Half term Halloween Update- Bargain of the month!

Having just started a new job following graduation, it has been a while since I was able to sit down and write about something in depth. In all my evenings of working in a boarding school since September, along with my down time watching movies, playing video games and keeping up my badminton and squash, nothing seemed to have a significant effect on me to the point that I deemed it worth writing about. There had been moments after completing Futurama season 1, 2 and 3 where I thought they deserved some recognition due to the incredibly creative humour which had me laughing out loud while all alone in my new flat, but I solved that with a simple Amazon review. During Exeat weekend I commandeered the house cinema surround set up and thought that perhaps the cheesy, but enjoyable, Lone Ranger Disney remake was worth writing about or the 2017 Power Rangers movie, with all its 90’s remastered nostalgia, warranted a review. However, upon further reflection, apart from Johnny Depp turning Tonto into Jack Sparrow and some oddly placed jokes in the Lone Ranger, they were enjoyable movies but they did not inspire me to write.

Now, it is October half term already and I have two weeks to bunker down and plough through movies having just watched Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which surprised me pleasantly considering its negative box office reviews. Zak Snyder struck me as an excellent choice of director, using his classic comic book/ Neo-Noir style to a powerful extent considering the restraints faced in this style when producing a 12 rated film. I particularly enjoyed the opening scenes depicting the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents with stunning slow motion as the gun is fired, killing his mother off screen but shattering her tangled pearl necklace with some powerful symbolism. It is important to note that I usually detest super hero movies but this was something different to the likes of Marvel Studios sugar coated rubbish and has me looking forward to Justice League and investing time into revisiting Man of Steel and Wonder Woman.

Other films I indulged in were Me Before You, a rather average cliche love story until the  tragic twist at the end, but saved and made into something truly special by Emilia Clarke, who’s portrayal of the sweet, ditsy Louisa was simply perfect. However, hands down the best movie I have seen this year was Eddie the Eagle. Following the antics

of the iconic 80’s British Ski jumper, Eddie Edwards, the movie boasts an excellent soundtrack featuring the likes of Frankie goes to Hollywood, Hall and Oates and Van Halen along with lovable characters who have you laughing and crying, from beginning to end and an extremely powerful and inspirational underdog story.

Now, it seems impossible for me to make a post without mentioning the Alien franchise but seeing that Alien Isolation: The collection was only 7.99 in a PSN Halloween sale, I did not hesitate to download it, especially with the recent experience of the fantastic and innovative, decision based horror, Until Dawn. The latter plays like you are watching a teen horror with multiple interactive cut scenes, cinematic camera angles and high speed chases through midnight woodland, even boasting a star studded cast with the gorgeous Hayden Pannettiere and multiple references to horrors like SAW, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Alien: Isolation is all about YOU, while drawing huge inspiration from the first Alien movie, it does not try to be a direct sequel but fully immerses you in the atmospheric hell of a decaying space station with very little to use or do to aid your survival, as opposed to viewing and influencing the situation from the safety of your home as characters in game suffer like in Until Dawn.

From the start up menu the player is reminded of the very first movie with gratuitous use of camera grain and and shots of gargantuan planets, empty space and your microscopic ship in the distance, all complimented by the dead silence of space, emphasising how isolated and small in this universe your protagonist truly is and showing the relevance of the original Alien motto “In space, no one can hear you scream”. The actual game play takes a lot from the likes Dead Island with the scavenging and crafting feature, but what makes this game so different is there is an atmosphere unprecedented in any horror game. the bleeps and bloops of 70’s style computers are one thing but the motion censored sliding doors and vents making shrill, high pitched screeches as they open and the sudden bursts of deep orchestral movements when the Alien approaches means you will be struggling to retain your bowels around every corner. To make things worse there are creepy androids present, that first do not pose a threat but just stare and follow you around with their emotionless faces, a cheap manufacturing technique by the ships company “Seegson” (A move away from Weyland Yutani’s dominance in the series), but definitely owing something to Dr Who’s series one, episode one antagonists, the Autons. Truly I tell you, these androids are the last of your worries, make too much noise and the Alien will look for you and probably find you, but to make this worse if you use Kinect or PS4 Camera then even making noise in your home will attract unwanted attention, and then there is nothing you can do but hide. But you’ll be pleased to know that the Alien can STILL find you even when you are hidden, making absolutely nowhere safe. I am still only writing my first experiences of the game, I have gotten only a few chapters into the story as I crouch and crawl through every mission, spending the majority of my time shut away in lockers struggling to hold in last nights meals when I hear the slightest bleep of the motion tracker.

This game is a must for any Alien, horror or gaming fan. It is truly unique and my words struggle to do it justice.  I urge you to pick it up in the Halloween sale if you’re a PS4 Gamer, the high street stores still sell it for around £11 pre-owned and I don’t see it getting much lower than the 7.99 complete edition or even less for just the main game with the current offer.  You will struggle to find anything else that can hurry along bowel movements as well as this, and all for a mere hours wages!

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Mini Book Review- Aliens: Earth Hive

A fascinating and well written piece that slots in nicely after Aliens and is the only book I have ever read which has made me physically cringe in satisfying disgust due to such a vivid description of gore, and that was not even due to the Aliens! Having been written shortly after the movie was released, this book lacks the insight into the Xenomorph’s exsistance which the later Alien/AVP/Prometheus movies have since provided. However, it takes the species in a whole new direction, a more pure one, true to the Aliens before the movies became farcical. It visits their “home” planet while also introducing new variants of the creatures and even providing a tasty Easter egg involving the “Engineers” from Prometheus. Finally, It addresses the long asked question of what would happen if the Aliens broke loose on earth, and the result is immensely more satisfying than the attempt made by AVP: Requiem. The characters are likeable and interesting though one particular sex scene seemed quite unneeded, but does help somewhat with character development. It was clear that Perry was more adept at describing unparalleled gore than the pleasures of the human body.
 A must read for any fan of the original Alien movies.