Showing posts from February, 2011

All The Futures Past: Terminator Salvation Book Reviews

As a devoted fan of the Terminator franchise, it's frustrating to know that its future has not yet been set. While the rumor mill claims that Universal is looking to produce a fifth Terminator film with Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) directing and Chris Morgan (Wanted) writing the script, the rights to the franchise are still in limbo and will probably remain so for some time to come. Thus, as a killer robot aficionado who is still suffering from severe withdrawal due to the cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I've been jonesing to get my hands on any Terminator stuff that I can find.

This post is my review of four books that were released under the Terminator Salvation title. This selection consists of three novels--Cold War by Greg Cox, and From the Ashes and Trial By Fire by Timothy Zahn--and the Terminator Salvation prequel graphic novel (its actual title is Sand in the Gears) by Dara Naraghi and Alan Robinson. Each provides an interesting picture of the…

Vote Now for Your Favorite Monsters and Madmen for the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

If there's anything of which Hollywood has in ample supply, it's award programs. The Oscars, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the list goes on and on. Fortunately, there's an award program that's exclusively for the horror genre of entertainment AND fans can both propose and vote for their favorites. That award program is the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards (a.k.a. "The Rondos").

Now on its ninth year, the Rondos are completely fan-based and have no connection to any commercial sponsor. The Rondos will be accepting votes until March 27, 2011, and the winners will be announced on the following night, March 28, on both the Rondo Award site and the Classic Horror Film Board. There are 30 categories on the ballot, which includes:

Best Movie of 2010Best Television PresentationBest Classic DVDBest Classic DVD CollectionBest RestorationBest CommentaryBest DVD ExtraBest Independent Film or DocumentaryBest Short FilmBook of the YearBest Magazine of 2010Best Web SiteBest…

Vote Now for Your Favorite Video Games for Smithsonian Exhibit

It's about time that the Smithsonian got around to this. From March 16 to September 30 of 2012, the Smithsonian will be hosting an exhibition entitled "The Art of Video Games." According to the Smithsonian Web site:

"The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. The exhibition will feature some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe. It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training. ... The exhibition will feature eighty games through still im…

It's All About Family: A Spoiler-Free Review of Paranormal Activity 2

One of the things that I really enjoy about "found footage" movies such as The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and Quarantine is that unlike other horror films, what you see and hear are strictly limited by the non-cinematic audio and video equipment used to make the film. If the characters are walking blind in the dark, you are too; if the characters hear something unusual but can't hear it clearly enough to understand what it is, you're just as clueless as they are. This is also why I think that the first person perspective is usually the best format for horror video games. (Given the high number of security cameras it has in its streets, I'm still surprised that a blockbuster found footage film hasn't arrived from the UK yet.)

Yet to have an effective found footage movie, you have to provide a convincing reason within the movie to explain why a camera or cameras are capturing enough footage to tell a complete story. The found footage films that have disapp…

The Force is Strong in Season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Now in its third season, it appears that Cartoon Network's Star Wars: The Clone Wars has finally rocketed into hyperspace in terms multi-episode plots and overall epic scope.

I've always thought that Clone Wars was a pretty impressive show. I grew up with the original trilogy and had to wait three years at a time for the sequels Empire Strikes Back and then Return of the Jedi to hit the theaters; thus, when Clone Wars first arrived, the idea of having a fresh dose of Star Wars with high-quality CGI animation on a weekly basis made my head spin. Yet while it's been consistently fun to watch, Clone Wars has really upped the ante in its third season with its most recent sets of three-episode story arcs.

First, there was the Savage Opress arc, where Count Dooku/Darth Tyrannus betrays Asajj Ventress and she returns to her home world of Dathomir to plan her revenge. This story arc provided a look into how the Sith operate outside of their standard master-apprentice dichotomy. Sure…

A Review of Tron Evolution: Battle Grids

Last December, I commented about how Wii finally granted one of my geek wishes by producing a Tron game that is similar in both theme and game play to the Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort games. Yet for as giddy as I was at that time, I still hadn't played the game so I had no idea how closely the game matched my expectations. So, after picking up a copy of Tron Evolutions: Battle Grids a few days ago, I decided to share my thoughts regarding Wii's tie-in to the Tron universe. While it's not the most immersive, plot-heavy Tron tie-in ever made, it's certainly worth the time if you're a Tron fan. Read on ...

Titans, Terrors and Toys Greatest Hits, Volume 1: 2010 - 2011

This week marks the first anniversary of Titans, Terrors and Toys, something that I didn't think would ever happen. I was reluctant to start this blog in the first place last February but now that a year has passed and I have gotten my feet wet in the blogosphere, I'm glad to say that I did it. Writing this blog has been a blast, the feedback has been positive, and I got to reach out to some pretty cool folks along the way. Expect to see more full frontal nerdity of the horror/sci-fi variety on this blog in the year to come, and please feel free to post comments to let me know how I'm doing--constructive criticism is always welcome here.

In honor of this anniversary, I've decided to post a list of the ten posts that received the most hits during this blog's freshman year. Continue reading after the break to see the topics that have brought the most readers to Titans, Terrors and Toys.

An Obsequious Ovation for House of the Dead: Overkill

I couldn't let this one go without posting something about it: This month marks the second anniversary of the release of Sega's House of the Dead: Overkill, a gory, campy rail shooter, for the Nintendo Wii system.

While the Wii will never be known for noteworthy contributions to the first person shooter genre, it certainly breathed new life into the rail shooter genre through innovative usage of the Wiimote, effective graphics, and creative game scenarios and features. Overkill ranks among the best of the Wii rail shooters, along with Dead Space: Extraction and the Resident Evil shooters, The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkness Chronicles.

Yet what makes Overkill such a great addition to any horror gamer's video game library is that it lives up to its name on so many levels. There is no such thing as "too much" in Overkill, which leaves a lot left over to admire even after you beat the game multiple times. Read on for a full rundown on what makes Overkill a classi…

The Incredible Shrinking DVD Catalyst

Friends and family keep asking me if I have gotten one of those huge flat screen TVs yet, but it hasn't happened so far. This is mostly because the Mrs. and I don't have the money for it right now and probably won't for some time to come. However, it is also due to the fact that when it comes to video playback equipment, I don't think big these days--instead, I think portable.

You see, I spend a lot of time on public transportation every day as part of my job, and it's been this way for the last few years. So when I heard a while back that software was available to compress video files from DVDs into smaller files that could be played back on my cell phone, I immediately picked up the software and started shrinking movies to pass the time while I travel. This was years before DVD and Blu-ray sets included smaller "Digital Copies" of movies, and before cell phone content providers started offering downloadable movie and TV shows. However, even with those op…

The Landless Theatre Company and All of Them There Jawses

Starting this weekend and running each weekend until February 24, the Landless Theatre Company will be performing a Mash-Up Play Festival in the DC Arts Theater in Washington DC. The Mash-Up Play Festival will consist of four plays: Pii-Wii’s Big Poseidon Adventure, All That Jaws, Gleeam, and Tarxxxanadu. Go to the Landless Theatre Company's site for more details, and click here to read an article about the Mash-Up Play Festival by The Washington Post.

In case you are wondering what a "mash-up" is and how it differs from a crossover, a mash-up is usually a parody that calamitously combines concepts from popular books, movies, plays and TV shows, while a crossover shows much more fealty to established franchise characters and continuity. In other words, a mash-up is to a crossover as Jane Austen's Fight Club is to Freddy vs. Jason.

Of Landless Theatre's current collection of mash-up plays, I'm most looking forward to Gleeam, a musical mash-up of Glee and Scream.…