grudge. Basically, we have been down this road before.

Maiko and co., a crush, a blonde BFF and a trusty camera man come a long. They are followed by 3 bully/prankster types who disrespect “Suicide Forest” and meet the most grisly of demises… but so do others… even if their intentions were good. And that’s what ruins it, after one prankster steals a watch on the trail: we all know that they are going to get axed. But Maiko’s posse …well, it could be said that they are voyeurs, that they are interlopers, that they are exploiting the suffering of others in the name of academia; all of those things are amoral and accurate BUT that was not set in the guidelines by their cliche and stereotypical guide, Jin (Hiro Kanagawa, Godzilla, “Almost Human”).

The gore is moderate, the tension is weak, the main characters are over all well developed and relatable. But still the more pressing of matters is that the “suicide forest” is a real thing.

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Aokigahara at the base of Mt. Fuji was the setting for a novel, published in 1960 that featured a pair of lovers committing suicide, it started before then but instances of suicides and deaths have increased alarmingly since. It is said that people go there to contemplate life and death and that those who have passed permeate the trees.

Aokigahara is also the setting of Matthew McConaughey’s next film.

Ehhh, thanks for the lesson: but this only gets a 2 out of 5.

31 Horrifying Days- Day 13: Godzilla (2014)

Lazy as hell. Make due with Radio Of Horror‘s official video review.

The only thing I’d like to add -Aaron Taylor-JOHNSON (told you he had 2 last names)who plays Ford finds a little buddy at one point and saves him from monsters on a train. When the monster’s are around Elizabeth Olsen’s Elle, the shots are all her running for her life. I’m just saying, she could have had a side adventure. The bus driver on the bus that her son was on got in on some heroics and he was in the picture for 5 minutes. 

4.25/5

Don’t be cheap, go see it on the big screen.

Anime Review- Legend of the Legendary Heroes

This incredibly enjoyable series begins with the adventurers oh an unlikely duo, Ferris Eris and Ryner Lute. They are sent to collect Hero Artifacts by Sion, the King of Roland. The leaders of a neighboring country called Estabul are also on the hunt for artifacts. Ryner is cursed with “magic eyes” demonic powers that come forth in the form of red pentagrams through his eyes. Through their early missions they are confronted by magical knights from the neighboring territory ..and Milk Calloud, part of the taboo breaker squad who works for King Sion, but doesn’t know about the mission. Milk is the captain of her squad, she’s also got a big time crush on Ryner and thinks that ferris must be enticing him to break the rules. Milk is giddy and girlie. She is very capable, but has childish ways of getting herself out of trouble (usually yelling that she has to use the bathroom). From the beginning Ferris is fierce, great with a sword, constantly teasing Ryner and obsessed with food.

Particularly tea and dango

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Ferris is a really fun and interesting character. She’s not above violence, but she disdains killing, she’s a loyal warrior. Although she constantly picks at Ryner -calling him a pervert who corrupts virgins and their mothers with a wolfish grin although this is completely untrue- she teases him for his laziness and incompetence, but she is a true friend.

Ryner is incredibly lazy, in the beginning episodes we see him lounging his way through military school, even when tasked with the important mission retrieving artifacts he is unmotivated and unimpressed. He constantly takes naps and complains about any work to be done. He laments at the end of each episode about how everything sucks. It’s whiny and annoying. He’s “cursed” but as someone who consumes a lot of fantasy genre media, it’s heard demi-god power defined as a curse before. I’m not buying. However, as we get deeper into his history, learning that part of his memories are missing, that he was raised in an orphanage that his childhood friends were killed right in front of him (which was the first time the Alpha Stigma was truly unleashed). He killed many people and sees himself as a monster. Most Alpha Stigmas never reach their full potential because they go crazy young. This all reaches a head in episode 10, when he and Ferris meet up with two pink haired travellers who have already claimed 4 Hero Artifacts that are working for Sion’s enemy Gastark. They fight, Ferris is thrown by the smaller female wielding an ice scythe leaving Ryner to abandon his fight to catch her, she remarks, “Is my beauty so distracting to you?” and he says, “What the hell is your problem?” The male of the antagonist duo calls forth Ryner’s Alpha Stigma, the demon voice attempts to convince him that he should burn everything, that destruction would be more enjoyable than trying to fit in and play hero with humans who don’t accept him. He nearly loses himself and attacks Ferris. Ferris hurls insults at him and then tells him that there’s no way he could be a monster, she doesn’t believe he’s really trying to kill her. She overcomes his magic and he collapses in a heap in front of her. He thinks that now that she’s seen him for what he is that she’ll leave. He tells her he’s too dangerous. Ferris plainly says that there will be no telling her where to go and that besides that they had a date for tea. He starts to cry and she doesn’t coddle him, but makes it clear she won’t leave him. I’m a total sucker for scenes like that and to be honest I have no idea what to do with someone over the age of 12 who is crying, hugging and making sarcastic comments is likely. So I found Ferris’s actions endearing. But by now the audience understands that Ryner isn’t a lazy goofball, he’s clinically depressed and nothing seems worthwhile.

For the most part, nothing much changes in their relationship, although they both internally reflect back on that day. One act of acceptance does not cure Ryner of his depression. It’s a handful of episodes more before we get more backstory on Ferris who is nobility and well trained to be a warrior from a young age, her parents considered her a failure and decided she was only useful as a vessel to carry on her family’s bloodline so her father attacks her, her father is then killed by her very powerful and protective brother. The showing is brief and isn’t very graphic. It provides insight as to why she is so protective of her younger sister and why she sees Ryner as a pervert. It’s likely she sees all men as perverts. Her snarky attitude is cover for her sadness the way that Ryner’s laziness is cover for his.

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Throughout the series they encounter new enemies, either trying to beat them to the Hero Artifacts or just enemies set on vanquishing Alpha Stigma monsters. Ryner makes it his goal to save any Alpha Stigma kids before they kill and become corrupted. The story also follows Milk, and another love interest of Ryner’s, Kiefer, who belongs to Gastark’s kingdom. King Sion is a complex character himself, he abhors violence, believing that all life matters and people all have a place in this world but with those in his kingdom afraid of those bearing the Alpha Stigma he is forced to take precaution against Ryner. He’s also collecting artifacts that carry god-like powers which seems akin to political tactics like “peacekeeping through superior firepower”. He’s also harboring some big secrets. Towards the end Ryner meets others “cursed” like him and he sees that they are not all monstrous killing machines.. secret origins get revealed.. There’s a lot going on here.

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An amazing story, great animation, masterfully executed, humorous, full of action and high fantasy. It’s lush and gorgeous. It’s funny and sweet and exciting. 

Based on light novels by Takaya Kagami originally illustrated by Saori Toyota.

X-Men #11

I was so pumped for this issue. #10 left us with a masterfully executed cliffhanger: Mach 1 Sentinels rising from the ocean with Jubilee, Bling!, Quentin, Mercury, etc., waiting to take them on. Ana Cortes is finding herself in over her head with the Arkea situation. Arkea is ready to unleash some Omega Level dames.

Issue #11/Ghosts part 2 picks up with Ana and Amora having an a debate between and within themselves about what they are about to do.  They do it, of course. They’re bad girls and they’re outclassed, there’s no turning back. Held in Stasis, her soul distributed into the very air of a contain cell -reassembled by Amora: Lady Selene/The Black Queen/the oldest mutant.

And after that it starts to get hairy. Wait, is it hairy? Or is it just Anka’s weird art style?

No seriously. Is that a hairy armpit or is it just sketch lines?

No seriously. Is that a hairy armpit or is it just sketch lines?

I mean, if Selene Gallio (not Gallo, not Galio -as it has been spelled in the past 2 issues) who debatably came to life before the middle ages and before disposable razors doesn’t change her beauty routine to fit patriarchal fashion standards that’s fine by me.

But that’s not the only time that they art was a distraction.

When we leave the bad girls to see the good girls they are on the Cortes Yacht. Some were there last issue. Some were new arrivals. So I saw this:

Look at the top left + bottom right.

Look at the top left + bottom right.

Since we can barely see any of their attire and have no distinguishing facial features for some reason I could only gather that Monet was talking to herself somehow. Next page I figured out it was Karima. No one addressed her by name and in the last issue she was on the plane.

Anyway, on the yacht the girls put together that Yuriko was dead, Arkea was dead maybe they’re recruiting more dead mutants. Monet figures this out employed logic that is a complete stretch yet somehow EXACTLY what’s happening. They contact Sabra who confirms that there have been buyers for the genetic material of both Maddie Pryor and Selene (and apparently no one else, for some reason) (and also WHY would this be for sale? How is it not in their vault?).

At the Jean Grey School: Quentin Quire is babysitting John Sublime. QQ is everyone’s high school’s too-cool, punk rock nerd and he’s fanpoodling at John Sublime for being such a big bad. Sublime sees Shogo go by with Storm’s daughter from the future who never went back after BotA and somehow everyone was okay with that. Sublime says ominously, “Check your books Quire for a nasty example of a serial killer called ‘The Future’ something just reminded me of him.”

In Japan, Typhoid Mary and Lady Deathstrike are playing with swords. Ana’s in control and the cracks in her sanity get deeper. She asks Mary to kill her, she’s in over her head. She wanted power. She wanted to be popular. Maybe she wanted to meet Cyclops (I don’t know). But Arkea, her plan, it’s too much. Mary refuses. Ana goes at Mary, says she’ll force her if she has to.

Arkea enters, says “spare us your dramatics” and tells her that Maddie’s consciousness is primed. The plan is to add the consciousness of Jean Grey’s genetic clone into the same host as Yuriko? Ana’s already got too many voices in her head. So she ups the dramatics and impales herself on her samurai sword. To be continued..

SOMEHOW there’s a MEANWHILE

(it’s really a BEFORE)

Clay Mann did the art here and it was the best looking. We’re back to Catalina Island. Pixie and Bling! are taking out a Sentinel. Bling! gets dragged into the ocean, Mercury summons Pixie back to the plane and goes to save Roxy. Hellion and Jubilee are working on another. Quentin Quire is in the plane (see how it’s a “before”, not a “meanwhile”?) Karima is also in the plane and now in the last pages we find out that Pixie transported her to the yacht (but we didn’t see Pixie on the yacht). Jubilee turned into mist to escape the fist of a Sentinel and didn’t rematerialize… dun dun dun

Clay Mann’s art is fantastic, by the way. Shout out to Seth Mann and Paul Mounts, too. The layers are perfect. The water looks like actual water. Lights and lasers stand out above really REALLY ON POINT fight scenes.

Look at Pixie's laser, look at Bling!'s sparkle, look at all that STUFF in the background.

Look at Pixie’s laser, look at Bling!’s sparkle, look at all that STUFF in the background. All their pages are like that.

WHAT was happening with the timing in this issue? So QQ goes back to the Jean Grey School and doesn’t say anything about Jubes? Maybe… Maybe he wouldn’t say anything, but no one there seemed concerned. Wood really wanted to dual cliffhangers to work. And they would have. If Karima wasn’t on the yacht and Quire wasn’t the one with Sublime. Maybe it still “works” …technically. So much cool stuff happened this issue I just wish it wasn’t foolishly bogged down with spelling errors (yeah, I nitpick, and what?), trying to decipher who is talking and why/how they got there, and whether something is ‘meanwhile’ or “before”. I shouldn’t have to do that.

But, eff yeah; Black Queen! So, that forgives a lot.