Thursday, March 27, 2014

Session LIX: The End of the Beginning

For those of you who have kept up on this blog you may have noticed a complete lack of attention given to posting as of late.  In fact, I haven't posted in months - December to be accurate. Though I've been gaming a-plenty, I haven't had much to say on the topic these days.  I've been mostly playing board games with my group as we've been taking an extended break from our Swords & Wizardry campaign.  In fact, this post is months behind our last played session.  Call me a lazy sod, or lazy Sid if you prefer.  So here's the conclusion of our latest adventures which took place some time this past December.

Our Fearless Adventurers
  1. Arg - Half-orc
  2. Gnarly- Druid
  3. Christopher - priest of Mithra
  4. Maximus - Magic User
  5. Skwanky - Halfling Warrior
  6. Wolf - Viking
  7. Thovin-Cleric 
  8. Televon priest of Morpheus (via SKYPE)

So we picked up with the party recovering in the forest level of the tower preparing for their confrontation with the Fire giant above. As they make their final preparations Televon and two other warriors appear out of the woods sent by Baron Blackmoor to discover what has happened to our fearless explorers. 

So it was time to take on the Fire Giant.  Ascending to the next level of the magic tower, the party just launched into a full rush, with some running and some flying, at the giant while he tossed boulders at them knocking one of the red shirt warriors into the pools of fire.  Finally face to face with the Fire giant some hack and slash ensued with the party finally prevailing.

After looting the Giant they discovered that the 'stairs' upwards that they saw from across the room is nothing of the sort, just a pile of rock and iron.  The real entrance is a hole in the ceiling in the center of the chamber.  But this hole covered an area of reverse gravity and it took some time for Arg with his boots of flying and Skwanky's ring of feather falling, to transfer everyone up to the next chamber - which was an upside down tropical island in the middle of a salt filled sea.

Arg flew around the water filled chamber and discovered a hatch guarded by a number of Ixitxachitl.  After a battle with these creatures with Arg flying around stabbing them along with the Druid as an alligator with Skwanky on his back 'jousting' with them, they were finally able to get to the hatch, open it and climb into the final room of the tower, the chamber of the Soul Gem!

All crammed in the tunnel hatch, they discovered the body of Zadir the wizard lying on the floor, his body and belongings burnt white!  With ropes tossed, the body was pulled over to the party and Maximus recovered the Stygian's spell book!

Seeing white flashes coming from the gem, Arg, Wolf, Thovin, Skwanky and Gnarly charged the tower only to discover it was protected by a forcefield.  As they hacked away at it, there was a blinding flash and the souls of Thovin, Wolfheir and Arg were sucked into the gem, their burnt white bodies falling to the floor.  Skwanky, the halfling, who was also burned white did not have his soul sucked into the gem.

Gnarly the druid attempted to dispel the magic force-field and was able to do so, knocking the gem to the ground.  As Skwanky picked up the gem, the whole tower shook and quaked.  With the magic of the Soul Gem, the Heart of the Tower destroyed the magic tower crumbled and vanished leaving the remaining party standing in the courtyard of the merchant guild before the priests of the Black Church and Lord Blackmoor and his guards and soldiers.

The Priests of the Black Church wanted the Soul Gem as did Lord Blackmoor but Skwanky did not want to give it up.  So this is where things really went down hill, Skwanky, ran away with the Soul Gem, with the priests of the Black Church in pursuit along with Blackmoors guards.  They began to fight amongst themselves while the perused Skwanky leaped over the cliff and started to feather fall into the sea below.  Gnarly and the priests of the Black Church fighting to save and kill the halfling.  Blackmoor, meanwhile was in a hasty chase of the halfling, with his magic sword Blackrazor increasing his speed.  Seeing his companion in trouble, Televon cast a spell on the Baron freezing him to his spot.  Televon removed the magic sword from his hand but became possessed by the power of Blackrazor and killed Baron Blackmoor in cold blood.  Take note that Televon has been dressed in the garb of the Black Priests for quite some time.

So as Gnarly and Maximus lowered a rope to help Skwank (totally bleached white by the power of the gem), Televon kills the rest of Blackmoor's guards who rush up to avenge their fallen leader.

Now, the courtyard is filled with Blackmoor's soldiers, Freeswords waiting to get paid for the battle of Caladan, armored priests of the Black Church, armored priests of Mithra who all just saw Televon, a priest of Morpheus, dressed as a member of the Black Church, murder in cold blood Baron Blackmoor who was to declare his lordship over the land of Eir'ian.  At that moment, all present were turned against our party of adventurers - but that didn't last long...

Aaaand that is how we wrapped up this portion of the campaign.  As a DM I had planned on ending on a high note with a new king for the realm and a good ending point for an extended break to our sessions - a plateau so to speak.  Well, leave it to my players to really mess any plan I make.  In fact, where we get back to playing, maybe this summer, I'm not going to plan anything for any session.  It's all going to be total randomness with direction by the players.  So instead of a nice conclusion we now have:
  1. Arg - Half-orc - Trapped within the Soul Gem
  2. Wolf - Viking - Trapped within the Soul Gem
  3. Thovin-Cleric - Trapped within the Soul Gem
  4. Gnarly- Druid - came out fairly ok, just lost some of his mushroom-men
  5. Maximus - Magic User - Finally has his hands on Zadir's spell book -  not bad
  6. Skwanky - Halfling Warrior - Bleached white and implicated in the killing of Blackmoor
  7. Televon priest of Morpheus - The murderer of Baron Blackmoor

Friday, December 20, 2013

Session LVIII: Into The Tower

Our Fearless Adventurers
  1. Arg - Half-orc
  2. Gnarly- Druid
  3. Christopher - priest of Mithra
  4. Maximus - Magic User
  5. Skwanky - Halfling Warrior
  6. Wolf - Viking
  7. Thovin-Cleric
When we last left our brave heroes they had finally pieced together the last key and opened the door to the base of the tower.  But no sooner than they had finally gained entrance to their goal that their army of soldiers all fell to the ground in a slumber.  Behind them, down the wide hall was the woman they had 'rescued' from the ogres who had come back to them as a witch!

As the party rushed this feeble looking woman she blasted them with a cone of frost just as Maximus cast a hold person spell on her. 

With all the soldiers dead, including Captain Vanir and Christopher mortally wounded, Arg and Wolf butchered the witch who turned out to be an Ogre Mage!

Finally entering the tower's base chamber, they found only a number of soft reclining chairs.  But as they were deciding to sit upon them, the door slammed shut and some magical force pinned them to the ground. 

Once the disorientation and the magic dissipated, they found that a hole had opened up in the ceiling that wasn't there before. 

Arg tossed the Halfling up into the hole to find what he could see.  Skwanky discovered that about thirty feet into this hole were rungs in the stone. 

Gnarly turned himself into a raven and flew up the hole and discovered that it opened up into a spacious chamber filled with a moist air and fog.

Tying a rope to the rungs, the wounded party climbed up into the mysterious chamber.  Blindly exploring, they eventually came upon a wall following the slightly curved wall for a way they were attacked by a vicious Heiracosphinx.  Killing the beast in a bloody battle they found it's lair in a pile of rubble and looted some treasure.

Not far from the lair they found an iron spiral staircase climbing into the whiteness.

As they ascended the stairs they were attacked by a trio of petranodons, which after some hack and slash they dispatched.

Climbing the stairs they entered into a heavily forested chamber.  Following the trail they were ambushed by a deadly Su-Monkey who was joined by two others.  After a horrific battle which left them all near death, they continued through the enclosed forest and came upon a rose garden tended by a hooded gardener.  As they got the gardener's attention, she turned around and removed her hood to reveal that she was a Medusa and turned three of the party to stone.  Slaying the deadly Medusa and rescuing their companions with a scroll looted from the Ogre Mage, they continued through the forest to discover another iron staircase rising through the ceiling. 
Meeting a Medusa in the forested chamber
 They found themselves standing upon a stone landing with paths leading from it all above a lake of fire.  Opposite of them, guarding another staircase upwards stood a fire giant who proceded to pick  up a large bolder.  But as the Halfling charged around the stone path to face the Giant alone, the party was attacked by elemental fire bats.

As they fought these mystical sprites they noticed that the Giant just stood his ground and didn't try to attack them by throwing boulders. 

With the fire creatures defeated they stood across the grand hall facing the Fire Giant who goaded them on.  They talked with the creature and discovered that he was a servant of the Heart of Invernese, the power that built this tower and what is controlled by Zadir the Stygian wizard.

The giant was guarding the entrance to the higher levels of the tower. 

After a parley where they tried to get the giant swayed to their side, the badly wounded party thought it best to head back down to the forested room and lick their wounds for their coming battle against the Fire Giant...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Session LVII: The Final Key

The party at session start:

  1. Arwa (Weasly) - Wizard's guard freed from charm
  2. Arg - Half-orc
  3. Gnarly- Druid
  4. Christopher - priest of Mithra
  5. Maximus - Magic User
  6. Capt. Vanir 
  7. SkwankyHalfling Warrior
  8. Handof - soldier
  9. Wolf - Viking
  10. Nafre - soldier
  11. Thovin-Cleric
  12. Brik - Black Church Acolyte 
Having navigated the mysterious chess board room, the war-weary party continued down a passageway which took them to a bubbling fountain of what appeared to be clear water. Examining the water but wary of all the other deadly traps throughout this complex, it was decided to avoid drinking the water (although Skwanky the halfling was already splashing around in it) and continue down the hallway.

At the end of the hall they found another dead end with the indentation in the shapes of two keys they found.  Not having found a key in their current section, they decided to back track to seek it out.

Once again, standing before the statue outside of the chessboard room, Arg give it a "high-five" and a panel opens within it's chest revealing the third piece of the key!

Leaving the tunnels beneath the wizard Zadir's tower and with everyone seriously wounded, it was decided to head back into town to heal up.

With dawn breaking and the battle for Caladan wrapping up, our weary group of adventurers went their separate ways with some heading back to the Temple of Mithra and the Cloven Hoof. 

Healed, rested and fed the party regouped at the final entrance to the basements of the tower.  Zadir is still nowhere to be found and Baron Blackmoor and his bannermen stood guard waiting for the Stygian to show his face.

Again, with some additional soldiers, the party descended beneath the surface in search for the final part of the key to open the final barrier to the tower.

The first chamber they find is one shrouded in shadow with an odd shape upon the floor. The halfling trots into the dim room where no light can cast off the grey shadows and found a body with a dagger in it's back.  Upon removing the dagger, it leaped out of his hand and attempted to stab him in the back.  The quick thinking halfling lifted the dead body upon his back and used it as a shield against the enchanted dagger - which worked as the dagger once again stabbed into the back of the already dead victim and ceased harassing the tiny warrior.

Continuing on, they found a cocoon which they cut opened.  Inside was a body with a terrorized look upon it's face.  Robbing his boots, the large half-orc found that they allowed him to fly!

The next chamber brought them to a very larger hall with an army of Bugbears standing perfectly still.  As Arg and Skwanky passed the threshold, the Bugbears became animated and attacked the party.  Creating a bottleneck within the doorway, the party easily hacked the Bugbears into a bloody heap.

In the expansive hall was a large stone sarcophagus which held treasure and the final piece of the key!

Continuing on they came across two ogres seemingly torturing a beautiful peasant girl.  Dispatching the ogres and rescuing the woman, they sent one of the soldiers to escort her back to the surface as they proceeded into the tunnels.

Finally, facing the polished door with the four pieces of the key, Arg joins the keys together and places them into the indentation.  A line appears going down the two halves and the doors suddenly spring open revealing a chamber inside.  Suddenly, all of the soldiers collapse onto the floor, asleep.  Turning around they party sees the rescued woman with eyes afire, the soldier her slave....

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Session LVI: Ball Of Confusion

I've got a few sessions to catch up on so here goes....

The party now consisted of a large number of NPCs; soldiers from the battle for Caladan, a handful of Gnarly's Mushroom-Men, a couple of priests good and bad and Blackmoor's captain, Vanir.  It was quite the unwieldy lot!

The party:

  1. Arwa (Weasly) - Wizard's guard freed from charm
  2. Arg (PC Half-orc)
  3. Gnarly (PC Druid)
  4. Skwanky (PC Halfling Warrior)
  5. Big tough Mushroom-man
  6. Not-so-tough Mushroom-man
  7. Wimpy Mushroom-man #1
  8. Wimpy Mushroom-man #2
  9. Galyn - soldier
  10. Christopher - priest of Mithra
  11. Maximus (PC Magic User)
  12. Capt. Vanir
  13. Handof - soldier
  14. Wolf (PC Viking)
  15. Nafre - soldier
  16. Thovin (PC Chaotic Cleric)
  17. Brik - Black Church Acolyte
  18. Brack - Black Church Acolyte
  19. Greyson - soldier
But these numbers didn't last too long as the party continued the exploration beneath Zadir's magical tower.  The next chamber they came across was a large open hall with a number of tall rugged cave like openings.  There was also a chest in the corner of the room which Skwanky immediately ran over to.  As the rest of the party stood guard, suddenly there was a rumbling and as a portion of the wall collapses out comes a raging Umber Hulk!

And confusion ensued!

Due to it's gaze attack many of the party were in a state of chaos either battling each other, standing in awe or just wandering off.  Not all of it was bad though as some of the confusion lead to the death of the Umber Hulk, though a good half of the party was killed including all of the Mushroom-Men and Skwanky had wandered off deeper into the dungeons.

Gnarly and Tuk the owl went off after Skwanky while the remainder of the party searched the chest and found piles of gold and another piece of the odd key to open the inner chamber entrance to the wizard's tower.

Gathering the treasure and meeting up with Gnarly and the dazed and confused Skwanky, they discovered another chamber, the floor glistening with moisture.  This turned out to be some Grey Ooze which the party thoughtfully avoided and headed back to the surface to explore the third underground entrance.

This third staircase lead them to a chamber with a beaded curtain that was impossible to part.  After much thought, Arg just ran full speed through the curtain and passed through.  On the other side, however, he was ambushed by a pack of Gnolls!

The Half-Orc fought his way through the Gnolls but soon fell from their attacks as the rest of the party formed a 'conga-line' and ran through the curtain.  Saving Arg from the death blow of the Gnolls, the rest of the party attacked the hyena-men, defeating them.

Further down the hallway they found that it ended with weird human-like impressions in the wall.  Testing these with the dead bodies of the Gnolls, it was discovered that these portions of the walls spun around and disappeared down a passageway. With no other option but to move forward through these odd transporters, each member of the party stepped into a different impression and was swept off into another chamber - a chamber with a large checkerboard pattern on the floor and a statue at the other end.  As some of the party carefully moved across the checkerboard pattern they were able to make it to the other side with minimal affect while others, for some reason, were shocked to near death by apparently stepping on the 'wrong' pattern.

Gnarly, being a wise druid, changed into a bird and flew across the hall without any ill affect.

The badly wounded party was on the other side of this deadly trap facing another hallway into the unknown...

The party at the end of the session:
  1. Arwa (Weasly) - Wizard's guard freed from charm
  2. Arg
  3. Gnarly
  4. Christopher - priest of Mithra
  5. Maximus
  6. Capt. Vanir 
  7. Skwanky
  8. Handof - soldier
  9. Wolf
  10. Nafre - soldier
  11. Thovin
  12. Brik - Black Church Acolyte

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Session LV: Beneath The Wizard's Tower

Making their way across the chaotic bloodshed that Caladan had become, our party, carrying their wounded and dead companions, enter the guarded gates of the Temple of Mithra.  Here they are healed by Father Downing, however, he refused to bring back to life Thovin who was a follower of the Black Church.  Sending them on their way to continue the fight against Utasu and Zadir the Stygian usurpers, Downing sent the priest Christopher to aid them in their battle.

Outside the temple, the party came across Gnarly who finally brought along his Mushroom-men to the battle.

Working their way across town again they sought the Black Church.  There, Thovin was brought back from the dead in the secret rituals of the Black Church but at what cost....?

So, fully healed and together again, the party worked their way back to the Merchant Guild and the Wizard's Tower.  There they found Capt. Vanir who informed them that Baron Blackmoor had slain Utasu on the steps of the guild along with his soldiers and monsters.  He then persued the pirates back to the docks and left the Captain with the task of hunting down the wizard Zadir who had retreated into the tower - which he asks for the party's assistance.

Rumor had it that the tower was raised up in a single night by the powers of Zadir.  There was no way into the polished stone tower itself but there were four domed structures each with an entrance to the underworld.

Choosing one of the domes, the large party (now consisting of our party, Capt. Vanir and his soldiers, Gnarly's mushroom men, a priest of Mithra and a couple from the Dark Church) descended down...

There they first ran into a wizard apprentice and his bodyguard.  After making quick work of the wizard and freeing the bodyguard of the wizard's enchantment (and being chastised for the mistreatment of Capt. Vanir's red shirts... er soldiers), they moved on and ran into a Manticore.  Killing the beast they found some treasure in his lair and a strange piece of metal.
 Continuing onward, they soon opened a door and were chased by a giant bolder rolling down the hall smashing to death half the party!  It took quite a while for the survivors to figure out that it was just an illusion set by the wizard and that their companions were quite alive (the silence at the table as the players found half their PCs dead was a priceless DM moment, really you should have been there)!

Moving forward they came to a dead end with a polished black wall similar to the walls of the great tower.  In the center of the wall they discovered an indentation, a portion of which matched the piece of metal they found earlier.  Figuring that it was probably one portion of a key and that the other pieces would be hidden in the other domes, they backtracked and entered the second dome.

A No-Prize for any reader that can guess what adventure
I've dropped my players into!
Following the passage they came upon a room with a large crystal ball with shadowy shapes swiming around inside.  The crystal rested upon a pedestal with four words on it. As each word was spoken, one of the shapes would fly out, take shape and attack the party member who said the word.  The first person to speak the word was Maximus the Chaste who was them mauled by a Carnivorous Ape.  Saved by the Half-orc Arg, they called out the other the monsters and killed them gaining the crystal ball as their prize!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Session LIV: Blood on the Battlefield

The true assault on Caladan begins!

Without the means of a full siege, Baron Blackmoore discussed a plan of sneaking into the city and opening the gates to allow his troops entrance.  The party was, of course, 'volunteered' for this task.

When marching down to Caladan earlier, the party had run into Jack the stable boy from the Cloven Hoof and Onyx, the blind seer.  They had smuggled themselves out of the city by paying the Brotherhood of the Black Hand.  The party felt that this would be a way back into Caladan.

At evening, the party worked themselves around the outskirts of the walled city along the farmlands looking for the shack of Barthau.

After paying the 'toll' Barthau guided them to a tunnel beneath his shack and gave them the clues to make their way into the sewers beneath Caladan along with the password to exit.

Following the proper symbols through the tunnels and only running into an Owlbear roaming the sewers, the party eventually ended up in the basement of the Dragon and Dagger tavern.  Biding their time they purchased some food and drink but it was the Halfling that was accosted by pirates and he blurted out their plan of opening the gates.  The pirates tried to capture the halfling but the rest of the party jumped in and made quick work of the pirates.  Before more pirates arrived they left the tavern and made their way to the main gate through the darkened alleyways of the port city.

Coming upon the gate, they found it was well guarded by troops, archers and guard dogs so a plan was developed.  Skwanky, the halfling, would cause a diversion to draw some of the troops after him to be ambushed by the Arg and Wolf the Viking.  Meanwhile, Maximus the Chaste would put the remaining guards to sleep. Once that was accomplished, Thovin of the Black Church would light an arrow and shoot it over the wall as a signal for Blackmoor's troops to storm the gate.

Perfect plan!

So Skwanky ran out into the street shouting " I'm a vampire, I'm a vampire!"  The guards sent their dogs after the tiny halfling warrior who lead them into an alley.  There he killed the dogs while a couple of the guards were sent to investigate. Once in the alley, Arg and Wolf slaughtered them.  It was then that Maximus enchanted the other guards to sleep and Thovin sent the signal over the wall.

Wolf tossed one of the heads out into the street to frighten the guards and charged out there in a rage hacking the helpless guards down while Arg opened the gate the let the troops in just in time as more guards arrived.  The battle at the gate was quick and Wolf, Arg and the Halfling hacked through the lightly armed pirates and guards. 

Along with the troops they battled their way through the streets of Caladan to the heavily guarded gates of the former Merchant Guild.  There before the steps of the Guild, the real battle took place as our party hacked and slashed their way through the heavily armed Stygian soldiers.  It was here that Skwanky fell, mortally wounded and Thovin fell dead before Wolf and Arg had cleared a circle. 

The battle on the streets of Caladan!
Covered in cuts, blood and gore, Maximus, Wolf and Arg picked up their two wounded comrades and leaving the battle in front of the gate to the Merchant Guild headed deeper into the city of Caladan.

Looking back they saw that the battle continued on in front of the gate with Baron Blackmoor, standing atop a heap of bloodied bodies, swinging his cosmic sword almost relishing the carnage.  The Stygians and the pirates had fallen back from Blackmoor's forces but were caught in the vengeful rage of the townsfolk of Caladan who had taken up whatever arms they were able to  find and began hacking their months of oppressed frustration onto the pirates and their dusky skinned allies.

Before turning the corner down the main thoroughfare the party saw the gates of the Merchant Guild burst open and the usurper Utasu with a small handful of his heavily armored guards along with three ogres charged Blackmoor and Capt. Vanir.  The last site they saw was a robed figure wreathed in lighting hovering above the fray....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Warlock's Halloween Viewing Part 2

Every year during the month of October, the wife and I sit down with bowls of popcorn, soda and chocolate snacks and overdose on creepy films old and new, never watched before and re-watched numerous times.  The month's first reel can be reviewed here but now on to reel 2!

Ponty Pool (2008 Bruce McDonald)
Pontypool, a little virus / human-canibal concept from Canada starts off quite engaging.  Taking place in a sound studio of a small town radio-station, the story and suspense is effectively built-up through radio correspondences and phone calls.  Think Orson Well's 1939 War of the World radio broadcast.   It seems to me that this is still an affective way to get the viewer engaged because it works here. Eventually, the outside world encroaches onto the radio station in what reminds me of John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13", even the lighting has a certain John Carpenter quality about it.  Alas, the second half of the movie looses it's steam and gets a bit odd but I have to give the story props for taking same new and interesting chances on a genre that is being beat to death at this point (see the brilliant Warm Bodies for another take on advancing the Walking Dead genre).

Silence Of The Lambs (1991 Jonathan Demme)
Does Silence of the Lambs fall into the category of a horror-film?  Well, considering that it's one of three films (Jaws and Alien being the other two) that left me in the theater drained and overwhelmed by the terror and suspense, for me I would say yes, yes it does.   No need to go into what this one's about.  I'm sure most of you have watched the psychological cat and mouse between Agent Starling, Buffalo Bill and of course Hannibal Lecter. A modern classic of suspense and terror right up there with Hitchcock's Psycho.  "I'm ready when you are Sgt. Pembre."

John Dies At The End (2012 Don Coscarelli)
A kitchen sink horror film meaning that everything is tossed in here to make an original and entertaining and unpredictable horror action comedy. With traces of everything from The Matrix and Naked Lunch to  Adventureland and Big Trouble in Little China it effectively blurs reality and other-world Eldrich horrors in a quick paced entertaining flick. You'll never look at soy sauce the same way again.

Pumpkinhead (1989 Stan Winston)
Like many of you, I grew up on horror films.  I was weened on the Universal classic monster movies, came of age with Jaws, Alien and Halloween and watched many 70's director's starting attempts at horror (Tobe Hooper, Sam Raimi).  The 80's were filled with plenty of horror films many of which left much to be desired. By then I was pretty jaded sitting through crappy 'horror' film after crappy 'horror' film (I'm looking at you Wes Craven and Jason).   Pumpkinhead was one movie that I avoided around that time, thinking it was a rip off of a dozen other attempts to scare me.  Well, this movie by puppet master Stan Winston, turned out to be quite the surprise.  A no brainer classic monster movie done with heart and horror with a creature that will rival even H.R. Gieger's creation.  Atmospheric with some standard 80's tropes slightly turned on it's head this move was refreshing entertainment.  No CGI here.  Classic rubber and latex and some mechanics from the director himself makes Pumpkinhead an enjoyable Halloween must-see.

The Evil Dead (1979 Sam Raimi)

The first time I saw this movie as a kid it scarred the bejesus outta me and that's just what I needed this night! Um.... Note to self. When going to a "haunted house" with free admission expect to have the evangelicals toss a sermon about Jebus in at the end. But that's alright, feel free to laugh at their very stereotyped scenes of horror and loudly and abruptly seek the exit during the brainwashing part at the end.  So to cleanse the filth of manipulative christians off of us, the wife and I rounded the night off with Sam Raimi's classic The Evil Dead.  Whats to say about this classic anything goes horror film starring Bruce Campbell.  Raimi would actually kick the concept into high gear in the sequel not that you would think it would be possible.  Anyways, a classic. I'll let Roger and Gene sum it up...

Jennifer's Body (2009 Karyn Kusama)
Continuing with the possession theme we have chic-flick horror film Jennifer's Body. Smartly written by Diablo Cody (Juno).  I was entertained by more than just Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried in this little miss popular possessed by a demon killing all the boys concept. I thought the fast witty dialogue by Diablo Cody, and smart characters and interesting themes  really made this entertaining and a watchable fun teen horror movie.  Worth checking out if you haven't yet.

Stakeland (2010 Jim Mickle)
I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic films. Even the bad ones I enjoy watching.  Stakeland is one of the best.  Stakeland takes place after some unexplained event left the world battling hordes vampires and follows the story of two travelers, a teen-aged boy named Martin and a man known only as "Mister" as they make their way to the fabled New Eden.  It has a very pulpy feel to it and Mister is a man living by his own moral code that will make Robert E. Howard smile.  Seriously, the way he deals with some cultists (yes, I said cultists) that rape a nun is pretty impressive and brings to mind Howard's fantasy characters.  The vampires are more dangerous than the lumbering zombies in Walking Dead as they are strong and vicious and mindless.  They are also actors in gruesome makeup and not crappy CGI effects as in Will Smith's crappy I Am Legend.  There's even a crazy 'christian' religious cult that just piss on everybody.  A very nice touch.  This post-apocalyptic world is a complex one as it takes a serious look at those moral codes, humanity and religion and mixes it up with mutant future sandbox of well thought out science fiction.  Out of all the movies this season that I watched for the first time, this one was by far the best.  I highly recommend it.

Halloween (1978 John Carpenter)
We usually watch this one every year and usually on Halloween but this year, at our local art house in Tucson, The Loft, they've been running John Carpenter movies all month.  Earlier this month we watched Big Trouble in Little China on the big screen and last night we walked over to view Carpenter's classic Halloween.  A classic that I'm sure needs no description or review here. There were many, many imitations afterwards but none ever topped the original slasher film.  It still holds up on this 35th anniversary viewing.

"And he shouts too."

 So tonight, we'll be enjoying our decorations, handing out some candy to the trick-or-treaters and enjoying Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead along with the traditional Universal monster films of the 30's.

Happy Halloween all you Home Brewers!


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