Poppy Playtime Chapter 3: The First Look!

It’s back….

This weekend, MOB Games decided to drop the first teaser for chapter 3 of their smash-hit horror game, Poppy Playtime. With chapter 2 being largely well received and ending on an interesting cliff-hanger, of course a follow-up was in the plans, but I’m personally a little surprised we got a teaser so soon.

This is a very short little teaser, it’s main purpose being to confirm that chapter 3 will release sometime next year, but it is quite impactful, and frighteningly disturbing in all the right ways. In one continuous shot, we see a Huggy Wuggy doll, followed by a Mommy Long Legs toy that has been broken in half. That’s a clever little reference to the two enemies that have been defeated in past chapters, especially with Long Legs having had her top half separated from the rest of her body after getting caught in a grinder. If you’re new to this franchise, yeah, things get a little crazy sometimes.

The shot turns up from the floor, and slowly focuses in on various toys scattered around, and in the center of them all is a red gas mask. The audio consists of a message from the Playtime Co. founder, Elliot Ludwig, and as his words end, cheering and applause can be heard, but the joyous sounds quickly make way for the haunting screams and cries of children. The video ends, surely leaving a pit in the viewer’s stomachs.

It’s only around a minute long, but it’s very interesting, and gives us a little bit to work with whilst we speculate what to expect in chapter 3. I guess let’s start with the centerpiece of that trailer, the gas mask. I personally find gas masks, elephant torture masks, and those kinds of things to be terrifying, at least hard to look at, so for me personally, chapter 3 already looks promising in terms of how scary it’s going to get.

But what the mask is, or what it symbolizes, is likely very dark and twisted. This detail doesn’t show up in the actual trailer, but the Youtube thumbnail for it shows some kind of red mist, or gas, behind the mask. This, combined with the children’s screams, and what we learned from chapter 2, my guess is that this mask was commonly worn by researchers and scientists while they were working with the orphaned children that were brought in the toy factory. Chapter 2 told us that children were bonded with toys, the pairs being chosen through physical and mental tests disguised as innocent games in the Game Station. Once the compatible pairs were designated, the children were killed, and infused with the toys, giving them life before they could be sold to the world.

I recently watched Superhorrorbro’s analysis on this teaser. If you don’t know, he runs a great horror game-based Youtube channel, and he speculated that these gas masks had a very dark purpose, and that once the children were prepared, scientists would put them on before they basically put all the kids in a chamber and gassed them on mass, thus the haunting atmosphere at the end of the teaser. This is highly likely, and I’d like to take it a little further and guess what was in that gas. At the beginning of chapter 2, we found the office of Elliot Ludwig himself, and on his desk where notes talking about his early experimentation with the poppy flower, and his discovery that it had rejuvenating properties. Perhaps the essence of poppy flowers was in the gas, so while it certainly killed those children, it also allowed them to be reborn once they were embodying a toy.

We could have to wear one of these masks when we play through chapter 3, depending on whether we come across where the masks had to be used while the factory was still operating. That could be an interesting gameplay mechanic to add, instead of just getting another type of grab pack hand.

Next, I want to take a look at Elliot’s message, quoted below:

There is nothing more gratifying to my soul than being the reason for a child’s smile. To be the spark that ignites all their hopes and dreams. We owe everything to these children. This company and it’s toys are nothing without them. That is why it is with enormous pleasure that as the founder of Playtime Co, I announce Playcare- Our very own on site orphanage. A child should never be left unloved, never without a hand to hold when they see a monster in their closet. May Playcare bring joy, inspiration and smiles to every child who enters these doors.

Playcare was teased as a sign in the final moments of chapter 2, and I suspected it was a sort of daycare. Turns out, it’s a full-on orphanage. So this told me that Playtime Co. didn’t have a deal with a separate orphanage like I had been assuming, and you know what? Why do that? Why use an separate facility? These past two chapters have shown just how ridiculously huge the factory is, so might as well just slap an orphanage on into the mix.

This was a short little teaser, but it offered a lot to speculate about, and it looks super creepy. Chapter 3 won’t be out for a while, but it seems that promotion has begun, so we’ll have more fun stuff to dive into as the months go by. I’m really excited to be talking about this game again, and it looks like it’s only going to get more fascinating, and more horrifying, from here on out. Below are links to Superhorrorbro’s channel, as well as the teaser trailer. Hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all very soon!

Superhorrorbro: https://www.youtube.com/c/SuperHorrorBros

Teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXSk2obIeJc

Cameras At The Ready #4: The Spirit Halloween Movie Is A Thing…

Welcome back to Cameras At The Ready! Today, we’re once again on the topic of Halloween… having only just now made it into August… with some news about the upcoming movie based on the seasonal Halloween store, Spirit.

Yes, you heard me right. Those pop-up stores in America that nestle their way into the ruins of what was probably once a TJ Maxx around late July or August that have become a widely popular spot for finding fun Halloween decorations and costumes. They’re getting a movie, one that I’ve added onto the list I have of “IPs That Don’t Need Movies, But Their Corporate Overlords Want Money”. The Spirit Halloween movie now sits on a throne of it’s own, aside the upcoming Play-Doh and Matchbox films.

This is a movie that’s actually been announced for a little while, but only now does it seem more people are finding out about it. This film, starring Rachael Leigh Cook and freaking Christopher Lloyd, is a production by Strike Back Studios and Hiedout Pictures. According to Variety, it’s intended to be a family movie where “when a new Spirit Halloween store appears in a deserted strip mall, three middle-school friends who think they’ve outgrown trick-or-treating make a dare to spend the night locked inside the store Halloween night, but they soon find out that the store is haunted by an angry evil spirit who has possessed the creepy animatronic characters. The kids embark on a thrilling and spooky adventure in order to survive the night and avoid becoming possessed themselves.”

So this movie basically follows the same plot as those Goosebumps movies, where kids are being dumb, and then through some supernatural force, fake monsters (whether they’re from the pages of a book or Halloween props on a cardboard display) come to life and attack them.

Recently, we got our first look at the movie, with some promotional images showing off some of the animatronic characters that will appear in the film, including Buzzsaw, Mr. Dark, and Nightcrawler.

The plot details make this seem like it will be a fun, family-friendly movie to watch during the spooky season, and some of those character posters looked like they have some creepy potential. Don’t expect this to be a full-on horror movie, but it may have it’s moments.

The film is set to come out (of course) October of this year, so trailers will probably start coming out soon, and we can formulate more opinions on this film’s potential. But with that said, we hope you enjoyed this broadcast. In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve started to get a little into the Halloween spirit myself. It’s a couple months away, and I’ve already started to work on a costume. Expect some fun, spooky stuff here on the site, and we’ll see you all soon.

Variety article: https://variety.com/2022/film/news/spirit-halloween-movie-christopher-lloyd-1235230046/

Album Review #23: “JULI” By Blacktoothed

German rock band Blacktoothed has released their second album, titled JULI. I discovered this band through their single So Real, and knew I had to keep digging through their other works, and I’m happy I did. This band combines modern pop hooks, 80s-style guitar solos and powerful vocal melodies to make some incredibly diverse and strong music. This new album is the perfect demonstration of all of that, so let’s check it out, track by track.

The first song, If You Say So, is a real hard hitter, mixing thundering guitars with some groovy triplet-based vocals, and seamlessly jumping between heavy and poppy styles throughout verses and choruses. The guitar solo takes advantage of both the swing and metal influences introduced throughout the track, to perfectly tie everything together and build up the powerhouse final chorus.

Saviour steps more into pop styles, mixing the main rock instrumentation with some nice synthesized shaping and keys. While the first track was more of a headbanger, this one is like a grungy sing-a-long, with a very fun, catchy chorus, with touches of punk rock. Top that with yet another great melodic guitar solo, and this song is complete as a punchy, feel-good track.

And then comes So Real, a song I have mentioned before, but I feel is still worth bringing up again, because of just how perfectly it represents the musical diversity this album is all about. It’s probably the heaviest out of the record’s ten tracks, yet it still has modern pop elements in the sound, mixing and pacing of the vocals, and it’s really nice, atmospheric verses. The rest of the song is everything a rock fan would want: A wide, open chorus with great interjections of vocals and lead guitar, with a wild bridge, and an incredible tonal shift in the buildup before the final chorus, cranking the energy back up to a ten to bring it all home.

Tidal Wave tones things down a little, with soft yet groovy and rhythmic verses that build into some really nice, progressive choruses that cleanly mix the guitar rhythms with some synthesizers while the vocals unleash with some impressive range, making sure you know this song’s name. Not the heaviest or punchiest song, but it has it’s own electric, feel-good energy.

You Never Know is a strong alternative rock track, with some great sampling and electronic mixing to complete the atmosphere in between the pounding drums and guitars, with some nice layered vocals that grow in power going from verse to chorus. It’s another track that, while leaning more on the hard rock side, can be enjoyed for many things, whether it be the Skillet-style booming back-and-forth vocals and guitar melodies, or the softer tones that diversify the song’s emotion.

Next is Between You And The World. I think I say this for a lot of the albums I review, but it’s often true; every album has at least one song that brings people’s phone flashlights up if it’s performed live, and this track certainly checks that box off. This is a much softer track, letting the emotional power drive the slow, swaying verses. The bass adds so much depth to the ethereal guitars, which of course back up some beautiful vocal work, before everything explodes in the second chorus, where everything gains a bit of punch and aggression, but still showing a vulnerable, heart-felt side. Everything comes to a halt with the quiet build-up, and out of nowhere comes a beautiful key change that gives a whole new elevated feel to the final chorus, sealing the deal on a well-written, technically and lyrically impressive song.

Pulse, featuring Kassim Auale, plays off of the last song’s tone, taking a slightly darker path, with the vocals giving the sense of hopelessness, while the instrumentation gives an added punch and power. The up-and-down shaping between verse and chorus gives the song a sense of organized wildness. The guest vocals in the bridge/buildup are an interesting change of pace that really fit nicely into the song’s already present variety of sound. This is definitely a song written from personal experience, and the emotion feels very real, allowing all of the varied elements to mix cleanly to paint a powerful, emotional picture.

Body Bag plays off of the combined rhythm of the guitars and drums a lot, making it a very technically well written song. The chorus is big and epic, with fast paced vocals and instrumentation, and some really nice guitar riffs. It’s another darker track, and isn’t afraid to get a little heavy in between it’s lighter segments, especially in the main breakdown.

Seasons revisits the band’s skills in the pop rock style, with some nice ethereal synths and guitars to open up a groovy verse. The airiness and rhythm carries into the chorus, and the bridge makes use of all of it to provided an interesting change up and lead into the final act of the song. It maintains a heavy groove throughout it’s run, and uses mixes of repetition and variation to it’s advantage. It’s a nice final heavy track to round out the album.

The final, title track, JULI, shines the spotlight on the vocals of guitarist Mathilde (couldn’t find their last names anywhere) that were implemented throughout the album, backing up the powerful, booming voice of lead singer Hendrick. It’s a very soft song, using synths and samples, with some nice guitar interjections. There’s a strong sense of closure and finality, perfect for the end of the journey this album has been.

Overall, this is a really powerful, emotional album. The variety, and equally important, the balance, of various rock and pop styles is my favorite element about it. Each song plays nicely off the last, and each one has it’s own unique feel, and while there may not be any intended lyrical connection throughout the track list, it’s still a really nice album to listen all the way through. The vocals are incredibly strong, and carry many of the bigger choruses, and the guitars seem to take inspiration from multiple generations of hard rock. This was a great album that I highly recommend you check out, because I guarantee it has something for everyone. Can’t wait to see what Blacktoothed does in the future, hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all soon!

Update The Logo Or Nah?

Hey, everyone! I’ve been considering changing the logo for the site recently. The current one, while familiar, has a couple issues. There are unedited lines, some of the proportions are off, and the more I look at it, the more I realize that it’s a confusing design that looks dangerously close to a satanic symbol.

So I played around in an editing software a bit, and came up with a new idea that’s more even, with a complex but not jumbled geometric design. The fonts I used for the text are subject to change, but I want to hear all of your opinions on it. Whether I should change logos is an important decision, as it’s the first thing people see when they visit the site, so I figured I’d ask the people- You!

Let me know your preference between the current logo and this new concept in the comments, and I’ll take into heavy consideration what you all collectively say. I figured it wouldn’t be right to make this drastic change without people knowing, and I would love to hear your (respectful) opinions on the matter. So let me know what side you all are leaning towards, and I’ll see you all soon!

Visions Of The Beyond

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING SLIDESHOW CONTAINS SCENES OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE AND POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

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Cameras At The Ready #3: The “Halloween Ends” Trailer

Welcome back to Cameras At The Ready! Today, we are talking about the first trailer for Halloween Ends, the final Halloween film to be produced by Blumhouse. With cast and crew members hyping up just how different this movie would be from past installments, to the point where some members said people could be mad at how unique this finale will be in comparison to the familiar Halloween formula.

Well, the trailer dropped a few days ago, and even it’s Youtube description hints at a storyline that takes a different turn, talking about someone being accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, which sounds reminiscent of the original Halloween films, where Michael Myers went after babysitters.

What’s also interesting is the mention of a four-year time jump from the events of the last movie, Halloween Kills, where Michael took severe damage from the citizens of Haddonfield. It’s been reported that because of the time jump, this movie will address the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems random, and maybe not completely necessary, but as the memes say, Michael’s been wearing a mask and social distancing since the late 70’s, so this might as well happen.

The trailer itself doesn’t seem to give the impression of a “different”, “unique” Halloween movie at first glance. There’s an opening shot of kids roaming the streets on Halloween night, Michael’s on the loose, there’s a slow-moving POV shot where he approaches a house (much like the opening of the original movie), and eventually, he’ll face off against Laurie Strode. It looks like a trailer for the slasher films fans have become familiar with, not the black sheep of a movie that Jamie Lee Curtis said will be a finale that will “make people very angry”.

But sharp-eyed viewers have picked up on a key detail that suggests that the Michael Myers walking into a house, and eventually coming face-to-face with Laurie, isn’t Michael at all. When he pushes open a door, his left hand has all of it’s fingers. Apparently, it was established in the last couple of films in multiple shots that Michael has lost at least a couple fingers on his left hand. Later in the trailer, there is a clearer shot of that same hand, now with two fingers missing.

It’s likely this was just a mistake, where that hand was supposed to be hidden in that but was accidentally in frame with no editing. Or, perhaps what is “different” about this movie is that there will be somebody posing as Michael Myers, and maybe that leads into somebody, likely Laurie based on this shot, killing the impostor, thinking they’re Michael, and facing repercussions, all while the real Michael starts his rampage.

So there are some big hints towards the movie’s plot that are brought up, but those aside, it’s still a gut-wrenching, exciting first look at this game-ending film. There are alternating shots between present day and past Halloween films, some clips teasing some tense fight scenes between Michael and Laurie, and come on, even if you’re not the biggest Michael Myers fan, that them song is still perfectly implemented to bring up the hype.

This trailer seems to have gotten fans excited and curious, and with the film set to release October 14, they don’t have long to wait. We hope you enjoyed this broadcast, and we’ll see you all soon.

The trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_mAWKyfj6c

Film Review #80: Ms. Marvel

Before we begin, shout out to @inspirationalquotesonlife9 for following! Thanks for the support!

Marvel has wrapped up their latest MCU Disney+ show, Ms. Marvel. This series introduces the MCU’s newest, and youngest, hero, Kamala Khan. This show explores her origins, setting her up for her appearance in the upcoming movie The Marvels, and her future in the MCU as a whole. Essentially, this show sees Kamala looking up to Captain Marvel as she struggles with her life at school and home, until she gains superpowers of her own, similar to the person she’s idolized her whole life.

This show had a pretty strong start, setting the whole thing up to feel like a teen comedy happening amongst the Marvel action. It felt fresh and unique, and a fitting way to bring in a younger character. It’s vibrant and upbeat, with some creative special effects and a captivating story that cleanly brings in cultural representation and good, clean Marvel fun. It was a promising start.

The cast all did amazing when bringing their characters to life. Iman Vellani, who plays Kamala, is very charming and charismatic, both as a superhero and just a regular teenager and superhero fan. Her relationship with her family was very entertaining and heartwarming, and was the most comedic aspect of the show for me, and it seems that dynamic was meant to relate to a lot of people.

However, the supporting cast fell kind of short. There were a couple good “friend” characters, but once the story went into explaining the history of Kamala’s powers, the characters that were introduced were dull and not well-developed. They felt like characters that have been seen in hundreds of shows and movies, but it felt like there just wasn’t enough emotion behind them. With these characters coming in was the show’s explanation of the backstory of Kamala’s family and the connections to her powers, and while the ideas and concepts were interesting, they could’ve been better fleshed out if the episodes were longer, or it could have been a second season or another show entirely. This storyline completely deviates from the plotline set up by the first few episodes, and the transition between the penultimate and finale is a rushed, haphazard attempt to conclude one arc and return to the other, and as a result, the show has a weird, confusing identity problem, where it’s unclear what the main threat is.

Some of the VFX were very jarring and low quality here. I know that this is largely because of Marvel rushing to get all of these shows out, and I’m aware of the recent information that has come out in regards to the work environment VFX artists have had to endure. It’s quite sad that Marvel isn’t taking the time to perfect the most important part of the visual aspect of their projects, and others are suffering and under pressure as a result.

Though this show has a slump with it’s story, the finale actually leaves everything on a pretty satisfying note. It returns to what made the first few episodes fun and enjoyable, and it wraps everything up pretty cleanly. The comeuppance for the villain doesn’t feel all too rewarding, largely because they were never developed at all, but at least everything ends and feels somewhat right. It makes the massive revelations in the mid and post credits scenes fit, as we’re not wondering what happened with the main story on top of that new information.

So, overall, Ms. Marvel had a lot of potential to be a fun, charming show with a captivating storyline, but instead lost what would have made it special for the majority of it’s run time, and lost focus on the direction of it’s plot. Marvel has clearly been rushing to get their movies and shows out, and with this alongside the new Thor movie, it feels like it’s starting to show. Below is my ranking for all of the MCU phase 4 projects, with Ms. Marvel included. Hope you enjoyed this review, and I’ll see you all very soon!

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