Thursday, 16 October 2014

Annabelle - The scoop and digest

Miss me?

You did?  Aw, that's sweet, but I haven't been away for that long...

Oh, you meant the creepy doll slapped with enough make-up to shame a discount hooker with a confidence problem.

In this prequel/spin-off to The Conjuring, John R. Leonetti is promoted from cinematographer to director, as along with James Wan; Peter Safran produces.

Plot details and/or spoilers are expected to take a supernatural turn.

Those with souls to protect include:

Annabelle Wallis - Mia
Alfre Woodard - Evelyn
Tony Amendola - Father Perez
Ward Horton - John

We begin as per The Conjuring, with young peeps telling who we know to be the Warrens about their experience with possessed porcelain.

1 year before.

Expectant mother Mia is delighted when husband John buys her a certain doll to complete a full set.

After murdering her parents with the help of male scroat, Annabelle Higgins commits suicide by slitting one's throat while clutching the doll

When found, the recently deceased leaves a curious looking symbol and before her blood is even cold, the doll's eye absorbs a drop of the red stuff.

Guy and gal are said to be part of satanic cult Disciples of the Ram.

Could they have been trying to conjure something?  An inhuman spirit, perhaps?

Remember, demons only claim people and use 'objects' as a conduit to manipulate.

John dumps doll in the old bin and when popcorn 'accidentally' heats the kitchen, Mia is rushed to hospital.

Baby Lea is born and relocating to Pasedena is done without hesitation.

They think it's over, but the games have just begun.

Like a bad penny, Annabelle follows and buying brown trousers seems like a shit hot idea as circumstances escalate.

Research leads her to bookstore owner Evelyn who informs that a supernatural presence isn't likely to shoo until it claims a soul.

One night in the basement, the lift refuses to budge and the horny demon leaves its mark on Mia's arm, which later vanishes.

Almost inevitably, help is sought from the church and Father Perez's offer of taking Annabelle away is snapped up without hesitation.

Father is given a lift and Annabelle's ghost reclaims the doll.

He survives the ordeal and tells John that Mia and her soul are in grave danger

Back at the apartment, the demon takes Lea and wax crayon eventually answers desperate pleas.

'Her soul' or 'your soul', it matters not.

Mia is ready to take the plunge from window with Annabelle but suicide is foiled by John.

Evelyn is more successful and consequently makes peace with daughter Ruby.

As Lea is found playing merrily in her cot, the doll disappears...

6 months later and ahead of opening scene, the mother naively buys Annabelle as a gift for one of her daughters.

For the benefit of the less eagle eyed, a reproduction of the real raggedy plaything is seen perched on shop shelf.

To shield the public from dormant evil, we're told Annabelle is blessed twice a month by a priest in the Warren's museum.

From effective jolts, smouldering tension and inspired camera angles, James Wan's influence rings true.

Our demon charred in black is very Insidious but unlike Bathsheba, Annabelle's entity is a missed opportunity.

The inexperienced and vulnerable will perspire from every orifice but veterans should rarely flinch.

In other words, it's good but never great.

Actress sharing the same first name with Annabelle is a great coincidence and while others are decent, one must pour scorn over Ward Horton's lifeless performance.

Ignoring the unchanged depiction of Annabelle, to more pressing matters.

The stink of rotting flesh is clear evidence of demonic activity so with or without the Warrens, how come nobody complained?

I guess the overbearing aroma was masked by pretentious perfume.

Also, Ed tells us their room packed with cleansed trinkets is only blessed once a month in The Conjuring.

Somebody's at fault and it ain't me.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson will reprise their roles next year in The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergiest.

If that's not a hot date with floorboards creaking, doors slamming, catatonic behaviour and explosive reaction to deceitful innocence, what is?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Dracula Untold - The scoop and digest

Over the years, we've flashed crucifixes, hammered stakes and sunk our teeth into the silly, sexy and occasionally sublime.

Bram Stoker's novel inspired a generation, just like Mary Shelley and Frankenstein.

Focusing on how Dracula came to be, Gary Shore puts a new spin on the classic story.

Plot details and/or spoilers may leave with a tan.

Those with a dislike for Turkish delight include:

Luke Evans - Vlad the Impaler/Dracula
Sarah Gadon - Mirena
Charles Dance - Master Vampire
Dominic Cooper - Mehmed

In 1422, the narrative tells of how an enslaved child rose to prominence and became a Prince.

He is Vlad the Impaler, son of Dracul (pronounced 'Dracool').

Or how about Son of the Devil or Son of the Dragon.

Holy shit.  This guy has more aliases than Apollo Creed.

Vlad leads the loyal against the Turks and when believing a scout has entered Broken Tooth Mountain, his men are killed by a monster.

At Castlevania, oops Castle Dracula, he's told what we already know...

Sent by the Sultan Mehmet, the enemy demand 1,000 boys to join their army.  It soon becomes 1,001, as Vlad's son Ingreas is also required.

He's not having that and promptly dispatches several during the handover.

Before setting off on a crusade against the Turks in The Blackadder, Brian Blessed's King Richard IV states:

As the good Lord said: "love thy neighbour as thyself, unless he's Turkish, in which case, kill the bastard."

Knowing that Mehmet will retaliate by sending thousands to destroy his empire and people, Vlad pays Mr. Vampire a visit.

After chewing the fat, the power to protect is served on a plate.  All he has to do is drink...

Pros:

1. Strength of 100 men.
2. Speed of a falling star.
3. Heals wounds instantly.

Cons:

1. Three day time limit.
2. Insatiable thirst to feed.
3. Sunlight and solid silver don't mix.

Giving into temptation equates to eternal damnation and the Master Vampire's curse to permanently reside in stale darkness will automatically be lifted, so he can pursue revenge against the devil who betrayed him.

Extra abilities include transforming into a clutch of bats and like he, I Can See For Miles.

The Who?  Where?  Oh yeah, there.

Fangtastic.

Single-handedly cleaving through the Turkish army is all fine and shandy but as time walks on by, resisting becomes unbearable.

Loyalty turns to hate as when people learn of vampiric persuasion, they realise a burning ambition.

Ungrateful bastards.

Vlad commands a plague of flying mammals to destroy Mehmet's forces, but Ingreas is kidnapped in the process and Vlad is powerless to prevent Mirena from plummeting to her death.

With the war far from won, he feasts on his dying wife, much to the delight of Master Vampire.

He sets about transforming the wounded into fellow blood enthusiasts who happily gorge on the Turkish remainder.

Vlad and Mehmet clash swords and although overpowered, Vlad uses speed to kill him.

Sunlight consumes the rest and not wanting his son to become a vampire, Vlad effectively commits suicide.

Ingreas is crowned king and courtesy of receiving blood from fanatical follower whom he earlier spurned, Dracula is resurrected.

Centuries later, he charms a dead ringer for Mirena and Master Vampire follows...

As subconsciously predicted, this wasn't a steaming pile of horseshit and met mediocre expectations.

Before his date with destiny, Luke Evans makes a decent fist of principal protector.

Dominic Cooper makes an atrocious villain but as ever, Charles Dance makes his screen presence count with a typically capable display.

Shore's directorial debut ultimately falls down because 90 minutes just isn't enough for chars to be fleshed out and inexplicably stumbles towards to hurried conclusion.

This recipe contains the briefest ingredients of action and horror but we're left punch drunk with a mundane domestic drama on par with a Coronation Street omnibus.

Rip offs and influences.

The whole sequence and subsequent reaction of becoming Dracula is practically identical to Blade regaining strength by feasting on N'Bushe Wright.  Of course the circumstances are different, but the principle remains.

During the bat invasion, Vlad's gesticulation is straight from X-Men or when Imhotep creates a facial sandstorm in The Mummy.

Another thing that flaps wings is Batman Begins, as the Dark Knight releases thousands of bats to evade the police in a disused building.

Master Vampire utters "Let the games begin."

Just in case it hasn't clicked, swap 'games' for 'game' and you're left with how Jigsaw's Billy the Puppet closes a pre-recorded spiel for each victim to ponder from the Saw franchise.

Did anybody think of that?  Ha ha ha!

Intentional reference or bizarre coincidence?  Who the fuck knows?

Setting up a possible sequel in our era is stupider than clipping the wrong wire when diffusing a bomb, so let's hope this doesn't come to fruition anytime soon.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Titles, taglines, subtitles and miscellany - Eager and elegant

Riding this harder than Seabiscuit should go some way in appreciating such glorious content.


Screw the terrible box art because if you thought the original Resident Evil moved like a malfunctioning tank, check out this piece of shit...
Even Die Hard 'stole' its climax.
Files and folders can get corrupted, but on this occasion...

Concluding the 'Prime' trilogy...
Unrelated game and film.


As you portray a stockbroker, the 1988 text adventure was probably inspired by Oliver Stone's Wall Street.

This time, game and TV series share nothing in common.


Ending with subtitle.


Despite some awful slowdown and frequent loading, the original Blood Omen was a bloody great excuse to feast on unfortunates.

D'yer know what?  I fucking hate Steven Seagal (and his films).

Under Siege was made famous for a bird bursting from a cake with huge tits.

Great legacy, right?

Dark Territory had all the action ingredients to be half decent but...

Anyway, plonk 'city' ahead of 'under siege' to create identical subtitle and two different experiences.


Overshadowed by Shinobi, ESWAT is considered one of Sega's rare arcade failures.

The Mega Drive game wasn't a sequel, but a mash up of the 1989 original.

Three words - six taglines.




Okay, Cloned is the odd one out for also possessing 'you will be replaced' but still counts.

The day after tomorrow, The World...

Same title, different artist.



Whether intentional or not, all share the same subtitle as this pseudo video game sequel to Scarface.


Of course, the above stemmed from an image we should all remember from the 1983 film.
The Cornetto trilogy ended with sci-fi and booze but laughs were in short supply. 
One of 007's worst modern day outings.
This action adventure RPG enjoys an innovative battle situation as chars exist in both zones, help each other out and fight the same enemy simultaneously.
Monkey Island: At World's End
The Dog Days are over; and


The Dark Days are under.


Screw the sun as Moon possesses the power of five.

Van Damme playing twins?  That's Double Impact.
As usual, Bolo is good value as a formidable villain.


Snowbird - (Moon)
Activating Regeneration.



I could reel off hundreds of songs but instead, here's a cocktail of my own mix.


Porn? Not really.  Art? Probably.
Seven Swords for Seven Romans.


Frank Frazetta was a genius.

There's also 7 Blades, a cheap clone of Dynasty Warriors 2.


Differing from the rest, the original was a 1997 weapons-based head to head fighter.

Although very similar in title, Koei's spin-off series to Romance of the Three Kingdoms has jack shit to do with Capcom's arcade scrolling fighters Dynasty Wars and sequel Warriors of Fate.

Double the amount of blades and you have...


Sharp stuff.

Despite Donnie Yen starring in Seven Swords and 14 Blades, both are standalone.

The same principle extends to Ving Rhames featuring in Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead and the shitty 2008 'remake' of Day of the Dead.

Of Snyder's impressive 2004 directorial debut, Romero's 1978 original remains omnipotent.

Mr. Rhames is back in 7 Below.


It would be rude not to include albums 7Fingers and Seven Dials from Nils Frahm/Anne Müller and former Aztec Camera frontman Roddy Frame.


Finally, 7 Sins and Helloween's album 7 Sinners.


Same tagline, different film.


Tinkering with grammar doesn't alter a bastard thing.

Original poster (left) and VHS Special Edition (right).


Along with a host of extras, theatrical or alternative versions are automatically included on DVD/Blu Ray but back in the days of VHS, we had to pay through our noses before minds could be made up to see if what was left out deserved its place on the cutting room floor.

Have a megablast on me.


Nobody remembers the original but with its stunning graphics and kick-ass music, the sequel was good enough to eat.
The Tribe and The Tribes.


If you let slip that Tribes are a band, remember to sleep with One Eye Shut.

Rival Swords (subtitle) and Rival Schools (franchise).



Finale, The Final and R-Type Final.



Inside and The Inside.


In Sides - Orbital
Come closer and see...

No wait, just ...look closer.


I'm not one to take liberties but nobody's perfect.

Sons of Liberty
Fall of Liberty
Wings of Liberty
"They're here."
Depending on what you believe, much of Poltergeist was down to Spielberg and not Tobe Hooper.

The debate continues to rage...

What's unique about Ghostbusters and Gremlins?

They were both released on the same day.  1 June 1984 to be exact.


In regards to these taglines, are both making reference to Carol Anne's iconic quote?

Notice how 'They're here' is considerably larger than its remainder and as for Gremlins, is it just coincidence that 'we're' rhymes nicely with 'they're'?

Hmmm.

Something is afoot in the air.

First up, fear.


Evil is next.  I repeat, evil is next.


Thanks to the result of Ben Stiller's tug, love is very much in the hair for Cameron Diaz.


Another pair of double tags.


Using hyphenation brings something near on identical.


Nobody gets out alive.


No One Here Gets Out Alive and No one here gets out alive...


Fantastic!

Attack of the (whatever).



Too easy, right?

I agree, which is why aggressive expansion was required.


Attack of the Mutant Telephones from 1983 Matthew Smith's Speccy classic Manic Miner.
Alone in the Dark and Nightmare in the Dark.

'Something' watches as either Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood approach Derceto and begin a psychological nightmare.
Fusing Lovecraft with Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, Infogrames' influential 1992 survival horror oozed dizzying tension and dazzling camera angles.
Following SNK's bankruptcy, only a tool would say this bizarre Tumblepop/Snow Bros. clone reinvigorated the Neo Geo.
Same tagline, different film (conclusion).

I know you're nervous but please, try to remain calm.


Cast your eyes over these lovelies that 'never looked so good'.

Evil, Death and;


Revenge.


Concluding with 'Vengeance has never looked so good...'


Australia, Mexico and Brazil are famous for superlative stretches of sun kissed sand.

Oops, mustn't forget about Daytona Beach in Florida.


Where the fuck am I going with this?

Jet Set Willy is happy to introduce.

The Beach
Only dickheads climbed ropes in 1984.



Sound Beach in SNK's original Fatal 'piece of shit' Fury.
The home of Terry became considerably more picturesque in Fatal Fury 3.
Sirena Beach in marmite tasting Gamecube effort Super Mario Sunshine.
'Official' settings missing out include Sunset Shores (Donkey Kong Country Returns), Emerald Coast (Sonic Adventure) and Dee Jay's Jamaican paradise in Super Street Fighter II.

Catching rays ends with Strawberry Beach by Jacek Yerka.


I give you FullMetal Alchemist and Madness

DS game based on the best selling anime.
One on one fighting spin-off to CPS II 3P scrolling mech monster Armored Warriors.
Now it's a five knuckle shuffle Full Metal machine.


Nice one Private Pyle and as a reward, feast on this jelly doughnut freshly pulled from Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's ass.

Sci-fi strategy from 1990.
In Seiken Densetsu 3 on Super Famicom, the curiously named crustacean boss Full Metal Hugger must be crushed.
Live. Die. Repeat.
Adapted from Horishi Sakurazaka's novel All You Need is Kill, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) in Doug Liman's Edge of Tomorrow urges Tom Cruise's Major William Cage to 'find me when you wake up'.
Hey Punk! Are you tuff e nuff?

(Silence).

Okay, whatever.

Known as Dead Dance in Japan, this post apocalyptic fighting effort was one of the better Street Fighter II clones.
So 'tuff e nuff' is supposed to be a play on words of 'tough enough' and here's something crazier than a lorry load of psychos.

Excluding the obvious, clamping together this taunt forms part of the intro to 1995 Mega Drive boxing farce Toughman Contest which completely RIPS OFF Sega's 1992 arcade Title Fight.
I guess Visual Concepts were given permission.
Don't worry, I know all about Frank Bruno's Boxing ass raping Super Punch-Out!!

When you've fully recovered, enjoy this merry jape.


Using an archetypal visual gag, The Simpsons Movie had Homer temporarily stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Four down, nine to go.
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