[EXPRESSO] Alice In Borderland (Season Two) (2022) | Fallen Figures

After a good year plus of waiting, the second season of Alice In Borderland is here (again, as a Netflix exclusive show), picking up where the cliffhanger finale left our protagonists, who now are pretty much forced to confront the new games held by the high ranking card figures, with teams of “inhabitants” that challenge the players directly, in the hope of figuring out a way to come back home, or if there’s even a way out to begin with..

There are some surprise comebacks, new faces, and the various games are quite entertaining and creative, the returning characters get more characterization, and ultimately we also learn a lot more about this “Borderland” world, even though we don’t get many answers because we’d lose that vague mystique and there’s technically enough source material for a third season.

Speaking of which, while i’m personally kinda tempted to lower the overall score/vote for the ending alone – that and some really cliched and basic philosophical wafflings – … i will give it credit since it could work as a proper conclusion for the series overall.

As i said before, you can clearly tell it’s adapted from a manga series, one that draw easily into the popular branch of suspense/supernatural death games (very akin to The World Ends With You crossed with stuff like As The Gods Will) and also belongs to the battle royale subgenre, though this live-action adaptation had the accidental luxury of releasing worlwide just before Squid Game – and its craze that re-popularized the battle royale – came into existence.

Overall, i’ve enjoyed this one more than the first season, it’s just more compelling in terms of characters, death games and stakes, making me surprisingly glad i gave it a chance, even if it’s a bit flawed at times.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #14: Triassic Attack (2010)

To give us a breather from an apparently endless strain of incredibly stupid scientists who would resurrect Hitler and put his brain in a T-Rex for the lulz… this time no one is cloning anything, or tampering in god’s domain without a rubber octopus on strings.

None of that shit.

Sorry for the screenshots “salvage fest”, but despite IMDB listing it having an italian release date (which is true since it was aired on tv here… i guess once), i couldn’t even find images of the apparent UK release, let alone a UK DVD, it’s not even one of those dino flicks gated off to non-UK Amazon Prime Video users. And apparently none of the major streaming services has it.

I’m not paying extra to import it from the US or get a Japanese copy, sorry, not for Triassic Attack.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #13: The Velocipastor (2018)

After teasing it in mentions before, it’s time to properly sit down and confess your sins to The Velocipastor. After all, “he’s a man of claw”, as boasted by the tagline poster.

This sounds like they came up with the title first and made the movie based on that, but it doesn’t even matter anyone, this isn’t even a valid joke anymore to make at these movies, i’m aware of that.

We’re past that, and so were already when The Velocipastor released through the power of internet curiosity for the new “bad movie of the week” sensation able to make people talk about it by the virtue of the title and a trailer that encapsulated the modern breed of poverty produced movies that wanted to be so bad it’s good because they knew an actual audience for it existed, and online film buffs willing to “surprise” themselves upon discovering the next worst thing ever to actually exist.

This isn’t a dig at the movie itself, it’s just that this modern strain of shit movies filmed with no budgets are made by and for audiences that are in on the joke, or actively search for them, so it’s a completely different situation from when people made crap like Video Violence in their backyards, slapped it on a VHS store shelf in America during the mid 80s, and nobody at large talked about them until decades later, because almost nobody knew these kind of films even existed.

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Krampus Origins (2018) [REVIEW] | WW Krampus

I guess i really should review a Krampus movie that’s actually about the Krampus creature this year, and i’m fairly sure i didn’t watch this already under a different title, so it’ll do…fine, i hope.

During World War I, a group of American soldiers storm a German bunker, finding there a mysterious book that can summon the ancient evil of the Christmas Devil, the Krampus.

The men are killed in action, and the book is sent to the commanding officer’s widow, whom has just taken up the role of teacher at a Catholic orphanage. One of the orphans there gets a hold of the book and accidentally summons the Krampus, forcing them, the teacher, nuns and priest to face it.

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Bleach: Soul Resurreccion/Ignition PS3 [REVIEW] | Hollow Warriors

Yep, going to try and get that “SEO synch energy” going… or so i planned, only to forget, but regardless, it’s still worth pointing out that somehow Bleach is back, with the anime getting new episodes to continue where they stopped years ago, the manga resurrected itself on its 20th anniversay with an one-shot chapter to set up either a new arc or a “Boruto” style follow-up series about Ichigo’s kid, so i guess it’s time to talk about this forgotten Bleach game.

You might argue that this isn’t a “proper” musou but i feel it deserves to be called at least a “musou-like”, and one that nowadays it’s hard to own in any legal sense, as it was released exclusively on PS3 in 2011 and there still remains, most likely due to being an anime licensed videogame, or being co-developed by Racjin and Sony’s Japan Studio.

One that nowadays it’s hard to find and commands some “interesting prices”, FIY.

So yeah, Soul Resurreccion (or Soul Ignition, if you wanna use its japanese title) is the closest thing we have to a “Bleach musou”, and as most avid Shonen Jump readers could guess, it’s mostly based on the Hueco Mundo section in the Arrancar story arc of the Bleach manga-anime, which makes sense since there’s nothing but sand, monsters and bigger monsters in this desert world, so let’s mostly adapt that part of the arc, since it’s very videogamey anyway, with the various encounters against the Espada and then the final confrontation again the big bad Aizen.

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[EXPRESSO] Prey For The Devil (2022) | Mid-sorcism

As much i’m very much kinda fed up with horror movies about haunting or possessions and/or about exorcisms… i’m still a horror fan/buff, so i’m up to support horror movies when they come in theathers, even if there’s the chance i’m walking into a turd. You never know, etc.

And this one didn’t look too bad from the trailers… nor did it look stunning, but whatever.

The plot of Prey For The Devil sees the Vatican secretly reopen schools for exorcists, in response to the numerous cases of demonic possessions, so they can fight back this reborn tide of evil.

But sadly for sister Ann, a young pious woman, it’s only men who are instructed to practice exorcisms, though her convintion in being gifted exactly for that purpose/role leads her to be noticed by a professor/priest that indeed believes in her gift, letting her attend the exorcism classes and perform the rituals when needed.

This leads to Ann meeting a powerful demonic force via one of the patients in care there, which spreads to the whole institute, and the demon itself has ties with Ann’s traumatic past…

Aside from the school/church/hospital setting and the more progressive idea of “female exorcists”, all of this sounds very familiar, overly so, and it’s not like there big surprises, i mean, we do have the demon possessing a little girl, the jumpscares, all the shizzle you expect to see.

Yes, indeed, but i won’t deny i was actually somewhat invested in the story, the characters are surprisingly likeable, acting it’s quite decent, the possession stuff has some flair, stuff happens at a good pace, and the movie isn’t overly long, quite the opposite.

It’s a predictable, mediocre and kinda throw-away exorcism film, run-of-the-mill even, but it’s perfectly watchable, you can do FAR, FAR worse.

[EXPRESSO] Dampyr (2022) | Bonelli: The Masquerade

While i made clear i was very familiar with Dylan Dog’s source material in the review of Dylan Dog Dead Of Night, i can say quite the opposite for this new adaptation of an italian comic book series distribuited by Bonelli Editore, Dampyr, debutting at this year’s Lucca Comics & Games with renewed aspirations of a Bonelli MCU-thing.

So if you were looking for an in-depth review from a fan of the series, i’m not the guy this time, even if the situation it’s convenient for the sake of a more unbiased piece.

Set in the war torn Balkans during the early 1990s, Dampyr it’s about Harlan, a guy that manages to survive by posing as a dhampir (a half-human half-vampire hybrid in slavic folklore) for superstitious small villages, but it ends up dragged into the war as a unit of soldiers is attacked by vampires and Halan is brought there to help as a last resort. Little does he know he IS an actual dhampir, and the horrible dreams he constantly has are hints to his actual origins…

The vampire lore isn’t anything amazing but ain’t totally copy and pasted either, it has some inventions of its own (you can tell this was based on a comic book, regardless), acting by the international cast it’s fairly decent, the war-torn Balkans are a nicely bleak setting, production values aren’t shabby at all, the movie it’s definitely more than just “presentable”.

Overall, Dampyr it’s a fun, quite decent film, fairly entertaining but not much more, especially with some very cliched turns the story takes and the ouvert sequelbaiting. And the slightly confusing fact that two important characters basically look almost identical, like gothic vampire armored Alan Rickmans (or italian singer Renato Zero, for the “homies”) despite being played by different actors.

Zombie VS Ninja AKA Zombie Rivals (1989) [REVIEW] | Coffin Ho

You know i don’t even need an excuse to review these old Godfrey Ho movies aside from the fact i just love to do so. But its still (technically) the spookie-ookie season, so you better believe i have some properly themed (or more spuriously-connected) reviews of garbage from the nearly infinite pile of Godfrey Ho 80s output, and we already reviewed the infamous Robo Vampire, so let’s indulge.

I’m gonna just call it Zombie VS Ninja, since it’s original title and the one it’s known as mostly, though in my UK DVD release by Vengeance Video it was retitled as Zombie Rivals on the box, Zombie Rivals: The Super Ninja Master on the disc, and “Zodiac America – The Super Master” in the actual film, which is the usual transfer from VHS, with 3 extra minutes of black nothing at the end, just so the film can technically reach 90 minutes. As usual for these.

So, we already start with some strong “Ho-isms”, not bad, and this one of the few Pierre Kirby feature entries in Filmarts/IDF catalogue, so we start off on the right foot.

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The Spooktacular Eight #15: Once Bitten (1985)

While we wait for the third Sonic The Hedgehog film to remind us that Jim Carrey still works because why wouldn’t he say no to Sega asking him to redo his old shtick… well, let’s go back to one of his earlier film for this year’s entry in old horror comedies that time forgot.

I could have reviewed instead The Silence Of The Hams, but we did revisit Dracula Dead And Loving it last years, so Mel Brooks and Ezio Greggio get a pass this year.

I actually haven’t seen nor heard of this one before doing some research, so serendipity today brought us to shine a spotlight on Jim Carrey’s early carriers, and it’s hard to go back even further than Once Bitten in terms of feature films, since this movie marked Carrey’s first major role ever, playing the innocent and naive high school student Mark Kendall, seduced in a Hollywood’s nightclub by a sultry countress, whom happens to be a four centhuries old vampire.

Why him? Well, in order to keep her youthful appearance (and immortality), she has to drink blood from a male virgin man 3 times by Halloween each year, which starts to become a issue, since its the 80s and this centuries old vampire countress figured it was best to settle in frigging California to satisfy this specific need. HM.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #15: Once Bitten (1985)”

The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)

As they announced via a trailer early this month, we’re gonna have Bonelli, an italian comic books publishing house, give another crack of turning one of their decades long running series into a live action film, with the movie adaptation of Dampyr, a horror comic book series created in 2000 by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo about the supernatural adventures of the protagonist, a hybrid between a human and a vampire (so, yes, a “dhampir”), set to release very soon in theathers here.

Not only that, this is supposed to kickstart the Bonelli Cinematic Universe, and while to many non-italians readers this sounds like a cheap joke i’m making up…. it ain’t, and from a more marketing-oriented view, it makes sense, as now the time is ripe to give it a shot as audiences are familiar and used to superhero stories and stuff alike.

Still, it sounds hilarious to me to see them still trying to go this route, as if Universal itself tried and managed to cock it up not once, but twice, and in general very few players can do the MCU thing.

So it’s worth bringing back that the precedents aren’t exactly high in terms of inspiring any confidence or actual committment to any long term plan, as we saw Sergio Bonelli’s publishing house try it more than a decade ago with the live action adaptation of a far more famous italian horror-supernatural comic book series that will ring a bell even outside of Italy.

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