Friday, March 28, 2014

Resident Evil 6 Archives Unboxing

After the positive reception from everyone to my Resident Evil Retrospective, I had the itch to re-visit some of the classics in their more current (see: high definition) iterations. I started looking around for the best way to do this and received some hot tips from a few of you. The first was to hunt down a copy of Resident Evil 6:Anthology for the PS3. However, it turns out that due to rarity there is some INSANE price gouging for it in the aftermarkets. $135?! No thanks. I'm not willing to concede to that kind of free-market savagery just for an RE2 download code, so I went with the easier, less expensive option of Resident Evil 6:Archives for the Xbox 360. It has less content than Anthology but still has plenty of stuff inside the box. Lets open it up and take a look!

Firstly, this is no longer retailing for $90 like the header image states. You can buy it off of Amazon for roughly $30 now which is a fairer deal. Especially considering much of the contents is download codes. The main act is Resident Evil 6, and that is included across 2 discs with additional language packs. The third DVD is the full length CG animated movie Resident Evil:Degeneration which I actually have yet to watch. RE4:HD, RE5:Gold, and Code Veronica X:HD all come on paper as downloads. Whether this is unfortunate is a matter of opinion I suppose. Collectors tend to like physical media, but then again, hardcore RE fans would probably want copies of these games for their original platforms.

Since its presentation (a basic plastic Xbox 360 case) and content aren't a standout as a collector's item, I'd really recommend this to people who are interested in playing (or re-playing) the games. Resident Evil 4 and RE:CV are modern classics so explanation is needed for those. RE5 and RE6 have been maligned, but I'll argue that they are actually pretty fun in their own mindless way if you have someone to play co-op with. Heck, for thirty bones you could buy a second copy force it on someone as a gift.

I'm gonna give this an overall thumbs up. At half the cost of a new retail release, you're getting a LOT of content. Four complete games including DLC, along with a movie will give you hours of Umbrella fighting fun. Also, as far as I can tell, there aren't any of those sneaky expiration dates on the download codes, because I hate it when they do that. God of War: Legacy Collection, I'm looking in your direction!

Now i just need to figure out which game I'm going to tackle first...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dark Touch (Movie Review) - GUEST POST

Hey everyone, I'd like to thank Shyla Fairfax for penning Terrorphoria's first guest post! She runs SINEMA ADDICTION; a smart horror blog you should all be reading and following. When she isn't working on articles for her site she is pursuing an M.A. in Film Studies at Carleton University, which means she has way more street cred to review horror movies than I do.

Not since de Palma’s Carrie (1976) have I seen such a disturbing and powerful horror, an obvious influence of this extraordinarily uncomfortable film.

In Dark Touch, a young girl witnesses her abusive parents brutally murdered by an invisible force and must come to terms with what violences she herself may be capable of. Written and directed by University of Paris graduate Marina de Van, the film exhibits her interests in the body, violence, and power, all of which have been present in her past work (i.e. In My Skin). When asked why she chose to explore such subject matter in Dark Touch, de Van explained her desire to tell stories that are personal to her, and to express in her work the permanent damages of child abuse (

The film is littered with instances of eerie silences and representations of isolation and trauma as it looks to the horrors of child abuse, portrayed here as an epidemic. Watching, I experienced heart-pounding and chills, I gasped, and I turned away at times. The film is not a gore-fest per se, but be warned, some of the violence is quite merciless - but it has to be for the story.

The now 13 year old Missy Keating gives an amazing performance as Niamh, leading the narrative without a hitch. De Van makes the excellent choice to show the world through the eyes of the mostly voiceless girl, allowing the viewer to experience with her the difficulties of not knowing who or what can be trusted. The film is promising right from the opening scene which has Niamh running away from her home in a panic, and it never wavers. When there are no thrills, there is suspense, and thrills are just around the corner… And it just keeps getting darker, and more sinister, and more uncomfortable. All while maintaining a beautifully sophisticated level of production.

I don’t see how this movie could disappoint anyone (come on, creepy kids… that’s always a win).

Grade: A+

Monday, March 24, 2014

R.I.P. Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus)

Safe travels back to your home planet Oderus

I needed to put up a quick post after having heard the news about Dave Brockie passing away.

In a past life I played in a few metal bands and was constantly going to metal shows around New England almost every weekend. I actually had the chance to meet Mr. Brockie at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in Massachusetts some years back. GWAR wasn't actually playing that night, so he was not in costume and just there with some friends. We were at the bar watching Lamb of God perform and just talking when eventually he said "Yeah, these guys are great, they toured with us last year." which prompted me to go into minor shock and say "Um, what band are you in?" He just replied "Oh, I'm Dave. I'm the singer for GWAR. We play thrash music and dress up like idiots."

It was at this point I told him I had seen GWAR at least five times over so many years, and what an influence they were on me both musically and creatively. He was incredibly friendly and humble, and we continued to converse through the set. I bought a round of beers for us as a thanks for creating so many albums I enjoyed.

About an hour later I was in another area of the bar and Dave walked back up to me, said "Hey, I gotcha back, thanks for liking our terrible music!" and handed me a Heineken. I've met many musicians in many successful bands, but only one of them ever returned the favor of buying me a beer.

GWAR is/was a huge influence on me; being a crossroads of metal, humor, and horror movie aesthetics. That's probably obvious if you read anything on here. GWAR is a unique (often imitated) band, and Dave was a unique individual. It's no small feat that he created and helmd a ridiculous performance art project only to see it grow into an iconic metal band lasting for 30 years.

My condolences to his family, friends, and the musical community that has experienced the loss of such a creative mind and generally nice guy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Terror Tally: The Most Iconic Weapons in Horror

Tools of terror! A list of the most infamous killing instruments and who famously wielded them.

1. Freddy's Glove - "Every town has an Elm Street!"

2. Leatherface's Chainsaw - He even created an amazing dance to go with it.

3. Jason's Machete - He didn't always use it, but it was a fan favorite.

4. The Puzzle Box - Chains, hooks, and the odd ability to redecorate rooms upon opening.

5. Phantasm Orbs - The Tall Man's Swiss army knives. Scarier than growling dwarves.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Resident Evil Retrospective

I can finally get my DUAL SHOCK on!
I've wanted to do an article about Resident Evil for a while now, since it's easily one of (if not the most) important franchises in horror gaming history. It has been a perennial favorite of mine, and evolved for better or for worse across pretty much every major platform since its North American debut on the Playstation back in 1996. Holy crap, 1996! Resident Evil is 18 years old. It can finally vote and buy scratch off lottery tickets. So how about you, the master of unlocking, use your skills to click the jump and read on about one of the greatest survival horror series of all time!

Monday, March 10, 2014

'The Breadwinner' (Book Review)

It should come as no surprise that Florida will be the epicenter of the zombie apocalypse.

The "Sunshine State" serves as the central location of The Breadwinner, the first in a trilogy of undead horror novels by author Stevie Kopas. It's a fast-paced read set only a few days (and weeks) after a massive and mysterious catastrophe that rips through the east coast causing the dead to rise and chow down on the living. To clear things up right away, these are "fast zombies". Fast, scary, shrieking zombies that tear people limb from limb. Although they apparently slow down a little once they have been rotting for a while...

The story opens in the remains of upscale shore community Franklin Woods, introducing us to ex-lawyer Samson. He lives with his awful, materialistic wife Moira and their two kids, and has become the sole provider to keep them afloat while the world falls apart. On a routine expedition into town for supplies Samson runs across a teenage girl named Veronica, and the story shifts focus via flashbacks into "the city" (I assume Tallahassee) to detail origins of other characters in the book.

Zombie novels have become insanely popular in the last few years on the heels of The Walking Dead, and it's difficult to separate one from another. The Breadwinner is a standout for a few reasons. Kopas wears her main idea on her sleeve. This is a story about "the caring" and "the cared for". Each main character's motive revolves around the people that they feel obligated to look out for and defend, even if it's not their choice. This immediately helped me like them, sympathize, and want them to succeed. Like I said before, this is a very quick book. A lot gets thrown at these people in roughly 150 pages, which doesn't leave much space for in-depth character development. However, unlike so many other zombie novels The Breadwinner actually made me care whether or not the heroes became corpse lunches.

Speaking of the zombies, holy crap they are brutal in this book. The author has a strength for written detail, and it shines when describing both the newly shattered Floridian landscape and the ferocious battles with the undead hordes. The freshly re-animated don't shamble around looking to bite people. They run screaming through the streets to the point of fumbling over themselves to find food. Once they do we're treated to descriptions of people being unmercifully ripped to shreds. It's a gory tale and makes each encounter with "the Eaters" a tense moment.

I absolutely recommend The Breadwinner to any horror fan, especially zombie aficionados. It's a no-nonsense book that you can easily finish in a weekend and will keep your attention the entire time. While it falls into some familiar traps and tropes you'll see within the genre, overall it's a cut (or bite) above thanks to the excellent pacing, exposition and fantastic detail. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Grade: A

Reviewed on Kindle. 139 pages.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Italian Horror Movies and Why You Should Watch Them

"Italian horror" is one of my favorite sub-genres. These lurid European imports are some of the most entertaining gems of the 1970's and 80's. I know that classifying movies created in a particular country might not constitute a "genre" but I'm rolling with it anyway. Many horror neophytes and even some seasoned mainstream fright fans haven't experienced the insanity from the country shaped like a boot, and I'm here to tell you why you NEED to watch some classic Italian horror cinema. Click the jump to find out why!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Disqus Comments, Facebook, and Technical Challenges

Hey everyone,

This is just a quick housekeeping PSA to alert people to some changes I've made to the site.

DISQUS Comments

I've changed Terrorphoria's comment system over to Disqus. When I started the site back in October I just sort of went along with the whole Google hive-mind synergy thing connecting Blogger and all that. Since then, I've gotten a bunch of feedback from people saying they'd like to comment, but they don't want to create a Google+ account to do that. It's 2014 and you deserve options! So, I migrated the comment system to DISQUS which should give everyone flexibility to sign in however they want to talk about their favorite scenes in C.H.U.D.

Now the bad news...

In their infinite wisdom, Google won't allow their Plus comments to export. That means when DISQUS went live earlier today, it wiped out all the existing comments. They're still over on Terrorphoria+ so you can read the archives there.  We'll get through this together.


Terrorphoria is now on Facebook. So if you have a Facebook account you should go ahead and Like it. Like it real good.

Thanks to everyone for all their support so far. The site is going really well and I have a lot of exciting stuff coming in 2014 that I look forward to sharing with you all!

Monday, March 3, 2014

'Zombie Dice' (Game Review)

I have much love for Steve Jackson Games. From the Munchkin and GURPS to Give Me The Brain and OGRE they've created tons of classic tabletop and card games. I'm finally getting around to reviewing one of my favorite SJ Games and easily one of their most popular. The horror themed ZOMBIE DICE.

Zombie Dice is a fantastic game for a couple of reasons. First, its incredibly simple to learn. Second, it's competitive "press your luck" style of play is highly addictive. Finally, there aren't a lot of moving parts. Just dice!

The concept is simple. You and some friends (or enemies) play as a horde of zombies on a quest to eat some delicious human brains. Everyone takes turns rolling dice out of the cup, undead Yahtzee style! The dice contain brains (good), footprints (neutral), or shotgun blasts (BAD). After each roll you separate out the dice that come up brains and the ones that come up with shotgun blasts, and you can either take your points for that turn or press on and keep rolling the remaining dice in the cup. The catch is that if you end up with three blasts, your turn is over and you get no points. Each brain is worth one point, and the first player to 13 wins so it encourages everybody to risk the odds as much as possible.

The dice are also color coded to add a bit more challenge. Green have the most brains, red have the most shotgun blasts, and yellow are in between. This helps to shake things up based on what ends up coming out of the cup during your turn. It makes the game play with a nice balance of luck and percentages.

Another thing I love about Zombie Dice is that a given game lasts anywhere between five and twenty minutes, and can be played anywhere there is a flat surface. I've taken it on many trips and some conventions because it's a great way to pass time. Plus it's such a simple and fun concept that you can teach almost anyone to play very quickly. Even friends and family who don't particularly like playing games have had fun playing a few rounds of it.

I can't speak highly enough about Zombie Dice. If you're looking for a fun and affordable zombie-themed game that you can pick up and play anytime and anywhere, you should definitely grab a copy at your local hobby retailer or online.

Oh, and there's an expansion pack too!

Grade: A+