Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Review of Scrap Sculptures' 12" Terminator T-800 Endoskeleton



A few weeks ago, I did a post about Scrap Sculptures' 7-foot-tall Terminator T-800 endoskeleton. Even though that sculpture is way out of my price range, I nevertheless wanted to add the smaller 12-inch sculpture from the same company to my own Terminator collection. I'm glad I did--weighing over three pounds and made completely from recycled metal parts, this T-800 sculpture is one of the most fascinating and durable items that any Terminator and sci-fi fan can purchase. Read on for my complete review and picture gallery.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Review of Lancer's VFA-6I Alpha Fighter from Toynami's Robotech Masterpiece Collection



A few weeks ago, I posted a review of a Veritech Fighter replica that Toynami produced as part of its Robotech Masterpiece Collection (click here to read that review). This post is a companion to that review, since this is a review of an Alpha Fighter from the same Robotech Masterpiece Collection line. When I purchased this Alpha Fighter, I did so because I felt that I should have an Alpha counterpart to the Veritech that I purchased for such a low price. Unfortunately, I had to pay the original, non-discounted price for the Alpha, and I'm still unsure if the price I paid was worth the product that I received. Read on for my complete review.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nerd Rant: Gentle Giant's Jumbo Star Wars Action Figures Jumbo-Size Kenner's Toy Gaffes



Last April, I posted a rant about Gentle Giant's line of Jumbo Vintage Star Wars Action Figures, wondering how this line could keep going when all it is is a series of expensive enlarged action figures--no extra details, no extra points of articulation, nothing.

Then again, what do I know? The line is still running strong, with recent releases including jumbo versions of the Lando Calrissian and Yoda figures from Kenner's Empire Strikes Back line and a jumbo Gamorrean Guard figure from Kenner's Return of the Jedi line. I kept thinking that there has to be something more to what Gentle Giant is doing other than just making small things bigger, and I think I finally figured out what it is. Gentle Giant is not only re-releasing Kenner's original figures on a larger scale, they are also re-releasing every variation that's possible for those figures as well. Read on....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Experience Tibetan Terror in Wii's Cursed Mountain


With computer technology's relentless advancement in the area of graphics, both in terms of complexity and depth, I find myself more and more amazed at how vividly some video games can create a virtual environment--so vividly that you can almost feel it as if it were a real thing. Such a feeling enhances a gaming experience considerably, since it's much easier to empathize with the game's characters and situations if you're engrossed in the atmosphere of the world they inhabit.


Such is the case of Cursed Mountain, a survival horror game that was released for the Wii back in 2009. Cursed Mountain takes place in the Himalayan mountains during the late 1980s, and the game's rendering of the many environments you encounter during the game is nothing short of breathtaking. Read on for my complete review of this immersive horror chiller.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Brief Review of Ti West's The Roost (2005)


Among the latest generation of horror writer/directors, I've been particularly impressed with the work of Ti West. House of the Devil (2009) and The Innkeepers (2011) are two of the best horror films from the last five years, so I decided to take a look at West's earliest feature-length effort, The Roost, to get an idea of how far he has come as a director. While it's not as good as West's other work, it features a few of his trademark style choices in their early stage of development.


The Roost is about four friends who are on their way to a wedding when their car is run off the road after a near collision. The friends walk to the nearest house to find it deserted, with a barn nearby--a barn that houses a horde of bats that thirst for human blood.

As debut filmmaking efforts on a limited budget go, The Roost has enough wit and style to make it worth watching. The film's main story is bookended by scenes featuring a ghoulish Horror Host (played by Tom Noonan, who would later appear in House of the Devil), an affectionate nod to late show broadcasts of horror films during heyday of syndicated TV channels. The story itself is thin and the characters make questionable decisions (particularly towards the end), but you can see West using this low-budget outing as an opportunity to begin crafting his "slow burn" style of horror as the film progresses.

West carefully sets up all of the characters and locations before letting the scares commence, which allows for the establishment of a particular mood that complements and accentuates the horror when it finally emerges. Even though you don't learn too much about the main characters, there's enough small talk and emotional exchanges between them to let you know that these characters have a history with each other outside of the story itself. The bat and gore effects are impressive considering how cheaply they were done, and West throws in a secret about the bats that is not explicitly explained through dialogue but makes enough sense to keep the scares going in spite of the film's short, simple plot. Not to give too much away, but The Roost would work as the first half of a double bill with a film like 28 Days Later or Quarantine. It should also be noted that The Roost was produced by veteran horror director Larry Fessenden, who also makes a cameo appearance and would go on to produce some of West's subsequent films.

The Roost is not Ti West's best work, but it's something that West fans and cheap horror film aficionados can both enjoy.



Friday, September 14, 2012

Blast Away Dinosaurs in Wii's Jurassic: The Hunted



Jurassic: The Hunted is the best first-person dinosaur shooter for the Wii that was published by Activision back in 2009. This may sound like a dubious honor, since other Wii FPS games such as Red Steel 2 and the Conduit games leave Jurassic in the dust. Nevertheless, it helps to keep two things into mind when considering a game like Jurassic:

1. Jurassic is one of the few horror/sci-fi themed FPS games for the Wii that doesn't involve aliens, zombies, or futuristic cowboy-ninjas.

2. The other Wii dinosaur FPS games, Dino Strike and Top Shot Dinosaur Hunter, are cheaply-made shovelware titles in comparison to Jurassic.

If you've got an itchy trigger finger that's craving for some carnivorous dinosaur thrills, keep reading for my complete review of this dino shooter game.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Interview with Jaws Diorama Sculptor Nigel Humphreys (Part 2 of 2)



Here is the second half of my interview with Nigel Humphreys from Sculptoria Studio about his upcoming series of collectible Jaws dioramas. In this part of the interview, Nigel talks about how he goes about selecting the Jaws scenes and images he hopes to recapture in diorama form, the list of collectibles he plans to release in the near future, and additional movie collectible work he has lined up outside of the Jaws license. Read on....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Interview with Jaws Diorama Sculptor Nigel Humphreys (Part 1 of 2)



While continuing my obsession with high-quality replicas of famous movie monsters (an obsession that dovetails with all of my other movie-related obsessions), I have recently found promotional pictures for a series of Jaws dioramas that being produced by Sculptoria Studio, which is located in Manchester, England. Thankfully, Sculptoria’s founder and creative director, Nigel Humphreys, was kind enough to answer a few questions that I have for him about his Jaws work, his love of sculpting, and how he applies his sculpting talents to his love of Jaws and other horror and sci-fi franchises. Read on for the first part of the interview.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It’s College Students vs. Plant Monsters in Wii’s Obscure: The Aftermath



As far as I know, the cinematic narrative formula of teenagers versus monsters has been around since the 1950s, when movie producers realized that teenagers had enough disposable income to spend on movies. Early examples of this type of horror movie include Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), Earth vs. The Spider (1958) and The Blob (1958). This kind of teen-centric horror subgenre earned its notoriety during the 70s and 80s, when its films began to include heavy doses sex, nudity and gore. Yet for as well known as this narrative formula has been in horror movies for over 60 years, it hasn’t had much of an influence in horror video games. This brings me to my review of Obscure: The Aftermath, which was released for the Nintendo Wii back in 2008.

Unlike other horror video games, Obscure: The Aftermath takes many of its themes and plot points from horror movies that are commonly associated with the teenage demographic; in fact, as I played the game, I found myself reminded of such films as Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Return of the Living Dead (1985) and Night of the Creeps (1986). While it’s not the best horror game that’s available for the Wii--or for any system, for that matter--the willingness of Aftermath to tell a of story that’s become commonplace in horror films but rare in horror games kept a horror fan like me entertained and curious about where the game would go next. Read on for my complete review of this unique entry in the genre of survival horror games.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Scrap Sculptures Builds a Full Metal Terminator


I’ve seen plenty of Terminator replicas over the years, including many interpretations of the T-800 endoskeleton. However, I’ve never seen a T-800 that’s completely made from real metal and real mechanical parts … until now.




Meet Scrap Sculptures, a Los Angeles-based art company that specializes in making sculptures by using recycled metal. Scrap Sculptures has previously produced sculptures of characters from various sci-fi franchises, including Star Wars, Alien, Predator and Transformers, but its T-800 sculpture leaves me--a die-hard Terminator fan--completely floored. This menacing machine is 7.5 feet tall and it features a removable gun and a movable head, jaw and arms. It’s not an exact replica of a T-800 endoskeleton--Scrap Sculptures’ work is considered fan art and each sculpture is an interpretation of an iconic character, not a copy--yet it’s usage of real metal and real mechanical parts is very complementary of the original design’s usage of pistons, cables and hinges. Furthermore, because the sculpture is made from real mechanical parts such as bicycle chains, shocks, gears, nuts and bolts, this T-800 has a Steampunk feel to it, sort of a “Steampunk Terminator”.

Read on to see more pictures of this amazing sculpture, and to learn more about the process the Scrap Sculptures uses to bring classic movie characters to life in the form of recycled metal.