Legacy of Kain fans rejoice!

Nosgoth (2013)
Developed by: Psyonix
Published by: Square-Enix



The Premise

The war between the humans and the vampires wages on in the very land from the Legacy of Kain series! Who will you help turn the tides of history?

The First Stitches

From the trailers, this game already looks fantastic! Each side of the war has a unique play style, giving the game a polarized melee vs ranged feel. The vampires will be the physically stronger side, focusing more on melee and racial abilities and the humans will rely on powerful weaponry to combat their undead foes. With closed beta open for registration, you should be scrambling to get in on this as well. It's a relatively quick and easy process.

Mending the Seams
Plot: Coming soon!
Characters: Coming soon!
Setting/Atmosphere: Coming soon!
Special Effects: Coming soon!
Music/Audio: Coming soon!

The Binding Stitch

If you've ever been a fan of Legacy of Kain or just like mmo's, get your ass to nosgoth.com and join the beta testing! Sadly, my two favorite handles (StitchFace, SorrowFace) have been taken, but currently, I'm registered as StitchyMcFace, just in case you see me on at some point. And don't forget to follow @Nosgoth on Twitter for more updates, pictures and videos!

Update(3/3/14): Finally got selected for Closed Beta, just have to wait for everything to fall into place, apparently.


And now, my Fray, I ask what side will you join?

Infestation Survivor Stories

Infestation Survivor Stories (Year)



The Premise

The apocalypse has happened. Zombies now walk the earth and almost all known human life has been destroyed. You are one of the few survivors of this catastrophe and must stay alive as long as you can.



The First Stitches

Infestation Survivor Stories is a survival mmo originally released by HammerPoint under the name "The WarZ". The name was changed due to a recent major movie release. Going by the many reviews it has garnered, it seems the overall response to this game is abysmal at best. It can't be that bad, right?

Mending the Seams

Plot: Much like Killing Floor, this is a game that keeps the back story concise and relies on the game play to tell the story. As such, when you first begin with your character, you pick a server to join. At that point, you are dropped in the Colorado wilderness with little more than a granola bar and a flashlight. You get a can of soda, too. I think it's orange. There are marketplace options to purchase more supplies such as melee weapons, gear and provisions. Luckily there are no firearms available through this option.

One thing to consider is there is no tutorial when you begin the game, so there is a pretty big learning curve for anyone new to mmo's or survival games in general (Pro-tip: everything on your person drops when you die).

"Hey there. Come around here often?"

Characters: There are two starting character models to work with initially: a generic male and female. Customization is minimal as you get three styles for your head, upper and lower body. If you want any more, you're going to have to visit the previously mentioned marketplace. And be careful what you choose to wear. It may seem nice to sport the lumberjack flannel, but bright colors can get you killed by bandits. That's right, Infestation Survivor Stories is open PvP. Basically, that means when you spawn, try to not stay out in the open too much.

Setting/Atmosphere: My initial reaction to Infestation Survivor Stories was "The Walking Dead" mixed with Day of the Dead (especially the opening scenes). And while I'm honestly sick of hearing about "The Walking Dead", I will admit that for the atmosphere, it's not so much a bad thing. True to zombie lore, these varied speed zeds can be found ambling around cities, trailer parks and military posts. The density of infestation tends to depend on the average population of those given areas, which leads to a more risk vs reward type looting scheme.

The constant tension of possibly running into hostile players also makes looting the zombie filled towns more interesting. And while the woods and hills may seem safe, you can't trust them either. There are no zombies in these areas, but it is easy to be ambushed or sniped by another player if you're just running around without cover.

Graphics: Visually, Infestation Survivor Stories isn't exactly a game that should top any lists. It's not the best looking, but it sure as hell isn't the worst. There are some known issues that keep it from shining as much as it could including character model glitches that make your character look as though they are floating. The trees and scenery definitely look nice from afar, but when you get closer, there is a noticeable decrease in quality.

I feel a bad moon rising...


Music/Audio: Similarly to if there were a real zombie outbreak, there is no real soundtrack to the game. This makes sense because, well, it's a zombie apocalypse. There really isn't anything special about the sound effects, either. During my travels, the most I really heard was footsteps...and zombies. Oh, and gunshots. But on that note, you don't want to run around near zombies, if you can avoid it. Making noise can and will attract them.

The Binding Stitch

So, on paper, Infestation Survivor Stories doesn't really sound all that bad. I mean, it's not a graphical powerhouse, but there are some good ideas here, right? Well, unfortunately, this game has a high chance to become boring and tedious, and apparently quickly.

There are no missions or npc's to interact with outside of the typical stash (vault) and general store characters. The loot table doesn't really change too much between towns aside from being able to find items typical to the area, so there is little incentive to travel beyond just seeing marginally different scenery. The zeds that populate the various locations tend to not even be considered a real problem. It's not hard to sneak past them and when you are caught, let's just say jumping on a car and aiming down tends to be a most effective strategy.

Between the total sandbox style of the game and the lack of missions or pve incentive, all there is to do is loot and survive. And that can become monotonous. Hopefully there will be some updates to add content and context, but as it stands now, there are probably better zombie survival mmo's out there, perhaps even on the free side. You can find some really good gaming videos at Street - PC Gamer & Shenanigans Extraordinaire's channel on YouTube.



And now, my Fray, I ask what will you do when the zombies rise?

Alan Wake Review

Alan Wake (2010/2012)





The Premise

American horror author, Alan Wake has suffered from a two-year case of writer's block. Needing a break, he and his wife, Alice take a small vacation to the Washington town of Bright Falls. Soon into it, things go awry as Alice disappears right after a car accident. As Alan tries to figure out what is going on, he finds himself under attack from strange people and creatures originating from a manuscript he doesn't remember writing.

The First Stitches

This was a game that I happened upon during a very nice Steam sale. The trailers alone were enough to pique my attention and make me dive right in.

Mending the Seams

Plot: Alan Wake is a third person psychological horror game that plays out in a very linear fashion, much like...wait for it...a book. What keeps this entertaining, though, is the fact that there are a lot of strong points to it. A LOT. Right off the bat, there is a very strong storyline. The opening chapters are stirring and more than enough to get you going. I loved the dialogue within the game. When a character speaks, you listen. It's entrancing as our titular hero tears through the twists and turns of Bright Falls trying to unravel the secrets that belie him.

Characters: Another great part of the game is the characters. My favorite (besides Alan himself) would be his agent, Barry, especially during one of the extra episodes. His dialogue makes for some pretty good comic relief. Otherwise, there is some very engaging dialogue and depth to the cast. And for all of you out there who hate escort missions, there are technically a few in the game and for all intents and purposes, they are NOTHING like Ashley. Resident Evil fans know EXACTLY what I'm talking about (NSFW). And while we're speaking on the characters, controlling Alan is quite smooth and responsive. There is even a pretty cool (and non-intrusive) Bullet Time effect when you dodge enemy attacks at the right time, adding to the tension of combat.


Setting/Atmosphere: One of the things Washington is known for is its beautiful forests. You get more than an eyeful as you find yourself in darkened woods and mountains very frequently. Every corner you turn keeps you paranoid, especially during the night. The enemies you deal with help to keep the atmosphere with creepy, psychotic dialogue, demonic voices and a shadowy, wispy forms. To add to the already epic atmosphere , there are some nods and homages to classic horror and psychological thriller titles such as Stephen King's "The Shining" and Twin Peaks. You can also find televisions to interact with that play a Twilight Zone-like show called Night Springs.

Graphics: The graphics of Alan Wake are top notch. Without changing any settings, the game looked simply fantastic. The details put into the lighting and water effects as well as the general scenery were more than astonishing. As you move through the game, it even becomes blurry as violent winds pick up and you get closer to your next fight with the enemies tainted with the Darkness; the Taken. Graphically, the worst of it is actually summed up quite nicely in this article by David Wong of Cracked.com.

Welcome to Bright Falls.

Music/Audio: To say the soundtrack to Alan Wake is brilliant is about as much of an understatement as saying "crack is whack"....or "wack". Whatever. Either way, the soundtrack is fucking awesome and is also downloadable when you purchase the game through Steam. The majority is composed by Petri Alanko, but a very welcome contribution was put forth by Finnish rockers, Poets of the Fall who provide not only music under their own name, but also they perform all music credited to The Old Gods of Asgard.

The Binding Stitch

Alan Wake is a game that any horror fan with a PC or XBox 360 should own. For a game so linear, it was actually fun to play through multiple times. Every scene is packed with so much tension it keeps you gripped to your seat, much in the same fashion as a good book or movie. There aren't many things to say bad about the game, except that it feels a bit short due to the battles going by relatively quickly, but realistically, the focus was on tension and atmosphere. Other than that, this is definitely a personal favorite and I would suggest everyone to give it a try.



And now, my Fray, I ask, are you afraid of the dark?

Senseless Review

Senseless (2008)
Starring: Jason Behr, Emma Catherwood, Joe Ferrara
Directed by: Simon Hynd


The Premise

An American businessman is kidnapped while overseas. In effigy of The United States and the anger it has caused the world, he is subjected to gruesome, dehumanizing tortures that one by one take away what is greatly taken for granted: the basic senses.

The First Stitches

There is a small percentage of people who will forever experience the abused Pavlov's Dog effect when they hear the word "Senseless". Unfortunately, I am part of that percentage. And now you are, too. You're welcome.

Mending the Seams

Plot: Right from the beginning, Senseless throws you into the fray by almost immediately kidnapping the main character, Eliot Gast (Jason Behr). After that, it's a sort of emotional cat and mouse waiting game as you wait in between "sessions" to see what will happen to him next. There is a decent amount of exposition during this time that helps to put you into the mind of his captors as well as Eliot, himself.


Characters: Easily, the most predominate character in the movie is Eliot. Every single thing in the film revolves around this character, be it real time, flash back or otherwise. The only two specific characters we see are his immediate captor, Blackbeard (Joe Ferrara) and Nim (Emma Catherwood), whose role was probably the most interesting. I can't say much about that without spoiling some things.

Setting/Atmosphere: For the most part, Senseless begins visually sterile -- white walls, a barely furnished room -- very clean. This changes dramatically as the movie transpires, mirroring Eliot's mental state as his pure humanistic nature is tarnished more and more.

Special Effects: The movie effects are all practical and very well done.  While not excessively gory, Senseless is not a movie for the squeamish. Two words: cheese grater.

This...is gonna hurt.
Music/Audio: The soundtrack does well to pump perpetual terror into the atmosphere of the film. Each scene is underlayed with a subtle, yet grim instrumental that pierces at the just right moments.

The Binding Stitch

Senseless is dark. It's real dark. And it's also very good. There's good tension and suspense, a good amount of gore and an interesting story that keep the little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. I suggest this movie as a purchase or at least check it out on Netflix or what have you.


And now, my Fray, I ask if you lost all but one of your senses to horrific torture, what sense would you keep?

Dead Girl Review

Dead Girl (2008)
Starring: Noah Segan, Shiloh Fernandez and Candice Accola
Directed by: Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel



The Premise

Two high school teens cut class only to discover a bound and gagged woman sealed and hidden in the bowels of an abandoned psychiatric hospital.

The First Stitches

Adding to my recent run of high school based titles, we have a movie that appealed, strangely enough, to my sense of nostalgia as well as sheer morbid curiosity. You see, one of the stars of this film, Noah Segan, was a voice on a show I used to watch during my younger years--KABLAM! So, since it's kinda the thing these days, I figured it'd be interesting to see how bad this movie would rape my childhood memories.

"Like, in the butt?"

Mending the Seams

Plot: If horror movies have taught me anything, it's that you can never keep a secret between two people. Dead Girl is no exception to that rule as most of the plot revolves around  friends, JT (Noah Segan) and Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) initially discovering the seemingly immortal institution captive and then, in the spirit of a forced sex Fight Club, swearing to not tell a soul. I'm sure you can guess how that turns out.

Characters: I liked the characters in Dead Girl. My favorite would be JT, simply because his character was more interesting. In a way, you wanna hate the guy, but at the same time, there's that psychotic charisma that makes him almost likeable, as sick as he is. A big nod goes to Shiloh Fernandez, though, as I did like Rickie as well. I felt kinda bad for the dead girl (Jenny Spain), though, as she...well, look down and you tell me where you think I'm going with this.



Setting/Atmosphere: The majority of the movie takes place in the basement of the mental hospital, which I feel was to be expected. The bright side, though, is that the scenes in this area definitely give the movie a "dungeon slave" feel, which is essentially what the dead girl is while she is strapped to the hospital gurney. The consistent rape and abuse of this character as well as JT's ever devolving mental state help to keep the overall atmosphere dark and dismal.

Special Effects: There were a lot of things I liked about the effects in this movie. The majority of which is comprised of simple face scratches and minor contusions, but branches out to some decent gore that is sure to appeal to any fan of the sick and nasty.

Music/Audio: The soundtrack to Dead Girl is honestly nothing particularly special, but is at least appropriate to the movie. I did like the quality of the various effects, though. Some of the better gore scenes are perfectly accompanied by just the right squish or scream.

The Binding Stitch

Dead Girl is a fun, albeit sick movie and I enjoyed every minute of it. What sets it apart from most other captivity/ torture porn horrors is the juxtaposition of the monster of the film. As you watch you wonder if this non-dying girl is really the beast that should be feared or her newfound captors. Needless to say, this is one I suggest checking out as it's a little different from the normal zombie-type subgenre. Your childhood memories are safe here.



And now, my Fray, I ask what is your favorite high school horror movie?

The Loved Ones Review

The Loved Ones (2009)
Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine
Directed by: Sean Byrne



The Premise

Lola only wants one thing -- a date for the prom. And when Brent turns her down, he finds out she doesn't take rejection very well...

The First Stitches

This title was suggested to me by CultHorrMetalSarcasm recently when I wasn't sure what I wanted to watch. Being a title I hadn't seen, I decided to look it up and was pretty much sold after checking out the trailer above.

"A 'hertz donit'? No thanks, I already ate."

Mending the Seams

Plot: The story to The Loved Ones is actually split between two situations -- Brent's (Xavier Samuel) kidnapping and his friend, Jamie taking Mia (Richard Wilson and Jessica McNamee, respectively) to the prom. The film plays it as a sort of "light side/dark side" scenario where one provides comic relief through the depiction of semi-typical prom shenanigans and the other...well, you see that poster up top. I'll let you piece that together.

Characters: There is a decent contrast between the characters in The Loved Ones. Brent is a troubled, self-destructive youth who constantly pushes himself out of guilt. Lola (Robin McLeavy) is a sadistic, vindictive psychopath (seriously, just look up). Jamie is...well, your average high school teenager. Mia, like Brent, is also among the darker, more inner troubled teens, but her outlet seems more sexual than masochistic. I really liked the way these characters were played, my favorites being the former two. And let it be said, Robin McLeavy is freaking gorgeous in this movie, and after what I've seen, it actually feels a little weird to say that.
"The fuck is that supposed to mean??"
Setting/Atmosphere: What truly makes this movie is Lola's creepy dungeon home. Everything about this place is the antithesis of "normal". The spinning disco ball was the icing on the cake.

Special Effects: There were many sides to the special effects that I enjoyed. Both the gore and make-up effects in some of the later scenes (I won't spoil any of that for you) were top notch and deserve mentioning.

Music/Audio: The soundtrack to The Loved Ones did well to compliment the atmosphere of the movie. I can't say there was a specific "wow" factor to it, but it was better musically than I initially would have expected. I really liked the contrasting pop music during some of the Lola scenes. In a way it added to the mentally unstable aspect of the character.

The Binding Stitch

To put it easily, The Loved Ones is a movie I do not regret watching. I was even surprised to find the main character of this movie was also in the Twilight series. And anyone who knows me knows I don't expect much from anyone who was in Twilight. But on that same token, this is an Australian horror film. And so far, I've not been disappointed with Australian horror. That being said, I would have to suggest that any horror fan worth their salt give this movie a try. It's part Hostel, part The People Under The Stairs and part Misery all rolled into one fucked up little ball. What more could you possibly want?


"Handcuffs."
And now, my Fray, I ask would you take Lola to the prom?

Dolly Dearest Review

Dolly Dearest (1992)

Starring: Denise Crosby, Sam Bottoms, Rip Torn, Chris Demetral
Directed by: Maria Lease



The Premise

Elliot Wade and family have just moved to Mexico to take over the old "Dolly Dearest" doll factory. What they don't know is a recent, nearby archaeological accident has released a foul and ancient spirit that has decided to possess some of the dolls and wreak havoc. Wanna play...?

The First Stitches

Two things I love are killer doll movies and Denise Crosby. Oh, and Rip Torn. Okay, so that's three things I love. Anyway, I had no idea this was even a movie until maybe in the last year or so. This was one of the first movies I had planned to do a review of, but it was pushed to the back burner for accessibility reasons.


Mending the Seams

Plot: The storyline to Dolly Dearest pretty much revolves around Jessica getting one of the dolls from her dad's factory and the terror it subsequently produces. To set this apart from the likes of, say, Child's Play, it seems they decided to have her act like a bargain bin Reagan from The Exorcist. This accomplishes exactly two things. 1) It avoids a lawsuit. 2) It makes all her scenes more the hilarious when you realize the doll basically turns her into a Jenny Jones guest.

"Hmm...yep, that's a nipple."

Characters: The best characters in this movie were Marilyn Wade (Denise Crosby) and the archaeologist, Karl Resnick (Rip Torn...when he's not losing his shit). I've always been a fan of Denise since Pet Semetary and this role wasn't too far off. I believe an honorable mention should go to little Jimmy Wade (Chris Demetral) in that snazzy suit.

Setting/Atmosphere: One unfortunate aspect to Dolly Dearest is the movie feels like it falls short in the "scary" category and is comfortable with just being "kinda creepy". I did have a few favorite scenes, like the subtle mirror scene and the scenes with the dolls running amok, but the overall run of the movie just lacks enough power to hold onto the feeling provided by the darker scenes.

Special Effects: The effects in Dolly Dearest weren't particularly graphic, but at the very least, the death scenes were still effectively gruesome. I'm still not sure if the sewing machine death was supposed to be funny or not, though.

Music/Audio: The audio aspect of Dolly Dearest is pretty solid. The music cues were appropriate and well orchestrated. The creepy doll voices were done very well. I did like that they didn't all sound the exact same.

Derp.

The Binding Stitch

Dolly Dearest definitely has all the necessary elements for a doll horror right off the jump: a normal but oh, so creepy looking doll with an adorable but equally creepy kid, a slightly nonsensical story, a hot 90's mom and a station wagon. There are a few bumps along the way, but Dolly Dearest still holds its own as a quirky, but enjoyable horror movie. I believe this is one worthy of being viewed by anyone with a fondness for killer doll movies or Denise Crosby in general. Oh, and Rip Torn.

"Have you seen a killer doll running around here?"

"She went that a'way."

"Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!"
And now, my Fray, I ask what is your favorite doll horror movie?

High School of the Dead Review

Highschool of the Dead Season 1 (2010)

Starring: Junichi Suwabe, Marina Inoue, Eri Kiramura
Directed by: Tetsuro Araki



The Premise

I'm sure we can all agree high school sucks. It sucked for us, it sucked for our parents, it's gonna suck for our kids and it'll forever be the basis of shitty tweener Nickelodeon/Disney shows about sassy popular teenage girls who sing incessantly about pre-pubescent relationships and other such dubiously trite pop compost. Well, things get even shittier when a zombie outbreak sweeps through Japan (as well as the rest of the world). As the teens and teachers struggle to survive the global pandemic, they must deal with not only zombies, but moral decay and the collapse of society as we know it. Will they survive the nightmare or become part of it?

The First Stitches

This was an anime that was somewhat new to me. I'd seen it several times on various anime sites, but hadn't gotten around to checking it out because fuck high school. Seriously. But it eventually got to me because of that one four letter word, "Dead". I mean...how bad could it be, right? And as much as I despised high school, at least anime does make it kinda fun...usually.


Mending the Seams

Plot: Zombies. Tits. Ass. Those are the three main things you are going to notice as you watch this anime. Even Mai from Fatal Fury is more subtle.
...okay, maybe not. (original image here)
That being said, in between all of that is a pretty good story that plays out at a nice pace. High School of the Dead does very well at blending Japanese anime writing with the more western zombie movie style for something that likens itself to an animated Romero film.

Characters: The main characters develop rather well throughout the season. There are some forms of the typical horror movie stereotypes, including a brooding straight edge, a bipolar slacker/nerd and a stuck-up bitch. I did find myself enjoying the ragtag group of now-friends, especially during their more dramatic moments. My overall favorite was probably Kohta, the gun freak or Psycho, the sword wielder.
There are a couple more groups in the series, including a group led by a lecherous teacher, Shido. This group felt more like a cult as all the doe-eyed young females following him were more or less entranced and subordinate. Here is a link to all the characters of the show as there are quite a few and it can be a little difficult to keep up.

Yeah...this backrub scene seems nice until you realize she's like 16.


Setting/Atmosphere:  Keeping on par with anime in general, the visual style of Highschool of the Dead is fantastic. And while not "scary", per se, High School of the Dead does keep true to the horror and macabre aspect of the genre through the various locations and mindframes the characters go through. The series is definitely more action oriented, but there is a good mix humor and drama that permeates much of narrative.

Special Effects: The best part of High School of the Dead is the action, hands down. The copious amounts of blood do well to satisfy just about anyone's taste for mayhem, while at the same time, it's not so overdone that it feels like the show has nothing else to offer. The gore is rather tasteful as well, though I wouldn't have complained if there were a bit more. I did feel satiated enough to give this particular category an enthusiastic thumbs up.


See? Even Kohta agrees.


Music/Audio: First and foremost, I absolutely adore the opening song for this anime. As a matter of fact, I did enjoy the overall soundtrack. The ending theme seems to change with each episode, which I could see being a pain for the producers to keep up with, but it's a nice touch altogether. After a quick Google search, I found you can download all of the tracks through this link. I've not tried it yet, so visit at your own risk.

The Binding Stitch

High School of the Dead is an anime worth checking out for any anime enthusiast, hands down. Depending on your preferences, the over-sexualization can become a bit of a nuisance, but it's quickly shadowed by a deep storyline and engrossing characters. Oh, and zombies. Lots of zombies. As a matter of fact, that's pretty much all we really need here. Seriously, why are you still reading this?? Goooo!!

Just go! I'll hold 'em off!!

Icono-cats of Horror

This post was inspired by a stray cat that happened upon my porch not all too long ago. There's absolutely nothing scary or creepy about it, she's actually rather nice. She had kittens the day we met her and since then, I've had cats on the brain. So to alleviate this, I figured a related post would be a good thing. With the help of some friends at The Horror Mansion, I've put together a short list of some of the most memorable horror movies involving our four-legged friends.


The Corpse Grinders

OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!!

Whether or not you like cats, I think it's safe to agree cats like meat; fish, chicken, beef and pork...and apparently human. In The Corpse Grinders, when sales are down at the Lotus Cat Food Company, a decision is made to cut costs by digging up corpses and adding them to the recipe. The unfortunate side effect is the local cats quickly begin to favor the soylent treat over all else, causing a homicidal spree of blood-thirsty cats. Here, kitty, kitty...

Sleepwalkers


"All I ask for is a saucer of cream and we can call it even."


In this bizarre Stephen King adaptation, a supernatural mother/son duo moves to a new town in search of a virgin to feed on and thus breed.

I'll let you read that again. Done cringing? Good, let's continue.

These psychic powered super creatures are a major threat to the town, but they have one natural enemy that turns these predators into scared prey...can you guess what it is? Here's a hint: His name is Clovis.

Cat's Eye

"I'm gonna hug 'im and love 'im and squeeze 'im and..."

Another Stephen King adaptation, based on three separate stories ("Quitters, Inc" and "The Ledge" from Night Shift and "General", which was unique for the film), Cat's Eye involves a cat that makes a cross-state journey to save a little girl in danger. Each story is a bizarre tale involving a creepily efficient anti-smoking company, a man who makes progressively dangerous bets and the previously mentioned little girl, who finds the cat and adopts him. And yes, that's Drew Barrymore up there.


Ju-On (The Grudge)

...I got nothing. This kid is too fucking creepy.

This is an exceptionally creepy Japanese tale based on a curse that resides when a person dies while experiencing either of two emotional extremes: rage or fear. In the film, one of the ghosts encountered is the fused spirit of a boy and a cat. This is easily one of the creepiest entries on the list as well as one of the better American remakes. If you've not seen it, go do so...after you finish reading this post.

Hocus Pocus

...this was a Disney movie?

Back when Disney movies were admittedly kinda fun, they made a movie about three soul stealing witches, the Sanderson Sisters, called Hocus Pocus. In this relatively tame, yet still somewhat morbid movie, the Sisters are resurrected when a virgin lights their black flame candle. A major part of the story involves young Thackery Binx who is turned into an immortal cat and forced to guard the witches' home for three hundred years. I guess he's really not that young anymore then, yeah?

Pet Sematary

I see your new contacts came in today...

One of the most loved and remembered films on the list, Pet Sematary is yet another Stephen King adaptation about a family that loses their young son, Gage, in an awful accident outside their home. In the story, the family cat, Church, is killed on the same road and is buried in an old burial ground, only to return as something...evil.


So there we have six iconic horror movies that involve cats. There are definitely more that could go on here. How about some of you, my dear readers, list some more of your favorites in the comments below?

Dead Birds Review

Dead Birds (2004)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Patrick Fugit, Nicki Aycox
Directed by: Alex Turner



The Premise

A group of fugitive Confederate Soldiers hole up in an abandoned plantation after robbing a bank. They soon regret their decision when they realize they're at the mercy of the malevolent spirits that still linger in this place.

The First Stitches

After the wispy opening credits, the movie opens to a dusty Fairhope, Alabama, a la 1863. A group of Confederate soldiers slowly ride up to the Commerce Bank, stopping to make a deposit. As a deal is brokered, another posse of riders make their way into town, also with "business" to attend to. The soldiers standing post outside are quickly taken out as the robbers make their way into the bank. Every living soul in the building is quickly dispatched (with the exception of a mole) and the gang makes a not-too-subtle escape from town under the cover of more gunfire.

After making good headway into the woods, the gang soon realize they are lost and may not find their safe house. Luckily they find the next best thing just before the sun goes down...

Easy Riders

Mending the Seams

Plot: Dead Birds is a very story driven Western horror movie. As opposed to how I felt about A Haunting In Salem, which was similarly slow, this film was significantly more interesting and appealing. While it does take time in between each major scene for more exposition, there is little in the way of fluff as we get a bit more into each character with every scene and even more so, a bit more into the actual story.

Characters: Speaking of the characters, one thing I truly loved about this movie was the casting and the character writing. Initially, I had to put away all bias and view this as objectively as possible (I've come to be a pretty decent Michael Shannon and Patrick Fugit fan over the course of time) and as it stands, there were no characters I didn't like in this film. I found the performances to be quite solid and enjoyable.

Setting/Atmosphere: The look and feel of the locale was very fitting for the film. The brief time spent in town definitely sets the bar for the rest of the movie and the subsequent scenes through the plantation and its fields do well to not dip below it. I did enjoy the night scenes as they weren't significantly overlit, which is sometimes the case in period pieces.

Special Effects: I was mostly impressed by the visual effects. While sometimes gory and repulsive, they were tasteful and not overused. I did feel some of the more "jump scare" type scenes failed to keep up, but the slack is easily picked up by pretty much everything else.

Music/Audio: I enjoyed the hauntingly appropriate soundtrack for the film. At no point did I feel audibly derailed or off put by stray sound effects or bad music.

At least he got to keep his hat.

The Binding Stitch

Dead Birds is a film that should not be overlooked. As it slowly pulls you into madness, it pays off in the end as this satisfying tale outshines many others of its kind. This movie fits the bill for anyone looking for a good period piece horror or a movie that doesn't push you through a lack of story with constant visual effects. There is a little bit of everything here for the average horror fan or western fan and I would recommend giving it a try.

Yes, please do.

Psycho Beach Party Review

Psycho Beach Party (2000)


Starring: Lauren Ambrose,Thomas Gibson, Nicholas Brendon 
Directed by: Robert Lee King

The Premise

Florence "Chicklet" Forrest has a problem; specifically, dissociative identity disorder. With the help of the occasional stimuli, Chicklet becomes her alter ego, Ann Bowman, the promiscuous, foul-mouthed, take-no-shit, bad girl dominatrix. When her friends and acquaintances begin to turn up dead, suddenly she begins to wonder if her other self is responsible for the murders.


The First Stitches

The movie begins in black and white. A leather jacket clad man pulls into a pizzeria on his motorcycle. He storms in, looking for a woman named "Diane". After a bit of resistance from some guy in a smock, he finds her, behind a...box at the counter? The pour their feelings out to each other, he demands she kiss him. Smock guy pleads for the young man to leave, but catches a haymaker like he gave out the wrong change. Jacket guy tears down the box to find -- she has three heads!? He flees the pizzeria, screaming, just in time for the camera to pan away, showing it was only a movie at the drive-in theatre.

In common drive-in fashion, the first car depicts a couple making out. Next it pans to Florence and friend, Berdine (Lauren Ambrose and Danni Wheeler, respectively), as they discuss the social undertones of the movie, which has now somehow turned into a one-headed, 50-foot pizza waitress monster flick. Florence leaves to get them a hot dog when she runs into Swedish exchange student, Lars (Matt Keeslar) and snide, hateful Rhonda (Kathleen Robertson). Soon, Florence finally makes it to the hotdog stand and in the midst of of ordering, another woman walks up and immediately takes the clerk's attention. Suddenly, a flash of the "Snacks" sign causes Florence to blank out. Enter Ann Bowman...

"You talking about me, shit-for-brains?? Cut it."
Mending the Seams

Plot: The buffoonery that is this movie's script was nothing short of entertaining. In perfect 60's fashion, the characters beach jargon their way through a ridiculous whodunit-type adventure, complete with surfing, dancing and murder. Sweet, delicious murder. What makes the storyline to this movie so much fun is instead of relying purely on crude jokes and absurd amounts of blood, the humour is provided through a peppering of both subtle and blatant in-jokes, including a very awkward beach wrestling scene, gender juxtaposition and also there's that previously mentioned Rhonda...she's so hateful, it's actually kinda funny.
As the story progresses, the twists and turns common in any mystery movie definitely lead you in a direction that's about as brilliantly and subtly misleading as the plot to Sinister (I'm actually not joking about that, the climax to this movie was pretty good), yet still amusing.
Characters: Ultimately, I found all the characters likeable in their own jacked up ways, but some were pretty forgettable. There's no immediate antagonist in the film (I won't be spoiling this character's identity, either, if you've not seen it, you're safe), so we get to learn more about each character from Florence and her "issues" to Starcat (Nicholas Brendan) and his First World Problems. While not particularly joke-crackingly funny, Police Captain Monica Stark (writer Charles Busch) was also rather enjoyable, given the role of the character.

"We're not done here...keep reading."

Setting/Atmosphere: California beaches? Check. Lots of sun, waves and tiki torches? Check. Overly-entitled, beachcombing white kids with too much time on their hands? Check plus 1. The locale of this movie definitely screams the 50's down to the clothing, the diners and the groovy beach jargon. Seeing that the movie more plays into the comedy/mystery aspects of the story, there is little that actually makes the film scary in the classic horror sense.
Special Effects: There are a few scenes throughout the movie that display both practical and CG effects that reflect the 50's by way of plastic dismemberments and in-your-face 3D moments, which used to be rather common. There aren't a lot of special effects in this flick, but when they occur, they fit very well. No issues here.
Music/Audio: The soundtrack to this movie was definitely appropriate, down to a live surfer band at one point. There was even a feel of classic film in some of the tracks that harkened back to the days of movies like Psycho while keeping with the lighthearted motif.

The Binding Stitch

In my honest opinion, this movie is a pretty decent blend of comedy, horror and mystery. I'm not saying it's top notch in either category, but it definitely gives enough of each to be considered sufficient in staying all around entertaining. I recommend this flick as a good, light-hearted summertime horror when you're not in the mood for copious amounts of blood and gore or want something on the other side of the horror spoof spectrum that's not quite as in-your-face, much like the cult classics Scary Movie and Dead Alive.

The Purge Review

The Purge (2013)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Rhys Wakefield
Directed by: James DeMonaco



The Premise

In 2022, the United States has now sanctioned murder legal for 12 hours out of the year. No police. No firefighters. No ambulances. Are your doors locked?

The First Stitches

The movie opens with scene after scene of chaos through the eyes of various security cameras. Video evidence of past Purges. The scene then cuts to security system salesman, James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), reassuring a client they've purchased the best system, the same system he uses. Eventually, he makes it home as his wife is preparing dinner. Shortly into the meal they realize it's almost time for The Purge to commence. They arm the security system and are ready to wait out the chaos until young Charlie (Max Burkholder) notices a wounded man (Edwin Hodge) running through the streets screaming for help. Before anyone realizes he disarms the system and calls to the man, offering a safe haven. After the system is rearmed, a group of Purgers emerge from the shadows.

Led by a rather personable psycho (Rhys Wakefield), the Sandins are informed the man they are harboring is one of their targets that fought back and killed one of their own. They are given a short timeframe to present the man, alive, or noone is safe.

Mending the Seams

Plot: The thing I like about The Purge is thinking "what if this really happened"? As the security footage plays in the beginning, it give a bit of depth to the situation as it feels a bit more real. From there, unfortunately, it becomes pretty predictable. Based on the dialogue of the film, you can pretty much tell who's dangerous and who's not. There's really not much of a twist in that regard until towards the end...but even then, everything is predictable due to a conversation between Mary (Lena Headey) and a neighbor.
Characters: I honestly wasn't very motivated by many of the characters in this movie. I did enjoy Edwin Hodge's character as his performance was pretty believable. He was a cornered fox who needed to do what he could to survive. Overall, the best characters were the Target, James Sandin and the charismatic stranger, who ultimately took the top spot for me. Honorable mention for Lena Headey for being hot in an upper class suburban mom sort of way.
Setting/Atmosphere: My complaint about the atmosphere of this movie is that it really wasn't scary or all that tense, and part of that is because of the aforementioned predictability. With the almost inescapable darkness that takes over the movie part way, I was expecting more intensity in the scenes following, but more so it equated to some kill-happy psychos turning the movie into a big game of "Look out behind you, jackass!!"
Special Effects: Not surprisingly, this was one of the best parts of the movie (produced by Michael Bay...surprise!) and even that doesn't say all that much considering the most you get in visual effects are some gunshots and a lot of broken windows.
Music/Audio: Those gunshots and broken windows I mentioned just now pretty much make up the majority of the sound effects in this film. Other than that, the soundtrack wasn't bad at all.

The Binding Stitch

Being the first horror I've seen in a theatre in quite some time, I was hoping for something much better. Especially considering the trailer for this film really sells it. The sad truth is while the premise for The Purge is really very tight, the film itself falls apart easily due to poorly written characters and overall poor writing. The few saving graces were easily the main antagonist and an ending that was bittersweet as well as humourous. This movie had a lot of potential, but sadly I feel it fell flat and was not worth the price of admission. Perhaps at a later time (I won't be paying full blu-ray/dvd price for this, neither should you) when there is a price drop on this title, I could suggest it as a movie to add to a themed horror marathon (Intruders, chaos, etc), but as it stands, this one wasn't really worth it, except for the villain.