Showing posts from February, 2013

Nerd Rant: Batman and the Dead Robins Society

News came out early this week of an upcoming plot development in DC's Batman comic book series: Batman's sidekick, Robin, is going to die. Again.

"Dammit! Alfred, fetch me another Robin from the orphanage!"
The latest dead Robin is the fifth Robin in official Batman continuity--sixth if you include the Robin from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. (Then again, DC has rebooted and ret conned its superhero universe so many times, what really is "official" continuity anyway?) This will also be the third dead Robin, after the second Robin, Jason Todd, was blown up by the Joker back in 1988, and the fourth Robin, Stephanie Brown, was killed in 2004 after being tortured by Black Mask. (Check out the official Robin-torturing Black Mask action figure here.) However, the current dead Robin is the only officially dead Robin because Brown was brought back in 2008 and Todd was brought back in 2010. To paraphrase Adam West, "Some days, you just can't get…

Great Moments in Body Horror Cinema: The H-Man (1958)

Growing up as I did during the heyday of VHS rentals, I noticed one recurring idea among gory, low-budget horror movies: melting people. Quite a few exploitation horror films from the 70s, 80s and early 90s, films such as The Incredible Melting Man (1977), Street Trash (1987) and Body Melt (1993), featured shocking scenes where monsters and/or victims would melt into messy puddles of blood, bones and liquefied flesh. Of course, such a plot device allowed for huge amounts of stomach-churning gore. Yet what's remarkable is that the grandfather of these films isn't that gory at all and is actually much more disturbing for it: The H-Man, which was directed by IshirĂ´ Honda and produced by Toho Studios.

The H-Man is an Atomic Age horror movie from Japan, although it's much different than the Atomic Age kaiju movies for which Japan is largely known. Even though it's often compared to The Blob (which was released in the U.S. later during the same year), The H-Man is actually a…

Enter the ENCOM Grid in the Tron 2.0 Video Game

With the recent cancellation of Tron: Uprising on Disney XD, I found myself going into intense Tron withdrawal. So, I did the only thing that I could think of to do: I went on eBay and picked up a copy of Tron 2.0, a 2003 first-person adventure game that was developed by Monolith Productions and released by Buena Vista Interactive. Tron 2.0 was the first sequel to the original Tron movie--that is, until Tron: Legacy arrived in theaters in 2010 and thus reclassified the game as non-canon. In spite of its displacement from official Tron franchise continuity, Tron 2.0 is still a fun game that both fans and video gamers in general should enjoy. Read on for my complete review and for thoughts about how Tron 2.0 stacks up against Legacy.

Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo is Coming to the U.S.

As I was looking through the newspaper today, I found this interesting tidbit that might be of interest to monster, dinosaurs and/or puppetry aficionados: Erth's educational puppet show, "Dinosaur Petting Zoo", is currently touring England and will soon arrive in the U.S.--namely, locations in California, Texas and Arizona.

According to Erth's site, Dinosaur Petting Zoo is "(a) unique show that allows heaps of interaction for kids and adults while they travel with the Erth performers on a journey through prehistoric Australia. Experience an amazing selection of dinosaurs and creatures that inhabited that landscape millions of years ago. Children will have the opportunity to help feed, water and care for these prehistoric marvels with simple lessons in animal husbandry."

Erth is an Australian puppet company that began in 1990, and has used a creative selection technology and techniques throughout its history to bring a large assortment of amazing creatures t…

Nerd Rant: Is the Alien Franchise's Game Over in Aliens: Colonial Marines?

The long-awaited Aliens: Colonial Marines video game has arrived this week for Xbox 360, PS3 and PCs, and it looks like the wait was a bust. According to review totals calculated by Metacritic, Colonial Marines has gotten abysmal reviews from all over the Internet. From what I can tell, the game's main weaknesses are bad AI, subpar graphics, repetitive and oversimplified game play, poor plot and scripting, a complete absence of suspense and terror, and a wide assortment of technical glitches. The more generous reviews describe the game as an average shooter that might have been impressive ... had it been released a few years ago.

One of my favorite review quotes is from the one by Ben Kuchera on the Penny Arcade site: "The aliens, or xenomorphs as they’ve become known, are supposed to be one of the most brutal and vicious opponents in modern science fiction. Here they run around like clumsy men in suits, and they often swipe at you and then take a step back to either make sur…

NECA Brings Aliens, Robots and Caped Crusaders to Toy Fair 2013

It's February, which means that yet another Toy Fair has come and gone. I've looked through many of the horror and sci-fi offerings that were displayed at this year's event, and I'm glad to say that the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) keeps bringing the good stuff to the geek masses at affordable prices. Click below for a list of what NECA has in store for horror and sci-fi collectors later this year, complete with pictures courtesy of NECA and

8-Bit Music: When Techno Goes Retro

Being a child of the late 70s and early 80s, I remember falling into a state of slack-jawed awe when video games began to play their own soundtracks. Not just music cues that would play every now and then, but actual soundtracks that would play a music track throughout a level and then switch to a different track on another level, and so on--almost like a movie or a TV show. Mind you, these early video soundtracks were very simple in their arrangement but back during the heyday of coin-op arcades and early home gaming consoles, the arrival of 8-bit music soundtracks hinted at the successive waves of increased technological sophistication that were inevitably on their way in video gaming entertainment. Thankfully, even though video game soundtracks have since moved on to include compositions played by full orchestras, 8-bit music has stayed alive to create an underground music genre of its own.

I recently discovered that 8-bit music, otherwise known as "chipmusic" or "ch…

The Past Outruns the Present in The Abandoned (2006)

I first saw The Abandoned when it was making its rounds at movie theaters in 2006 during the annual, limited-run "8 Films to Die For" After Dark Horrorfest. I saw it after a showing of The Gravedancers, another film that was included during that year's selection of horror titles. Both films were good but while Gravedancers was fun to watch, The Abandoned left me speechless. Few films affect me like that, so I thought that I would return to this gem to review why it's one of the best overlooked horror films from the last decade. Read on ...

Green Lantern and Young Justice Have Been Defeated by Cartoon Network

The first few weeks of 2013 have been depressing ones for fans of sci-fi and superhero cartoons. First, Disney XD aired its final first season episodes of Tron: Uprising during January with no intention of renewing the series for a second season. Then, Cartoon Network announced the cancellation of its current "DC Nation" series Green Lantern and Young Justice. According to news sources, Cartoon Network will replace these two shows in April with a new Batman series, Beware the Batman, and Teen Titans Go!, a revamped relaunch of the previous Teen Titans cartoon series that first aired in 2003.

I have a personal theory about what is happening here, at both Cartoon Network and Disney XD. While I don't have access to the ratings information of any of these shows, I do know that each of them have proven to be successful among certain age demographics; unfortunately, for the network executives, they are the 'wrong' demographics. Older fans of sci-fi and superheroes, suc…