Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

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

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Gotta Love The Fact That Disney Plus Also Serves Up Good-Looking Horror Flicks...


I was already really psyched for The Night House, after the original spoilerific trailer, but I've also just discovered that this horror flick will be available - at some point - via Disney Plus, so I won't have to stress about tracking it down.
Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together – but then nightmares come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure.

Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing – a mystery she’s determined to unravel.

Really Hope The Ugly Animation Doesn't Distract Me From The Great Stories...

Samson & Delilah (1965)



My favourite Bible story (courtesy of the ever-excellent Peplum TV), because, as a kid, I always thought Samson would make a great Dungeons & Dragons character.

Friday, 30 July 2021

Don't Get Sheepish, A24 Are Champions of The Weird... Baa None!

Icelandic folktale on top, Nordic livestock horror on bottom.

Very Excited To See This... Once It's Viewable In The Safety of My Own Home!


As I said the other day, I'm more than happy to pay for Premier Access on Disney Plus to watch Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, but nothing on God's green Earth is going to tempt me back into the festering petri dish of our local grottiplex.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

If You Hadn't Realised, I'm Taking A Break...


For health reasons - both physical and mental - I've realised it's time for a short break from social media, blogging etc

I've been taking it easy all week, and am undecided at the moment when I'll get back to HeroPress full-time.

Knowing me, though, I doubt very much it will be a long break.

However, I've got a mountain of reading (comics, books, and games) and viewing (films, TV shows, and documentaries) to catch up on as well as the daily live-from-Japan thrills and spills of the Olympics.  

The HeroPress posts I had sketched out in my notebook for this week will appear in due course, once I'm back in a blogging frame of mind.

If any interesting trailers pop into my feed I'll try and share them, and there's always some scheduled eye-candy that will materialise as if by magic in the meantime.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Casting Shade At Stargirl...


The best of The CW's superhero shows is back: Stargirl resumes Stateside on August 10 before popping over to this side of The Pond on August 11, courtesy of Amazon's Prime Video.

Proper costumed comic book superheroes and supervillains, flashy superpowers... long may it last!

I Need To See This - Just Not In A Cinema!


Come on, Disney Plus, do the right thing! I have no issue paying for Premier Access to see Shang-Chi, I just have no plans to go back to the cinema any time soon

Weird Wednesday...

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Dexter's Dark Passenger Deserves This Second Stab At A Satisfactory Ending...

Egon, But Not Forgotten! Ghostbusters: The Next Generation For A New Generation...

From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman, comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe.

In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, when a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.

The film is written by Jason Reitman & Gil Kenan.

HAPPY GARY GYGAX DAY!!!

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Teenage Witch Sabrina Gets Resurrected Again, How Long Will She Stay This Time?

Main cover, by Robert Hack: an homage to Sabrina's first appearance in Archie Comics

The erratically published Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is finally crawling back out of the grave at Archie Comics with issue nine due to arrive on October 13.

Variant cover by series artist Robert Hack

Only about four years after issue eight, we'll finally get the next chapter of the Witch War story, Sacrificial Lamb.

Sabrina has brought Harvey’s body back to life (along with her father’s soul). But there is a cost to everything. Unless she wants the Gates of Hell to open, Sabrina must find a person to sacrifice in Harvey’s place. But wait… Sabrina would never kill someone, would she?
Let's hope it's not another four years before we get issue 10!

However, possibly even more surprising - and pleasing - is the news that the Archie Horror imprint is continuing the story of the cruelly-axed Netflix version of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina with The Occult World of Sabrina, due out later this year.

Both titles are scripted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who was interviewed by Deadline recently about Sabrina's comic book life. You can read the interview here.


And, who knows, this might even be a sign that one day we might get another issue of the brilliant, and sorely missed, Afterlife with Archie. But I'm not holding my breath.

Are We Ready For The Last Duel?

The Last Duel, a tale of betrayal & vengeance set against the brutality of 14th century France directed by Ridley Scott and starring Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. In theaters October 15.
I can't believe The Last Duel had escaped my notice until Cal posted the trailer at the Cave of Cool the other day. This is exactly the sort of movie I go coo-coo over... and that's before you even factor in the stellar cast!

Luke Cage Stands Up To The Kingpin...


Harlem's hero, the bulletproof Luke Cage, is back with a new mini-series in October, City of Fire.

The three-issue series explores the role Luke Cage has grown into in Harlem and the broader Marvel Universe.

In the new series, a shadowy rogue group named the Regulators are terrorizing ordinary citizens in New York City, and Luke Cage is called to action when a Black man in his community is murdered by a crooked police officer.

Cage quickly crosses paths with Daredevil, who is determined to bring down the Regulators no matter the cost, but Mayor Fisk is equally determined to use them to tighten his grip on the city.

There is unrest in the streets, and it’s up to Cage to keep the city from going up in flames
.
This mini marks the Marvel debut of Ho Che Anderson, best known for King: A Comics Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., who will be joined by a trio of talented artist for the run: Farid Karami on #1, Ray-Anthony Height on #2, and Sean Damien Hill on #3.

My DuckQuest Vision Board...

Count Duckula

I've already talked about my earliest entanglements with anthropomorphic ducks and why they've always been a part of my roleplaying mindscape, but since becoming smitten by the quirky DuckQuest science-fantasy roleplaying game I've started to compile a "vision board" of duck characters.

Some you will recognise from previous articles (including this one), but others are more recent additions.

Any excuse to revisit Steve Gerber's sublime Howard the Duck comics from the 1970s (the only comics that really count for that character, in my opinion) is always welcome, as well as a reason to rewatch the controversial movie, which I really like (whatever the rest of the world thinks).

Possibly the biggest "discovery" I stumbled over was the French comic book series, Dungeon, featuring Herbert the Timorous Duck.

I haven't been able to lay my hands on the first volume in this series yet - although there is an 'introductory' issue coming out on Free Comic Book Day, which I've asked Andy at Paradox Comics to put aside for me.

From what little I've read about it, this series sounds like perfect inspirational material for Dungeons & Dragons-style adventure gaming... such as DuckQuest!

Ducktor Doom from Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham
Herbert the Timorous Duck
Howard the Duck movie: well, I like it!
Steve Gerber's Howard The Duck - the only comics that count!
Not really a fan of this freakish version of Howard... but at least he's in the MCU!
Mighty Ducks
Quacula

Saturday, 24 July 2021

The 4400 Are Back... Again!


What a way to make me feel old! A TV staple of the mid-2000's, The 4400 was a show I talked about in the early days of HeroPress... and now here it is getting a reboot.

I remember being rather fond of it at the time, but haven't really thought about the show in a while, despite its appealing street-level metahuman vibe, so I am excited to see what new spin 4400 has put on an old favourite.

Hopefully, it will retain the low key superpowers from the original version.
4400 overlooked, undervalued, or otherwise marginalized people who vanished without a trace over the last hundred years are all returned in an instant, having not aged a day and with no memory of what happened to them.
The new iteration is scheduled to debut Stateside on The CW at the end of October, but there's no indication yet when or where it will turn up over here.

Prepare To Walk The Dreamlands Again With The Return of Audible's The Sandman...

Over the years I've listened to a lot of audiobooks and Audible's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's seminal The Sandman, from 2020, stands head-and-shoulders above its peers as one of the finest.

This September, we are to be treated to The Sandman: Act II.

To be released on September 22, this outing will will adapt volume four of the graphic novel series, Season of Mists, and volume five, A Game of You. It will also tackle the experimental Distant Mirrors quartet and Convergence trio from The Sandman’s sixth volume, Fables & Reflections.

The dark fantasy resumes and The Sandman expands into the French Revolution, Ancient Rome, 19th-Century San Francisco, 8th-century Baghdad, and beyond.


James McAvoy returns in the title role of Dream, with Kat Dennings as Death, Michael Sheen as Lucifer, Andy Serkis as Matthew the Raven, and co-executive producer and creative director Neil Gaimanis back as the production’s narrator.

These luminaries are joined by a galaxy of new recruits, including:
  • Jeffrey Wright as Destiny, 
  • Regé-Jean Page as Orpheus, 
  • Brian Cox as Augustus, 
  • Emma Corrin as Thessaly, 
  • John Lithgow as Emperor Joshua Norton, 
  • David Tennant as Loki, 
  • Bill Nighy as Odin, 
  • Kristen Schaal as Delirium, 
  • Kevin Smith as Merv Pumpkinhead, 
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Bast, 
  • Miriam Margolyes as Despair, 
  • Joanna Lumley as Lady Johnanna Constantine, 
  • Niamh Walsh as Nuala, 
  • and many more.
As before, this epic audio play is adapted and directed by Dirk Maggs.

Streaming Horror: The Amusement Park (1973)


George A Romero's "lost" movie, 1973's The Amusement Park is a bit of an odd fish.

It was the only work-for-hire movie the father of modern zombie cinema made, commissioned by the Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania "as an educational film about elder abuse", but shelved soon after completion.

A print was discovered of this believed-to-be-lost film in 2017, restored, and is available to view on Shudder.

Directed and edited by George A Romero, from a script by Wally Cook, The Amusement Park primarily features volunteer actors, or people who were actually involved in elderly care at the time.

In an interview earlier this year, Romero's wife Suzanne Desrocher-Romero is quoted as saying:
"They [did] use it initially, but I suspect that they thought it was a little edgier than they would have liked."
Clocking in at just under an hour, the main story is bookended by stage actor Lincoln Maazel (who portrays the main character in the film) addressing the audience on how poorly the elderly generation are treated and how we should all change our attitudes to be more accommodating.

The story commences with a jovial Maazel entering an anonymous white room with a single door out.

There's another old man in there, looking the worse for wear, and groaning.

Maazel tries to engage him in conversation, but the battered man simply tells him there's nothing out there and not to go through the door.

Opening the door, Maazel - who also plays the key role of Tateh Cuda in Romero's 1978 vampire film Martin - sees a busy fun fair and steps through.

What follows is a metaphorical bombardment of this old man, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, as he stumbles - increasingly deliriously - through a cavalcade of on-the-nose - but often still rather clever - allegories about old age. 

For instance, pensioners are seen queueing up to hawk their valuables in exchange for tickets to the fun fair rides; there's an eye test before you're allowed to drive one of the dodgems (bumper cars) and if you hit someone police and insurance company reps show up; when Maazel tries to be kind to some children he gets heckled as a "degenerate"; a young couple visit a fortune teller and see a terrifying vision of their future in a rundown flat, penniless, and unable to get the medicine they require etc

When Maazel tries to help fellow elderly punters at the fair, the younger - more numerous - visitors don't pay him any attention.

At one point he is hustled into an attraction ominously called Boot Hill, which turns out to be a grim physiotherapy centre.

A "freak show" just features old people, and when Maazel goes to leave, the crowd proclaim that "one is escaping" and chase after him.

There's a moment when Maazel is set upon by a trio of bikers.

Another scene has him being pickpocketed by a sleazy con-artist.

Even when it seems like he might have found some solace reading The Three Little Pigs to a picnicking girl her mother soon packs up and takes the girl away, leaving Maazel almost in tears.

Finally, the ground down and broken Maazel stumbles back into the white room, now the battered version of himself as his earlier self enters the room again, fresh and full of optimism.

Stylistically, I feel The Amusement Park owes a lot to 1962's Carnival of Souls, with elements of Stanley Kubrick's 1971 A Clockwork Orange,.

You can also see echoes of The Amusement Park in LQ Jones's 1975 adaptation of Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog.

It's obvious from the get-go why the film's commissioners decided not to go with this peculiar oddity as their Public Service Announcement of choice.

It falls into the same broad category as the notoriously disquieting British public information films of the same era, but is considerably longer - and more surreal - than those tended to be. 

While The Amusement Park does get across its point about the systemic mistreatment and general abandonment of the elderly, it does it in a way that is more likely to turn off a general audience rather than inspire them to take positive action. 

Not because of its more shocking and dark content, but because of its art house approach of disjointed sounds and imagery.

As an amateur cinéaste, I found The Amusement Park an interesting watch (primarily because of who directed it), but I can't say it educated or inspired me about elderly care in any manner.

Additional research c/o Wikipedia.

Kang To Arrive With A Dozen Variants...

Variant Cover by Todd Nauck & Rachelle Rosenberg

Having made his MCU debut in the most impressive of the Disney Plus Marvel shows to date, Loki, Kang The Conqueror will be getting his convoluted original story retold in the first issue of his eponymous mini-series, which hits stores in August.

Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing team up with artist Carlos Magno to bring readers the definitive origin of one of Marvel’s most legendary villains, with Kelly explaining:“Issue one is Kang’s proper origin, and issues two through five are Kang’s life story/"

Issue one of Kang The Conqueror will arrived with a choice of 12 variant covers - as shown here.

Variant Cover by Ryan Stegman, Jay Leisten, & Jason Keith
Variant Cover by Skottie Young
Main Cover by by Mike Del Mundo

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

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