[EXPRESSO] Studio 666 (2022) | Dave Grohl Made Me Do It

No, this is not a Jojo reference, nor its one of those weird hybrid music video-concert films (see for example Metallica’s Through The Never), this a full on fictionalized affair, and one i’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. Sure, rock and metal superstar bands aren’t new to cinematic experiences about their personas, but the pitch-premise of a comedy horror starring Dave Ghrol and his bandmates as themselves it’s so good it’s hard to ignore.

As the band Foo Fighters it’s struggling to come up with ideas for its tenth studio album, they get recommended a secluded house in Encino, California, where in the 70s a band called Dream Widow went to record an album, ending with the frontman massacring all the band members before killing himself. The band settles in despite the creepy vibes they pick up from the house, but things get progressively out of hand, leading to Dave Grohl being possessed by a demon. Among other things.

It’s a good dang premise, and thankfully the script and direction are up to snuff to make the most of the pitch, having a zany time with horror cliches and the expected “behind the music” stuff, with the band proving to be very good sports in this delightfully ridiculous comedy horror romp, especially Dave Grohl overacting like a champ as he grows progressively more obsessed once he manages to “magically” get over his artistic block.

Yeah, it’s pretty funny, there’s more to the story than expect, and Studio 666 isn’t afraid to be extra cheesy and honestly it’s kinda surprising that the effects are very good, but besides that, i’ve seen horror movies that try to take themselves seriously but ultimately wish they could pull off even half-successfully a random jumpscare this movie uses as a joke.

Recommended!

Ninety Nine Nights X360 [REVIEW] | #musoumay

In the 2000s, the Dynasty Warriors series (and most of its subseries) was not well received in western grounds, often maligned by people that never even gave the formula a real chance but eager to play them for 5 minutes, stop and write some half-baked “review”, because it was cool to bash musou games, and they’re a niche interest anyway, who cares.

But that didn’t stop various other company from having a go at the formula, often proclaiming that them alone knew how to “fix” musou games… and then churning out shit that only demonstrated how people genuinely misunderstood the formula and the appeal of these games, often thinking that they just needed to beef up the enemy IA… leading to crap like Spartan Total Warrior.

One of the “musou pretenders” from that era was definitely Ninety Nine Nights, or N3 because we’re cool like that, dawg. Drop the beets for the l33t.

A X-Box 360 exclusive launch title, developed by Q Entertaiment and Phantagram, Ninety Nine Nights also had a fairly rushed development cycle, which you can really tell from the story perspective. It’s the usual “Light VS Darkness” bullshit set in a medieval-ish looking world with all expected high fantasy races and tropes: goblin, trolls, orcs, dragons and all dat shit.

Continua a leggere “Ninety Nine Nights X360 [REVIEW] | #musoumay”

[EXPRESSO] The Privilege (2022) | Frozen Daiquiri Horror Of The Chosen

More german teen horror movies via Netflix, this time with The Privilege.

A rich teen and his fittingly rich private school classmates uncover a conspiracy while investigating a series of supernatural elements.

What conspiracy, you may ask? Cannibals? Cultists sacrificing students to Nyarlatothep? Me trying to distract you from the obvious social commentary a horror movie with this title is going for?

Worry not, the movie itself will confuse you quite enough, as it’s admittely bonkers and ambitious, but not in a good way, as it throws too many sub-plots and ideas into the script, resulting in a hodgepotche that’s simply WAY too ambitious for its own good, all made worse by desperate attempts at jumpscares and shallow teen characters.

Demons, parasitic fungi, seances, creepy laboratories with corpse cultures, rites, hauntings, the movie has them all, even if leads to congestion more than fun.

It’s not bad or boring, there are some cool ideas, and it’s kinda unpredictable, but that’s also because there too much on the plate and no focus, so the movie shifts from supernatural horror to psychological thriller and even to science fiction horror, and you keep wondering how the hell this all connects together until the very end… which you will still wonder about, as the clearly rushed finale leads to the “please franchise” cliffhanger, for a movie that otherwise feel quite longer than it actually is, just isn’t scary enough and baffles more than entertains.

I don’t think it’s outright crap, but i will admit i really, really struggled to get all the way to the end of The Privilege, more frustrated and annoyed than spooked or creeped out, a real shame since its well shot, there are some good gore effects, some interesting moments and the german cast it’s quite good.

A real pity.

[EXPRESSO] Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (2020) | Eternal Pyre

Fuck it, i’m reviewing this one as well, since it did eventually arrive just now in theathers here in Italy…. after being made available on Amazon Prime Video months earlier, but i’m willing to watch it again to support anime cinema releases, and to properly assess things further for a review.

Since the series it’s the more recent shonen manga success story, i doubt i need to introduce Demon Slayer/Kimetsu No Yaiba, even more since i feel its success lies in being pretty straightforward and easy to connect, as its set in a fantasy Japan of old, where demons lurk at night and feast on people, but are fought back by a secret order of samurai with mystical blades and techniques, the Demon Slayer Corps.

The protagonist, Tanjiro, becomes a Demon Slayer in hopes to undo the curse that made his sister Nezuko a demon, and along the way befriendes the cowardly lightining fast swordman Zenitsu, as well as Inosuke, a wild boy wearing a boar mask.

The plot revolves around the trio being tasked to – alongside an experienced demon slayer called Rengoku – embark a train and protect the people on it from eventual demon ambushes, and this isn’t an original story, a mostly disconnected one-off adventure, as most of these shonen anime movies are, but actually bridges the events of the first and second season, and has some important stuff happening in it, so i wouldn’t recommend jumping into this if you haven’t seen the first season (or red the equivalent manga chapters), for spoiler reasons.

That said, it can be watched fine on its own, and rewatching it made clear it’s a pretty good shonen manga film, with excellent animation from ufotable as expected, funny moments, good drama, likeable characters and intense fights with high stakes.

The Iced Hunter (2018) [REVIEW] | Mozgus Chaser

Welcome to another installment of “no, you never heard of this one before, and i haven’t either”, with The Iced Hunter, an italian horror fantasy action film directed by Davide Cancila and about the titular “iced hunter” (you can tell his namesake was never intended to be translated in english, because it sounds like a fancy non-IBA approved cocktail or a Blooborne collaboration cafè item), a mysterious non-human warrior with fittingly mysterious origins and with memories not of his own, being trailed by the “Domini Lupi” sect, hellbent of getting rid of him at any cost.

Does this feel like a werewolf spiced live action “redo/reinterpretation” of the “Holy Iron Chain Order” arc in Berserk?

Continua a leggere “The Iced Hunter (2018) [REVIEW] | Mozgus Chaser”

The Spooktacular Eight #8: Spookies (1986)

Another classic staple of horror retrospective, the “frankensteined” project that started as something specific, never got made and was later edited, injected with new footage, and eventually released as the obvious hodge potche it became. One that for years was quite elusive, not that well known, and was available on VHS only…. but this changed as it finally got a DVD release in the US and some european contries (surprisingly i didn’t even had to import it, since there’s an italian DVD release).

And of course the title is that kind of cheesy that bode wells for retronauts in search of cult sensations from the bowels of horror history.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #8: Spookies (1986)”

The Spooktacular Eight #1: Doom Annihilation (2019)

Ah, yes, the newer Doom movie adaptation, one that basically came out direct to video 2 years ago, to the sound of not much fanfare and people claiming it killed their mum in cold blood it was so bad, so terrible.

Clearly these people don’t know any better, because i was surprised to finally come around, unwrap my Blu Ray copy i got on the cheap last year, and seeing it was actually not that bad, at all, far from the disaster people claim it is.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #1: Doom Annihilation (2019)”

[EXPRESSO] The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) | Pacino Panic

I’ll be honest, once i heard the third Conjuring main installment was gonna be handled by the director of Curse Of La Llrona (the 2019 one), Michael Chaves…. my expectations dropped like a lead baloon. Sorry, but they did, even with Wan involved… not in writing the screenplay. MH.

Now that the movie it’s finally in theathers….let’s go over the plot, first, instead.

In the 80s the Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) are investigating a new case of demon possessions and the like, which involves a man accused of killing his landlord by slashing him 22 times with a knife, and during the trail the Warrens – for the first time in American law’s history – try to negotiate a reduction by posing (and trying to prove as far as they can) the man was under demonic possession, uncovering another occult force along the way.

Let’s be brutally honest: this IS the underwhelming follow-up, it’s exactly that, not strictly bad, but just uninspired, going through the motions big time, with the best parts being hold-overs from the previous movies, in particular the Warrens’ characters, nothing that this movie can claim to have created. What is new is clearly an inferior redo of the Conjuring as a whole, not just with Chaves’ direction being ridden of limp, almost ineffectual jumpscares, but also the script (which really makes you miss Wan), made worse by the obvious “tricks” to make this one reach the 2 hours mark.

It’s disappointing, and a shame because you almost could see a better movie coming out of it if handled by more experienced people, but that movie didn’t happen in reality. Still better than The Nun or La Llorona, but come on, you reasonably expect more than just that from a mainline installment of this franchise.

[EXPRESSO] The Unholy (2021) | Cigarettes, Ice Cream, Figurines

Based on the novel “Shrine” by James Herbert, The Unholy is another movie that released just now due to the COVID-19 pandemic effects, and is the first horror movie i’ve seen in theathers before the last lockdown here in Italy (before that i just managed to see The Grudge 2020).

Why i’m talking about my “cinema cronology” instead of the movie itself, and posing fairly obvious retorical questions? You know exactly why, but let’s get to it anyway.

The plot follows a New England hack journalist, Gerry Fenn, once very famous but eventually kicked out as he kept just making shit up all the time, now reduced to do low paying puff pieces about strange phenomena, but he’s as skeptical as cynical, so he keps mostly inventing stories. But when he hears of a young lady named Alice, a deaf-mute miracolously healed after – as she puts it – she saw the Virgin Mary.

Gerry decides to investigate on the matter, leading to discover many dark episodes uncongrously related to Alice’s “miracle”.

It doesn’t sound that interesting, and… it isn’t. But it’s not half bad either, as the spirit/entity isn’t completely generic and the script could be far worse, but it’s also one of those horror movies that almost completely relies on lazy jump scares or noise distractions to keep some attention from the viewers. It’s that kind of mediocre horror film about possessions that at least has a narrative where shit happens at a decent pace, some good actors (it has Cary Elwes, Katie Aselton and Jeffrey Dean “Negan” Morgan in the cast) and quite good production values.

In a way, it’s the perfect blend of mediocre horror flick that’s not annoying, too slow or boring, but it’s also full of cliches, lacking any mystery and immediatly forgettable. Meh.

[EXPRESSO] Helltaker STEAM | Best Grills

Helltaker STEAM

So, there’s this new game on Steam, describing itself as “a short game about sharply dressed demon girls”, with promise of anime harem (but again it points out “Suggestive clothing and poses. Don’t put your hopes too high though – it’s all tame.”), and it’s free. You can already see why it’s become somewhat of a sensation in the community. Which leads us to this question: are the demon girls cute? (YES)

As far as gameplay goes, it’s not what you might think given this premise, a puzzle game where you (as a sharply dressed and shades wearing badass) kick blocks, skeletons, get keys, avoid traps and proceed through Hell in a turn based fashion, with a turn limit to reach the end of the each level, where you meet a different demon girl in a visual novel-esque segment where you choose from a couple of replies and hope you charmed and/or convinced the hell cutie to join the harem. Otherwise they’ll stab you to death or give you a bad end of some kind.

Fairly good puzzles overall, but the game lets you skip them if you just want to get to the demon girls, with great character designs and very good music.

My main gripe isn’t the short lenght (you can finish it in 1, max 2 hours), is that the multi-stage boss fight at the end requires really fast reflexes and to keep moving around really fast… in a game that’s 90% turn based puzzle game without timers or urgency. It comes out of nowhere and feels more frustrating than it should, since the game doesn’t prepare you for that in any way. It’s like if at the end of a Dynasty Warriors battle you were forced to play a long RTS style map.

Still, quite good and quite the treat!

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