The Spooky Special #2: Us

Welcome to the Spooky Special! In episode #2, we’ll take a couple steps back to 2019, where we were introduced to a masterpiece, made by the brilliant Jordan Peele, simply titled Us. Making over $255 million, this film was undeniably a big hit, and it’s easy to see why. While being a horror movie at it’s core, Us is very metaphorical and sophisticated in it’s storytelling, but is also surprisingly funny, and the comedic spin will make you enjoy the movie in a way you did not expect going into it.

The movie explores the concept of being your own worst enemy (though it’s debatable whether that’s the real message), and follows the story of a family who is terrorized by murderous doppelgangers of themselves. It’s a very creative premise, and the ending has an insane twist that explained some the random, off-putting details throughout rest of the movie. To state it simply, this is a very well crafted plot.

I can’t go talking about a horror movie without mentioning character design. Most of the scary enemies (known as the Tethered) aren’t really scary on their own, but I really like how many of them exaggerate a certain trait of the person they mirror. The red jumpsuits and the scissors give off the vibe that they aren’t mentally stable, and there is one character in particular where this is VERY much the case.

The alternate version of the main character Adelaide, named Red, disturbed me the most out of all of the enemies in this movie. Even the kid with the mask that looks like the producer just mugged a Slipknot member didn’t scare me as much. Red’s actress,
Lupita Nyong’o, does such an amazing job making this character seem so clinically insane that she was the one character that really creeped me out.

I think Us is an absolutely brilliant movie, and it’s great for people who prefer to get a laugh a little more than get scared when watching a horror movie. I have to applaud Jordan Peele for creating such an amazing, genuinely creepy film, and I highly recommend you check it out if you’re just getting into scary movies. With all that being said, I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all soon!


Album Review: In the Court of the Dragon by Trivium

Last week, the metal band Trivium released their 10th studio album, In the Court of the Dragon. It was definitely surprising that we got an album so soon, especially with their last record What the Dead Men Say only having been released a year prior. But that doesn’t at all mean this album sounds rushed, or underdeveloped. If anything, ITCOTD might be one of the Trivium’s greatest newer albums. We’ve talked about one of the singles before, but now I’ll be giving you my track-by-track review of the whole album.

We start off with the song X, an intro track that has a very dark, cinematic sound that reminds me of the beginning of Silence in the Snow, except now with a much more ominous presence and buildup, topped off with the sounds of a roaring dragon. The choir and orchestral drums add to that powerful tone, and serve as a great lead-in to the first full song of the album.

The title track, In the Court of the Dragon, wastes no time hitting us with the modern Trivium sound we’ve become familiar with. Once again, we see some incredible thrash guitarwork, fast-paced, complex drums and screaming vocals. The song starts with this thrashy tone, and has a growing melodic voice, that becomes super prominent with the open chorus. Again, it’s much like past Trivium music, but provides as a really strong start for this record.

Like A Sword Over Damocles is, first of all, enough confirmation that the band has returned to giving their songs ridiculously long names, but more importantly, seems to be pulling from their previous albums In Waves and Ascendancy. The song is chocked full of dark melodies and heavy riffs, and the vocals take a sort of punk-style pacing, especially in the verse. That paired with the occasional chanting in the backing vocals, and the long guitar solos, makes this song very aggressive in tone.

Feast of Fire was a pre-released single that proved to simultaneously be very catchy and heavy. The chorus has some fun rhythms going on, and has a nice duality with the heavy main riff and darker verses. This song isn’t as flashy with the guitar as others off this album, but really does put the bass guitar in the spotlight with some of the more complex melodies, showing us that Paolo Gregoletto, the bassist, is doing way more than just backing up those guitars.

A Crisis Of Revelation basically smashes Ascendancy and the album Shogun together, to bring forth a song that is very faithful to Trivium’s roots. The guitars go into a complete frenzy during the solo section, and the guitars are backed with a nice phaser pedal, quite unlike the technical effects we’ve seen in past albums. This song is another to go back and forth between clean melodies and aggressive riffs and rough vocals, and is very high in energy.

The Shadow Of The Abattoir has a very different feel, starting out with a beautiful, melancholy acoustic opening that opens up into a slow but booming, powerful chorus. As the song progress, it continues to build, and returns to being a total thrash frenzy during the solo section. This song is one of three to hit the seven-minute length, and it successfully packs emotion and energy consistently the whole way through.

No Way Back Just Through is short but sweet, starting off with a very heavy but catchy groove, with endless brutal energy. The chorus keeps a lot of that power, with a very fast pace and more epic sounding melody. The song, while definitely maintaining the same thrashy elements, is a little more on the pop rock side, serving as catchy and fun, while still having some extreme dark undertones.

Fall Into Your Hands is undoubtedly my personal favorite song off this album. Starting off with a powerful drum solo, the song is an absolute atom bomb of fast paced riffs, crazy drums, strong chorus melodies and some amazing solo guitarwork. One thing that really surprised me with this one in particular was the inclusion of orchestral elements. This isn’t the only song off the album to try this, but this one certainly does it the best in my opinion. There is even an emotion-invoking orchestral ending that really proves the band is trying all sorts of new things. I really hope we see more of this in future albums.

From Dawn To Decadence has a very tame beginning, but the façade of a calmer song fades as soon as the vocals come in, and the drums take it up about ten notches. The style is very much like the album The Sin And The Sentence, with a catchy, rhythmic chorus following the aggressive verse.

The album closes with The Phalanx, an epic three-part finale with master-level guitars and drums, and some of the best writing to be seen on this album. This is no doubt an award-worthy song, again reminiscent of Shogun, and another track that makes excellent use of the orchestral instruments. The song is somewhat repetitive, but that repetition almost amplifies the rise and fall of the whole song. Overall, it proves to be a powerful ending for an amazing album.

Overall, I think this is a new favorite of mine. There was no low point to this album, and Trivium is just becoming more and more impressive with every song they make. I love all of the new things that happened, mainly the use of the violins, and I’m happy they aren’t trying to only maintain a certain style. This album is, in my opinion, a turning point for the band, and I cannot wait for what this band has in store next. So I hope you enjoyed this review, and I’ll see you all soon!

FNAF Freddy and Friends Episode 3 Analysis

Last week, Steel Wool Studios dropped episode 3 of their marketing cartoon for the upcoming FNAF game Security Breach, and this episode teases what may be the most terrifying enemy to ever be seen in one of these games.

But before we get into all that, let’s take a look at the Security Breach TV website. On the desk under the main monitor, we see Chica’s original cupcake, which did show up in the gameplay trailer, as well as a Roxanne Wolf plush, where there used to be a Freddy toy. We also see a Chica and Roxy version of the Security Breach logo on the right-hand monitor. At least, I believe that’s supposed to be Roxy. The graphic is oddly shaped, with the arms seemingly misplaced, and there isn’t a clear difference between the character’s torso and head, so perhaps this might be in reference to a different character, maybe one that has some sort of connection to Roxy.

If you linger on the site long enough, and I highly recommend wearing headphones for this, you will start to hear noises that sound a lot like an animatronic moving around. This hasn’t happened in the past, so I imagine as the episodes progress, more and more will show up on the site, perhaps even whatever character is making these noises.

Let’s take a look at the episode itself. It’s very clear right off the bat that this episode is way more corrupted than previous ones, especially with the audio. This will probably be a trend in future episode. The plot and animation is still the exact same, so I won’t really be talking about that.

Before I get into stuff like the glitches and codes, I want to point out the setting for this episode. People seem to have been either passing the background of this episode as just a recolor of the pizzeria from last week, or saying it’s the FNAF 4 house. I look at this and think it shows resemblance to a hotel, especially this shot here:

I know that a lot of malls in real life are big and successful enough to literally own hotels, so I wonder if maybe this is a Fazbear-owned hotel.

EDIT: Okay, I literally just thought of this as I was finishing writing. I talked about the setting of the cartoon looking like a hotel hallway, and remembered a shot from the gameplay trailer where we see Vanny skipping down a hallway. It doesn’t have the same industrial aesthetic as the rest of what we’ve seen of the Pizzaplex, and looks more like a modern hotel hallway. It doesn’t look exactly the same as the cartoon, and granted, it would be weird to have red lights in a hotel, but I thought it was worth bringing up. Okay, back to the analysis.

We get an image hidden inside a glitch towards the beginning of the video, this one clearly showing Roxy. This image is very distorted, but it seems like her eyes are missing, and her lower jaw is damaged, which fits with the damaged Monty we saw in the last episode. We get a little bit more code with this image, simply the code Z2E. I don’t think these codes will mean anything until all the episodes are released, and they’re meant to go together, maybe to unlock a secret within the game.

The next glitch to appear very clearly shows Chica, and this kind of confirms that all of these glitches are the animatronics being dismantled or damaged in some way, because this is a spitting image of that teaser picture we got a little while ago, of Chica being horribly damaged with her beak ripped off. She looks the exact same here, right down to her eyes pointing in two directions. We’ve yet to see Freddy in this state, and that could be the glitch that appears in the next episode. There’s no real hint as to when or why this happens to the animatronics, and I think we’ll just have to wait until the game releases to find out.

One thing that happens consistently throughout the episode is a purple glitch appearing every time Bonnie shows up on screen. This should set all sorts of alarms off for FNAF fans, because Bonnie and the color purple automatically mean one thing- William Afton, the Purple Guy. Remember that Bonnie doesn’t seem to have a physical appearance in Security Breach, apart from the Bonnie Bowling station that we saw in another teaser image. Looking at these glitches, they look like jumbled pieces of a pixelated image. Many people have suspected that these are pictures of Purple Guy, from the 8-Bit minigames in past FNAF games.

We know that William is taking the form of Glitchtrap now, who happens to be a rabbit, but the emphasis on the color purple here reminded me of one specific shot at the end of the gameplay trailer, where we saw a purple animatronic hand. Maybe this cartoon is hinting at William taking a physical form in a Bonnie animatronic, and that will be the final boss of the game.

Towards the end of the video, we get that tease of the enemy I mentioned at the beginning of the post. This completely caught me off guard, for several reasons. What we see is… certainly something. Whatever this thing is, it has six limbs, each ending in a glove resembling those seen in old rubberhose cartoons. And judging by the camera shaking and the noise it makes whenever it steps, we can safely assume that this thing is BIG. It doesn’t seem to be an amalgamation of different animatronics, as each leg is identical and has a clean design. So whatever nightmare fuel we’re dealing with here, some idiot at Fazbear Entertainment did it on purpose.

I’m genuinely at a loss as to what the heck this animatronic is. My first guess was something like Music Man, a character from FNAF 6 who did have six legs. I also thought perhaps this is a version of Mangle, but even Mangle only has three legs. For all I know, the legs could belong to that freaky face we saw in the first cartoon. This is so different from anything I’ve ever seen from FNAF, that I have no idea where to even start here.

The video ends with another digit for the game’s release date being confirmed. The current numbers we have are 1X1X2X. I figured Steel Wool would wait to start revealing the really important numbers, and I imagine the next number will tell us the year of release. I can’t see the game not releasing this year, with how these episodes are releasing, and I’m only getting more excited as this cartoon progresses.

That was my analysis of episode 3 of Freddy and Friends on Tour! I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all soon!

I Was Very Wrong…

On July 28 this year, I did a post where I brutally talked down the pilot of the new Disney+ continuation of the 1989 movie Turner and Hooch. I made probably one of the dumbest mistakes I could ever make as a reviewer, and determined the quality of the whole show based on the one episode, which is never a good thing to do. The pilot episodes are never amazing, and they are only meant to give a small taste of what the rest of the show will be like. I reread that post recently, and MAN, do I regret everything I had said about this show.

So I have completely accepted that I was being a complete idiot with that post, and now with the season finale being released a week ago, I have seen the Turner and Hooch series in it’s entirety, and I want to give a more justified review on it now, because I’m coming out of this with a COMPLETELY different opinion on the show.

Everything I said about the show having a predictable plot and likely going to progress as “repetitive and stale” was 100% wrong. This series takes a very creative turn with it’s story, following a greater mystery with an interesting tie to the original movie, and it all plays out simultaneously with the individual plotlines of each episode. I ended up getting very hooked on the concepts that are introduced, and so many random details end up coming together so cleanly that I’m comfortable saying this is one of the most well-done non-horror mysteries I’ve ever seen.

The show pretty much replicates the original movie’s comedy factor, obviously with the dog Hooch himself, but also with the human characters. I said before that the comedy was cheesy and stale, and sure, some jokes went over better than others, but I really grew to love the comedic dynamic between the character of Scott and Hooch. I still would have liked to see this version of Hooch replicate some of the things that made the original dog so lovable (i.e. a return of the muffin scene), but the dog remains chaotic and adorable in his own special way.

Pretty much everything improved in terms of quality as the show progressed. Again, the story got very complex, and the acting got immensely better. I appreciate the inclusion of a character from the original movie, not just as a cameo, but someone who becomes integral to the plot.

Overall, this proved to be a great little series, and if you like dog movies, or cop dramas, this is the perfect combination of those two elements. I fully admit that I didn’t give this show enough of a chance at first, but I’m really glad that I stuck with it. With that being said, I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all soon!

Film Review: Marvel’s What If The Watcher Broke His Oath (Finale)

Marvel has released the finale of their animated series What If…?, and I have to say, I am incredibly disappointed. It did not satisfy me as an ending, and there were a lot of things I think could’ve been executed way better.

Let’s address the elephant in the room first- The missing Gamora episode. Apparently, that episode was cut due to the pandemic, but will appear in season 2 of the show. I think this was probably the worst episode to cut out though, because Gamora’s inclusion in this finale makes no sense at all. Along with that came the inclusion of the “Infinity Crusher”, a contraption that can destroy Infinity Stones. I’m sure that was explained in Gamora’s episode, but without that, this just felt like a cheap solution for Marvel to throw in for convenience. If anything, episode 3 should have been removed, because unless my memory fails me, no characters from that episode show up here.

The episode itself is very rushed. The scene where the Watcher collects various characters to form what his basically his form of the Avengers, we revisit cliffhangers from previous episodes, but instead of completing those storylines, they’re just used as backdrops. We never get a satisfying ending to things like the Killmonger episode. However, this could, and should, be revisited in season 2.

After the amazing fight scene in the last episode, the final showdown against Ultron in the finale was pretty underwhelming. It was just a jumble of random attempts to stop a virtually indestructible villain, one literally involving opening a portal in the sky and having a mountain of zombies fall from it.

This feels a lot like in middle school when you tried to copy your friend’s homework assignment, and you would change a couple things so the teacher wouldn’t notice. Except here, instead of a worksheet on quadratics, it’s the entire Titan fight scene from Infinity War, with everyone struggling to remove the Infinity Stones from Ultron. The only major difference is that there’s no emotional factor because nobody knows each other, and Marvel thought Thor would be a good comic relief substitute for Star-Lord.

It feels very anticlimactic, and the final few minutes of the episode tries to give two characters a happy ending, neither of which fit with the rest of this story’s episode. This series definitely had some lackluster episodes, but I firmly believes the finale wouldn’t be this rushed and underdeveloped. But here we are.

Overall, What If…? had it’s ups and downs. Some episodes were really well done, but many of them, including this one, were pretty disappointing. I can kind of understand it, as this is Marvel’s first time doing these shorter films, but it wasn’t the most enjoyable Disney+ series for me.

So that concludes the What If…? series! I really liked doing these reviews, and I’ll probably do this again when Hawkeye comes out. I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all soon!

The Spooky Special #1: Midnight Mass

Welcome to the Spooky Special! This is a series where we will celebrate one of my, and many people’s, favorite parts of the Halloween season: horror movies. Every week, we’ll take a look at whatever scary film or show I’ve seen recently, no matter how new or old.

In this first episode, we’ll review a new Netflix original, titled Midnight Mass. This miniseries was created by Mike Flanagan, and it’s the latest addition to the horror anthology that includes The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.

After being quite disappointed by the storytelling and predictability of Bly Manor, I was admittedly a little skeptical about how good this show would be, but man, was I in for a surprise. Midnight Mass is much more sophisticated in it’s complex storytelling, and it takes a biblical route that really adds a metaphorical side to the series, and when you finish it, you’re left with a lot to think about.

Things gets very bloody at times, but let me make it clear that it’s not just cheap kills to raise the shock factor. Everything that happens in this show, even the grittiest and over-the-top fatalities, has a great significance in later events, and it’s one of the main things I admire about this series.

I’m a sucker for monster design, so let’s cover the creepy antagonist we see here. I don’t want to say too much about what this thing is, because it will spoil some of the show, and I highly recommend you go into this blind. With that said, it’s clear that this creature was modelled after biblical demons, and bears resemblance to many iterations of gargoyles. It is fairly basic in design, but it proved to be very terrifying and creepy in some scenes, and it earned a spot amongst some of my favorite film monsters.

I don’t recommend you binge-watch this show. Not only will you lose seven hours, but you don’t get to enjoy the suspense of wondering what’s going to happen next. This show is notorious for ending episodes with something drastic and insane, leaving you with that question of “now what?” And that’s just part of Midnight Mass’ impressive execution.

I will admit that the very end of this show is a little lackluster, but the story is still cohesive, and like it’s predecessors, only really begins to make sense in it’s final moments. If you liked Hill House, you will absolutely LOVE this show. I’d say it’s my second favorite among the three, and I’m super excited to see what else Mr. Flanagan has in store.

I hope you enjoyed the first episode of the Spooky Special! I will see you all very soon!

What Is Happening With The FNAF Movie?

As I’m writing this, I’m just now realizing how terrifying that banner is… I guess it’s too late now, though. Oh well. Have fun sleeping tonight.

The last time I talked about the Five Nights At Freddy’s movie was February of last year, for the sole reason that there really hasn’t been anything to discuss. Sure, we were told that Scott Cawthon finally figured out a script and filming would begin Spring of this year, but now, it seems that information can be thrown out the window too.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the ordeal it’s been for Blumhouse to make this movie, honestly, I don’t blame you. I kind of forgot this movie was still happening until recently, when I was alerted by multiple sources that there was more news. After looking into it, I’m not even sure this movie is real anymore.

Collider, a website that talks about movie news, did an interview with Jason Blum, the CEO of Blumhouse, asking about the FNAF movie, and he didn’t exactly have the reassuring update we were all hoping for. He said that the film’s director, Chris Columbus, is “no longer attached” to the film. When he was asked whether he found a new director, he simply said “that is classified information”.

So the movie was supposed to be filmed in Spring. It’s now October, and all that seems to have changed is the loss of a critical figure in making this movie. I don’t know if they even started filming, because later in the article, it’s said that Scott Cawthon, who is still part of this movie, is no longer satisfied with the script we thought had been nailed down back in November.

I’m not one to bring up drama, but I think it’s very clear what’s happening with this movie, and I think it explains why Columbus no longer wanted to be part of it. Quote Jason Blum:

“We’ve written multiple scripts, and we’ve got where we’re threading a needle, which is doing justice to Five Nights at Freddy’s and making Scott (Cawthon) happy. The only way that we would go about it is giving Scott … I don’t want to do something that Scott doesn’t like. Let me say that a different way. I don’t have the right to do anything Scott doesn’t like. Basically, Scott has kind of like the equivalent of ‘final cut’ and it’s taken longer than I hoped to get the right story.”

So we have Scott not knowing what to do with this movie’s plot, leaving Jason Blum pretty much stuck, not able to make any progress.

He did promise that he is “a long way from giving up”, so it’s nice to see someone still has hope for this thing.

It’s really sad to hear that this movie just isn’t working out, especially because it comes down to nobody agreeing on the right path. It’s been six or seven years since this movie was first announced, and at this point, as much as I would have loved to see a FNAF movie, I’d much rather it not happen than see the result of years of disagreement and confusion.

So that’s a little bit of coverage on the FNAF movie. I encourage you to read the whole article after this, so I’ll put the link at the end. Hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you all soon!


Film Review: Marvel’s What If Ultron Won? (Episode 8)

Marvel’s animated Disney+ series What If…? gears up for it’s finale, coming this Wednesday, with probably the best episode to date. Episode 8 provides an explanation for the cliffhanger we were previously left with in #7, and man, if this episode doesn’t do the character of Ultron justice.

This episode explores what would happen in the aftermath of the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, except here, Ultron succeeds in his quest to eradicate almost all human life on Earth. He becomes pretty much infinitely powerful, to the point where we see him kill one of the MCU’s strongest villains.

His growing abilities allow him to see into other realities, and more importantly, find the Watcher. We get one of the greatest fight scenes this series has offered so far, as we see Ultron and the Watcher constantly phasing through multiple locations and realities as they battle each other, and I enjoyed it all the way.

Towards the end of the episode, everyone’s predictions were proven right, as we see the Watcher give up his promise to not interfere with events, for the greater good of defeating Ultron. It was probably one of the easiest and most obvious predictions ever, but just let me enjoy being able to say that I called it. It doesn’t happen often.

Anyway, this episode takes the story of the show to a whole new level, and I don’t know what to expect for the finale. I like how throughout the stories told in each episode, there is also a character arc playing out for the Watcher, who we thought would just serve as a narrator when this series first started.

I imagine that the last episode will be much longer, because there is still a lot to cover and wrap up. We still haven’t seen Thanos Gamora, so she’ll probably be a pivotal part of the finale. It’s also pretty obvious that all of the characters we’ve been introduced to will come together to fight Ultron, so that will have to be properly explained as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed episode 8, and I’m super excited to see how this whole thing wraps up. I hope you all have enjoyed me covering this series, because I’ve certainly had a lot of fun talking about it. So make sure you watch the finale for What If…? on Wednesday, and I will see you all soon!