Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

Home Of Swords, Sorcery, Superheroes, Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Sci-fi, Smeg, and Silliness

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Artist Appreciation: Graham Humphreys


Spectacular posters for Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy, by British artist Graham Humphreys.

Wikipedia tells us that, during the 1980s, Humphreys worked with Palace Pictures, producing publicity material for these films as well as Dream Demon, Basket Case, the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Phenomena and Santa Sangre.


Thanks to Cal, at The Cave Of Cool, for first drawing these to my attention.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Musical Monday: Do You Want To Build A Snowman? ❄️ (Frozen Lyric Video)


Musical Monday: Dark Vocation (Abney Park)


Abney Park has a new album called Scallywag, and its on sale now at www.abneypark.com!

Dark Vocation is the fourth track open the album.

This video features acting by members of the band, and family, as well as miniatures from the renowned Olivier Xavier!

Musical Monday: Burn Baby (L7)



Burn Baby from L7's upcoming album Scatter The Rats (out May 3, from Blackheart Records), their first in 20 years!

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Moon Knight (A Marvel Fan Film)


Marc Spector is a man who's been shattered into 4 separate identities who come together to become the hooded crusader of vengeance: The Moon Knight.

Steven Grant: Intrepid millionaire stockbroker, taking down organized crime from the top of the ladder. Jake Lockley: Late night taxi driver who listens to the chatter of guilty as means of gathering intel. Marc Spector: Retired mercenary and seeking revenge. Moon Knight: a mask-dawning punisher of the night.
Written and directed by Caden Butera.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

HEROPRESS IS GOING DARK FOR AN UNSPECIFIED LENGTH OF TIME!!!


At some point, later this week, our Internet will get cut off and won't be restored until we are in the new house.

The most immediate impact this will have on HeroPress is that I'll no longer be able to crosspost anything from here onto Facebook (in fact, I probably won't have access to Facebook at all for the duration).

Consequently, any comments left at this time will also go unseen - and unpublished - until I'm back up to speed on the old Internets again, so please bear with me.

Now, this isn't to say there won't be "preprogrammed" articles appearing on HeroPress. Most of the regulars (such as Wonder Woman Wednesday etc) will still be popping up... if anybody decides to actually drop in on the blog itself.

Of course, links to these will continue to appear like magic on Tumblr and Twitter (although I'm not convinced anyone really reads either of those), but most of my interactions have traditionally come from Facebook.

On the other side of the "blackout", once we've moved, I expect I might be a 'bit' busy, so I can't promise - even once our Internet connection is fully restored - that I'll be jumping back on the horse straight away.

Blogging will resume, in some shape or form, eventually. But settling into the new place has to take priority.

#RPG Choose Your Weapon...




I've made no secret of my love for History's Knight Fight.

It's the closest thing - outside of a pub car park - to witnessing real, tooled-up, Dungeons & Dragons combat.

Sure, there are safety precautions, but with a bit of imagination - and some squinting - you could be watching real armoured knights hack and slash away at each other, as opposed to the cinematic/stage fighting we usually witness on our televisions and in the cinema (not, of course, that there's anything wrong with that either!).

It's great to see these arcane weapons in true action, without the choreography of a slick cinematic fight scene... as well as realise how quickly fit and healthy warriors can get fatigued in full armour!

I've already picked up quite a few ideas for both running RPG combat scenes as well as possible tricks to throw in as a player, although I have yet to truly take the time and work out the game mechanics of any of this.

As sports' shows go, for my money, you can't get much better than Knight Fight!

Weird Wednesday...

Stranger Things, Season Three Trailer: One Summer Can Change Everything...


Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Streaming Horror: Child's Play (1988)


On the run from the police, voodoo-obsessed serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) ducks into a toy store to hide.

In the ensuing firefight with Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), Ray is mortally wounded, but before he dies he manages to cast a voodoo spell that transfers his soul into one of the Good Guys' dolls on sale in the store.

The doll eventually ends up in the hands of single mum Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) as a present for her six-year-old son, Andy (Alex Vincent).

Little doe Karen realise that the doll is now supernaturally animated, and intent on exacting revenge of those it feels contributed to Charles Lee Ray's death.

When tragedy strikes around Andy no-one believes him that his doll is alive, and he ends up being taken into psychiatric care.

During his campaign of revenge, Chucky - as the doll calls itself - discovers how to transfer his soul back into a human body, which means more trouble for the Barclay household and Detective Norris.

As the first movie in the Child's Play franchise (before the multiple sequels, reboot, TV series etc), the mythology at work here is pretty straight forward, allowing the story room to breathe and develop at a natural pace.

Yet director Tom Holland - who co-wrote the film with John Lafia and Chucky's creator Don Mancini - still keeps things moving at a cracking pace, getting in and out of scenes at just the right moment, without a wasted moment.

Events unfold over a short period of time and in a relatively contained environment (I reckon well over 50 per cent of the movie takes place in the Barclay's Chicago apartment), limiting the number of potential loose ends and plot holes.

As well as the tense horror (home invasion, disbelieving adults etc), there's a definite slice of dark humour (naturally accentuated by the sight of an animated child's toy dropping f-bombs and attacking people) in Child's Play that simultaneously leans into and distracts from the inherent silliness of the premise.

An exciting and engrossing horror flick, Child's Play - unlike some of the '80s horrors I've been revisiting of late, thanks to various streaming services - works as well today as it did when it was first released.

It's clearly a period piece now, but the fashions and lack of mobile devices don't impact the story.

I definitely need to start tracking down the sequels, as I do love a good, rambling, horror franchise (check spoilerific video below for a taste of what's to come).



GAME MATERIAL

"Ade due damballa. Give me the power I beg of you. Secoise entienne mais pois de morte. Morteisma lieu de vocuier de mieu vochette. Endonline pour de boisette damballa! Secoise entienne mais pois de morte. Endelieu pour de boisette damballa!!!"

Ritual Of Soul Transference

Black Magic
Level Seven ritual

This ritual requires a lengthy (4+1d6) minute chant and for the caster to touching a doll, statue, poppet, fetish etc (of roughly human shape and no larger than him), into which his soul will be transferred upon successful completion of the spell.

During the chant, clouds will gather overhead in the sky - whether day or night, indoors or outdoors - and the moment the final word of the chant is spoken, a magical bolt of powerful lightning strikes the caster for 10d6 damage. This also creates shock waves of non-magical damage to anyone - and anything - within a 50ft radius (8d6 up to 10ft, 6d6 up to 20ft, 4d6 up to 30ft etc, save for half damage).

The only thing unharmed by this bolt is the new shell into which the caster's soul has moved.

[NOTE: the 'abandoned' body is now just a lump of soulless flesh. It cannot be resurrected, its only necromantic use is as a zombie or as a vessel for a demon etc]

Whatever the spellcaster has chosen to transfer his soul into will become fully animated within half an hour, retaining the statistics, Hit Points, Level, and skills of its original body coupled with the resilience (to be adjudicated by the DM on a case-by-case basis) of its new body.

While this new body can be damaged, and even dismembered, the head will still be capable of talking, legs of moving, the hands of grasping etc

It can only really be damaged by magical attacks or critical hits (which count as striking its heart).

However, this doesn't last forever. After 48 hours, this new body will start to become human. Its immunity to non-magical attacks will be the first thing to go, and then after a number of days equal to his level, the body will become fully human (even while retaining the outward appearance of whatever the spellcaster's soul has moved into).

The DM needs to take careful note of who the caster first reveals his new existence to, as this person becomes their "soul bond".

The nature of this voodoo ritual is that it has been crafted to facilitate the temporary transition of a soul from a person fearing imminent death. Therefore, it is not designed to shift a soul directly from one person into another (that's another, darker, ritual).

If - or, ore likely, when - the caster wishes to vacate his artificial shell, he needs to recast the Ritual Of Soul Transference, while touching the forehead of their "soul bond".

The same dramatic effect will manifest, with the magical lightning probably destroying their temporary shell and their soul will forcibly usurp that of their 'soul bond' (who will remain unharmed by the lightning) and the caster will 'move into' that person's body.

Where the other person's soul goes is anybody's guess!

For use with Crypts & Things, First Ed

Nancy Drew And The Inexplicable Mystery Of My Teenage Reading Habits...


I have a confession to make. When I was a teenager I went through a phase of reading a LOT of Nancy Drew books. I mean a lot.

And it was all because I had a massive crush on Pamela Sue Martin who played Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV show of the late '70s.

I'm an advertiser's wet dream, I'm so easily influenced by the shows I watch on television!

Sure, I read a handful of Hardy Boys tales, but they never grabbed my interest like Nancy Drew's did. I guess I just preferred picturing Pamela Sue Martin solving cases in my noggin more than Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson. Or perhaps they were better written. I don't recall.

Now there's this new Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase flick starring the girl from IT. I didn't even know about this movie - which opened last weekend in the States - until the other day, but I have no interest in it because it's not my Nancy Drew.

Sorry, Sophia Lillis, this is my Nancy Drew:

Pamela Sue Martin rocking it '70s style

Witness The Birth Of The She-Devil...

Main cover by Lucio Parrillo

June sees the launch of a new Red Sonja mini-series from Dynamite, exploring the early life of the fiery warrior.

Red Sonja: Birth Of The She-Devil is written by Luke Lieberman (Red Sonja: Doom of the Gods), with art by Sergio Davila (Conan, Project Superpowers) and colourist Ulises Arreola (Superman, Batgirl).

Along with mentor Ozzyus, this tale pits young Sonja against the demon conqueror Raka, "whose alchemy turns men into thralls".

On Previews World, Lieberman explains:
"This story is about her figuring out what kind of woman she wants to be, what she wants to do with her gift of violence.

Sonja is a total badass, but what makes her so compelling and iconic is her humanity.

She sees the world for what it is and she is who she is unapologetically.

She has already taken the worst Hyboria can dish out, so there is nothing left to fear.

Despite this hardness, or perhaps because of it, she recognises innocence as rare and precious and she will protect it.
"
Variant cover by Sergio Davila
Cosplay variant cover featuring Shannon Kingston

Monday, 18 March 2019

Musical Monday: Beaten Battered and Abused (Abney Park)



"Beaten Battered and Abused is one of our favorite songs from our 2017 album, Crash. For years we joked about making a retro-video game for the music video of this song, but we never got around to it, until now!"

One By One, Hawk The Slayer Fandom Slowly Grows And Spreads Its Wings...


My undying love for the greatest Dungeons & Dragons film of all time, 1980's Hawk The Slayer, is well-documented, and shared by many fellow gamers, but I'm delighted to announce that last week we won a new convert to Team Hawk.

My good friend - and prodigious creator of roleplaying material - Justin Isaac, of Halls of The Nephilim, finally got round to watching Hawk The Slayer... and has seen the light!

Check out Justin's thoughts on the film here.

Not only did he kindly link to some of the gaming material I've created inspired by this classic movie, but he also statted up the villainous Voltan for use with Eric Bloat's The Blackest Of Deaths system.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, Last Year's Best New Show, Returns To Netflix In April...


It's a wicked world out there, and Sabrina is brewing up trouble.

After signing her name in the Book of the Beast, Sabrina struggles to find the balance between her place in the mortal world and her new darker side.

New challenges await Sabrina in Part 2, including having to choose between the familiar mortal Harvey Kinkle, and the sexy warlock Nicholas Scratch.

She may have signed her name to the Dark Lord, but that doesn't mean she isn't willing to raise a little hell.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina continues April 5. Starring Kiernan Shipka.

New Bloodshot Series Aims To Capitalise On Character's Big Screen Debut...


Ahead of Vin Diesel's cinematic debut as Bloodshot in February 2020, Valiant Comics is relaunching its Bloodshot title with the great Tim Seeley (creator of Hack/Slash) behind the steering wheel.

The new on-going Bloodshot series hits stores in September, featuring art by Teen Titans' Brett Booth, and covers by Declan Shalvey.
"Once, he was the perfect living weapon, created to follow orders. Now, Bloodshot works alone, using his lethal skills to protect those who cannot protect themselves. But a mysterious and powerful organization is watching, and they’re not about to let something as dangerous as Bloodshot remain free…"
Artwork from Bloodshot (2019) #1 by Brett Booth. Inking by Adelso Corona, colouring by Andrew Dalhouse.

A new Bloodshot story by Tim Seeley, with artwork by Tomás Giorello and Diego Rodriguez, appears in Valiant's contribution to Free Comic Book Day on May 4.

This story feeds into the upcoming new series.

Musical Monday: Don't Lie To Me (Lena)


Sunday, 17 March 2019

Artist Appreciation: Drums Of The Serpent


The artist who goes by the moniker of Drums Of The Serpent is making quite a name for themselves with their stunning reinvention of comic book heroes as swordsmen and women from Ancient Japan.

Check out the Gifu City-based artist's portfolio at ArtStation, follow them on Facebook, or you can buy work via etsy.

Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) + Dr Who (2022)

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