RE: #AskAHoney

I think it’s only fair I tortured my lovelies that I should subject myself to the same torture.

“If all the horror movies in the world were being destroyed and you could only save one, which one would it be?”

For me it is Frankenstein (1931)

Here is why. For one thing this movie caused a lot of chaos, one of my favorite things, for the simple fact that chaos shakes things up and forces people to think. The censors of the time wanted the now iconic line: “By God, now I know what it feels like to be God” to be removed on the grounds of blasphemy. Also, the scene where the monster throws the little girl into the lake or pond and she drowns. They thought it was too shocking for the audience.

I have to admit that scene was gut-wrenching for me. It was like a train wreck – you wanted to look away, but you couldn’t. And damn if you didn’t almost feel guilty for feeling compassion for the monster. Even though he just unwittingly took an innocent life.

For me this movie symbolizes us – humanity. We are beautiful yet frightening; amazing yet monstrous. The monster’s creator is both proud yet terrified by his own creation. I’m sure many of our parents feel that way. But more still is the creation’s search for love, understanding and acceptance from his creator. And he’s denied.

Many of us at some point in our lives wonder who or what created us, for what purpose and more importantly where the hell is that creator? Why is the creator absent from our life.

Even when we grow up and leave home we are thrust out into the world searching for love, companionship, understanding and acceptance.

When you cut right down to the bone, this story (movie) is about the human condition.

This movie works on so many levels, it has so many metaphors, and so many standards which are still being used in horror today. And yes, it is important to thank our horror maven Mary Shelley for this wonderful and terrifying story. In fact, I think she should be the patron saint of the Horror Honeys.

I hope I articulated this well enough or I am severely under-medicated.

 

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A Gamer’s Journey: Resident Evil

*WARNING* These are my personal experiences and my opinions. Love me if you wish. Hate me if you must. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree. Whatever.

I was there for the birth of video games. Almost. In my youth I remember playing that damn digital table tennis game, what was it called, Pong? (First played in 1968? I wasn’t born yet, but I did later play it. It was my first ‘video game’.) Yes, the Atari 2600 was a part of my after school activities. I mean screw homework. Who needs to do that? I was an avid player of Yars Revenge, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Frogger and later Zelda. Saturday afternoons you could find me at the local mall in the arcade. Oh, and I almost forgot Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple II. I was even part of the first computer programming classes offered widely to mainstream education. (I made a tree grow, a dog pee on it, then made the tree die.)

In college I uploaded Doom to the computer lab and crashed the entire lab. I was subsequently banned from the computer lab for a semester. When Sega came out I played Mortal Kombat and Sonic the Hedgehog. But soon I took a break from video games as I was neck deep in my career. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with video games. Go figure.

Now comes the main reason for this article. It was the summer of 1999 and I was living in Tennessee. I shared one of those huge southern homes with a couple of people. The rent was astronomical, but the house was gorgeous and my roommates were terrific. One of them brought home Resident Evil. Yes, I know. Three years late. Being a horror fan and watching the gameplay I was instantly enthralled. One night, my roommates had both been called into work for an overnight, I was off pending new information related to my job. This was my chance. I HAD to play this game for myself. There was a terrible storm raging outside and at the time my biggest fear was losing electricity or possibly electrocuting myself with the controller. In the south they get epic thunderstorms. The kind like in the old movies. Frankenstein comes to mind.

Soon, I was scared of more than just losing the lights and power. This game terrified me. Which I couldn’t understand because by this time I was a bad-ass horror fan. Or so I thought. This game completely rewrote the rules on terror. Everyone has a fear and this game covered them all. Vicious attack dogs, gigantic spiders, snakes, sharks, flesh-eating zombies and other unknown terrors awaiting the hapless gamer. I’m ashamed to admit this now, but I couldn’t finish the game. I had to shut it off.

Several months later, through continued attempts at gameplay and watching my roommates, we noticed something we hadn’t noticed before. In the mansion, when you return from outside, and more areas are unlocked we witnessed what can only be described as subliminal mind-fuckery. I believe it is the hallways around the library – something akin to atomic bombing shadows – there were body shadows on the walls. So, subliminally you were on edge because it looked like there were zombies there. And I remember us remarking that the game developers were fucking geniuses.

Obviously, we picked up Resident Evil 2. One of our friends gave us a tip: “when you finish playing one character’s scenario, save and continue with the next. Some scary shit happens then.” Yeah. Thanks a lot, John. I remember Josh (one of my roommates) playing it first and he literally dropped the controller when the Mr. X Tyrant broke through the wall in the newsroom. And again in the hallway. To be honest, he wet himself a bit. However, none of us laughed at him. It scared us too and we weren’t even playing. Tim (a friend who had stopped by for a visit) dropped his coffee cup shattering the glass top of our coffee table. (You owe me a coffee table, Capcom.) The already loved developing series had upped the ante. We had Claire Redfield, Chris’s sister and Leon Kennedy join Team Raccoon City. Also Umbrella Researcher’s daughter, Sherry Birkin. Honestly, I tried to shoot her. In the head. Hey, kids are a liability. Anyway who needs a life time of psychotherapy with minimal progress and drug addiction? It was an ‘attempted’ mercy killing. Nope. The kid stays. And then there was the female spy, Ada Wong. She would play a big part of the series in time.

Later on Josh brought home Dino Crisis and I believe there was a short playable demo of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. So of course we had to run out and buy it. We quickly developed a love/hate relationship with Nemesis. Bastard. In this game we pick up with former S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine trying to escape Hell. This was fun. You could also make gunpowder. How cool was that? And you know what? Fuck that giant worm. I hated that thing. Good hate. Hate is good.

To. This. Day. In 2015. I LOVE the trilogy and I probably always will. No. I definitely will. I own the trilogy for both PS and GC.

Then came Resident Evil Code: Veronica. And Code: Veronica X. We actually got our hands on the Dreamcast version. I sadly no longer have it, but I do have the GC version. And while I liked the gameplay and the story there was one thing I was deeply perturbed about. I’ll get to that in a minute. With Veronica we saw the story of one of Umbrella’s co-founders unfold. The Ashford’s. I did giggle a bit over Alfred and the whole cross-dressing thing. So I’m immature. Forgive me. And while most were happy to see the return of Wesker; some weren’t. I think that can be blamed on the whole Soap Opera cliché of characters being killed off then miraculously returning. At best it usually gets an eye roll. Wesker’s return was a good thing though. It provided a solid series antagonist. For a bit.

What upset me, and please allow me to be a bit facetious, was the character change. Here we had Wesker, a super cop from the USA in the midwest – but now he’s British. WTF? And he looks like Zack Morris from the US television series Saved By The Bell. My reaction was: “what…in…the…fuck… is this shit?” Continuity. Ever heard of it? While this is not the voice actor (Richard Waugh’s) fault I put the blame squarely on Capcom. Wesker was now a comic book villain version of himself and it would only get worse. Much, much worse.

In 2002 we got a remake. In my opinion, dealing with the Wesker character alone, his appearance and aided by Peter Jessop’s gorgeous voice was THE perfect incarnation. Now THIS is Wesker, I thought. Calm, cool, collected, evil mastermind, an absolute bloody bastard and without being too cliché. Not too mention fellow voice actors Joe Whyte and Ed Smaron as Chris Redfield and Barry Burton – this was perfection. Everyone involved needs to be knighted or something. Someone get the Queen on the phone. Seriously. Capcom redeemed themselves and it was glorious. Yes, they added some backstory. We got the tragic Trevor family which was a very nice touch. It expanded the story in a way that we got to see just how bad Umbrella was and the true importance of the mansion. Not that we had any doubt before, but this pushed it over the top. This is my favorite game out of the whole series hands down. If you couldn’t tell.

Also in 2002 we got Resident Evil Zero. Not bad. The co-op gameplay threw me for a bit, but I still played. It showed what happened to the Bravo Team. It showed James Marcus/Queen Leech’s part in the biohazard. We learned exactly the cause of the biohazard in the first place. Which was kind of cool. Was it absolutely necessary? Yes and no. I am sure they could have incorporated that information somewhere else. Somehow else. But, it is what it is. And I do own this game.

I didn’t play any mobile games or any side games so the next game for me was Resident Evil 4. We got the return of Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong from Resident Evil 2. Awesome. I think. Maybe not. Also, that dickhead Wesker is watching everything and orchestrated the whole damn thing. It takes place in Spain. Or Spain-like. Oookay. I guess. The Illuminados? (*cough* Illuminati *cough* .) Okay Capcom, if you’re not even going to try then I’m not going to bother. Everything changed. The story was a bit ridiculous and convoluted in my opinion. This is my understanding. Some mercenary dude hired by Wesker, (Krauser) kidnaps the president’s daughter, (offers her as a sacrifice? yes? no?), to earn some whack-jobs trust, so he can steal something from them? An ancient parasite? Hiding… under a medieval castle…. Uh-huh. Uh, no. Leon is trying to rescue the president’s daughter. Ada is there as backup to Krauser, or is it the other way around? Wow. Are we done yet? Fellow RE lovers you can defend it and say to me, “you just don’t get it.” Yeah, you’re right. I don’t. Stupid. Just stupid. Stop. Please.

So, I did what any rational human being would do. I said fuck it and continued to play the original trilogy, REmake and sometimes CVX. I still have the goodness. Ahh, the memories. The nostalgia. Save me.

Some of my fellow friends who also love RE were telling me to play some of the ‘side games’ or ‘mobile games’. Out of all of them Outbreak/Outbreak File #2 does look kind of doable to me. I like the addition of Kevin Ryman to the RPD family. Marvin Branagh from RE 2 is there. Other survivors. You know, regular people… in Hell. This is one that I am considering getting. I know! I’m late to the party. Forgive me, again.

Needless to say I did kind of leave the series. Then Resident Evil 5 exploded onto the scene. I read reviews. I watched gameplay. And… NO. Capcom had wandered so far from the original genius that WAS once Resident Evil. Gameplay was completely different. The new shit. I am not a fan. Sorry, I’m old fashioned. I’m a dinosaur, okay? And Wesker? Oh God, Wesker. (Despite my love for D.C. Douglas; this is going to be bad and entirely NOT his fault.) Lame, comic book villain, cardboard cutout. If I could invent new swear words, I would, but sadly I’m not that intelligent or that influential. Here’s a suggestion to Capcom. How about you remake 5 and throw everything out except LIN? Lost In Nightmares is the only redeemable part of RE 5, in my opinion.

Again with the new gameplay. Sigh. I received a Nintendo 3DS for Christmas in 2012 and also Resident Evil: The 3D Mercenaries. Do I really need to tell you what happened? Yeah, it’s sitting on a shelf collecting dust and possibly some cool spiders. (Don’t tell my roommate about the spiders. Deathly afraid of spiders, she is.)

A couple months later I decided to give Resident Evil: Revelations a try. Nice try Capcom, but no cigar. The graphics are amazing. That is all I can say. Hey, it’s a compliment, be happy. Because right now, some of you are probably calling me a bitch.

I will not discuss Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Okay. I will. Besides thinking it was nothing more than a blatant rip-off of Blade II, I did enjoy the tour of Raccoon City. I’m sure there might be some discrepancies, but it was nice seeing more of the city. Can I just get a supplementary DVD extra of a guided tour of Raccoon City? Can someone make that happen?

That same year Resident Evil 6 hit. I was not impressed. I think at this point I have run the series down enough. I just can’t anymore. Same with Resident Evil: Revelations 2. I was greatly disappointed in Alex Wesker. Another throwaway, wasted opportunity, villain.

So now, presently, we sit on the cusp of a Resident Evil 2 remake. Holy shit. The debates have been heated and certainly entertaining. I wish simply for what other old gamers wish. That they don’t fuck it up. Yes, that is a blanket statement, but we’re tired damn it. Reading remarks like “the present team at Capcom doesn’t even have half the talent of the original Capcom team” is really worrisome. However, looking over the past several installments, that seems to be an evident truth. I think it is safe to say that I am done with this series. I have been done with this series. However, I still have the games of the series I love. Resident Evil will always be a part of me.

As the title states: this was my personal journey, not yours. But, if you enjoyed this article – like it, share it, comment your support. If not, then let the beautiful shit storm commence.

A little vacation…

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I know I promised some Resident Evil fanfic goodness, but it seems I have the plague so my writing has slowed down and my beta reader has just returned the first couple chapters to me – which I was going to post. All of this of course will have to wait until I feel better. And as the holidays are coming up quickly it will probably be sometime after all the merry-making is finished.

But hey, what a way to start a new year, with a kick-ass… hopefully kick-ass story to read.

Happy holidays to all of you and if can, please, send herbal tea 😉

Writing Update

I’m currently trying my hand at writing a Resident Evil fanfic. As a long time lover of the VG series it’s something I’m passionate about. I hope other fans will enjoy it too. It’s not going to be filled with tons of sex, so if you’re expecting that, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

I will post excerpts as I work through it. So you’ll get teasers of what the story encompasses. I know fans can be very passionate, some to the point of obsession, extremely critical and sometimes downright shitty towards this type of thing. But the way I figure – I can’t fuck it up any worse than anyone else has.

So keep your eyes here for upcoming posts.

The Black Rose

Here is wisdom

It is the devil’s scent

The putrid stench of conformity

marked by the awestruck faces

of those seduced by its beauty.

It is the Black Rose of the world,

but they think it is beautiful and unique.

They ignore the seduction

they’ve been exposed to.

The hypnotizing words

of inferiority and superiority.

All wanting to be a part of the majority,

willing to do anything to fit in,

yet never wanting to cross the fence of uncertainty,

where the imagination is free to roam.

The desolate fields of innocence and integrity,

where there are no invisible barriers

to suppress your innermost thoughts.

 

It is the land of free will and equality.

A parallel universe that speaks the truth.

It affirms all their beliefs

that the truth is out there.

Yet they create a labyrinth of lies

with myriad traps

and only one way out.

What are the odds of redemption

when all other paths lead

to their idea of retribution?

Is there anyone who can withstand

the influence of the ignorant propagation

considered to be society’s ideologies?

Or will they all conform

to the android’s attire?

The present reveals

that they are all fascinated

by the sight of the Black Rose.

And yet, no one bothers to cross the fence

and admire the Bleeding Heart.

Top 10 Oh Shit Moments of Resident Evil

This is one video game franchise I never get sick of playing. I do favor the trilogy, that being 1, 2, and 3. We all have fond memories of those moments when we first played the games and nearly dropped our controller. Here are ten of my favorites.

NO. 10

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Lisa Trevor Encounter

“OMG, I’m sorry I read your diary!” It was creepy going into her dwelling and reading her diary. It was claustrophobic so I wasn’t sure if I could put her down and get out. However, she’s pretty easy to take down, but she doesn’t stay down.

NO. 9

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Tyrant (end fight)

Realizing I had to take this guy down was a bit of a freak out especially when you encounter him again outside. I like how you have to run around and fire at him until Brad finally drops down the rocket launcher. It’s like “finally asshole! Couldn’t you see I needed help down here?”

NO. 8

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Mr. X Tyrant

This guy followed me around everywhere. Busting through walls… appearing out of nowhere. “Dude, you’re not getting my phone number.”

NO. 7

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Neptune

Who the hell puts sharks in the basement? I remember screaming at Jill to RUN! It doesn’t help screaming at pixels, by the way. This part of the game always got my heart racing. No, not in that way.

NO. 6

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Cerberus

Nothing like taking a nice stroll down a seemingly harmless hallway. That is until devil zombie dogs bust through the window! You have two seconds to get your pistol grip on.

NO. 5

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Yawn

I HATE snakes. Okay? Fuck you, Capcom. I always got poisoned and had to have Barry save my ass. At least there were no bad puns about a Jill sandwich.

NO. 4

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Hunter

That little cut scene when you realized something followed you back to the mansion. And there it is. Kermit the Frog on steroids from hell. Watch those claws.

NO. 3

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Licker

Did something just scurry across the window outside? Oh no, I don’t want to go through that door now.

NO. 2

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Nemesis

The fuck you say. How about NO! This bastard followed me all over too. Needless to say he didn’t get my phone number either.

NO. 1

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Zombie

This set the whole tone for the rest of the game and those to follow. Well, at least for a few more games. This is the first and probably the quintessential “Oh Shit!” moment.

Honorable mention:

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Albert Wesker – SHIRTLESS

OK, so this is a different kind of oh shit moment. A good one. We all knew he was hiding a kick ass body under all that leather. Hmmm, I wonder if he listens to Judas Priest.

Top 10 Iconic Horror Images

This week is very special to all horror fans. It is the week of Halloween when we anxiously search through the cable guide looking for our favorite horror movies to watch. I thought I would take this opportunity to post some of the most recognizable scenes from popular horror movies. These are in no particular order. I’m very old school so this list will be heavy on old films. I hope you enjoy the list and feel free to tell me your favorites.

NO. 10

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Poltergeist.

This movie freaked me out when I was younger. It revived its hold on me when my niece came along. She could have doubled as Heather O’Rourke and quite often on several occasions she took advantage of that fact with my sister and I. I remember some people being afraid of their televisions, back in the analog days, when stations went off the air and we were treated to white noise. And who can forget the freaky clown doll?

NO. 9

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Bride of Frankenstein

Proving once again that true love is a bitch. I love the Frankenstein franchise for the duo nature of fear and tragedy. There were moments when we feared Doctor Frankenstein’s creation and other moments where we felt sympathy for his creation. At the basic core it is a story about humanity. Our struggle with life from the moment of creation to the pursuit of happiness in love and acceptance. For those who have ever been set up on a blind date this image has particular relevance.

NO. 8

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House On Haunted Hill

What can I say? It’s Vincent Price! The dashing horror icon has always been a favorite of mine. House on Haunted Hill IS an icon. The Frank Lloyd Wright house used in the exterior shots in this film is iconic on its own level. However, the movie is sadly considered somewhat cheesy and campy by today’s horror generation, but who cares. Did I mention it has Vincent fucking Price in it? A devilishly handsome man with an unmistakable AND iconic voice.

NO. 7

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Nightmare on Elm Street

What Hitchcock did for the shower Wes Craven did for the bathtub. This scene always makes me think twice before passing out in the bathtub with a bottle of vodka. Thanks Wes! It’s a bit suggestive too wouldn’t you say? I loved the mom line about drowning in the tub. Yeah, I think she’s more worried about the burned psycho back from Hell with knives for fingers! And those knives are precariously positioned.

NO. 6

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Night of the Living Dead

Again with children. Children are scary especially when they are hungry. Nay. Ravenous. This was a nightmare in itself for parents. Something sweet, innocent and somewhat helpless is now the thing to be feared. A good theme. This scene was so iconic it graces many posters and T-shirts even to this day. A film from 46 years ago is still relevant and inspiring new generations of film, television, video game and comic creators.

NO. 5

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Frankenstein

I’ve included this one for a special reason. This very sequence, not included in its entirety, caused quite a stir in its day with censors for its blasphemous content. Early prints were cut and later restored for posterity sake. Doctor Frankenstein knew what it felt like to be God. Creating life from death was an appalling notion, but now every bio-lab across the world is trying to emulate this timeless classic.

NO. 4

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Nosferatu

Scary in its day, but nothing more than a true icon today. This was the first vampire film to grace the silver screen which would go on to set the standard for what was to come. It is still one of my favorites to watch for Halloween. It’s so ugly it’s beautiful. And he doesn’t sparkle.

NO. 3

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Dracula

THIS is what was to come and how glorious it is. Bela Lugosi was born to play this part. While many have attempted to fill his shoes, in my opinion, they all fall short. He was even buried in his Dracula cape. He IS and forever will be Dracula. Do yourself a favor this Halloween and curl up with him and listen to the children of the night for what music they make.

NO. 2

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Psycho

No, she didn’t run out of Herbal Essences. This scene ruined showers for Janet Leigh for life! Now that is cinema. The shower scene is one of the most iconic images of horror and I believe will remain so for eternity. In fact, in film school this scene is used to teach aspiring filmmakers on the importance of storyboarding. Thank you Saul Bass.

NO. 1

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The Exorcist

This movie to date is the only horror movie that ever truly scared me. Of course it might have something to do with being left home alone for the first time and deciding that watching this would be a good idea. I scarred myself and my younger sister for life, but it was worth it. THIS is the movie I hold all other horror movies to. This image is perhaps the most iconic. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it doesn’t give anything away and yet is highly effective.

This is just a few iconic images. I can think of hundreds more, but it would take too long to include everything that one could. Share your favorites with me and enjoy your horror movie viewing this Halloween. Or indeed, all year round!