Into the Archives: SOLARIS (2002)

SOLARIS is a 2002 movie about…. Space? Love? Time? Truth or Consequences?

SOLARIS is the kind of movie that means different things to different people. It might be a horror movie if you identify with Dr. Gordon. It could be a Love story if you relate more to Dr. Kelvin. Finally, if you relate to Dr. Snow, it’s a kind of existential introspection.

There is a beautiful planet called Solaris that demands to be explored.

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As with many beautiful things, the planet may be dangerous. Is it’s bright and beautiful display a beacon or a warning?

This ambiguity is what drives the ground crew behind the mission to Solaris to send a security team when they lose contact with the original team. The security team didn’t make it. No one really knows where they went or seems to care. Whatever. Apparently, the next step it to send a psychologist… He also happens to be friends with one of the doctors on the mission… and a qualified astronaut.

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Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty WWII? Why Not?!

In a press release and video shared at San Diego Comic Con today, Activision announced they’d be doing that thing that I could have sworn they already did but apparently hadn’t:

Call of Duty WWII with Nazi Zombies!

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[PAX East 2017] Survival Tip: Do That Thing You Hate – featuring Colina: Leagacy

Hate is a strong word. It’s also accurate enough when describing standing in line sober for something you’re not even sure you’re interested in. I’m cringing just thinking about it.

On the other hand, had Kae and I not thrown our hands up in the air and stood in the first line we saw we would never have tried the first person horror game Colina: Legacy.  First, I’ve never heard of this game or this developer but they went big. They had a replica of the scary house from the game inside and out!

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Kae and I reluctantly get in this line and, surprise, it moves fairly quickly. We get to the front of the line and a guy explains to up that we can’t demo the game but we can check out their sweet set up…  Ummm, okay.

We’re both feeling that our suspicions about lines sucking and what not are in the process of being confirmed (the theory can’t be confirmed until the process is complete and we walk away on to another task). Inside, we have to admit, that setup was amazing.  It looked just like the game! The cups on the counter, the kitchen table, the fridge!

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About the fridge… One of the developers on site offered us some water. So sweet! But then he says, “It’s in the fridge; help yourself.” …Fear and anticipation. I’m IN a jump scare game right now and being asked to open a door?! Oh dead god. Hand on handle I brace myself and look for Kae to reassure me (she’s sitting at the counter with a headset on- I’ll remember that when SHTF). The Corlina (Chance 6) developer is looking on with an evil-tinged glee. He’s being helpful and generous (water at the convention was $3.50 a bottle)… or was he!? I pull the handle and nothing happens. It’s just a well lit cool fridge filled with bottled water.

“Thank  you,” I say sheepishly then scuttle off to Kae’s side (Weird how she can find me by her side when she’s about to get terrorized).

Wait! I said the guy told us that we couldn’t play the game, we could only look around. That’s the kicker, literally as soon as we walk through the door the next developer greets us and asks if we want to try Colina: Legacy. Uh, yeah?

He explains that they have a fully booked schedule but if people leave early or show up late that leaves demo stations open for us walk-ins.

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So we waited in line only to jump the queue and get  to try the game.

Was waiting in line for Colina: Legacy it worth this dreaded waiting in line nonsense?

Yes, because:

  • Colina Legacy is a third person horror-puzzle game set at your grandma’s house. Your gran has the scariest house I’ve ever seen complete with writing on the walls in blood AND weird mystical secret messages.
  • We got to play around one level and within minutes I was deeply engrossed in the story and the unique-but-familiar gameplay.
  • The developers! They’re stoked on the  game and they put some serious thought and effort into this introduction. Also, good people make you feel good about investing in their work.
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I’m watching and waiting in anticipation. Though I plan to wait for delivery rather than go to a store to find another line…

Review: 'Set, By Luke Walker.

‘Set by Luke Walker   is a horror novel with supernatural and apocalyptic elements.

Between Heaven and Hell, there is another world. To save her daughter’s soul, Emma Cooper will tear that world apart.

After the loss of her baby, Emma Cooper feels as if she’s just going through the motions of her life.

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That’s until an angel and demon knock at her door with news dwarfing life and death.

Emma’s daughter’s soul is trapped in a world of the dead, a world of permanent sunset. This is ‘Set and it’s to this world that Emma must travel after she is chosen by the celestial and infernal management.

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By working with Above and Below, she has a chance of helping her daughter and countless other souls move on from ‘Set.

In this world, recently deceased George Bryson has declared war on Heaven and Hell. But this fight with his maker has opened doors he cannot close. The forgotten remnants of Creation are coming to consume all worlds. If Emma can’t stop Bryson’s war, her daughter will be lost forever.

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And so will everybody else.

Double special today: Not only was ‘Set provided to me free by Luke Walker, but Luke and I know each other from online. I do not intend this to bias my review, but it’s possible I will subconsciously treat this more kindly than a book from a stranger, so be aware.

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Calgary Horror Con: the presentations

If you were following my tweets on Twitter this weekend, you’ll know I was at Calgary Horror Con. If you didn’t know I was at Horror Con, then you probably weren’t reading my tweets; in which case…why not? (Kidding!)

Anyway. So yes, I was Horror Con. Hubby thought I’d gone a little nuts (and was acting geekier than normal) for wanting to cover the con for ICoS. But hey, horror = zombies, right? So there you go.

Horror Con was a two-day event, with the same group of presentations running both days at different times. I spent Saturday wandering through the vendor tables, chatting with vendors and looking at their wares. (And buying some of their wares. Ahem.) On Sunday, I attended a couple of the presentations and watched a short film.

Presentation 1: The Alberta Paranormal Investigators Society (TAPIS)


So Alberta’s haunted. Well, okay, not all of it, but some of it for sure. Some of it is still undetermined. And if you live in Alberta and think your house may be haunted, TAPIS can investigate it for you. Who knows, you might have Casper the Friendly Ghost living in your basement. Or it might faulty wiring messing with the electromagnetic fields in your house. But either way, you’ll know, right?

Two TAPIS members showed a film that talked about different investigations that the society had conducted (that, unfortunately, all ended up in the “undetermined” pile). The film showed clips from the investigation videos, as well as audio clips. At the end, there was a Q&A session that ended up being a discussion between one of the TAPIS members and one of the audience members, because the audience member really wanted to join TAPIS (or so it seemed) and she kept saying that she “wanted to know more” and that she loved all things paranormal. Which wasn’t what I expected from a Q&A, but what can you do.

TAPIS had brought along some of their equipment, and it was interesting for me to see. Why? Well, because for the most part, they use things that you or I could use on a day to day basis. For example, they had noise-cancelling headphones (handy for tuning out screaming children, but I didn’t say that, no I didn’t); a handheld digital camcorder; a digital audio recorder; and a laser pointer (albeit one that points in a giant grid, and I totally wanted it because a grid!). They did have an EMF detector that was a bit more specialized than the other pieces of equipment. At least, it seemed more specialized–I don’t know anyone who’d have that in their basements, but maybe I just don’t know the right people.

Admittedly, ghosts and hauntings have nothing to do with the apocalypse, but the presentation was interesting nonetheless. If they didn’t have to do eight hour stakeouts for two or three days each for their investigations, I might consider joining. Alberta’s got more haunted places than I thought!

Presentation 2: AM Makeup, special effects makeup workshop


Note: This company’s website is extremely hard to find, so if you’d like to check out their site please use the link above.

This workshop was more of a presentation than a workshop, but it was interesting nonetheless. Two guys were being turned into normal human males into a werewolf and a vampire (because of course they were). The makeup process had been started before the  before the presentation began, because the entire process would take too long for the amount of time the company had for their presentation.

The process was quite interesting to watch. The makeup artists used cream-based makeup for both models, and the werewolf had crepe hair put on his face by using an easy-to-remove adhesive you can get from specialty makeup or Halloween stores. The vampire wore dark contacts. Both of them got “mouth blood,” which apparently tastes minty. (I’ll take their word for it, because I ain’t trying that stuff, heh.)

The CEO/head makeup artist, Ashley, also talked about makeup for zombies, burn victims, and the like. She uses bits of silicone that can be sculpted and painted over for things like burns, but also uses gelatin molds that are sculpted before being put on the silicone for things like wounds. And other stuff that needs molded gelatin on silicone. You know.

Seriously, it was fascinating. AM Makeup also offers local makeup workshops if you want to learn how to do wound makeup, burn makeup, zombie makeup, and other special effects makeup. (That zombie makeup workshop would be pretty fun to do.)

The special effects arm of AM Makeup, AMFX, did the makeup for the locally-filmed movie The Dead Mile, which had its world premiere at Horror Con.

Movie: Deadwalkers (short film)

IMDB page: Dead Walkers

Deadwalkers is a short, 13 minute film I classify as a “spaghetti zombie western” (not a technical term). Set in a dusty town somewhere in the West back in the days when the west was wild, a bounty hunter takes his bandit bounty into a town to find it quiet and seemingly abandoned. Except for one woman sitting on the front stoop of a building, who turns out to be a zombie waiting for her dinner to walk up to her and introduce itself. One of the criminals gets bitten and turned pretty quickly, and the remaining criminal has to team up with bounty hunter Jack, widowed-by-zombie Beth, and First Nations woman Sepe to survive. [SPOILER ALERT, HIGHLIGHT TO READ] Only…they don’t. Well, except for Sepe.

This movie was woefully short, and I thought, suffered because of it. It felt rushed, a little cliched, and, I have to say, a little over the top at times. Watching this movie immediately after the AM Makeup presentation highlighted the zombie makeup in the movie…and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that AMFX did not do the makeup on this film. (Which was…unfortunate.)

On the other hand, the exploding heads was very well-done. Priorities, right? Heh.

Overall, though, it was a zombiliciously campy film. I mean, it had zombies. In the Wild Freaking West.

Interested? Lucky you! It’s on iTunes here (Canada/US) and here (UK).