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While we specialize in dark humor, we naturally have other interests as well. This section of the website houses miscellaneous content, such as reviews of movies or games that do not necessarily fit the dark humor category.

Originally posted on 02/01/2012.

Back in the old days when vampires were mentioned the first thing that came to people's minds was Count Dracula. Since then we've come to see a lot of different adaptations of the vampire myth, whether it's Anne Rice's romanticized take on the bloodsuckers or the myth of the Mexican vampires in flicks like John Carpenter's Vampires from 1998. These days people mostly think of the more modern reimaginings such as the girlie vampires of the Twilight franchise or the strictly R rated vampires of True Blood. Before these two, there was a different modern reimagining of vampires, that of the badass action hero vampire in the 2003 movie, Underworld.

Released in September 2003, Underworld was a very different take on the myth of the vampire. Hardly focusing on the horroristic aspects of the bloodsuckers, the movie takes advantage of the fact that they are immortal, nearly unkillable creatures who are naturally fitted to the role of the ultimate action hero. The movie takes place in a modern day setting at a time when vampires and lycans (the werewolves of the Underworld franchise) are at war. The protagonist is Selene, a vampire played by Kate Beckinsale who serves her coven as a so-called Death Bringer, a vampire who spends her life hunting lycans. She takes her job dead seriously as she has quite a score to settle with the werewolves: lycans killed her parents when she was a child and she basically wants to kill them all. The story follows her as she uncovers a plot by a lycan long thought dead to eradicate the leaders of the vampires. The movie's plot is quite simple and is basically an excuse for all the shootouts and fights that take place during the movie, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Underworld is basically an action movie about vampires and werewolves, and it works extremely well. If you're the type of movie lover who only watches artsy flicks with a deep meaning and refuses to watch anything entertaining, you're not going to like Underworld. If, however, you like movies like Commando or Face/Off and wonder what an action movie about vampires and werewolves is like, then this movie is well worth your time.

The story is simple but well told. It is rich and detailed enough to keep you interested between two shootouts. We get to learn a great deal about the history of the conflict between the vampires and the lycans and the movie does a good job at creating a dark, gothic atmosphere. One of the biggest strengths of the movie is its cast. Underworld features a wide variety of different characters who help make the world come alive around them, ranging from the badass Selene through the similarly vengeance driven lycan leader Lucien and his silent enforcer Raze to the cool headed weapons expert Kahn and the wise yet ruthless vampire overlord Viktor (played by the awesome Bill Nighy who nails this performance extremely well) and many others. Special mention needs to go to Kraven, the vampire in charge of the vampire coven. His character is one of the most awesome things about Underworld, and sadly he's one of the most misunderstood and therefore overcriticized characters. The movie in general wasn't too well received by critics but the character who got the most shit from them was Kraven. Even critics who liked the movie (see e.g. this review) refer to Kraven as a character who came across as "emotionally flat" when the critic was "expecting real terror". Truth is, Kraven was never meant to be terrifying. He was like Starscream in the 1980s Transformers cartoon series: a cowardly spineless bastard who will stop at nothing to get his way but will cower at the first sign of danger, yet ruthless and brilliant enough to mastermind a plot to take complete control only to fail in the end because of his cowardice. The story makes it abundantly clear that this is the kind of character that Kraven was, and it's exactly the kind of character that we saw in Kraven; Shane Brolly did an excellent job with his performance, delivering Kraven as a true Starscream-like character. The man deserves nothing but praise for his performance. The only reason his performance does not stand out is because everyone else did a spectacular job as well from Kate Beckinsale through Bill Nighy to Michael Sheen. This is one extremely well acted action flick.

Underworld also works well because of the action scenes which are very well made. The shootouts in the movie are not only quite satisfying, but they have their own unique twist to them as well in that both the vampires and the lycans use some high tech modern day weaponry. The vampires rely on silver bullets and silver shurikens while the lycans use UV tracer rounds to kill the bloodsuckers which the vampires later use to create their own extra high tech weaponry in silver nitrate bullets. Sometimes a couple of well choreographed fight scenes replace the shootouts between Selene and a few dead meat lycans which work surprisingly well at establishing Selene as a badass action heroine who could go toe to toe with the likes of Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris. Near the end of the story she participates in a short but sweet sword fight which ends in a hilarious death scene. In other words, the movie is filled with top-notch action for fans of old fashioned action movies.

Underworld has a pretty good soundtrack as well. Produced by Danny Lohner the soundtrack is composed of metal, hard rock, and industrial tracks which do a great job at further strengthening the gothic atmosphere of the movie. The visuals are likewise impressive, though if you have a problem with the color blue you might not enjoy it that much.

To summarize, Underworld is one of the better modern day vampire flicks out there. We in fact consider it one of the best movies of all time, worthy of being mentioned on the same page with the likes of Army of Darkness, albeit it's a different type of movie. We highly recommend this flick to everyone. Next week we'll return with the review of the 2006 sequel.

Originally posted on 09/01/2012.

There is a slang expression people often use when trying to say that something is bad. The phrase is, it sucks. It seems painfully inappropriate to use this phrase in relation to a vampire movie, yet in the case of Underworld: Evolution we have no choice but to say that it sucks. Why? Good question...

As stated in our previous review, the original Underworld is nothing short of a masterpiece. So how could a sequel relying on largely the same cast and the same director be so bad that we would say that it sucks? The answer is a little complicated and before we get there we should talk about the good things. The movie does get some things right, it's nowhere near as horrendous as certain other movies.

For starters, the acting is just as good as it was in the original Underworld. Kate Beckinsale reprises her lead role as Selene and several members of the cast of Underworld return (briefly; see below), and they all do a pretty good job. We also see a few new characters, primarily the new lead villain, Marcus, played by Tony Curran who gives a very good performance. The visual style is also retained and the soundtrack is okay as well. Furthermore, if there's one thing the movie does really well it's the action. We get some well choreographed action scenes just like in the original. At its heart, Underworld was just an action movie about vampires and werewolves, so, if we get good action scenes with good visuals and good acting, what could be so wrong? The answer is: the script.

While the story of the original Underworld was simple, it was very well told and was captivating enough to keep the viewers interested. In the sequel it feels much less so. The story is that Marcus, one of the vampire overlords is awakaned by the blood of a lycan, becoming a very powerful hybrid creature in the process, and he goes on a killing spree as he tries to free his brother William, the first werewolf, while Selene tries to stop him. Again, a simple story but this time it's not very well told. It feels like something that was rushingly put together to provide for something that can hold the action scenes together. The well presented dark gothic atmopshere of the original is very much lacking in this movie from the story side, as well as the character side, which is Underworld: Evolution's biggest flaw.

Here we need to go into spoliers (highlight the hidden text ro read).

Underworld: Evolution features very few support cast alongside Selene and Marcus. Michael Corvin returns from the first film as does Kraven, Viktor, and Amelia. The latter two appear only in a short flashback, which is understandable. Kraven however, who was pretty much set up to be a lead villain by the ending of the original Underworld, gets killed off surprisingly fast after the first five minutes while Michael, who is supposed to be the lead male of the movie, comes across rather weak, especially for a hybrid lycan-vampire. Other than these we get a handful of new characters such as Alexander Corvinus, the immortal ancestor of the lycans and vampires, who gets killed off after about 5-10 minutes of accumulated screen time. We also get the very intriguing character of Andreas Tanis, the scribe of the vampires (portrayed excellently by Stephen Mackintosh) who gets killed off after 2 scenes which certainly don't last any more than 10 minutes. Do you see the pattern?

Basically what we get here is the very opposite of the first movie. While Underworld relied heavily on the largely varied cast of characters to help establish the atmosphere and help make the world come alive, here the majority of them are reduced to filler status, either getting killed after at most 10 minutes of screen time or forced to fade into obscurity. This entire movie is basically a duel between Selene and Marcus with the other characters barely being part of the whole thing. Unfortunately this gets old very quickly and the viewers can find themselves bored after the first half of the movie. The end result is a bland movie which could have been very good with a decent script and a better structured story (especially one that does a better job with its support cast).

In summary, while Underworld was a masterpiece of an action flick, the sequel comes across as a bland piece where the only redeeming quality to be had is the good visuals and the decent action (and the good acting, which is sadly wasted in this movie due to the lazy script). So, unless you're desperately craving more action with vampires and werewolves, stay away from this movie. Even if you really want more action involving vampires and lycans, you're better off watching the original Underworld again. Alternatively, you can watch Rise of the Lycans, the second sequel to Underworld, which we will review next week. That review will fortunately be much more positive than this one.

Originally posted on 16/01/2012.

While Underworld: Evolution greatly tarnished the reputation of the Underworld franchise with a lame 16% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (the original Underworld received a much better 31% rating), fans were apparently happy enough with the action to forgive the worthless script and Underworld: Evolution ended up a financial success. It was inevitable that another installment of the franchise would be filmed. In January 2009 we got Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. So, is it any good? Fortunately, the answer is yes.

Rise of the Lycans is a prequel to the original Underworld. As such, Kate Beckinsale does not return (except for a few seconds of reused Underworld footage at the very end), instead, our protagonist is Lucien, the leader of the lycans in the original film. Michael Sheen reprises his role as Lucien and does a damn good job at portraying the oppressed lycan who is hopelessly in love with his master's daughter and ends up leading a revolution to free the lycans from enslavement by the vampires. Also returning is the awesome Bill Nighy as Viktor, who is the lead villain of the film from start to finish. Nighy does an excellent job at portraying the ruthless vampire overlord who is conflicted about the controversial decision which ultimately triggers the lycan revolt (i.e., the decision of sentencing his own daughter to death for bearing a lycan's child). His daughter Sonja (played by Rhona Mitra, whom some of you may remember from her very small role in Kevin Bacon's best movie ever, Hollow Man) is not much of a replacement for Selene but fortunately the script doesn't try to make her one. Sonja is basically the feisty daughter of the vampire king who wants to be a warrior while his father wants to keep her out of harm's way, which works well enough for the movie.

The story is once again very simple, and for those of you who saw the original Underworld, it's also very much predictable. The story follows the forbidden romance of Lucien and Sonja which inevitably ends in tragedy after Viktor learns that his daughter is pregnant with Lucien's child and orders her execution. Lucien manages to break free and lead a lycan revolution against the vampires. Considering that we basically know how the story ends, Rise of the Lycans should have a hard time keeping the viewers invested in what is happening. Yet the movie pulls this off surprisingly well due to the well written script and the excellent use of the support cast. Besides Lucien and Viktor, we get two other returning characters who help a great deal in establishing a dark, medieval atmosphere. Raze from the original film returns as Lucien's lycan friend, while Andreas Tanis from Underworld: Evolution finally gets the screen time he should have had in Evolution. Tanis is the scribe of the vampires and a cunning bastard with his own agenda. The treacherous scribe helps Lucien and Sonja for his own personal reasons and manages to keep his involvement in secret from the vampire overlord all along. His presence in the movie gives the story a good amount of mistery since we barely know anything about him at this stage, which is a welcome thing in a prequel. Stephen Mackintosh reprises his role as Tanis and he does a great job. However, Rise of the Lycans is basically dominated by the overwhelming performance of Bill Nighy as the vampire overlord Viktor. He pretty much steals the show this time around, and it's no wonder the movie poster depicts him sitting on his throne.

The action scenes in the movie also manage to live up to the legacy of the first Underworld. They also provide a nice change of style since, due to the medieval setting, there are no gunfights in Rise of the Lycans. While we get to see crossbows used frequently, the action scenes are dominated by close combat such as sword fights and brawls between the vampires and the lycans, all of which are well choreographed.

Overall, Rise of the Lycans succeeds at reclaiming the lost glory of the Underworld franchise. While not as good as the first film, it is what Evolution is not but should have been: Rise of the Lycans is a truly worthy sequel to the original Underworld (critics liked it almost as much as the original, giving it a 30% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, just 1% less than Underworld). Fortunately it was also successful financially such that yet another sequel was made. This is Underworld: Awakening, due to be released to cinemas 20 January 2012. We will review the movie right after the opening weekend. Will it be any good? We hope so. Awakening takes place several years after Evolution and brings Selene back into the center of the story. She finds herself in a world were the human race has discovered vampires and lycans and is busy trying to exterminate the immortal species. This is a simple story which opens the door to a lot of possibilities, such as the vampires and the lycans joining forces against the common enemy, or the alliance crumbling due to treason on part of someone who can't forget the centuries old quarrel between the two immortal races. Still, they dropped the ball with Evolution so it is possible they'll drop it again. We are hopeful though, because J. Michael Straczynski (of Babylon 5 fame) co-wrote the script and we have never seen anything by Straczynski that wasn't awesome. Hopefully Awakening will be no different.

Originally posted on 21/01/2012.

It's been 9 years since the original Underworld movie and 6 years since the last time Kate Beckinsale played the role of Selene. Now it's January 2012 and the fourth installment of the franchise, Underworld: Awakening is finally at the theaters. Is it any good? Hell yeah it is!

This may come as a bit of a surprise considering that when a franchise gets to the fourth installment it tends to start getting really old. Perhaps the creators of Underworld knew that when they conceived the story of Awakening, for this story takes a completely different direction than any of the previous entries in the franchise. Just a quick reminder: the original Underworld was a mindless action movie about vampires and lycans (i.e. werewolves) who were trying to kill each other while the human race knew absolutely nothing of their existence. Its shitty sequel (Underworld: Evolution) and awesome prequel (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) built upon this premise. Awakening however starts with the human race discovering the existence of vampires and lycans, meaning that the story shifts from vampires and werewolves trying to kill each other to the human race attempting to exterminate them all.

So we get a pretty dark opening as we basically witness genocide. Humanity is hell bent on slaughtering every vampire and lycan, no questions asked. Our lead, Selene ends up in the middle of this conflict when she is taken captive and put in hibernation for 12 years. When she awakens and escapes she finds herself in a vastly changed world where she has basically become the hunted. That does not stop her from turning the tables on the humans that think they actually stand a chance against the most badass Death Dealer on the planet.

That's basically the story and yes, it's just as simple as the story of any Underworld flick to date. Likewise, despite its simplicity the story is engaging enough to keep the viewers interested until the end, and it is very well told. It's certainly a pleasure to see that J. Michael Straczynski (i.e., Mr. Babylon 5) has not lost his touch; getting him co-write the script was an ingenious move and we hope that if we ever see an Underworld 5 he will contribute once more.

Just like in the original Underworld, we get a wide array of varied characters. Kate Beckinsale still shines in the lead role of Selene and it's great to see her in action once more. Selene is joined by a young vampire called David who wants to fight for his species while his father Thomas, played by Charles Dance (i.e., Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones), is trying to hold him back thinking that their best shot at survival is laying low. She also finds unexpected help in the form of Detective Sebastian (played by Michael Ealy, i.e. Agent Vogel from FlashForward) who has his own personal reasons to dislike the genocide of the vampires and lycans. We also meet Dr. Jacob Lane (portrayed by the always excellent Stephen Rea), the man in charge of Antigen, the company that held Selene captive, and Quint, a giant lycan who seems to be nigh indestructible. Finally, we get a young 11-12 year old vampire girl who was also held captive by Antigen for a certain reason that we will not spoil here. In other words, we get a wide variety of interesting characters who the viewers can get invested in, just like in the original Underworld. Furthermore, most of them get FAR more screen time than the support cast did in Evolution. It's a shame that Charles Dance has such few scenes, but perhaps we'll see more of him if Underworld 5 ever becomes a reality.

Speaking of seeing more, we would have loved the see more of this movie. Quite frankly, it's far too short. Clocking in at 88 minutes it's a half hour shorter than the original Underworld. Damn shame... Granted, Rise of the Lycans was similarly short, but we would have liked to see more regardless.

The action is top notch and we get some pretty gruesome scenes (such as a little girl ripping out the throat of a lycan) which should satisfy any action-horror lovers out there. Still, quite possibly the most awesome scene is the one where Selene pretty much reenacts the opening cinematic of Baldur's Gate (you know, when Sarevok grabs a guy's neck with just one hand and... well, if you've played the game, you know the rest). Truly, Sarevok would be proud!

The visuals are fantastic and the music is also great. One thing we haven't mentioned yet is the 3D. This is probably the most difficult aspect of the movie to review since a lot of people have very different opinions of 3D in general. In Awakening the 3D is mostly used in the gimmicky way, i.e. there's shit flying at the screen etc., which is quite entertaining to watch. However, there's not a whole lot of scenes where the 3D was really necessary, so if you only catch this movie in 2D, don't worry about it: you won't miss much.

To summarize, Underworld: Awakening is just as much of a worthy entry into the franchise as Rise of the Lycans was. It's a fun, mindless action movie about a badass vampire chick raising hell and whooping ass. If you liked the original Underworld, you should find this movie quite entertaining as well. Although the original Underworld is still the best in the series by far.

Originally posted on 29/01/2012.

As huge fans of The Darkness comic we are proud to bring to you our video review of the Demo Version of the upcoming game, The Darkness II, which will in fact see a PC release, unlike the first game. In short, the game looks promising. Check out our video review to see what you can expect in The Darkness II. Enjoy!

The Darkness II Demo Review

Originally posted on 21/02/2012.

Our review of the full game is finally here. So, is The Darkness II as awesome as the demo suggested? Basically yes. Though it's not a perfect game, it's the best we've seen in the past two years. Watch the full review below for details. Enjoy!

The Darkness II Review

Originally posted on 18/03/2012. Edited on 03/04/2021 to update links.

Our respect for independent filmmakers grows every time we see a gem like Ninja the Mission Force. If you're familiar with Godfrey Ho's cut and paste ninja flicks from the 80s you will certainly appreciate this web series, but even if you've never seen any of those old flicks you can easily find a lot of viewing pleasure in this comedic revival of cut and paste cinema.

Ninja the Mission Force is a comedic web series focused on the efforts of Gordon, a man working for Interpol who also happens to be a ninja, to thwart the evil ninja Bruce in his attempt to gather six avian ninja warriors (i.e. rubber ducks) and obtain ultimate ninja power to rule the world. That in itself is a good plot for an 80s style B movie, but it doesn't stop there. Ninja the Mission Force follows the formula of Godfrey Ho's cut and paste films, movies which took two separate films and spliced them into one more-less cohesive film. Godfrey Ho made literally hundreds of such movies, shooting no more than 10-20 minutes worth of new footage with his own actors and filling up the rest of the screen time with footage from oriental ninja flicks. Ninja the Mission Force does something very similar, splicing public domain footage from the most unlikely films into the series. Examples include footage with Orson Welles, Ernest Borgnine, and even Richard Harrison. The old footage is re-dubbed to match the storyline of the web series and features hilarious scenes such as Orson Welles' character strangling someone over a knock knock joke or ancient Roman gladiators talking like mobsters.

The newly filmed footage is made in the style of the parodied Godfrey Ho flicks complete with poorly synced overdubbing and lazy special effects (the lion in the third episode is in particular worth mentioning; she's our favorite support character by the way), except all of that is completely intentional here. Gordon and Bruce are portrayed by series creator Ed Glaser (of Dark Maze Studios, now known as Neon Harbor) and our favorite independent filmmaker Brad Jones (the man behind the Cinema Snob), respectively, and they both do a terrific job.

Ninja the Mission Force is an ongoing web series which started just over a month ago. In the five episodes broadcast so far we've seen stuff like cheese ninjas, mobster gladiators, a zombie virus, a lion, robot ninjas, and many many more. We have yet to see the dinosaur and the space scenes promised by the trailer, but if what we've seen so far is any indication we can expect a lot of pretty awesome shit in the series. If you haven't already, check out the series on the Neon Harbor website.

The filmmakers would like to make a second season at some point, so if you like the web series, show your support by spreading the word. We certainly want more.

Originally posted on 01/08/2012.

In anticipation of the upcoming release of The Cinema Snob Movie, we look at one of Cinema Snob creator Brad Jones's earlier indie films, Cheap. We struggled for a while to decide whether to make this a Dark Humor Highlight but in the end we opted not to since despite the very clear presence of dark humor in the film Cheap is no comedy. No. It is a movie about snuff film makers.

Snuff films, in case you don't know, are films made of actual murders distributed in the underground scene for the entertainment of sick fucks. They are an urban legend featured in several films and games (such as Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines), no one has ever proven that real snuff films exist. Fake snuff films - films of fiction that pretend to be using real snuff footage akin to fake documentaries - are abundant though, being made since the 1970s for the entertainment of not-so-sick fucks. Like us. :)

On to Cheap. This film chronicles the exploits of disillusioned and psychotic/evil (take your pick) film director Jack Stone who sets out to make the first real snuff film in existence. He does so in part because he's not right in the head and in part because porn producer Max Force keeps pressuring him to come up with something "original and artsy". Jack uses his manipulative charm to seduce a pair of teenage runaways to do the actual killings for him and films the murders with the help of a cameraman who's every bit of a sick fuck as Jack himself. Then he sells the footage to the unsuspecting Max who releases them to the public and, upon seeing how popular they are with the audience, tells Jack to make more movies in that style. All this time Max has no clue that the snuff films are real. So you'd think Max Force is going the be the hero. Right?

Well, wrong. And that's where the genius of Cheap lies. In that both the villain (Jack) and the so-called hero (Max) are utterly despicable characters with hardly any redeeming quality whatsoever. On one hand you have Jack who kills people and thinks that it's art. On the other hand you have Max Force who is a conceited jerk, is constantly high, is a complete asshole with his pregnant wife, rapes people in his office, and is in general a greedy cunt. Now, who do you root for?

Obviously the story sets up Max as the hero but his character is just simply so loathsome that it's easy to root for him getting killed at the end as he would most certainly deserve it. So the audience will have a hard time deciding whether or not to get behind Max. That is not to say that he doesn't have at least a handful of redeeming qualities. For one, while at one point in the movie Jack claims otherwise, it certainly seems like Max doesn't condone murder, even if raping people is okay for this asshole. More importantly, Max is defiant. He steps up to Jack despite the odds, not willing to back down, solidifying himself as the most badass character of the film. In contrast, Jack is a manipulative maniac who makes teenage runaways do his dirty work. You could say he, too, has a bit of a redeeming quality in that he protects his actors, but the man thinks that he's fighting to protect art and creativity by making snuff films.

Which brings us to a rather strange element of Cheap. Whether the filmmakers intended this or not, the film comes across as though it carries a satirical message about clichés and avoiding clichés. At one point in the movie Jack states that he and his crew are "pioneers", "originals" who are "still all proving" their "point" but that "one day" they, too, would "all be clichéd". So basically what we have here in Jack Stone is a sick filmmaker who wants to be original so badly that he resorts to murder and thinks of it as art. It's almost as if he is the prime example of what happens when you try avoiding clichés just a little bit too hard. While everyone agrees that overusing clichés leads to shitty, boring, and predictable products (*cough* Avatar *cough*), completely avoiding them can also lead to disaster, or at least to a movie that only people of the same mindset as the director would appreciate. Jack's snuff films can be thought of as an exaggerated, satirical portrayal of what happens when you get overzealous in your efforts to create something original, when you're afraid to use any clichés for fear of not being original enough. Now given the subject matter we're not sure that the filmmakers intended Cheap to carry this satirical message of what happens when you try too hard to avoid clichés, maybe it's just us, but it does add to the insane experience of watching Cheap.

We say "insane experience" here because this is one weird movie. Not only does it have no likable hero, it also features some very inappropriate music during the murders and an over-the-top badass motherfucker of a lead in Max Force whose lines and demeanor are an excellent source of laughter throughout the movie. Not to mention Jack's insane lines. Basically, one finds it very easy to laugh during Cheap despite the subject matter and the tragedy of the murders. There are scenes though that will probably freeze the smile on most people in between two humorous moments, especially the footage of the snuff film from which Max Force learns that the murders in the movies are real. We will not spoil what happens in that particular snuff film, suffice to say that it's the most gruesome part of the movie, and in a sense also one of its highlights as it showcases just how much of a vicious sick fuck Jack Stone really is.

Now this is a low budget independent movie shot on low quality film so don't expect the best picture quality from it, but the truth is that in Cheap it adds to the overall mood of the movie, especially during the black and white snuff film footage. So don't let the low quality video scare you off. Just let the sick world of Max Force and Jack Stone suck you in and take you on a rollercoaster ride of satirical absurdity. This is a very entertaining film for people with an open mind who don't mind the lack of a proper hero. Furthermore the acting is outright outstanding for an independent film, especially lead David Gobble's performance as Max Force, but Brad Jones does an excellent job playing the sinister Jack Stone as well.

One last thing to mention is that Cheap is a remake of a 70s film called Last House On Dead End Street which we haven't seen but the audio commentary of Cheap suggests that the two films are very different. If you have seen Last House you should definitely check out Cheap to see a different take on the conflict between sick directors and asshole producers.

To summarize, we highly recommend Cheap. It's a must see for fans of weird movies and especially for fans of the Cinema Snob. Cheap is available to watch online for free on the website of director Brad Jones at thecinemasnob.com. Go check it out!

Originally posted on 14/08/2012.

Today we review a movie about a bear. This is not just any kind of bear but the most awesome bear we've seen in a very long time. His name is Ted, he's a talking teddybear, and he's one bad motherfucker.

The movie Ted starts off with the backstory of the title character, revealing how his owner wished him to life just at the right time at Christmas. The kid, John, immediately shows off his new best friend to his parents, in other words Ted's miraculous coming to life is not kept secret at all. Ted becomes a celebrity and goes on talk shows and whatnot, but being a true friend he sticks with John despite the fame. Then we cut to present day as we learn that Ted's fifteen minutes of fame ended quickly and, as the narrator states, no one gives a shit that he's a talking teddybear any more. So he's living the life of a long forgotten former celebrity in John's house spending his days smoking pot and watching TV. Meanwhile John is about to get married to his girlfriend who thinks that Ted is irresponsible and is a bad influence on John, so she wants the bear to move out and get a job, which leads to a series of absurd events that absolutely need to be seen.

Ted is a rated R comedy and it's absolutely brilliant. Ted himself is an irresponsible party animal with a bad attitude and is an excellent source of twisted humor throughout the film. Whether it's flipping the bird to the thunder, insulting a store manager in hopes of getting fired, taking hookers into his best friend's apartment, or even beating the guy to a pulp he's always a good source of laughter.

The film comes from the creator of Family Guy, and it shows. Seth MacFarlane himself provides the voice of Ted and brings the character to life in a spectacular way. Other cast members include Mark Wahlberg as John who does a good job portraying the manchild who treads a thin line between sticking to his troublemaker best friend and trying to lead a responsible life, and Mila Kunis who plays John's overly responsible girlfriend Lori. We also get Patrick Stewart narrating the opening in truly entertaining fashion and Giovanni Ribisi playing a bit if a psycho who wants to buy Ted for his own son. Needless to say the movie turns a bit dark at one point but overall it remains a fun, entertaining joyride for fans of rated R comedies.

Honestly this is the best movie we've seen at the cinema all year long so far. We highly recommend it to everyone. Just bear (no pun intended) one thing in mind: after you watch this movie, you will want to see Flash Gordon as soon as you get home from the cinema. Ted pays tribute to the aforementioned classic from the 80s and does it extremely well. The film also comes with an excellent soundtrack including a couple of wonderful 80s songs which we absolutely loved to hear.

Finally, we'd like to close our coverage with an open letter to the title character.

Dear Ted,

If you're still fed up with your job at the grocery store which you clearly did not want in the first place, there is currently an open position at bearwithadeathlist.co.uk for a bear. There is no job description as the website name speaks for itself. We believe that a foul mouthed badass motherfucker bear with a bad attitude and a very clear love for the 80s such as yourself would be a useful addition to our staff. If you're interested, please leave a comment on our facebook page. You can bring your own list of you wish. (Update posted on 03/04/2021: we're not really on facebook any more but tell you what Ted, if you're interested in the job, send us a message by carrier pigeon. We're sure it'll find us. Eventually.)

Originally posted on 24/08/2012.

For those of you who still like reading books (that's ALL of you, right? Right?) today we review the latest game book in the now 30 year old Fighting Fantasy series, Ian Livingstone's "Blood Of The Zombies". Enjoy!

Blood Of The Zombies Review

Originally posted on 25/10/2012.

The end of this month marks the first anniversary of bearwithadeathlist.co.uk and it seems like we will get a Hell of a birthday present with the release of Painkiller: Hell And Damnation. In honor of the upcoming release of this hopefully awesome first person shooter we now give a retrospective review of the original Painkiller.

Released in 2004 Painkiller is pretty much a classic game by now. At the time of its release most first person shooters were trying hard to give the player an intellectual challenge with enemy AI that exploited cover, tried to flank the player, and in general employed tactics. Not Painkiller. This game was a throwback to the good old days of Doom when the only thing the AI knew how to do was make a beeline for the player. In these old fashioned shooters the challenge came from the overwhelming amount of enemies, allowing the player to feel like Rambo, which was a lot of fun. This style of first person shooters became deprecated with the rise of the Half-Life games, and only Serious Sam kept the old style alive. Then came Painkiller and reminded us all how much fun brainless shooters really are.

Make no mistake about it, Painkiller is a brainless shooter, about as brainless as it can get. However, that's exactly why it's so much fun! Strictly speaking the game does require the player to think, e.g. about things like whether to use the shotgun or the chaingun. However, the enemy AI is ridiculously stupid, which means outsmarting their so-called tactics is achieved by making sure you have enough ammunition. It is a fast-paced action-packed gameplay that allows one to completely turn off one's brain and just relax, complete with an excellent and perfectly fitting soundtrack which makes the run-and-gun gameplay that much more enjoyable. And that is why Painkiller is such a gem. Because we do in fact need games like this, games where the player doesn't need to think and can have some mindless fun. While it's true that games with complex AI that offer a tactical challenge such as Half-Life are tremendous fun, the fact is there are times when a player wants to chill out without having to think much, and that's when a game like Painkiller is good to have on your hard drive, e.g. for stress relief. It is our personal favorite first person shooter for good reason.

Other than its old-school gameplay, the biggest appeal of Painkiller is the absurd level of variety. While enemy types are relatively limited, enemy skins are extremely varied meaning you run into something new to shoot on almost every level. The levels themselves are all unique ranging from a graveyard through a train station to the streets of what appears to be Venice, among many other things. This variety guarantees that the player never gets bored with the game as there is always something new to see. The weapons also have quite a variety ranging from the iconic stakegun (basically a crossbow that fires a large wooden stake instead of an arrow) to the electrodriver (a shuriken gun that can also fry the opposition with lightning). Each gun has two firing modes which makes them extremely versatile. After the first couple of levels the player will have quite a few options to eradicate the enemies which further increases variety, as well as provides good replay value.

As explained above, Painkiller is an old-school shooter, but it also brings a couple of new things to the table. The aforementioned combination weapons are relatively novel, and we also get the Black Tarot power-up system which makes the game much more interesting and challenging. During the game it is possible to complete challenges, each of which earns the player a Black Tarot card. In between levels the player can place up to five of these into slots which give bonuses like increased health or damage. Some of these cards are quite challenging to acquire, especially the Divine Intervention card, but doing so is extremely satisfying. Speaking of challenges, each level comes with a set of secret areas in the style of Doom, so exploration is encouraged.

The story of the game also follows the old-school traditions in that it's simple and cheesy, but at the same time it's quite touching and it simply feels good to see the true ending which can only be seen if the game is completed on Trauma, the hardest difficulty level. You play as Daniel Garner, a poor soul stuck in Purgatory after dying in a car accident with his wife. The Angels task him with killing four demon generals and promise to let him reunite with his wife in Heaven if he succeeds. Along the way you can collect the souls of demons that you kill, and after gathering 66 you briefly turn into an invulnerable demon and can kill anything in one shot. This is another fun gameplay element, and it is also tied to the story in that on Trauma difficulty there are no souls to collect and this is has an effect on how the story unfolds (see note on the true ending above).

That's pretty much all there is to say about Painkiller. It is a fun old-school shooter designed to let people turn off their brain and have some mindless fun. As one would expect the game spawned several expansions starting with Battle Out Of Hell, which is the only expansion made by People Can Fly, the developer of the original Painkiller. While Battle Out Of Hell is just as awesome as the original, sadly the other entries in the series did not manage to live up to the legacy of Painkiller. Which is quite a shame as the game never got a proper sequel, yet we would very much like to see it happen.

That is why we are hopeful that the remake, Painkiller: Hell And Damnation will bring back the glory of the original Painkiller. Yes there's a chance that it will suck, but available gameplay footage suggests that it's going to be a pretty decent remake of the original. We are certainly looking forward to it and plan on reviewing it after release. Until then, if any of you would like to play the original Painkiller, do check out the Black edition (comprising the base game and Battle Out Of Hell) which is available e.g. on GOG.com at a bargain price. (Note added 03/04/2021: In case it wasn't obvious from the fact that we never posted a review for Hell And Damnation, let us state that Hell And Damnation sucks. Avoid it like the plague. Just play the original.)

Originally posted on 25/03/2013.

Some of you may recall a fun little web show called Ninja The Mission Force from last year. If you missed it, it's a comedy show making fun of and paying homage to cut-and-paste cinema, well worth checking out. If you have seen the first season, you'll be pleased to know that the second season is finally finished and out on DVD. Brad Jones returns as the evil ninja Bruce, climbing out of his grave and proclaiming that he will conquer the world. Again. With his old rival occupied in the Antarctic, a new ninja called Cheetah Lee played by Allison Pregler must step up to face the threat of the Evil Ninja Empire. This premise is a pretty good indication that season 2 will be just as much fun as the first one was.

Sadly, the second season of the show is not free to watch online, but the DVD that it ships on is packed with various extras so if you're a fan of the show you should seriously consider the purchase. If you're hesitant, check out the first episode which is available online for free. It features Lee Van Cleef as a ninja (no shit), a more evil Bruce than ever before, and lots and lots of music puns. In other words, it's a damn good start. Go check it out!

Note added 03/04/2021: while we never had time to post a review about it, Season 2 of Ninja The Mission Force lived up to all our expectations and more. We highly recommend it. The second season now also seems to be entirely available to watch for free on Neon Harbor. Click below and enjoy!

Originally posted on 06/02/2015.

We're not really qualified to review music. We don't know much about beats and melody and rhythm. But we know what we like, so today, we spotlight Carpenter Brut, a one-man French band that brings back the 80s in style.

Electro synth music was a big thing back in the 80s, used not only by pop bands but also for movie soundtracks. Carpenter Brut offers a throwback to those days, and between games like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, indie films like Hooker With A Heart of Gold, and of course novels like Con City, some throwback music is certainly a welcome addition for those of us who grew up on this kind of shit. It's a throwback in the right way, too: it does it's own thing, bringing back the glory of the old days without being regressive. It's a celebration of a musical style many thought was long dead, but with the efforts of Power Glove and now Carpenter Brut, the whole world can see that the legacy of the 80s is very much alive. And we fucking love it!

At the time of this writing three 6-track digital EPs have been released, soon to be available as a compilation LP called Trilogy. 17 of the 18 tracks are instrumental while one breaks the mold by introducing lyrics and spices things up. We highly recommend it to anyone who loves 80s music. It's great stuff to listen to when you're reading a Con City novel. And rest assured, the Author of Con City will be adding Carpenter Brut to his playlist while writing the next Con City novel.

If you want a more in-depth analysis beyond "it's awesome", check out the review below:

Review on Kerrang

Note added 03/04/2021: In the original article we posted links to three other reviews, on toeleven.net, synthetix.fm, and newretrowave.com. These links no longer function therefore we have removed them from the article.

Or better, go to Carpenter Brut's youtube channel, pretend that it's a boom box, and press play.

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