film review: THE MUMMY’S CURSE (1944)

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The Mummy's Curse (1944)

The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

THE MUMMY’S CURSE
Directed By: Leslie Goodwins
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Peter Coe, Virginia Christine
Website: IMDB
Score: 3/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

It is important to note that I reached into a metaphorical bag of Mummy themed movies and pulled out The Mummy’s Curse with seemingly random chance. This film is the last of a four part reboot of the original Mummy character, Imhotep, originally played by Boris Karloff. The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost, and the Mummy’s Curse were all released within 4 years of each other and, aside from the first film, all star Lon Chaney as Kharis the lumbering goon. The Mummy’s Curse ends a cycle of subpar horror films and is not only the worse of the series but perhaps one of the worst films produced by Universal in this time period. Continue reading

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album review: NORTHERN OAK – Of Roots and Flesh

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Northern Oak - Of Roots and Flesh

Northern Oak – Of Roots and Flesh

NORTHERN OAK
Album: Of Roots and Flesh
Released: October 4th 2014
Label? Nope.
Website: Official
Score: 6/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Before we begin, I feel a weighty responsibility to point out that the cover of this album depicts a literal ent whose taken a moment out of what is presumably a busy life of photosynthesis and watching young adults awkwardly paw each other under his branches to ponder whether or not any of the myriad plants growing on him are hallucinogenic. Obviously this is a hero of our time. Continue reading

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Game Review: MIDDLE EARTH – SHADOW OF MORDOR

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Shadow of Mordor (2014)

Shadow of Mordor (2014)

SHADOW OF MORDOR
Developer: Monolith Productions
Released: September 30th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 8/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

You have to wonder why this wasn’t called “Lord of the Rings: The Shadow of Mordor”. I mean, other than being a bit of a mouthful (though no more a mouthful than “Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, the game”) and the inevitable jokes unfunny nerds would make about it being a re-boot of a c64 text adventure (if you do want that, check out last week’s Gauntlet review), there’s only a one real reason I can see for them trying to distance themselves from the main franchise. Continue reading

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film review: SON OF DRACULA (1943)

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Son of Dracula (1943)

Son of Dracula (1943)

SON OF DRACULA
Directed By:Robert Siodmak
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton
Website: IMDB
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

I feel that I could spend a year just watching old horror and still not get through the entire collection. Son of Dracula is the third installment in the eponymous series of Dracula-centric films. Before this was Dracula’s Daughter, an odd film that has since gained notoriety for its lesbian undertones. The original Dracula became famous for its lead star Bela Lugosi and his eventual casting in every horror film of the 40’s. Son of Dracula is interesting because it continues the work of Lon Chaney Jr., who was seen in The Wolfman, the Mummy series, and as some variation of Frankenstein’s monster. Chaney almost exclusively worked in horror and mystery films in the 40’s, so his casting as Count Alucard in Son of Dracula should not be surprising. What is surprising is how well Chaney portrays the Count, even when compared to the near untouchable legend. Continue reading

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album review: LYRIEL – Skin and bones

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Lyriel - Skin and bones (2014)

Lyriel – Skin and bones (2014)

LYRIEL
Album: Skin and Bones
Released: September 26th 2014
Label: AMF
Website: Official
Score: 5/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

If you’ve ever been active in the gigging scene in Europe you’ve probably already heard Lyriel, although there’s a good chance you didn’t realize it. For the first five years of their career they were almost unnaturally active as an opening act for more bands than I’m prepared to count. If you went to a folk metal gig between 2003 and 2008, there’s a reasonable chance you’ve rocked out to these guys already.

And now, with their fifth album (and their second with AFM) it seems like they’re trying to finally get some fucking recognition for that. Continue reading

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film review: FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943)

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Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943)

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN
Directed By: Victor Halperin
Starring: Béla Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn
Website: IMDB
Score: 6/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

For all of the time I spend with classic horror, I never truly reviewed a monster film. Previous films watched ranged from interesting adaptations of literary horror to latent cultural fears inscribed upon film. All of these were at least original or reasonable sequels to a growing franchise. While Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy were certainly films with monsters in them, it was not until Frankenstein meets the Wolfman that the genre of the monster film moved away from classic horror. It was this 1943 film in which the institutions of studio horror became so defined that its shared universe was allowed to become an illogical reality. Continue reading

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game review: GAUNTLET

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Gauntlet (2014)

Gauntlet (2014)

GAUNTLET
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Released: September 23th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Gauntlet’s a game with some history, to the point that I have to wonder why they didn’t call it “Gauntlet (2014)”. That’s what everyone else is going to call it. As a franchise, it’s been re-booted more times than a Sega Genesis. If you want a startling look at the future of every beloved franchise in Hollywood, look to Gauntlet.

Because, in truth, this is the fifth Gauntlet – which isn’t to say that there were four sequels to the original, rather, there were four games just called “Gauntlet”, (this making five) released intermittently over the past 25 years, and five actual sequels and spin-offs to those games. That makes this Gauntlet (2014) the tenth, if you don’t count the unreleased Nintendo DS version. It’s also got a pretty huge fan base, hence the remake. Continue reading

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album review: AFFIANCE – Blackout

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Affiance - Blackout (2014)

Affiance – Blackout (2014)

AFFIANCE
Album: Blackout
Released: September 23th 2014
Label: Bullet tooth records
Website: Facebook
Score: 6/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

I bet on paper Affiance seemed like a fucking awesome name. Shit, it looks like a fucking awesome name if you don’t know what it means. Sadly, thanks to a misspent childhood I do know what it means.

It means “engaged”. And not the cool kind of engaged. Not engaged like “Right-o, johhny. I’ll just engage this bomber and then it’s straight home for crumpets, wot wot” (for some reason, Englishmen can never think of fighter pilots as anything other than ludicrously moustachioed gentlemen piloting spitfires. Just ask Iron Maiden if you don’t believe me), but rather, engaged to be married. Continue reading

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film review: WHITE ZOMBIE (1932)

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White Zombie (1932)

White Zombie (1932)

WHITE ZOMBIE (1932)
Directed By: Victor Halperin
Starring: Béla Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn
Website: IMDB
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

It is time to depart the realm of Universal based horror films to somewhere else. While all recent horror reviews have centered around the iconic films of the early 20th century, as well as gems made from the same studio, there were others to consider. White Zombie, by all definitions and terms, was an independent film that was pieced together with thin budgets and a condensed schedule. The film’s “star” Bela Legosi was hired for an undisclosed amount of money and served as the film’s sole draw. It is not surprising the film did not do well upon its initial release. What is surprising, however, is how odd and slightly unnerving the film is today. Continue reading

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game review: FABLE ANNIVERSARY

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Fable Anniversary (2014)

Fable Anniversary (2014)

FABLE ANNIVERSARY
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Released: September 12th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 4/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

This is the fourth time I’ve bought Fable, and I suspect I’m not alone in that. Launching originally for the Xbox in 2004, it sold well enough that the developers decided to re-release the finished version a year later. Naturally, I bought both and then, when the bigger version came to Steam, I bought that too. And you can see just how much I loved it on this very site.

Now, marking the fourth time I’ve paid full price for Fable, I feel like after spending what must be in excess of a hundred dollars on the same game now, I’ve done my bit. And I get to be a little critical. Continue reading

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album review: CANNIBAL CORPSE – Skeletal domain

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Cannibal Corpse - Skeletal Domain (2014)

Cannibal Corpse – Skeletal Domain (2014)

CANNIBAL CORPSE
Album: Skeletal Domain
Released: September 16th 2014
Label: Metal Blade
Website: Official
Score: 9/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

The challenge, when reviewing any of Cannibal Corpse’s stuff, is to try and say something that hasn’t already been said. This is a band with history, goddammit – a 24 year long legacy of meteoric success, of overcoming any and all obstacles. Long neglected by the radio and TV, by leveraging the power of word of mouth, Cannibal Corpse have developed the kind of cult following necessary to overcome national bans of their music in Australia (and even countries who aren’t secretly run by a shadowy cabal of frightened old ladies and racist uncles, like the usually bad-ass Germany) and earned the ire of earth’s most boring custard balloon, Bob Dole.

They’re also the biggest Death Metal band in America, finishing off the apparent synopsis to a Metalocalypse episode that is their history. Continue reading

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film review: WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)

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Werewolf of London (1935)

Werewolf of London (1935)

WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)
Directed By: Stuart Walker
Starring: Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson
Website: IMDB
Score: 4/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Watching old horror films can illuminate certain trends among films that may have been previously missed or latent. Cinema, as well as other forms of art, can be thought of as a projection of present cultural attitudes. The renaissance of cinematic horror, which populated the early half of the 20th century, is as full of transparent fears and desires as it is with monsters in makeup. The character of the Wolfman does not illustrate humanities’ fear of wolves, rather this 1935 horror film continues the theme of horror by way of discovery. Much like films before it, the real mistake came through curiosity and unleashed a hairy creature upon the population. Continue reading

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album review: XERATH – III

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XERATH - III (2014)

XERATH – III (2014)

XERATH
Album: III
Released: September 16th 2014
Label: Candlelight
Website: Official
Score: 8/9 Hammers



Agree / Disagree?

I wish I could open up this review saying that Xerath were a long-time favorite of mine. Admitting that this, their third album since forming in 2006, is the first of theirs I’ve heard almost feels like a sacrilege. I mean, these guys were award winners before they were signed, and they’re from the UK! And they were at bloodstock! These are my people.

But I can’t. What I can tell you is that, for approximately 4 hours now, these guys have been one of my favorites.

Despite originating in Basingstoke (a city every good English citizen will be able to tell you is definitely a place, and nothing else) and letting Count Von Count name their albums, Xerath’s III is one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard this year. Continue reading

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album review: STORMWARRIOR – Thunder and Steele

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Stormwarrior - Thunder and Steel (2014)

Stormwarrior – Thunder and Steele

STORMWARRIOR
Album: Thunder and Steele
Released: January 24th, 2014
Label: Massacre Records
Website: Official
Score: 4/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

It is important to note that Stormwarrior, a speed metal band from Germany, has been active for longer than most people realize. In the span of a little over a decade, this band has produced 4 records and been host to one of the most confusingly constant lineup changes of recent memory. Though many things have changed for Stormwarrior, guitarist and vocalist Lars Ramcke seems to be the bedrock of this band, or at least the one member that has remained a constant in this maelstrom of speed metal. Continue reading

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