Sep 5, 2018

Calling All Ghouls

Me (Aug 31): August is too early for Halloween stuff to be on sale.
Me: (Sept 1): Why is there no Halloween merch in stores yet?!?


Every October I join in with a group of bloggers and we do the Countdown to Halloween where we post about all things spooky every day of the month. For the past few years, I've been doing email interviews with people to share their experiences and thoughts on Halloween and posting them.

If you haven't done one yet and would like to, email dex1138 (at) Gmail.com with the subject Halloween Interview and I'll send you the questions.

If you want to see what you're in for first, click here.

As you might imagine, 31 blog posts don't just happen over night. The next few weeks leading up to October may be a bit quiet around here as I'll be using my normal weekend blogging time to get things in gear for October.

Sep 1, 2018

Monthly Movie Recap - August 2018

Let it be known that I am now in full on Halloween mode!

Reminders:
  • Linked titles will take you to Amazon where you can buy it (or anything else) to help fund my habit
  • You can find me on Letterboxd, a social site based around movies

On the streaming front this month:
  • Netflix: I caught most of Disenchantment. It's definitely more Futurama than Simpsons, which is okay with me! It's been fun so far. I'm liking the main characters and the jabs at fantasy tropes.
  • Prime: Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams. Another sci-fi anthology series. There's some really solid ones and only a couple that I was "meh" on. Worth checking out if you're into Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.
There's quite a pile of mediocrity in this month's line up I'm sad to say but thankfully it starts off really strong.

A Quiet Place (2018)
I was expecting more from the hype around the movie but having said that, it was really great! It did make me flash back to M Night in a few places (Signs, The Village). I applaud them making you have to pay attention to get some of the back story but I still have a few questions about the world/scenario. Absolutely love the creature design.

Now Hear This: I really feel this is a gem. I actually cared about the characters, there's smart writing, and some edge of your seats moments.

Rating: 8/10


Jeepers Creepers (2001)*
Having decided to finally watch the series, I had to go back to the start because I hadn't seen it since release. I remembered thinking it was a decent horror flick and not liking the somewhat jokey ending. Felt pretty much the same on this rewatch, only slightly less of a bad reaction to the end since I knew it was coming.

Rating: 6/10


Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
I feel like at least 90% of the movie takes place around or in a school bus. Maybe a better director could make that engaging but I think if they just walked off the bus one by one to get killed it would have been more exciting. Speaking of kills, it needs more gore! The best thing about this one is that Ray Wise is in it, just a shame he wasn't in it more.

Rating: 5/10


Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017, Netflix)
Here we are, three movies in and we learn practically nothing new about the Creeper. Not only that, but his previous MO had been to kill for body parts and in this one he seems to just be killing anyone he crosses paths with. Strike Three (SPOLIER ALERT): they shoe horn this one between the couple days that pass between the first two creating some continuity problems. Despite the higher body count, again, not enough gore for what this should be. There are a few really well shot scenes but that alone can't save this.

Three strikes: I'm out! After watching these in close succession, I found they aren't for me. I've developed a dislike for the Creeper as they can't seem to decide if he's Leatherface or some winged monster. He could be both but they never get the mix down right.

Rating: 3/10


CHiPS (2017)
Ah, another nostalgia cash-in attempt. I don't mind these when they're good, this one was kind of funny...sort of? If you're going to use the name to get an audience you have to do more than just use the TV characters' names. If you like the trailer, you'll probably like the movie. I mean, I didn't suffer through it but I guess if they just called it Motorcycle Buddy Cops, it would have done even worse at the box office.

Rating: 5/10

The Last Sharknado: It's About Time (2018, SyFy)
Boy did they nail that title! Two would have been fine. Three? Time to wrap it up. But like the Fast & the Furious, I'm riding this series out until it dies a horrible death. Look, I'm not expecting high cinema here but it's missing any sort of fun. If you told me they based this on watching a kid play action figures I would totally believe it. If you've come this far, you may as well watch it but don't say I didn't warn you.

Rating: 2/10

The Strangers (2008, Netflix)
This was pretty middle of the road for me. Home invasion is a tricky genre to keep me interested. I was never really bored but there were times I wanted things to move along. My biggest gripe is that the Strangers seem to have supernatural stealth and movement powers allowing them to do things like tap someone on the shoulder only to vanish when the person turns around.

Rating: 5/10
Month Total
New:Rewatch:1

Year Total
New: 48   Rewatch: 4

Aug 22, 2018

Choose Your Own Adventure - The Game

No matter how I old I get, there will always be a little rush of nostalgia any time I see a Choose Your Adventure (CYOA) cover. So when Z-Man Games put out a CYOA game, there was no question that I'd be checking it out.


As you can see, they didn't mess with success and stuck with the iconic cover design. The box comes packed with a lot of cards which I'll discuss as I explain the game part. The worst thing about the game is the box insert that's supposed to keep everything organized. If I weren't a collector minded person, I would just toss it out and put everything in Ziploc bags.

I should note that although this is billed as a "cooperative adventure game" adaptation of a CYOA book, it plays the same solo or with a group.

The basic story is that you are detective and psychic investigator that has been having  recurring nightmares that lead you to said house. Your mission is to get to the bottom of these visions!

Playing the game is like reading the book. You start with the chapter one card and then follow your choice to the indicated number card. The story is broken down into five chapters which provides good places to stop if you don't have time to do it all in one sitting. Each chapter has it's own deck of story and clue cards to go with it.

Story cards
Just like a CYOA book, the cards offer you choices during the story. But there are a few additions that make it more interesting than just reading aloud. Some parts of the story have challenges (upper right) that have to be overcome. There are different items you can find on your journey, represented by clue cards, that might help with certain challenges. The icon on the bottom of the saber below shows that it gives you +2 in fighting challenges.

Clue cards
As you play through the story, you'll be instructed to adjust your psychic scale and the danger meter. To take on a challenge, you roll a die and have to roll equal to or greater than your current danger meter level. As the game goes on, the danger meter creeps upward, making it harder and harder to beat any challenges. If the danger meter gets to the top, you reduce your psychic score by 2 and reset the danger level to where the arrow points.


Your psychic level can help you out during the story by allowing you to discover things, giving you additional story choices, or even premonitions!

If you remember anything about CYOA books, it's probably that you died (or failed) a lot. I know when I used to read these I always kept one finger on the page before turning to the next section in case I made a bad choice. Here, a premature ending will reduce your psychic score and let you pick up at the previous story. Death is only a minor setback.

I played through the first chapter on my own and had a pretty good time with the additional mechanics. I especially liked the clue cards which give you a physical representation of your item inventory. The danger meter can make you feel like the game is stacked against you as it creeps higher but it eventually resets itself.

This is made as a party game and I could see it being fun with a few more people to share the experience. If you grew up with CYOA, I'd say it's definitely worth checking out. It will hit all the nostalgia buttons for you from the box cover to the card art on down to the font used on the cards, this is CYOA. The only "downside" for me is that it is more of a game because you have to have a play area so it's not something you can pick up off the nightstand for a quick adventure before bed. But I could always just pick up a book or two for that.

You could just as easily get a couple CYOA books and read them aloud as a party game. The extra game elements do make this something different and give you more options but I don't see it as something I'd return to once I finish it. More than likely, I'd skip the game parts and just read through the cards like I was reading a CYOA book to explore the possible choices.

House of Danger retails for $25. In stores so far I've only found it at Target. It's also available online at retailers like Amazon.

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