zombies

Zombie Vikings – Review

Zombie Vikings.  The name is enticing.  I certainly do love vikings, and zombies are still cool..ish,  so I was excited to give this game a shot.  The basic premise is that you are one of four different zombie vikings summoned to life by the Norse god Odin, to recover his one good eye from the trickster Loki.

The first thing that catches your eye is the unique art style.  It is different and interesting to look at, and certainly fits right in to what the game is trying to be.

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You choose from four different characters to play from in each level: The very tiny and very spiky Hedgy, the large armored Gunborg, the small but powerful Caw-Kaa, or the “has-an-Octopus-for-a-stomach” Seagurd.  Each character plays very similarly, with each having a unique special move.  For me, it came down to which one I thought looked the coolest, as none of the special moves really appealed to me one way or another.

The gameplay wasn’t at all a game changer or impressive.  It feels nearly identical to other games in the genre, wrapped in a different package.  That’s not to say it isn’t fun, or a good game; it’s just that nothing about it really stands out among other games in the genre.  Simplistic controls and a low difficulty level means that even the most novice of gamers will be able to be successful playing this game.

The first boss you run into was pretty obviously a throwback reference to one of my favorite characters of all time, “Earthworm Jim”.  That was a positive point in the play through, as appealing to a players nostalgia is a path straight to their heart if executed well.

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As far as the writing and humor in the story goes, there were some moments that gave me a slight smirk, but it seemed to rely mostly on crude bodily fluid humor.  If you love poop jokes, you will most likely love the humor in here.  For me, it wasn’t really doing much.

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The music and sound effects managed to not get overly repetitive, which is a solid plus on a game of this type. 

Overall, a fun game that doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, but still manages to be a fun mindless game to play with your buddies.  I can’t recommend it fully at the $19.99 price point on Steam, but if you can grab it for $5 -$10 during a sale, do it.

Ryan’s rating: 5 out of 10 random Octopus appendages.

The Grid Rating Saucer 2.5

 

 

If you’re looking for more information, check out Zombie Vikings here – Zoink Games Website

Have you played Zombie Vikings yet? Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments below!

Zombie Vikings – Review

Pandemic: Legacy – Case Files #3 (SPOILERS)

(Please note that this article and others in the series may contain spoilers for the game’s progression, events, and content. While each post covers specific “months” of game play, there are times things occur in different orders or out of place and might spoil something for a future month.)

Welcome back to my playthrough experience of Pandemic: Legacy.  Be sure to check out my introduction and initial playthrough of January here and the previous Case Files report here.

When we last left off, despite a rocky start in January, we had just rattled off four successful months in a row.  The dreaded Zombie Plague classified as C0dA is still running rampant, and while we were narrowly able to pull out a victory in May, things are looking pretty bleak moving forward.  At this point you should know that SPOILERS ARE COMING, but I’ll say it anyway.

Pandemic Legacy: Case History

Game 7: June

Dagin – Quarantine Specialist (Jamima Buttersworth)
Adam – Researcher (Susie Broadchest III)
Nick – Soldier (Rooster Cogburn)
Dave – Medic (Aaron)

We went into June knowing that there would be no Funding Action support from the government. This means we’ll have no special cards to play from the Player Deck, and we lose the extra turn those cards add.

AloneWe discovered to begin the month that there would be other help coming in the form of Equipment Upgrades. Several new stickers were revealed that contained upgrades we could attach to City Cards in our hands that grant the card an additional effect. Some upgrades can only be attached at Military Bases, others only at Research Stations. Some examples are HazMat Suits, which allow a character to discard that card to avoid taking a Scar when starting in a city with Faded, or Hand Grenades, which allow a player to discard that card to remove one Faded token from the player’s current city. Aside from that new wrinkle, we were also introduced to a new playable character, the Soldier. The Soldier cannot research cures, but can remain in a city with Faded without taking Scars, and as an action can gain an Equipment card from the Discard pile.

Nick decides to play the Soldier, which he names Rooster Cogburn, and establishes a Rivalry with Susie Broadchest III.  Turns out everyone is jealous of Susie’s status as the lone civilian in the fight right now.  I debate whether to bring in the Researcher or the Scientist, but we ultimately decide the Researcher does more good for the group. Dave and Dagin continue to play their roles as Medic and Quarantine Specialist respectively.

After the initial setup, which includes a modest number of Faded already beginning on the board, we set to work. We place our initial roadblock tokens to keep the Faded from spreading out of the most heavily infected cities. Dagin, now operating out of our Military Base in Istanbul, is amazing at Quarantining everything near Istanbul, often able to place 4 Quarantine Tokens per turn. Nick, working out his new Soldier role, starts laying waste to Faded in the hotspots.

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The one problem we’re having is that no one is really getting multiples of any given color, so researching cures for diseases is going slowly. Dave and Adam have to spread out to keep things from getting out of control around the world, and eventually we concede there may just have to be some problem spots that we ignore so we can focus on researching the cures and making sure we keep 7 cities quarantined so we can complete the required goals.

Once again, Mortenson Syndrome (Red) is cured and eradicated pretty quickly, but both Sad Pandaitis (Blue) and Walken Fever (Yellow) are taking too long. We research the cure to Sad Pandaitis, but are struggling with Walken Fever, which is spreading through Africa. Meanwhile, we start tripping an unfortunate number of Outbreaks: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lagos, and Johannesburg all crop up. Shortly after triggering the final Epidemic, we get all the needed cards to Dagin, who is able to research the cure for Walken Fever, so now it’s a rush to place enough Quarantine Tokens to cover 7 Faded Cities before we run out of cards, which we just barely manage to pull off. We end the game with only 1 Yellow Cube remaining, and with more than half of the yellow cities poised for chained Outbreaks. We eke out a hard-fought victory, much to our relief.

A view of the board state after our narrow victory!

A view of the board state after our narrow victory!

Current Record: 5–2

After finishing the round, we reveal the next Legacy Deck card, which grants us our win bonus for next month of either 3 initial roadblocks like in June, or attaching one piece of Equipment at the start of the game. Our Funding Level remains at 0, so that’s not encouraging, but we’re excited to move forward. For our Game End Upgrades, we decide to use some of the character abilities, so we give Susie Broadchest III two upgrades, one that allows her to now have a hand size of 8 cards (instead of 7), and one that allows her to charter direct flights by showing, but not discarding, the destination city card.This is what happens when everyone tries to make it up to her for always getting her name wrong.  With that, we’re all ready to move on to July.

It gets a little lonely on the top, but there's no glass ceiling for Susie.

It gets a little lonely on the top, but there’s no glass ceiling for Sally. (I mean Susie.  Darn it, I did it again)

Game 8: July

Dagin – Quarantine Specialist (Jamima Buttersworth)
Adam – Researcher (Susie Broadchest III)
Nick – Soldier (Rooster Cogburn)
Dave – Medic (Aaron)

We all decide to stick with the same cast of characters, but as we reveal the new surprise for the month, a whole new mini-game is introduced. We’re informed that a Virologist doing research on C0dA has become lost, and was last seen at a Research Station in C0dA territory. The mini-game mechanics allow players as an action to discard cards matching the same color at a Research Station to represent search and rescue operations at those locations. Extra points are earned for discarding the card belonging to the city with the research station. You begin the round with 0 points, and the search target begins at 6. Every time an Epidemic comes, the search target advances along the track and becomes harder to locate. We reveal a new goal card telling us that retrieving the Virologist is now one of the objectives we can work towards, and are given a card with a large scratch-out block to be revealed if we successfully rescue her. Not sure why we decided the Virologist was female, but we all seemed to think it was, so we stuck with it.

The Search Mini-Game. You need to try to finish these while also still completing the actual game of Pandemic you're playing.

The Search Mini-Game. You need to try to finish these while also still completing the actual game of Pandemic you’re playing.

Our plan was to try and get Nick’s Soldier to get one of the Equipment cards so he can just discard to search and pick it back up again for his characters ability, which was a great plan, and was even rather effective. We rescued the Virologist by Nick’s second turn. This was about the only thing that went well this game.

In short, the massive outbreak of C0dA that we’d been fearing finally happened. It started in the game setup when our Forward Operating Base of Istanbul took two Faded before we could do anything. Five of the first 9 infected cities were Black, including two each in the 2- and 3-cube setup steps. With Dagin having to play first, it meant Istanbul was off-limits until we could clear it out, and without the Colonel, it meant we needed the Soldier to draw into a Grenade. In the mean time, there was a massive wall of Faded between Hong Kong, where we were forced to start, and Istanbul.

There's just too many of them. The Middle East is just a loss this month.

There’s just too many of them. The Middle East is just a loss this month.

It was all just downhill from there. Dagin was barely able to extend his Quarantine bubble because he didn’t want to end his turn in a city with Faded. Nick was so focused on rescuing the Virologist that we didn’t make any headway into Faded cities. By our second Epidemic, we were triggering Outbreak after Outbreak. Dave and I couldn’t do much but sit and watch, helpless to do much about C0dA. We managed to research the cure for Red, but immediately following our second Epidemic, we triggered one of the largest chain Outbreaks I’ve ever seen, spreading across 6 different cities, and since we’d already had 5 Outbreaks before the Epidemic, we lost, and lost badly. City after City fell to rioting. C0dA finally spread outside of the Black territory, with Milan and St. Petersburg falling in Blue territory and Jakarta falling in Red territory. Tehran and Baghdad were the first two cities to reach the Panic Level of 4, which is Collapsing.

Current Record: 5–3

Despite our loss, we did manage to rescue the Virologist, so we tear up that goal card and scratch off the block on the card. We now have the gene sequence to C0dA, but she informs us we need to work with a special Immunologist to develop a formula. We all assume this means there will be another Searching quest to be done in August, but we have to make it through July to figure that out. The Virologist also casually mentions that we should stop taking the retrovirus being distributed by the military, which is in reality just a placebo.

The board state following our loss in July. Not good...

The board state following our loss in July. Not good…

Things are now looking VERY serious across the Black territory. Every single Black city is now corrupted, as well as 3 non-Black cities. Eight of the twelve cities are now at least in Rioting, which means almost no flights in or out of those cities, which as we saw can make things very difficult if you can’t start in the middle and clear things out first. One other nagging concern we have is that Tehran, ground zero for the spread of Faded, is now in a Collapsing state. We still don’t know what significance that will have for us, but I’m guessing it’s not a positive development.

On a positive note, it does mean we will receive some Government Aid in the form of two Funded Action cards, which will be really helpful to have access to again. We decide because of how bad things went without being able to access Istanbul that we should make the Military Base we built in Delhi permanent. Delhi is now one of only three cities in the Black region that has not yet seen a Panic Level increase. We also give the soldier an ability that allows him to remove a Faded cube from a city he leaves behind. It should give him a little more firepower for clearing things out if we use him for our second attempt at July.

To update you on how the world now stands, here’s how things changed in the last two games:

Panic Levels Blue Cities Yellow Cities Black Cities Red Cities
Unaffected 8 5 (-1) 3 (-2) 10
Unstable 2 (-1) 3 (-1) 1 (-5) 2
Rioting 2 1 (+1) 4 (+2) 5 (+5)
Rioting 3 1 1
Collapsing 2 (+2)
Fallen
Faded 2 / 12 Infected 12 / 12 Infected 1 / 12 Infected

As an interesting side development, while opening packets at the beginning of July, I accidentally opened the wrong door. I revealed a set of new Action stickers that allow us to sabotage Military Bases. We put it back immediately once I realized the mistake, but that really threw us for a loop. We rely heavily on our bases right now, so sometime between now and whenever those stickers should be opened, the story is going to turn against us to have us working against the military(?!). It’s a little like watching an episode of your favorite TV show 4 episodes ahead of where you’ve watched, so half of it doesn’t make sense, and then you try to figure out how you got from here to there. We don’t have a clue yet, but the possibilities are certainly intriguing. Rather than spoil it, I think it gives us an even more heightened sense of anticipation. Is the military going to set us up to fail? Weaponize C0dA? Steal our research? Why would we want to sabotage those bases if C0dA is still running wild through the Middle East? So many questions, and we’ll find out soon enough.

Game 9: July – Take 2

Dagin – Quarantine Specialist (Jamima Buttersworth)
Dave – Medic (Aaron)
Adam – Researcher (Susie Broadchest III)
Nick – Soldier (Rooster Cogburn)

To begin the month, four of the first nine cities infected are Faded cities, though only three were originally C0dA. The newly faded Jakarta is also in the mix. There’s also a large portion of North America showing signs of infection this month. Since we completed the Virologist quest last month, we’re back to our ‘standard’ set of goals. We decide to set up road blocks preventing anyone else in Red territory from having access to Jakarta, and begin play.

We sort of fall into our default roles. Rooster Cogburn’s new ability allows him to kill Faded as he leaves those cities, so most of his turns are spent hoping around between Faded cities. The Soldier role is most useful with Equipment, and while he has some (A HazMat Suit), what he really needs is the Grenade to be effective. We don’t see any of those for a long time. Aunt Jemima begins doing her Quarantine thing, while the Medic and Researcher each leave for North America and Asia respectively.

Animated GIF from our playthrough of July the second time. I took a picture every time it came back around to my turn. Click for a larger view.

Animated GIF from our playthrough of July the second time. I took a picture every time it came back around to my turn. Click for a larger view.

It took us a couple of loops around to the table to release we were in trouble. Initially, it felt like most things were in control, but before long, most of North America was crawling with disease. As we tried to tamp that down, northern Asia also started to get out of control. We’re also having trouble putting together the right sets of cards to research cures. This is also the first game we start to feel the pain of having so many cities Rioting. Since we can’t charter flights in or out of rioting cities, it makes some of our efforts in trying to move around the globe quickly that much harder. We’re forced to lean on the Military Bases (which cannot be used for travel by the Researcher) and Research Stations, which slow that down considerably.

The doom sets in once we look up and see that we’ll only have one more rotation around the table before we run out of Player Deck cards, and only Mortensen Syndrome has been cured, though Dagin and Dave each have the cures for Blue and Yellow in hand. That would be great, but we need to satisfy two other goals besides researching cures.  We originally focused on trying to eradicate diseases along with the 7 Quarantines goal, but once we realize there’s no way to stem the spread of any of our cured diseases in time, we shift to trying to get 6 Military Bases in the separate regions. By the time it gets to my turn, the last round of the game, I am able to construct Military Bases numbers 5 & 6, but Dagin’s Quarantine net was broken, so we only satisfy two of the required goals when we run out of cards in the Player Deck. July it turns out is just not our month.

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Current Record: 5–4

We tear up the card that would have been July’s win bonus, then set about to decide on game end upgrades. After some discussion, we decide to place two more permanent Military Bases in Miami and Bogota. This means if we do need to fall back on the 6 Bases goal, we’d just need to construct one more somewhere in the Far East, and usually the Red region is pretty friendly to us. Just not in July. Because we lost, our Funding Level increases back to 4, which is the silver lining of a bad month, I suppose.

Game 10: August

Dave – Medic (Aaron)
Adam – Researcher (Susie Broadchest III)
Nick – Soldier (Rooster Cogburn)
Dagin – Quarantine Specialist (Jamima Buttersworth)

The Mission Briefings for July and August. Gotta catch 'em all.

The Mission Briefings for July and August. Gotta catch ’em all.

Following the search for our Virologist in July, our August mission briefing instructs us to commence a search for the Immunologist hinted at earlier in July. Apparently he has been lost hopping about through Rioting cities in C0dA territory, and we need to go find him. I guess this is the one time where having a bunch of cities rioting is a positive thing. We’re given a new search track, and the difficulty is slightly harder to catch the Immunologist, though it’s easier for us to get to locations to perform searches, since any of about 6 cities would work. We’re also instructed to focus on dealing with C0dA, and the goal card to eradicate one disease is torn up and gone.

We also discover a new Action that players can take: Self Sacrifice! Players can add a Scar to their character to skip the Infect step of the turn! This is like having the One Quiet Night Funding Action card available at almost any time. In light of this new revelation, we pull out all the Scar effects, and identify a couple that aren’t terribly inconveniencing. Turns out there aren’t very many of those. There are several new pieces of Equipment revealed, including Binoculars, which move you an additional two points on the search track when you discard that card.

To start the game, we realize there’s a great opportunity to make progress in Chennai. Dave has this card to start the game, which had a HazMat Suit Equipment on it, which we then replace with Binoculars. He discards the card to search, which allows Nick to pick it up later. What it effectively allows us to do early in the game is find the Immunologist by Nick’s second turn. In essence, the Military asked us to find this guys running around the Middle East, and the Soldier grabs a pair of binoculars and says, “Oh, he’s right there.”

Our first character scars. No too bad, but they get worse from here.

Our first character scars. No too bad, but they get worse from here.

Following Dave’s first turn, however, before we have a chance to place a Quarantine marker in Istanbul, the Istanbul card comes up, and a Faded is placed in Istanbul, where all the rest of us are waiting for our first turn. Rooster Cogburn doesn’t care about Faded, and he’ll easily be able to take care of it before Dagin’s turn. I don’t have the same luck. When my turn starts, I have to take the first Scar of the game. Susie takes the Indicisive scar, meaning she can no longer place Road Blocks. This is an action we probably aren’t using as much as we should, but it seemed the least impactful for her role.

With a lot of early cards coming up in the Middle East again, we decide we’re going to clamp down hard on the rest of the world. In an unusual turn for us, Mortenson Syndrome is really running amok, especially in Seoul, which experiences two Outbreaks during the game. Unlike last game, however, we’re getting pretty good Player card draws, and each player is without meaning to naturally collecting cards of different colors.

We do decide after a particularly nasty turn in Europe to have Rooster Cogburn take a Scar to prevent the Infect step during a turn, and Rooster ends up taking the Overcautious Scar, meaning he needs one extra card of a disease color to research a disease cure, which is fine for us, since he can’t research cures anyway.

The board at the end of August.

The board at the end of August.

Our goal quickly becomes to place one new Military Base in the Far East, which we place in Osaka, and then leave Asia to be devoured by Mortenson Syndrome. Between that and finding the Immunologist, we just need to finish researching the three cures to complete the month. In the process, we strike at a chance to eradicate Yellow, which Dave manages to pull off with the Medic’s super curing ability once a cure has been found. Even though things in Europe were pretty dicey, we finish researching our cures, and successfully complete August.

seanOfTheDead2

Current Record: 6–4

Once we scratch off the Immunologist card, he informs us that he suspects this virus was bio-engineered, but can’t say by whom. To create a vaccine, we’re told he needs three things: A Gene Sequence for C0dA (which we already have courtesy of the Virologist rescued in July), some DNA Samples, and Virus Development Records that would document how it was created if it is a man-made strain.

The Virologist and Immunologist cards, after they've been found.

The Virologist and Immunologist cards, after they’ve been found.

Looking ahead, we assume next month we’ll be sent to search for DNA Samples at a minimum. The victory bonus for August seems to confirm that, since it gives us a one-time bump along the Search track for either one or two search tracks (which I guess would be needed if you hadn’t been able to find the Virologist or Immunologist by this point).

nuclearOptionThere are a few new upgrades that are opened up at the end of the month, including new Equipment, a new Character Upgrade, and a card I’ve been wondering about this whole time: the Nuclear Option! This upgrade attaches to any City card in the Player Deck. It can be played at any time to nuke the city shown on the card. This means it kills all faded tokens in that city, you then tear up both the Infection card and Player card involved, and the city immediately moves to a Panic Level of Fallen.

We talk about this card quite a bit, but decide since we managed to eradicate something other than Mortenson Syndrome for the first time since March, we need to add some Positive Mutations to Walken Fever.

We also get a new character, the Virologist! She’s now a playable character (whose gender we guessed correctly) because we’ve rescued her (her card says she can’t be played until she’s been rescued). She can ‘cure’ a Faded in any city by discarding a Black card, or clear out all Faded in a city if she discards that card while in that city. Cool, but as we’ve been learning with the soldier, having a character totally dependent upon the Player Deck draws can make things very difficult.

Let’s take a look at how things have changed in Panic Level around the world. No new cities fell to the Faded, which is good. Blue took the worse hit, with Outbreaks happening on both sides of the Atlantic. Black didn’t really change at all, which is to say it’s still bad, but didn’t get any worse. Seoul went from completely unaffected to major rioting. But, given how bad July was for us, it could have been worse.

Panic Levels Blue Cities Yellow Cities Black Cities Red Cities
Unaffected 5 (-3) 4 (-1) 3 9 (-1)
Unstable 5 (+3) 3 1 2
Rioting 2 1 5 (+1) 5
Rioting 3 1 1 1 (+1)
Collapsing 2
Fallen
Faded 2 / 12 Infected 12 / 12 Infected 1 / 12 Infected
Map state at the end of August.

Map state at the end of August.

This puts us now two-thirds of the way through Pandemic: Legacy. We’ve got four months left to play, and I couldn’t be more excited to see how this plays out. It seems pretty clear the government has been orchestrating C0dA, so how that plays out as we get closer to wrapping up the game will be interesting.  And just to put it out there, we will be nuking something.  It may take us all the way to December to pull it off, but you can’t give me a nuclear weapon in a game like this and not expect us to use it.  After all…

Ripley's Advice

Enjoying this story?  Hating it?  Got suggestions for things you’d like to see or questions you’d like to ask?  Let me know if there’s something you’d like to see in my playthroughs going forward. Just leave me a comment down below.

Pandemic: Legacy – Case Files #3 (SPOILERS)

Your Halloween Movie Playlist

Every October, I indulge in some of the best Halloween movies I can find. Some are classics that cross my television despite the season while others remain fall exclusives.  Either way, these movies are all must watch for all spooky evenings. The lists begin after the break below:

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For fun, I’ve broken this down based on multiple genres, so there’s a little something for everyone! On with the show!

Animated

nightmare
1. Nightmare Before Christmas
2. Frankenweenie
3. Corpse Bride
You have to do the Tim Burton claymation trilogy on the same day. It’s just better that way.
4. Paranorman – absolutely adorable
5. Coraline – fun and creepy to the bone

Slasher

Halloween_cover 1. Halloween – an All Hallow’s Eve staple
2. Nightmare on Elm Street – my favorite slasher film
3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – despite what everyone says, this was not based on true events
4. Scream – don’t have sex
5. Friday the 13th – nothing better than watching Kevin Bacon getting stabbed in the throat

Sci-Fi

Alien_movie_poster 1. Alien – the ultimate chick flick
2. The Thing – one of the dumbest titles in history; one of the scariest films to date
3. Re-Animator – science sex scenes = nightmare fuel
4. The Fly – tasty Jeff Goldb- annnndd he’s gone
5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – just try to close your eyes and not see Donald Sutherland make that horrible face

Family

4934 1. Hocus Pocus – not Disney’s best horror film, but it’s the best
2. Ghostbusters (both of them) – who ya gonna call? Bill flippin Murray.
3. Beetlejuice – there’s no evidence saying Michael Keaton won’t appear
4. Young Frankenstein – care for a roll in ze hay?
5. Addams Family (both of them)- Gomez and Morticia are easily the best parents ever

Foreign

MV5BMjE1OTY2MTM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQ5Mjc5MQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_ 1. Let the Right One In – child vampires and puppy love
2. Pan’s Labyrinth – a fantasy horror film where the reality is more horrific than the fantasy
3. The Babadook – sure, let’s make parenting more frightening
4. A Tale of Two Sisters – AMERICA tried to remake this; we failed miserably
5. The Host – not a Korean love story

Adult Comedy

download (1) 1. Dead Snow –Norway fulfills the world’s ultimate fantasy: zombie Nazis
2. Zombieland – this may be Woody Harrelson’s finest role. It is most certainly Jesse Eisenberg’s most tolerable one.
3. Shaun of the Dead – you’ve got red on you
4. Cabin in the Woods – come for Thor, stay for inevitable Sigourney Weaver
5. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil – how I see teenagers everywhere: murderous and stupid

Zombie

download (2)1. Night of the Living Dead – the zombie movie to begin all zombie movies and create a horror god
2. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – if you ever get the chance to shoot a baby zombie, would you really turn it down?
3. 28 Days Later – technically a contagion film, but let’s not mince words here
4. World War Z – watch because you loved the book, then let go of the book
5. Evil Dead (every single one of them) – don’t read the Necronomicon

Monster

werewolf1. American Werewolf in London – leagues better than the little known American Werewolf in Canada
2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – don’t let Keanu Reeves stop you from watching this
3. Salem’s Lot – no sparkly vampires here
4. The Mist – sogoodsogoodsogoodsogood
5. Jaws – da…dun. da dun. dadundadundadundadun, salsa shark

Ghost 

the-sixth-sense-poster1. The Sixth Sense – everyone has spoiled this for you by now
2. Poltergeist – used real skeletons. Real human skeletons.
3. Paranormal Activity – I will never again recommend shaky cam movies
4. 1408 – Can you really go wrong with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson?
5. Frighteners – recommended by your Grid boss

The Best of the Best

the-shining-1980-poster1. The Shining – heeeeerrrrreee’sss your chance to fear Jack Nicholson forever
2. Silence of the Lambs – if you watch the sequel, Jodi Foster ages backwards
3. Psycho – Anthony Perkins. Never Vince Vaughn.
4. The Exorcist – so many naughty words
5. The Omen – it’s all for you, Damien

 

Did you like what you see? Plan on watching any of these before Halloween?  What did we miss?  Let us know in the comments!

Your Halloween Movie Playlist

Fear The Walking Dead – Review

Fear the Walking Dead has some things different going for it from the start. Set in the West Coast, it brings a much different experience from The Walking Dead. In regards to post apocalyptic genre it has a more of a “bug in” approach to dealing with it, as apposed to the more “bug out”,  migrating approach of doing things found in The Walking Dead. Ethnic makeup of the group and society at large also has some great potential for drama that the writers can make good use of. But most interesting is how the show can handle the outbreak’s critical phase, the part where it goes from a mild epidemic to a full fledged pandemic with mass extinction consequences. This is what Fear the Walking Dead has going for it, at least on paper.

Much as with The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead is a character driven story. Many world wide problems take a back seat to the character relationships. The story starts out with three families grouping together to weather out the storm. Bonds thicker than blood are strained when families fight to stay together and people deal with this crisis differently. They all have different ideals, learning curves, and worries that they deal with during this crisis. Fortunately there are a few characters that think quick on their feet and are far from helpless.

Fear the Walking Dead - Kim Dickens The leading lady and head of one of the families in the show is a great relief from the damsel in distress cliché that The Walking Dead often finds itself in. Kim Dickens brings real street smarts, grit, and strength to the role of Madison Clark. Her character’s social skills, wisdom, and compassion give her all the makings of a great leader. Contrasting her character to the women in The Walking Dead’s first season, she looks to take charge of her own destiny much more quickly. Where the first season of The Walking Dead female characters seemed helpless at first, she is independently strong. This is a great thing to see in a show as it’s never enjoyable to have a main character seem helpless. 

Her foil would be her boyfriend, Travis Manawa. He’s an idealist who looks to be slow to adjust to the Fear the Walking Dead - Travis Manawanew world that they live in. Hopefully he’ll become the glue of the group, binding people together with his strong morals and compassion. But his strong dedication to ideals are a source of great drama for the show as his former marriage constantly strains on the group’s survival with his new family. He often has to balance his needs to protect his own with that of the groups greater good. This is one of the shows main sources of drama. Regrettably though, it comes off more as trivial, especially considering the situation that they find themselves in. This may change as the show goes on but there is nothing worse than seeing two families squabble when the world is falling down around their ears.

Fear the Walking Dead - Daniel SalazarThe third family in the group is headed by the veteran actor Rubén Blades. His character brings great experience and Blades in this role is fantastic. He plays a father of an immigrant family that has been through a lot. He has risked many things coming to this country and he knows the true face of humanity when life is on the line , when the chips are down. From the original show he is most like Dale but is much more jaded, far less idealistic, saving his compassion for his family. Rounding out the adult characters with Blades was an excellent choice and pleasure to watch.

Fear the Walking Dead - Nick Clark

 

Another fantastic actor, channeling a young Johhny Depp, is Frank Dillane. He has a great charm and innocence
that other actors would have a hard time even attempting. Intriguingly enough, Dillane makes it look easy. He plays the troubled, drug addict, who has found himself in trouble so often that he never flinches when finding a lucky way out of it. A maverick who always plays it cool, his character looks most to fill the role of Glenn in the new show. He may even become more like Daryl, given enough lessens learned. That is if his luck doesn’t run out.

Fear the Walking Dead - Riot PoliceEssentially both shows are character driven dramas, spending little time concerning the viewer with larger world in which they live. It was hoped that more light would’ve been shed on how the pandemic happened and what were other people’s reactions outside the main group.

At first the show does a decent job of this, tying modern concerns of police brutality and riots, all while the virus spreads. All done on the side with snid bits of news clips and circumstantial accounts. But the critical tipping point is glossed over when people hunker down and close their eyes to the world. This would’ve been great to have seen fleshed out.

Many zombie films and shows take the safe way out. The Walking Dead and 28 Days later, for example,  have the protagonist in a comma, thereby skipping out on the explanation. In Fear the Walking Dead the community is quartered off and its citizens are shielded from what is actually going on outside and instead the narrative focuses on interpersonal drama. In the show so far, most conflict is internal, between family members. It can’t be helped to wonder if this was a lost opportunity.The Walking Dead Comic - Rick Grimes

           Unfortunately this inter-family arguing comes of as petty squabbling and trivial. Family members arguing, families rubbing each other the wrong way, all of this is uninteresting. In The Walking Dead the conflicts, such as between Rick and the Dixon brothers, was explosive. It could go off any second and you had to watch. The struggle between Shane and Rick, doubly so. But with Fear the Walking Dead more often than not, it’s one naive family member’s bad idea that people have to deal with. Little sis is going to go off and visit her infected boyfriend, druggy brother better stop her because she’s too smart for her own good. Not great television.

The Walking Dead - Rick and Daryl

           Ultimately the show feels like they copied and pasted the idea from The Walking Dead and haven’t really added much new to it, only shuffled things around a bit. Being in a much larger city with not as many guns would’ve been interesting. Resolving conflicts from various ethnic groups and other cultures in the locale would’ve been a more interesting source of drama than family pains. So far it feels like The Walking Dead has done this better.

           Having the scope be a little larger may have helped Fear the Walking Dead as well. Nothing too extreme, something like having one of the parents work for the government instead of both parents working for the school would’ve been interesting. Having the children and parents all tied to school is a fairly flat approach. It actually very all too ’80s. Not only is most drama caused internally, it revolves around one focal point too much. Odd for such a big city.

However The Walking Dead did pull this off with a much smaller focus, at least in the beginning. Following Rick around, slowly introducing the web of drama from his family. What is lacking may be the focus of a father returning and protecting his family. Where as in Fear the Walking Dead it’s much more diffused, splitting attention among three squabbling families. Maybe when things come to a climax and the dust settles things will come together for the show.

           The prognosis for the Fear the Walking Dead would be: wait and see. Signs are not great for it just yet but there may still be some entertainment to be found here. They may venture into explaining more about what actually happened in the world during Rick’s coma.  But it looks like they are still laying the foundation for a character driven drama and this takes time. The start is a little shaky but they have some talent on the show that could make things work. It may have stumbled a bit out of the gate but it may find its stride. 

What do you think of Fear the Walking Dead? Is it a must-watch? Does The Walking Dead still reign as champion of the zombie drama? Comment below!

 

Fear The Walking Dead – Review