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Broom Handler Esmerelda Braves Hauntley's Estate!09:42 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011

Danger: work-in-progress, unfinished, crappy shot below.

When my dungeon game petered out, I thought I'd just make a quickie platformer for Halloween, a real simple concept I've had for years and always wanted to do. The idea is pretty simple: you're a witch, and you run and jump and all that, but the unique mechanic is that you can throw your broom, and call it back to you once thrown. At its basic level, this is your attack. But as you see in the screen above, it has more exciting uses - stick it into the floor, and you can stand on the bristles. Stick it in a wall and you can stand on the stick. Stick it in a ceiling and you can hang from it. So you need to employ those techniques (and a couple others) to platform your way around. Simple enough.

But as I started coding, I really got into the way it played and the Ghouls n' Ghosts type of look. So I went one step further! This game is going to bridge the gap between my big adventure/RPGs of yore and my action platformers of recent times. What it is, is my homage to Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night. Normally these games that feature a specific new mechanic are nothing more than that mechanic. But I thought, why? Why can't you have a fun and new mechanic attached to all the usual RPG/collection/exploration/upgrade elements? So it's an epic adventure, all in one giant castle (and the graveyard out front, the caves underneath, etc). It's got lots of juicy RPG elements (very minimally implemented so far):


What I have implemented is the random item generator, and it's way cool. Diablo-style random items with various stats and procs. I'll be sharing more info on all this stuff in the near future, because I'm gonna talk about this game a lot! I'm very excited about it.

Oh, and I don't know what the title is. I have one idea, but I feel like it's the world's most narrow parody that nobody will ever recognize. Let's just say it's the witch game for now. I'm gonna talk more about plans and things in the coming days, so stay tuned. For now, I go to sleep.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Halloween H2O09:17 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: 20 years after his supposed death, Michael Myers (a mass murderer, if you didn't know) has come back, to hunt down his sister who herself is supposed to be dead, but apparently faked it. Smells like retcon to me. Stabbings ensue.

Scariness Type: So many jump scares that they play organ stings when regular people step in from out of frame. Also a bunch of gore.

Rating: 3/5 Dumbwaiters.

Fun Fact: It turns out that supernatural killer invincibility is actually a genetic trait, as Michael's sister seems to share it.

Good Stuff: Not what I expected to see! This movie is full of real characters, like with motivations and feelings. Really strange and surprising. I was also surprised to see how Michael, except for being utterly indestructible, is really just a regular murderer. It's not only that average people can knock him down with rocks and such, but also in terms of what he is capable of. Instead of being a mindless zombie like Jason, he's out there driving cars, fiddling with door keys, and just generally manipulating his environment like a real live person. So talented.

One other really enjoyable thing was seeing the slasher story kind of played with a bit - the main victim in this movie was completely aware of "the rules". Truly a smart victim, who didn't trust his dead body to be dead. That felt really fun, and it worked both as a wink to slasher movies and in the context of the story - this woman was a traumatized survivor, she knew how it worked.

Bad Stuff: Two contradictory bad things. On the one hand, my wife was yelling at the screen "Just kill somebody already!" after about an hour, and this is a very short movie! It's almost entirely setup, with just a little bit of payoff at the end. But on the other hand, let me reiterate the good thing about the characters being well-written - the fact that they all existed just to be fodder for a silly monster felt like a big letdown. Everybody brings up real issues, all these problems come to a head, and then... everybody runs around and screams for twenty minutes.

And lastly, nothing too interesting about a guy walking around slowly and cutting people up with a kitchen knife. Once again, I defer to Freddy Kruegger and his way of making murder interesting and exciting for everybody involved.

Classic Rules of Film: You know what was fun? Seeing this after recently seeing Behind The Mask. All the classic rules Leslie Vernon discussed were on full display. I loved watching Michael walk slowly after people yet still get ahead of them.

My Take: Surprisingly good really, for what it is. Or rather, in spite of what it is - I don't think this is good at all as a slasher movie. There are very few kills, and most of the movie is just family issues rather than running around trying not to die. But it's an interesting movie and sort of high quality in a strange way. It's not great or anything, it's just a little unexpected. I'm a bit curious what other Halloween movies are like now!

Wow, that's it! A month of movies. I think it came out to 30 movies instead of 31 due to issues, but I enjoyed it all the way. I hope you had a lovely Best Halloween Ever yourself, so good night, and good luck.
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Battle Hogs Electronically04:24 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011


I attempted to make a really special BHE game this year. I failed. But it's still here in very-partial working order, and I'm not done working. You can't try it, though, because I never implemented the lobby that lets you join the game. It currently plays with a group of people who are all Jamul, instead (and only on my local PC).

So as you can guess from what I said, it's an online game! It's kind of the next step up for the Great Pumpkin's Field. More accurately, it's a top-down rendition (using your website avatars) of a WoW dungeon run. Up to five people can team up to head into a dungeon and slay monsters. Each one has a few special abilities, and you need to employ them to keep everybody alive and make the monsters dead. You click to move (that's what the green circle is, I've clicked there), and there are keys for your different abilities (the numeric keypad, or the QWEASDZXC if you prefer that side of the keyboard).

What you see in the screenshot is of course a bunch of temp art. I drew the pigs especially for it, and they're even animated, but I have no idea why I made pigs. I just didn't know what kind of monsters I wanted.

What's the future of The Hamumu Dungeon Game Adventure Experience? I really intend to make it, but I had major major issues getting it working. Not so much technical problems as motivational ones. Dealing with all-new code problems in an all-new language, with massive painful restrictions (no global variables allowed!), and making gameplay that is an entirely new style, and having to spend several hours a day on B.H.E. events... it was all more than a little overwhelming. So I stopped working on that a couple weeks ago, and moved on to something more appropriate. But I intend to come back to this project, in small bits. I don't want to commit to getting anything particularly done on it, but it's a project I've long wanted to do, and so I want to keep giving it a shot until it's either a miserable failure, or it gets its hooks in me and drives me to finish it up. I think I'll fire it up for a couple weeks in December and see if I get anywhere. In the meantime, I have other things to do...

What else did I work on? Well, that's not done either, but tune in later today to hear all about it.
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Beaten, Horses Escape.04:09 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011

The Great Pumpkin's Field was exciting as always (you can still enjoy it for the next twelve hours or so!). But this year, there was a prize! Every pony defeated earned a raffle ticket for everybody who helped destroy it. The top ticket-holder was Redbone, with 55 victories under his belt (10% of all the tickets!). SpaceManiac was a close second with 50. Most people had just one or two tickets. Yet, in the end I ran a raffle, and they didn't win it... the winning Ponyslayer this year was...

DARKGUYHADES!!

Yahoo! He had 20 tickets, so not a major upset there. Darkguyhades, send me an email with shipping information and enjoy your new Loonyland CD!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu11:31 AM -- Mon October 31, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A dangerous relic of Cthulhu is uncovered by the Cult of Cthulhu, so the Council of Cthulhu (no relation) has to send their other half of the relic into hiding, by giving it to the last remaining descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, so that the two halves won't be put together. He is of course a slacker guy, and thus, as he is hunted by Deep Ones and Starspawn, hijinks theoretically ensue.

Scariness Type: It's a comedy, with no hints at horror. There is some gore.

Rating: 2/5 Comic Books.

Awarded: Least Painful Broken Arms Ever. You just gonna let those swing around? Maybe a sling at least?

Good Stuff: There are funny bits here and there. It's also sort of interesting how heavily this movie, despite being silly, relies on the actual Lovecraft mythos. There's a cameo by Martin Starr which is really funny and nicely demonstrates how badly the rest of the movie misses the mark. It's like a ray of sunshine that illuminates the garbage heap. Oh, there are also moments early on that feel like an episode of Buffy, especially the monster costumes, so that's pretty good.

Bad Stuff: It's got some really big exposition (including one rather enjoyable animated sequence in which Cthulhu uses a severed triceratops head to stab shoggoths). There's a problem that happens when comedy tries to tell a fairly involved story, or even just make sense, rather than be silly. It drags it down and kills the fun. It can definitely be done, but it takes a very deft hand. Which is not present here. They manage to stay light-hearted all the way through, but that's not the same as entertaining.

Another big problem lies in some combination of the editing and direction. It's something you'll notice in low-budget movies, where they don't cut between things fast enough, or at the right time, making something that's theoretically very exciting actually end up looking awkward. The thing that exemplifies this is when the sea captain throws a spear at Starspawn, and he grabs it and throws it back. If you watch the equivalent scene (with a throwing knife) in Big Trouble in Little China, it's just awesome - whip-zang-whap-POW. In this movie, it's laborious and slow. These actors weren't any less agile than the ones in the other movie, it's all down to the editing and direction. And of course, if they can't keep the action flowing nicely, they're not keeping the comedy popping either. It's all about timing.

Classic Rules of Film: If you show an ancient relic that can cause the world to end in Act 1, you can't just stop the relic before it does that. It has to at least get started on it in Act 3.

My Take: Pretty lame. But it's comedy, so that's even more subjective than it would be otherwise. It may tickle your funnybone just right, but for me, it fell pretty flat. It wasn't totally stupid, and there were jokes I laughed at, but overall, not a winner for me.

Artistic Nonsense: There's something I've seen in other movies (Paul comes to mind immediately, but I know of some others... Chasing Amy is one, I think?), where a character is a struggling writer/artist/filmmaker who is totally unknown, then they go on this wild adventure (or regular old relationship issues, in Chasing Amy), and they make a book/comic/movie about that adventure which makes them famous because of course it's so interesting that everybody is enthralled. There's a fundamental hole in this premise that goes completely ignored: we just watched that movie, and it was not that amazing. It's like the movie's writers are trying to say "The story we just told is so awesome that everybody will be flocking to see it! Look, here's what that will look like!" And it's inherently ridiculous because of course tons of stories are about aliens or Cthulhu or relationships. Just because in the context of the movie, the characters actually lived this incredible adventure (which, yes, would be absolutely mind-blowing if it really happened) doesn't mean that anybody reading about it would believe that or care. They would treat it like all other fiction of that sort. I just watched Last Lovecraft - it was not amazing, and since I never heard of it before searching through the Netflix archives, I can assume it wasn't terribly popular either.

This is it! Our final movie for Halloween is Halloween: H2O! That's the spirit! Join in!
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Best Halloween Entries08:17 AM -- Mon October 31, 2011

First off, let me remind everybody that today is at last the Best Halloween Ever, so share your surprises!

But mainly this post is here to lay down results for the many assorted contests which end today!

Bite Here, Enjoy had three entries, so they all win! In first place, it's .Blue Dwarf. with his Pumpkin Goo! Second place is Happystikbeaver with Mallow-Mushrooms. Third place is Megadog's Marzipan Ghost. Congratulations + yum.


Behold Hamumians Enrobed is also over! The top costume of the year by far was The Red Baron by Happystikbeaver:


In second place was Megadog's Punk Bunny, and third place was Boneheads1999's Bouapha!

And now we know who the Best Hamumian Ever is (scores are at the bottom of that page, yeah kind of awkward and I should've added an anchor for them)! Wouldn't you know it, it's ME! But anyway, in terms of people who aren't me, first place goes to BryanSNK who just barely edged out Cheeselord in second, and third place is Megadog. Congratulations folks, and monster cards are coming your way today.

Now that's not all, because I still have to run the raffle for The Great Pumpkin's Field, so let me go get that set up, among many other things, and get back to you! From this moment on, the field no longer awards raffle tickets, so enjoy it in fun! The ponies are super scary for Halloween. You will need your friends, as well as the enormous amount of firepower the field is currently dishing out (you are welcome to idle on the page today, it gives out a weapon every 30 seconds).
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Nameless10:08 AM -- Sun October 30, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A girl's body is found after she has been missing for a while. Her parents are sad. They split up, then years later, her mom gets a phone call from the supposedly dead daughter. She begins to investigate what that means. Weird jump cuts ensue.

Scariness Type: There is some nasty torture in this movie. Most of it is just people walking around and talking, but just a few times in the movie, very very horrible torture is performed on people.

Rating: 2/5 Leg Braces.

Good Stuff: This is one of those movies where the heroes are following a trail of clues, solving more and more of a puzzle. So that's interesting.

Bad Stuff: But in the end, you don't really know anything until the last 3 minutes (literally) of the movie, during which everything is revealed and it concludes, and does so in a way I don't really like, including one villain that looks like Jim Carrey doing his Maskiest mugging. It felt kind of like I just wasted two hours if that's how it's gonna turn out. It's sort of like when a movie ends with "it was all a dream!" That's not the case here, but it feels like the same kind of slap in your face, Nelson Ha-Ha, you wasted your time watching this. A lack of arc, perhaps? A lack of redemption? I don't know exactly. It's quite the horror trope to have a movie end in some variation of "failure", and usually that's okay with me, but here it didn't feel right.

To contradict what I said in an earlier review, this also shows the trouble with adapting from a more complex source (a novel). The movie sort of skips along to somewhat random events, just to squeeze in a lot of different stuff and subplots into a movie length. There are characters that just appear and start being a part of the story out of the blue. In the end, all these things tie together (and it's all pretty simple too, which isn't really a plus), but I felt really off-kilter along the way, always wondering why this or that new thing was happening.

One last bad thing: When transitioning between scenes, for no reason at all, it will flash in random shots of things to be creepy. Like there's a girl (presumably the daughter) stuttering back and forth like broken film. Or in one scene, it's less random - a badguy is talking about how they've caught somebody in their web of deception and it keeps cutting to quarter-second-long shots of a spider crawling on a web. Yeah, on the nose again. It doesn't add anything, and it's quite obnoxious.

Classic Rules of Film: If you say your husband has disappeared in Act 1, he's probably going to turn up sometime in Act 3.

My Take: Simply put, not worth watching. I thought it was going somewhere pretty interesting as it went along, and then it failed me at the end. Man, after all that build-up of the movie not being able to play all month, and this is what I end up with?

Artistic Nonsense: Guys, it's not artistic to insert random jump cuts between scenes. It's just stupid.

Our second to last movie is next! The Last Lovecraft: Relic Of Cthulhu is a comedy. Let's hope it's a funny one!

And just to get you in the Halloween mood and all prepped for Halloween night, I'm going to tell you what our Halloween movie is to watch on Halloween, so on Halloween you should put it in and watch Halloween: H2O with me for a Halloween treat, so we can have a Halloween discussion about it! How could I resist that option? I've actually never seen an entire Halloween movie, except for Season of the Witch (Halloween 3?), twice, which was hilarious and didn't include Michael Myers at all. Or any witches. I'm assuming this will be really stupid as well. I'd probably rather have watched an old one, like perhaps the original, but they only had this one and the sequel to it on Netflix. I'm sure I'll miss all the clever references to the old movies, but oh well. Streamers can't be choosers.
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Braggarts Handled, Everybody!08:50 AM -- Sun October 30, 2011

Brag Here, Everybody is now over, and after a quick randomizing, the prize has been raffled off. The winner is Cheeselord, netting him the most amazing Monster Card of them all, the Microfish. Enjoy!
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Barked, Howled, Etc.!08:38 AM -- Sun October 30, 2011

BryanSNK is the winner of the coolest Monster Card sound in our Bark, Howl, Etc. contest, with his Happy Stick Man sound!

He is now the proud (or not, I haven't checked) owner of a Bok Bok monster card! Happy Stick Man would've been a classier prize, but it was random.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Megapython Vs. Gatoroid09:59 AM -- Sat October 29, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Debbie Gibson and Tiffany reignite the cold war of the 80's - the conflict between pop stars. Only this time, it's as an ecoterrorist and park ranger. Terrible CGI snakes and alligators, also appearing to be from the 80's, wander around in the background. Explosions ensue.

Scariness Type: Come on. Well, there's really cheesy gore.

Rating: 2/5 Walkie-Talkies.

Good Stuff: I have a few favorite moments. The first and best is when a giant python is attacking Tiffany's deputy (do rangers have deputies? She does). They ran into this python because they heard a walkie-talkie scritching, so they thought they had found the person they were looking for. She stabs wildly at the python to save the deputy, and in the process, ends up cutting a hole in it, through which a walkie-talkie just pops right out. Awesome.

Secondly, best line in the movie: Tiffany and Debbie have been fighting in the swamp (of course) and suddenly realize they can no longer hear the high-society party of people with guns (of course), so Tiffany says "I think we're alone now... there doesn't seem to be anyone around." Which you younguns won't get. Well that's just a joke for me to get!! And that last sentence was actually a reference to the commentary for the Clerks animated series, if we want to get seriously into references for a limited audience. I like to entertain myself.

Oh, but as far as stuff actually being good, I'd say the cleverness of putting that line in there is about as good as it gets. And that isn't exactly sterling.

So Bad It's Good: The effects are amazing. I know these guys don't have access to top cutting-edge techniques and gear, but even with what they had, they must have done it badly on purpose. They'll cut from a practical rubber snake to a CGI snake that looks completely different, only vaguely the same color. The acting, similarly, is absolutely horrid, and I hope nobody was actually trying to do well. There's also some great 50's-B-Movie level science going on. And my favorite thing, also from 50's movies, is where the effects are so different from the live scenes, and not green-screened over them but just shot separately and cut between. So you end up with completely random threats, like an alligator looking like it's wandering in the swamp, then suddenly a guy is being eaten by it on a street, with no chance to run. You can never tell how close or far the danger is, or how big the creatures are. They really did a great job all around making a bad movie. Kudos.

Bad Stuff: Well, it's all absolutely terrible... horrific. The worst. But let's see... what is bad in a bad way? Well, without spoiling much of the brilliant writing, I will say that the two "heroes" get lauded as heroes at the end when in fact they were both directly the cause of the entire problem. That's really about the only thing that somebody could complain about.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you explain to people that snake's heads can live for up to an hour after being severed in Act 1, then somebody is going to get bit by a severed head in Act 3 (and chopped in half!).

My Take: If you want to watch a bad movie, there's a ton of these movies by The Asylum, and they all do a pretty awesome job. Plus, they're not as boring as the 50's movies they emulate - they have a much faster pace and don't sit there lingering on pointless exposition. In fact, they pretty much don't bother with exposition. Like the awesome scene where Tiffany goes to get steroids and magic super-steroids from... some guy who does steroid research, I guess? They don't even discuss it really, he just says sure, you can have it, but don't use this stuff, it's very dangerous! And uses one science word, once. Myostatin. It all makes perfect sense that this would create Godzilla-sized alligators. Perfectly reasonable.

Artistic Nonsense: I would suggest that there's an anti-steroid message in this movie, but there really isn't. In fact, the steroids seem like a mighty nice thing! The alligators thrived and grew to enormous size thanks to the wonders of steroids. Maybe we should all take them! I guess they did point out that they can cause aggression.

Up next, we have The Nameless, at last! Hooray! Unless it stops working again. Hope it was worth the wait.
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Built Halloween Environments, Builders Handed Emblems!08:58 AM -- Sat October 29, 2011

Aaaand the results are in! The winners of Build Haunted Environments are...

Blackduck in first place,
Moltanem2000 in second place, and
Kerma in third place!

Congratulations to the top builders, and remember, tomorrow is the raffle for Brag Here, Everybody, as well as the results for Bark, Howl, Etc. so get your stories in for the former and your votes in for the latter! It's almost Halloween!
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Brainy Humans ________ (Win!)01:31 PM -- Fri October 28, 2011

It is time for the winners of "Brainy Humans _______", the Dumbwords tournament! And without further ado, the aforementioned winners are:

BryanSNK in first,
Davedude in second,
and Trex one point behind him!

Congratulations to them, and to them and everyone else, keep on playing Dumbwords and the other games, because you want to win Best Hamumian Ever! Good luck!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Forget Me Not09:47 AM -- Fri October 28, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A bunch of utterly forgettable, yet attractive and sporty, teens (AKA actors in their twenties) celebrate their graduation by getting drunk and having a good old-fashioned game of tag in the cemetery. A mysterious extraneous teen joins them, then jumps off a cliff and vanishes. One by one, the other teens become even more forgettable as they are murdered by ghosts and the other characters forget they existed. Attempted J-Horror ensues.

Scariness Type: No scariness. There is some gore, and I'm pretty sure most of the movie is supposed to be jump scares, but they failed utterly at it. It's very odd. They'll quickly cut to a scary ghost face, make a loud noise, but I'm just sitting there going, "Oh, okay, there's a ghost."

Rating: 2/5 Forget-Me-Nots. The flower, not the movie title.

Good Stuff: The idea of the killed people vanishing from memory was pretty fun. The entire world actually changed so that they had never existed, which was a bit odd. After the initial extremely-cliche beginning, I remained interested to see how that would play out as the group was whittled down, so it kept me watching. I also liked the source of the ghosts, to not spoil anything. There was an episode of Buffy that was quite similar.

Bad Stuff: But that's about it. It's a bunch of kids wandering off alone to get killed, one after another. There's really nothing else to it. Towards the end the heroine starts to piece things together and try to solve the problem, but the ending was very disappointing. There was nothing exciting about the kids getting stalked and killed, it was more like "Here goes this one. Now it's this one." No tension of "will they get away?" Well, one scene had some of that, but only because the laws of physics stopped working (someone yelling for help thirty feet away from you in a very sparse forest and an entire group can't find them?). Speaking of laws, this movie didn't really have any logical rules to the ghost stuff. I saw what they were doing, with the nursery rhyme and all, but it didn't actually tie together into anything that made sense, and in the end it came to nothing. There was no sense of "oh, this is how this works, so if they just did X, they would succeed". Nope, just random death.

Also, what an absolutely stupid rhyme. If it were more on-the-nose, it would be a pair of glasses.

Classic Rules Of Film: How many times do I have to tell you people? Don't go off alone when everybody is getting killed! Actually, this movie subverts that, by virtue of the fact that only the heroine even knows people are getting killed. Everybody else forgets they ever existed, so they never think they're in danger. Clever!

My Take: This is a total 80's throwback, to when jock teens would gather and get murdered every time they did something immoral. The heroine is of course the one girl who doesn't do anything wrong, and always looks disapproving at their drugs and drinking. They're really channeling that 80's style. On the other hand, they tried to also capture the style of J-Horror. The ghosts in this movie are ripped straight from any Japanese horror movie - people in monochromatic makeup, with distended faces, that jitter and vibrate, moving towards you slowly, unless they're far away in which case they skitter rapidly. All they're missing is long black hair. Yet somehow, unlike every Japanese horror film, they're utterly unscary. I'm not even sure how, they just have no scariness. I never once jumped even a little bit, I never cringed in anticipation that something was going to happen that I wouldn't want to watch. Whatever it is they did wrong, it was something subtle in the edit timing and sound effects, because all the factors were right, they just came out bad. It's an interesting lesson in horror design. I do know one thing they were missing: they never lingered for long enough on ghostly things before they jumped at you. They didn't give you that time to build up anticipation of when they would attack.

Artistic Nonsense: What a nice anti-bullying message. Don't pick on people if you don't want them to turn into a vengeful ghost and vanish you from existence. Very clear and straightforward. Be nice! I was a little disturbed by the ending of the movie which seems to have forgotten that this was the point.

Our next movie is the epic smash hit of unimaginable chilling terror: Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid! It's got both Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, and my sister recommended it to me! This can't go badly. I've seen Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (I think that's the title?), and that was excellent, so I have high hopes. Man, it's almost Halloween. Soon no more movies!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Paranormal Activity 209:45 AM -- Thu October 27, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A family that's really into filming themselves comes home to find their house all trashed. Instead of getting an alarm system, they decide they need cameras in every room (they really like filming themselves). Every room, because entrances wouldn't be sufficient? Eventually, after a very very long time, spooky events ensue, on film.

Scariness Type: Jump scares, jump scares, jump scares. Plus a lot of tension waiting to see what will happen. And waiting, and waiting.

Rating: 3/5 Toy Trains.

Good Stuff: I would say this is the scariest movie I've seen this month. In fact, I had some real problems with my sleep (but I also had caffeine for the only time in months, so who knows the cause?). This is a movie where it forces you to stare closely, searching the screen for the hint of something strange happening, and then when you're focusing so intently BAM! Huge noise that makes all the cats in the room jump up. I've seen the original Paranormal Activity too, and it's cool how this prequel is very strongly intertwined with it, basically expanding the same story. In effect, this movie explains why the first movie happened, but leaves you wondering why this movie happened. The third movie just came out, and I read a review which indicates that it wraps the whole thing up (it's a prequel to this prequel). That's really nice, rather than just random scares. This isn't Friday The 13th Part 2 where Jason goes and kills some different people, this is all one cohesive story.

Bad Stuff: The very primary issue I have with this movie is much worse than the first movie: their obsession with filming everything. The first movie kind of made an issue of it that was unrealistic, but not extreme. The husband was really into his camera, and when they decided they were being haunted, he was dead-set on getting footage of it. It made sense, and there weren't too many scenes where I asked "Why are they filming this?" In this movie, pretty much every scene has you asking that, except when it's security camera footage, when instead you are asking "why did they get cameras instead of an alarm or just calling the cops and making sure they locked their doors from now on?" It seems very contrived. The worst scene for me was when the daughter was sitting and reading a website on her laptop. Her boyfriend films her doing it, for absolutely no reason. When she passes him the laptop to read a passage for himself, he trades her the camera so she can film him doing it. Now that's home movie excitement! I also liked when the daughter would wake up at night because she heard a noise, and she'd use the camera (recording, of course) to light her way as she looked around. Who doesn't do that? Light switches are so inconvenient. These people went through a lot of hard drive space.

Also, much like the first movie, the final supernatural events are very hokey and ridiculous, after all this creepy leadup. Overall, I think the first movie was notably better and scarier, though I don't remember it all that well, so maybe I'm wrong.

Oh, wait, I was wrong about what the primary issue is. I can pretend like I'm suspending my disbelief on all their filming. The real biggest problem with the movie is the waaaaaaaiiiiting. I totally get that the individual scenes need to leave you sitting and staring at nothing for a while so you're shocked when something happens. But did I need to sit through sixteen days of nothing more than maybe a clunking noise happening once or twice, before something dramatic occurs? It's really painful how long it takes for this to get going, and they could've cut out almost all of that leadup. The characters are established in a few scenes, and the rest is just padding. What I honestly think is that the story is just too simple. To get that story told really only takes about fifteen minutes, so they had to pad that out with as much regular home life and tiny little oddities as they could to reach proper movie length. This, I think, is the biggest flaw in the movie. It'd make a much better short, though it would lose impact if you were being hit with freakout after freakout.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you have a hispanic maid, you can bet she knows all about the occult, especially your particular issues. She just does.

My Take: The good and bad pretty much covered it. It's a scary movie, with a ridiculous format, though the format is what makes it feel real and therefore scary. There's really nothing to the movie other than the scares, no character development or interesting plotline, although I confess an interest in seeing the third just to find out how it all happens.

Our next film is Forget Me Not, another ghost story! It's graduation weekend, and people are vanishing, vengeful ghost style.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Skeleton Key09:17 AM -- Wed October 26, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Deep in the swamps of Louisiana, a girl gets a job doing in-home care of an old man who's had a stroke and can't talk. The man's wife is not too keen on hiring her, but needs the help. They have no mirrors anywhere in their house. The girl is quite curious about what's up in their attic. As you can imagine, bad hoodoo ensues.

Scariness Type: There's a few false-scare jumps (somehow they managed to avoid having a cat jump out and hiss at people though, it's amazing how much cats do that in movies), but otherwise it's just tension and mystery. This is more of a thriller than a horror movie.

Rating: 3/5 Chicken Feet.

Upsetting: I wasn't scared by any monsters, but I was sure horribly uncomfortable seeing how intensely flooded their yard got when it rained. I don't know if that's my California sensibilities, or the fact that my current yard is very adversely affected by heavy rains (and like in the movie, I live on a dirt road), but it causes me great discomfort.

Good Stuff: There's a mystery, and you really don't know what kind it's going to be - are there ghosts, is the homeowner out to get her, is it a curse, did she poison her husband, what's the deal? And in the end, it's a little more complicated than all of that. There are no big shocks and surprises, but it does twist around a fair amount, and the movie you see in the end isn't what you thought you would be seeing at the beginning. So that kept my interest going as things kept changing. I feel like I'm not giving it enough credit, because I like what the twists ended up twisting to. No big shocks, but fun minor surprises. While I don't want to see the movie again, it is interesting to think back to earlier scenes and see them in light of what I know to be true now. And as I like to point out when a movie is kind of middle-of-the-road, it's got good acting, sets, lighting, all that big-budget Hollywood pizazz that's pretty much a given with a big budget.

Bad Stuff: In the end, I know I just said it twists around a lot, but it's also rather predictable. Not over the whole arc, but when a new piece of information comes your way, that information pretty much leads right where you'd expect it to. I was kind of counting on a big turnaround at the end, but I didn't get that.

My Take: Nothing really wrong with this, it was reasonable experience. It's a true 3/5. It works, it's okay, it's not pointless and flat, it has a twisty little story to tell, which is better than a lot of movies that are just straightforward from beginning to end. I don't have much else to say. It's just okay, and I'm glad it is of sufficient twistiness that I don't want to spoil it.

Artistic Nonsense: This is a pro-skepticism movie. Don't believe in things without evidence, or bad things will happen. That's just plain good advice.

Our next movie will be Paranormal Activity 2, which finally is one that I know will be scary, because I saw the first one! I wasn't super crazy about it, but it was quite creepy. I guess we're straying dangerously close to mockumentary territory again... it's a "found footage" movie, a la Blair Witch, but you know, those are probably the scariest kinds of movies. They feel real.
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Best Hamumian Ever!08:19 AM -- Wed October 26, 2011

Just like I warned you every time a contest ended... we now have the Best Hamumian Ever Tournament Of Champions! This is not a new contest, it's just a combination of your scores on the existing contests (adjusted based on how many points can reasonably be scored in each game, so that they all contribute about equally to the score). So go forth and do as well as you can on all four games in the contests! You can check the current rankings at the bottom of the BHE page.

On October 31st, the winners will be announced. First place receives 3 random Monster Cards, second place gets 2, and third place gets 1. These monster cards are totally random, except that they are guaranteed to be ones you don't own yet.

If you are curious about the exact calculation for this, it's ((dumbwordsScore*500)/200)+((tagScore*500)/30)+((wordSearchScore*500)/40000)+((pirateScore*500)/40000).

In other news, today is the last day to send in Halloween Horror worlds! So get to it!
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Vote Here, Enjoy!09:58 AM -- Tue October 25, 2011

It's time to vote for your favorite Halloween treat... Vote Here, Enjoy! We've only got three recipes entered, so everybody will win. Now go pick which one will win first place!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Spider Forest08:53 PM -- Mon October 24, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Er, I'm not really sure. There's this forest, and a guy stumbles across some bodies in a house in it, then gets beaten down by another guy, then stumbles out into the street where a car hits him. Confusion, altered realities, and marginally successful recuperation from cranial damage ensue!

Scariness Type: There is gore, even one of those lovely (and so realistic) fountains of spraying blood. Mostly though, this is a very confusing mystery, not anything trying to scare you at all.

Rating: 2/5 Hand Scythes. Believe it or not, the same rating scale is appropriate twice in a row.

My Take: I can't do the Good Stuff and Bad Stuff and all that this time... I'm just too confused. The first hour of this movie was completely disconnected, all strange events that didn't seem to fit with the introduction. It was flashbacks within flashbacks within stories being told within flashforwards (I don't think it really had that many layers at once, but it did have all of those things). It wasn't until more than halfway through that the threads start pulling together. Thankfully, they did pull together, and it all manages to make a sort of cohesive sense (well, sort of), even if I don't entirely understand the conclusion. It's doing a certain type of story, that I've seen more than once before, but the end result just doesn't click together for me this time. I know when you mess with time and ghosts (which, I believe we've discussed, are essentially the same thing!), that you can be left with things that the viewers watch, but they didn't officially happen in the final outcome. We have that here, but also some arbitrary changes that seem meaningless.



I have an interpretation of this movie, and if you don't want to be spoiled, skip to the next paragraph. Ready? Okay, I'm not actually going to tell you anything, I'm just going to say that this is the same story as the movie Stay in several ways. So if you haven't seen that, I have spoiled nothing, but if you have seen either this or that, I've spoiled the other. I liked that movie, it fit together nicely and didn't leave me so confused. Hooray for movies made for dumb Americans!



So anyway, yeah! I don't really stand too strongly by my rating. There was a lot of complexity here (and a foreign language to deal with, and making dinner, and my cats interrupting me like five times to deal with their issues, and two phone calls), and I'm afraid that I'm rating it lower than it deserves. It's a fun and complex idea, so if it really does all come together in a good way for people who are smart enough to get it, then it deserves a much higher rating. But part of my low rating is also because it takes forever to get going. I was interested in all the threads they were dangling and the hope of getting to tie them together later, but it just felt like an awful lot of backstory and setup before anything really happened. That may have been the interruptions talking though, so again, not too sure of my rating.

Hmm, to help me write this, I scanned some Netflix reviews just now and I see a common theme in them that helps explain the confusion: it's repeatedly referred to as being in the tradition of David Lynch. There you go. Confusion is to be expected. Although to my credit, I clearly understood things a lot more than some of these reviewers... wow. One of them is particularly amusing, but I guess you'd have to watch the movie to appreciate it.

Tomorrow's movie is nice simple American fare that's made for idiots like I like it! It's The Skeleton Key, in which a hospice worker finds a key that unlocks some kind of secrets. Fingers crossed for some sort of scares. Come on movies! I can take it!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon07:28 PM -- Sun October 23, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A documentary team is contacted by someone who's hoping to make himself the next Jason, Freddy, or Michael Myers (in a world where all those guys, even including Chuckie apparently, are real). They follow him around, recording his preparations and inevitable serial killing. Friendly banter ensues!

Scariness: Not really! There is gore, but amazingly little. There are also a few things that are intended to be jump scares, but really aren't shocking at all.

Rating: 5/5 Hand Scythes.

Awarded: The Scream Award for Excellence In Mocking Slasher Films. This is really what Scream should've been. Scream worked in that it was a fairly comedic slasher movie with a few little pokes at the 'rules', but this movie truly deconstructs and satirizes the slasher genre.

Good Stuff: This could've been very plodding, if the serial killer was the typical Jason type. Instead, when he's out of character, he's just making dumb jokes left and right and constantly chattering, keeping things very fun. The steps he goes through are amusing and make a great joke out of real slasher movies. Since the whole thing takes place in a world where those guys are real (but not supernatural - they just plan really well), there's a lot of fun with that premise, like meeting his friend from an earlier generation of slashers, who's now happily married to a very supportive wife, but still likes to spend time in his sensory deprivation tank, to train himself to fake being dead. The entire premise is completely ridiculous, because all the things he sets up and plans are pointless, unless you're trying to make a horror movie. This movie just glosses over that with a wink, with everybody acting like it makes perfect sense to walk towards your victims, but do lots of cardio so that you can do that fast enough to keep up with their running.

Most of the movie is in the documentary format, but every so often it will switch out to "reality", only reality is a total slasher movie, with the background music, polished look, and vapid characters. It's really fun how it will switch from very realistic banter in the documentary to suddenly showing a real world in which everybody acts completely cheesy. The movie does a whole lot with its premise, and you're basically grinning the entire time because everything is a little bit ridiculous but done in total seriousness.

Bad Stuff: Unfortunately, in the end it does pretty much boil down to a generic slasher movie after all the more inventive setup. There are some twists to that, but they were fairly predictable, and it's sad to see some of the characters making really dumb choices like they would in a regular slasher movie. Then again, maybe that's the point - this world wouldn't exist as it does if the people in it didn't act like slasher movie characters!

Classic Rules of Film: If a journalist is warned not to talk to somebody in Act 1, that journalist will be nosy like they always are in Act 2!

My Take: It's yet another really great movie showing up during this month! It's been a very successful month in movie-picking. I was expecting to plod through all kinds of garbage, but I think I've been hitting a lot of good stuff and I didn't think I'd find any truly excellent movies, but I can name at least three so far off-hand! Hint: they're the ones I gave 5/5 to. So yeah, great movie. Just a lot of fun, much like Vampire Girl yesterday.

Artistic Nonsense: This movie actually contains a fair amount of artistic nonsense of its own, where Leslie explains some of the psychology behind his plans (which really means the psychology behind slasher movies, since he's performing one live). You can just go watch it and hear the nonsense for yourself!

Our next film will be Spider Forest, a Korean movie about a guy who goes into a forest (I can't imagine what the forest's name might be), and then emerges with unexplained wounds. Presumably, explaining ensues. Also of note is the fact that The Nameless appears to be playable now, so I will probably slip that into the coming list in place of a movie that is very unscary that I have planned. I really want to watch a bunch of scary stuff and stop being sidetracked with the horror-based comedy and unintentional comedy. I love those movies, but they feel like cheating.
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Begin Hamumu Entering!09:38 AM -- Sun October 23, 2011

Today is the first and biggest deadline day! Bark, Howl, Etc. I think was supposed to be in before today, but I'll let you get them in all day today too. Behold Hamumians Enrobed must be in today! Get that costume photographed! Build Haunted Environments also is over tomorrow morning, so finish making your levels today! I will be closing all these contests tomorrow morning when I wake up, so get them done in less than 20 hours!

In slightly later deadline news, Bite Here, Enjoy ends a day later, so you have all day tomorrow to turn that in, and Halloween Horror 12 ends the day after that.

Let me just tell you, with the tiny number of entries in all these contests, you're almost guaranteed a prize if you enter! There is one, I won't tell you which, where you could be the second person to enter, guaranteeing at least second place! Of course other people might enter too... but then that's the point of this paragraph, I'm using clever psychology to trick lots of people into entering. So enter now! Don't worry about doing something awesome, just do something!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl05:08 PM -- Sat October 22, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Hmm, let's see... A new girl transfers to school and turns Jyugon into a half-vampire by feeding him her own blood. She wants him to become a full vampire and stay with her, but his previous girlfriend wants to keep him. Her dad happens to be the vice principal as well as a distant relative of Dr. Frankenstein, so you know... fountains of blood ensue.

Scariness Type: Oh, it's not scary. But there is more blood in any one of these students than in the entire student body of any other school on the planet (and rarely does it stay inside the student for long - understandable given the pressure it's kept under). The gore is off the charts, but so utterly ridiculous and bright and colorful that it's hard to be disgusted by it.

Rating: 5/5 Helicopter Legs.

Awarded: The US Government Corn Subsidy Award. Thank you, Japan, for using every ounce of corn syrup our country can produce, in a single movie!

Good Stuff: This is Scott Pilgrim on a small budget, except for the tons of gore. It's absolutely cheery and exciting, and never slows down. It's also very directly based on a manga, to the extent that you can almost see the frames of the comic as they happen. If you want to know what you're in for, just remember that: It's exactly like Scott Pilgrim with more violence (the plot is totally different, though). There are innumerable parallels. And that's definitely a good thing. I absolutely loved Vampire Girl, she was just the peppiest vampire since Harmony (without the attitude). Oh, and the movie was dubbed, which generally is a bad thing, but it was dubbed perfectly for what it is, and the actors had all kinds of personality. A couple of lines fell flat or were read wrong, but the vast majority were just hyperactive anime insanity.

Also good: the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing. There are ribcage flails, blood roller skates, helicopter legs, a walking eyeball, a wrist-cutting competition, the cutest drop of blood you've ever seen (which gets the biggest laugh in the movie), and... oh yeah. Something that's ridiculous but goes in the other list.

Bad Stuff: Hoo boy... remember how we discussed racism back in Nine Dead? Whoa. I'll just say you'll know it when you see it in this movie! It's of course done with good cheer like everything else in this movie, and I was definitely laughing, but whoa.

There are also a couple of musical montages that go on about a minute too long each. Other than that, it'd be hard to find things to complain about! The effects are mostly quite bad, but that's more of a plus than a minus in this context.

Classic Rules of Film: If you show a single drop of blood on the floor in Act 1, someone will have to chase it around with a mop in Act 2.

My Take: Definitely see it! See Bloody Mallory, then see this (no relation, it's just that it's still Best Movie Ever). It might be bad if you faint at the sight of blood, or at the sight of oceans of blood raining down while people twirl in delight, but if you can handle extremely fake blood in extremely large quantities, you would have a very hard time not enjoying this movie.

Also, I'd like to say that this is effectively the third version of Let The Right One In I've seen now. This one is a bit sillier than the other two.

Artistic Nonsense: This movie offers a cogent theme that we can all understand: Don't take candy from strangers.

Tomorrow's movie is our third mockumentary overall and our third super long title in a row that makes tweeting difficult, Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon. It's supposed to be good! I probably should get back to movies that actually attempt to frighten at some point.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Birdemic: Shock And Terror09:24 PM -- Fri October 21, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A guy drives really slowly, then walks really slowly, then talks really slowly as he somehow romances a model for no apparent reason (maybe his "one million dollar" deal was the key. He did give the client a 50% discount though, so I don't know if that's actually a 500 grand deal, or it was a two million dollar deal before the discount). Birds hovering nearby noisily ensue.

Scariness Type: You know how The Birds would've been scarier if the birds hadn't actually moved, except for when they occasionally divebombed into buildings and exploded in a ball of fire? It's that kind of scary. Also BEWARE OF GLOBAL WARMING.

Rating: 2/5 Hybrid Mustangs.

Good Stuff: There are quite a few individual moments that stand out as excellent, but they're a little hard to describe. Probably the best is the very first scene that contains dialogue (after about ten minutes of driving with nothing but music and credits). That's when you really know what you're in for. After that, I'd rate the first time you see the deadly birds in action (which is about forty-five minutes into the movie...) as the second best moment. It comes at just the point where you're reaching for the remote to turn off the movie because, funny as it is, it's just gotten too boring. Then everything kicks into gear, and it's bird city. Brilliantly done. The birds "attack" by hovering near things and screeching incessantly. Except when they dive into things and erupt in a ball of flame. Other highlights include the explanation of how birds killed by bird flu can't attack you, but they're attacking because of global warming; the terrifying and incredibly realistic CGI forest fire sequence; and of course all five minutes of "Hanging Out With My Family", the classic R&B hit performed live to which our heroes did The Robot.

Bad Stuff: It's awful. Absolutely horrendously horrible. If that's what you are in the mood for, get watching! But have something else to do, because there are long stretches that will bore you to tears. Even though you'll have a smirk on your face for the entire time you're bored. The most fundamental element of bad movies is lingering too long on something, and you'll know halfway through the opening credits that this movie consists almost entirely of that. You'll get to experience the wonders of unlocking a front door, walking out to a car, starting up the engine, backing it out of the driveway, and even driving (slowly) as far as you can before it's out of sight. But don't fret! Because then we'll cut to another street and watch it drive down there too!

Classic Rules of Film: Don't sit there on a scene for five more seconds after everyone stops talking!! This movie does not follow rules.

My Take: Okay, what I really want to say about this movie is that it's a JOKE. I looked around at various reviews for it and I haven't seen one yet that acknowledged this. They all seem to think that this just happens to be an unbelievably bad movie, done so poorly that I have seen at least two different people unironically state that it's worse than both Plan 9 From Outer Space and Manos: The Hands Of Fate. I declare that these people were fooled. Yes, it's terrible, and it's entirely possible that the makers really did lack talent. I'm fine with that. But they made it this bad on purpose. There are a lot of little clues, but the main character's incredibly slow driving and awkward-and-slow walking are among the biggest. That could only be intentional. So many other things were there that just would never be done on accident, like showing a scene of him driving to work in which he stops to get gas in the middle, gets it, and continues on. Like with Thankskilling before it, I honestly can't tell how talented the people making this were because they're (possibly) untalented people, acting like they are untalented.

It's one of the great Zen koans: When a bad actor intentionally acts poorly, can you tell?

I'd also like to point out that there's a Rifftrax available, and if you want to see this movie, I would strongly believe that adding the Rifftrax for a mere $3.99 will enhance your experience dramatically. I just checked out the sample for it on their website (I recommend you do too! It's not Hamumu-appropriate, however), and it seemed great.

Artistic Nonsense: There's a little bit of a theme you just might pick up after you sit through the multiple five-minute rants about it... apparently global warming is BAD. Now I just picked that up from the subtext, but I'm telling you, it's in there! You just have to pay close attention.

Our next film is Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, a Japanese movie that couldn't possibly be bad, based on the title alone.
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Brainy Humans ________10:49 AM -- Fri October 21, 2011

Could it be another webgame tournament?! It sure could! Come by every day and drop in a word, it's the fastest game on earth, and you will win 50 Yerfbucks if you have the highest score on October 28th. 25 Yerfbucks for second place, 10 Yerfbucks for 3rd.

Don't forget to keep working on your scores in all the other tournaments, even though they're over...
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Last Exorcism09:32 PM -- Thu October 20, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A priest doesn't really believe in exorcism, but he's been doing them anyway, with the thinking that he's giving people peace of mind and it's worthwhile. Since reading an article about a kid getting killed during an exorcism, he's changed his mind and decided not to do them anymore. To make that extra positive, he's taking a documentary crew to one final exorcism, so they can see how it's all fake. Contortionism ensues.

Scariness Type: There are jump scares and gore, but the main thing that really had me creeped out was just the fear of what might happen next. I kept half-averting my eyes just in case something horrible was going to happen. I don't know if this was scarier than the other movies or it's just that I watched it alone at night... I tend not to, just because I don't want to have to write these reviews late, but it really seems to be effective. I probably should be doing that.

Rating: 4/5 Nice Boots.

Good Stuff: This is our second mockumentary (not sure that term applies to non-comedy, but it is indeed a mock documentary...), and that has a certain appeal. The plot really works here, where it has a bunch of layers, and you're constantly guessing whether it will turn out all real or fake (not real real, but real in the context of the movie, if you follow me). There's a certain point by which you're convinced it must be real, then a later point where that's turned back around. Then it twists around more! That certainly kept me interested. And the events of about the middle third of the movie had me trying not to watch, because it was some scary stuff.

There are basically three endings to this movie. The first one I was like "ooh, that's a really cool ending!". I liked how it worked and what it relied upon (the vaguest sentence ever written, but spoiler-free!). The second one twists that around and I was like "OH SNAP", and I really wish it had ended not there exactly, but that it had continued with that revelation and concluded accordingly (I can think of a couple fun final scenes for that). I was all amped up for that. But then there's the final ending, and I'm not gonna complain, it was exciting and enjoyable, but it certainly throws away any ambiguity we had previously, and takes the whole story in a pretty wild direction. I don't know, it was definitely interesting, and a truly good ending, but it took away the ending I was so excited about, so I begrudge it.

Bad Stuff: Unlike Lake Mungo, there was never any feeling that this could be a real documentary. It's too slick, the camera is too convenient, and the characters are too 'charactery'. No awkward slips of the tongue, just good clean acting. That's all okay, because if they hadn't done the documentary format, that would've been perfectly fine, so you can just let it go, but I give Lake Mungo credit for pulling it off a lot more realistically. However, back to Good Stuff, there's one scene that really takes advantage of the documentary format in a clever and disturbing way.

Speaking of unrealistic, the part where the priest is doing his exorcism, intercut with showing off the tricks to the camera crew, I don't buy that for a second. No exorcist in real life, no matter how big a charlatan, uses portable speakers and other big tricks like that in the room. First of all, you'd have to get them in and out undetected (it's never explained how he removes them). Secondly, hearing actual demon voices (out of tinny computer speakers!) would immediately convince anybody in this modern age that it was all fake. And it's so incredibly risky anyway. Somebody will spot your wires and tools one time, and then the jig is up. It's about subtlety, people. That's how I do my exorcisms, anyway.

Classic Rules of Film: I've got a good one here, the classic "show a gun, then it goes off later", but it's not any sort of weapon, and I can't tell you what it is, because it'd be a big spoiler.

My Take: I can't shake the feeling that I've actually seen this movie, or rather the second half of this movie, before. Only my memories are so vague that I wonder if it was just deja vu, or possibly some kind of behind the scenes special I caught in a hotel somewhere. I don't know. I must have! This is eating at my soul like a demon. Oh well. I enjoyed it, if being creeped out and disturbed is enjoyment. The plot was a lot of fun for me, I'm a big plot guy. Give me twists and mysteries and things that connect together later and I am just a happy camper. And you know, as an added bonus, the scary stuff in this movie basically ended about fifteen minutes before the movie did, and the rest was more interesting than scary, so it let me relax on my way out of the movie. Without feeling let down either. Well played, Last Exorcism, well played.

Artistic Nonsense: Ah, the skeptic vs. the supernatural. In fiction, it can only end one way. In reality, it can only end the other. Kind of silly really. There were points in this movie where I was almost cheering because it seemed like they were going to actually go out on the realistic path, without making it just a fizzle-out. On the contrary, the ending I wanted most would have been a huge earth-shattering conclusion, and I think all the stronger for not having to resort to magic.

Our next movie is going to be Birdemic: Shock and Terror. From what I've read, it appears to be just about the worst movie ever made, so I'm pretty excited. Also apprehensive, because that can often lead to extreme tedium, but I'm just rooting for awful effects, fast pace, and nonsensical acting.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Nine Dead07:52 PM -- Wed October 19, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Somebody runs around town tasering and kidnapping people at random. Or is it random? The nine kidnappees wake up locked in a room together and are told that one will be killed every ten minutes until they can figure out why they are all there. Deaths ensue, at ten-minute intervals.

Scariness Type: There's gore, of course, due to all the shooting, but this really isn't a horror movie. It's a psychological thriller.

Rating: 4/5 Blue Masks.

Awarded: The Miss Manners Medal for jamming more racial slurs into one minute than a KKK rally. That's just one specific minute, most of the movie is not like that.

Good Stuff: A couple days ago, we got Topanga, and now it's Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Well, I don't know if that's really a good thing, but it happened (she didn't do badly at all, so good on her). There's also a Lesser Baldwin in a very tiny cameo. The good here is the movie. It was totally engaging. I even forgot I was going to get up and make dinner halfway through. The movie consists almost entirely of people in a blank room talking to each other, not even able to directly interact because they're handcuffed apart from each other, but that's all you need if you've got a fun script of things for them to say. I was kept guessing and thinking and evolving my opinions of the characters, and that's all good.

Bad Stuff: This may be a little controversial... You see, American movie casts are almost exclusively white, almost always with one or two token black people. The race of the black people usually comes into play in the movie in some small way, as it does with the token black guy in this movie. That's not usually too extreme, but it does kind of bother me how it always has to be an issue instead of just treating everyone the same. What gets me though, and is almost a constant in movies, is what happens if there is an Asian in the cast! Somehow, none of the other people can control themselves from spewing an endless stream of racist epithets. Well, there's always one who doesn't - The Virtuous Hero. These movies make it seem like keeping yourself from mocking Asians is an absolutely angelic trait, and hey, if you drop a few insults, well, we can't all be perfect! It's really honestly disgusting, and this movie lets it rip. It's to the extreme (in many movies, including this one) that it doesn't feel realistic at all. I don't know what your life is like, but the last time I heard someone publicly use an anti-Asian slur is absolutely memorable for me. It was a drunken rant by a frat boy in my freshman year of college. It was shocking enough that I remember it clearly thirteen years later. People just don't do that. Of course, I've never been handcuffed and threatened with death, maybe you get rude. Very specifically rude.

In other bad news, the ending of the movie was kind of a letdown. Not a big one, it had its twists and turns and excitement, but it felt like it should have been bigger. And most of all, the very last instant of the movie, as the credits roll, that part I don't understand at all... were they trying to set up a sequel? It didn't seem like it, it just seemed like they lost the footage of the scene that should've followed and just shrugged and shipped it out anyway. It's not even that what happens is wrong or too open-ended, just how they showed it, like they're fading out in the middle of a scene.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you are an evil person and you put a mask on, it will magically lower your voice three octaves and make you sound the same as every other serial killer. I even remember an episode of Bones where the killer in question was a woman and this worked. I think she used actual technology to do it rather than a rubber mask, though.

My Take: There are really two kinds of mystery stories. In one, the clues are there, and you can piece it together - they're usually far too obscure for you to do that until moments before the detective announces whodunnit, but it's theoretically possible. The other kind simply doesn't give you all the facts. You just hang around until the detective solves it and then say "ah, that was interesting!" I think the best mysteries in film are ones you can solve yourself. Both because you can feel smart if you do, and because even if you don't, you can still look back at the movie and say "oh right, I should've caught that!" That's a ton of fun, almost making a movie into a game.

Well, this movie is the latter kind. The information to solve the mystery is contained entirely in the characters' heads, and you aren't going to get it until they say it. But I won't complain too much, I had a blast watching the pieces gradually fall into place and being tantalized at ten-minute intervals with the thought that the solution was right around the corner. There's plenty of moments where you can still feel smart and figure things out, like noticing when somebody is holding back a key piece of information. It's fun, just good old-fashioned fun.

Artistic Nonsense: Fun is art! This is not high art of any sort, but it's fun.

Our next movie is The Last Exorcism, which has an intriguing premise. A priest is letting his last exorcism be filmed, where he plans to unveil how he's been faking them all along. Of course, you know what happens next.
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B.H.E. W.I.N.N.E.R.S.!08:15 AM -- Wed October 19, 2011

The B.H.E. Tournament is now over, and we can crown some winners! Of course, the most winnerer person was none other than ME! You like my acronyms, you really like my acronyms! Well, that was kind of a tortured reference... anyway, I am stepping aside despite enjoying the positive response to my acronyms (and being super surprised!).

That makes the winner Flutechick with 50 Yerfbucks! The second place was a tie between Lennyjaxn and Hammered. And while I should end it there with two second places, why not keep it rolling and say that third place was a tie between Cheeselord and BryanSNK. Enjoy your yerfbucks.

And to them and everybody else, you probably guessed this, but the B.H.E. tournament scores will keep accumulating all month, so it might behoove you to keep earning points.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: R-Point11:05 PM -- Tue October 18, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: During the Vietnam war, a platoon of soldiers vanished in the jungle. Six months later, another group is sent out to find out what happened to them. Turns out it was something bad. Bad things re-ensue.

Scariness Type: Just a lot of ghosts and a middling amount of gore. Not really anything to make you jump, just spooky jungle.

Rating: 3/5 Helmets.

Awarded: United Nations Language Award. First the Vietnamese girls are speaking English to the Korean soldiers, who reply in Vietnamese, then the Korean Daniel Jackson is translating a Chinese gravestone into Korean shortly before his buddy receives a radio call in French.

Good Stuff: It's a high-budget fancy war movie, really looking realistic. The spooky stuff also looks really good, like the sets and such. The whole thing just feels like it's going to be great. And if my interpretation of what happened is right, what happens is pretty interesting.

Bad Stuff: That's just my interpretation because I don't know what happened. I'm sure language and culture are part of this, but I had a very hard time understanding what was going on. There's an entire subplot revolving around the leaders knowing more than they are telling the subordinates, but I never understood what they knew (if it was "evil ghosts are killing people", I don't think they would've volunteered for the mission). Another issue is that the soldiers are wacky and bumbling. There were several cases of somebody just not paying attention while the entire squad moved on, and then they were left behind trying to find where they had went. That seems pretty unlikely.

And lastly, one scene in particular stands out as a "whaa....?" It's the classic "somebody is sitting there and gets dripped on. Surprise surprise, it's blood. Let's sloooowly look up and see..." which is fine, except in this case, when the guy looks up, ten gallons of blood are dumped right on his face like it's You Can't Do That On Television. It doesn't make any sense at all (there's just a dead body up there, like there is in every movie that does this), and it's a total slapstick moment as he kind of sits there with a dumb look on his face.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you show a few dozen guns in Act 1, they better all go off in Acts 1-3.

My Take: I went in feeling good about this, then the mysteries started to pile on top of each other and I thought "Cool, I like when I don't just know everything", then they started piling on higher and I began to realize that not all of the mysteries were intentional, or going to be resolved. The entire climax of the movie is kind of inexplicable to me (well, feel free to explicate, if you know!), because it revolves around a character suddenly acting like he's got things all figured out, and I can't understand what it is he knows, or how he comes up with the strategy he does. I do feel like I missed something major, and it could be as simple as the Korean equivalent of "if you see a vampire, you know you need crosses and stakes" - maybe if I had the right cultural background, I too would've seen this particular brand of ghost and thought I knew what to do. Nonetheless, coming from my perspective, it just didn't work at all, resulting in a big letdown.

Obviously I can't divulge my interpretation of what it all meant without spoiling it all, but I can tell you that my ears really perked up when they radioed in and started discussing Private Chang. That is the key to my whole idea, as is the Keyser Soze-esque beginning of the movie. If what I think happened happened, then yay, very cool movie. Too bad it's not clear enough that I can tell, so boo. Makes me want an American remake, actually.

Artistic Nonsense: All the languages in this film actually did get me thinking about how soldiers always pick up significant chunks of the language of the area they're in, how war kind of builds its own odd version of community in that way. When a base is built, suddenly all these foreigners are working in close contact with the locals and they both pick things up from the other, in terms of language and culture. Then they all get blown up! It's the circle of life.

The next movie is Nine Dead, which I saw a recommendation for about a year ago when I was seeking out a specific type of movie: movies about people being trapped by unknown forces in an artificial situation and having to work out an escape or solve a puzzle. I like those kind of movies. Examples include Cube, Exam and House Of Nine. Apparently nine is the right number for such a scenario. The Saw movies are obviously like this, but they kind of take it a different way, a bit less appealing and a lot more severed limbs (I liked the first one quite a bit though!). So yeah, it's one of those. Maybe.
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Boys Have Entertainment!04:34 PM -- Tue October 18, 2011


Our latest Boys' Life game is out just in time for the Best Holiday Ever! It's a... let's see... high-speed survival platformer? It's fun, it's fast, it's brutal (touch anything bad and DIE), yet very forgiving (super short levels and instant respawn). Plus it has ghosts that show you how you failed! And sheep.
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Bring Healthy Eyes! Winners!10:30 AM -- Tue October 18, 2011

The Bring Healthy Eyes contest has concluded! And the winners are... Cheeselord in 1st place, Sonicchaos1993 in 2nd place, and... what's this? ME! in 3rd place! I suppose I could bow out though... making Sol Hunt third place!

As always, I point out that you should be still working to max out your score in Bring Healthy Eyes. The scoreboard will remain up all month and it might serve a purpose.

B.H.E, the TAG contest, will be ending tomorrow. After that, our next deadline is for both the Costume Contest and Bark, Howl, Etc., on the 23rd. We've got no costumes yet, so if you enter, you win! If you send anything for any of the BHE contests, I will reply immediately, so if you haven't heard from me, I haven't gotten your email.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Gamebox 1.004:34 PM -- Mon October 17, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: You know what, I'm just gonna leave the trailer here for you. Enjoy!

Scariness Type: The horrific realization that the human race is utterly doomed if nobody in the entire process of this project ever said "Okay, let's just stop now and go do something else." Terrifying.

Rating: 2/5 Health Icons. This is a tricky review to write. As an actual film, this is 0/5. I'm giving a 2/5 for the ironic enjoyment it can provide. It's worth watching for the unintended humor value, if you have a very high tolerance for horribleness (or a PhD in Horribleness).

Awarded: NO AWARDS FOR YOU.

Good Stuff: Probably the most realistic portrayal of video game testing ever. You see Charlie, the main character, just sitting there holding left on a controller and watching his character spin in the game, bored out of his mind. Also, there are a couple self-referential bits that try to elevate the work, like when Charlie's friend invites him to a double feature of Videodrome and Existenz, two infinitely superior versions of the concept of this movie. When you see a moment like that, you think that there was one intelligent person forced into working on this because of gambling debts, and he slipped that in to make fun of the rest of the crew. It was probably the gaffer. It's always the gaffer.

Bad Stuff: This movie came out in 2004. My suspicion is that it was actually filmed in 1982, but held back until 2004 because good taste prevailed for a while. This would require a time machine because Danielle Fishell (of Boy Meets World! Again it comes up!) is an adult in this movie, and they are testing XBox games. Still, that's more plausible than people in 2004 saying "Yeah, that looks good enough!" when making the effects in this movie. It really is beyond description. I'm sure if this was ever released anywhere but Netflix, it was on some cable channel in the middle of the night. Or perhaps the afternoon, because it looks exactly like an after-school special, except instead of trying to teach you a lesson, it tries to destroy your soul.

Oh right, I was supposed to list the bad stuff. Well, there's the acting, the directing, the effects (#1 on the badness list right there! See trailer above!), the camerawork, the lighting, the editing, the writing, the stunts, and uh... what other parts do movies have? Oh, the gaffing was really good though, so again I think the gaffer was probably a smart guy. He sure knows how to gaff.

Classic Rules Of Film: The poor guy who played the badguy in this is never ever going to get to play a goodguy. Poor guy. Also sad for him that he was in this.

My Take: My jaw was just dropped for the entire movie. Starting right when it opened with green "cyber-font" writing typing onto the screen with a clicking sound, all the way up to the brilliantly written and perfectly logical concluding shot.

Artistic Nonsense: This is how I think this movie came about... I think it was made for a "family" TV channel, as a clever moral lesson about the evils of videogames. After all, the entire concept revolves around what is effectively videogame addiction (the main character is stuck in a game and can't get out). The moral's slightly undermined by the fact that (spoiler alert!) if you just are good enough at videogames, you can win and escape! So practice practice practice!

Tomorrow's movie will be far better. It doesn't matter which movie it is, it will be. It's R-Point, a Korean movie about bad things happening to a team of soldiers in the jungle.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Baby's Room08:08 PM -- Sun October 16, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A husband and wife move into an old house with their infant boy. Is it ever a good idea to move into an old house? They hear scary stuff through the baby monitor, then figure they ought to try a video monitor instead. Bigger problems ensue. In Spanish.

Scariness Type: Some jump scares, general creepiness, and not much violence, but one specific scene that is just cringeworthily brutal.

Rating: 4/5 Baby Monitors.

Awarded: The More Brutal Than Jason Award. That's more a fault of how incredibly weak and lame Jason X was, though. There really is just one thirty-second scene that this award is being given for.

Good Stuff: It's an interesting and unique premise, nothing as simple as a ghost in the room. On top of that, I've seen similar ideas before (I guess I can't say what that idea is...), but this is the first time I've seen them play out in quite this way. There's certain expectations you have in this kind of story, and those were not met, in a good way. Surprises are always better than cliché.

Bad Stuff: For about the first two thirds of the movie, things were kind of slapsticky rather than serious and gloomy. But once you get into the last third, it really kicks into gear! There's also a non-sub-plot where the husband hits on a girl at a shop (or doesn't really hit on her, but tries to act cool anyway and then later very specifically doesn't tell his wife about her). There's nothing wrong with that, it just felt kind of odd that that was happening and yet never figured into the plot in any way. Just a little romantic comedy aside.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you say you think your life might be too perfect in Act 1... well, yeah, we all know how that's gonna go.

My Take: Right about the two-thirds mark, this movie really takes off and gets very suspenseful and exciting. It's almost like that's the actual movie, and they padded out the script with the lead-up stuff just to make it feature-length. In terms of the plot, and some of the sets and costumes plus the fact that you see those sets and costumes through a black and white video monitor, it's actually pretty reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode.

Artistic Nonsense: I don't know if there's anything of artistic merit to say here, it's just a pretty solid scary movie. I guess there's a lesson about always checking with the local hobo ladies before moving into a creepy old house, but you can learn that lesson from every haunted house movie ever made. Except one... I forget which. I think Poltergeist maybe. That one had a nice new house instead.

Our next film will be Gamebox 1.0, which is in the time-honored genre of "people getting sucked into video games". Those movies are always stupid, and I expect no different this time! So excited!
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Bark, Howl, Etc.!07:53 AM -- Sun October 16, 2011

Another contest has arrived!

We're covering all the bases this year, so if you're an audio expert, now you have a chance to win with your skills! Check it out.

In upcoming deadline news, there are 2 days until Bring Healthy Eyes wraps up, so get to the top! There are 3 days until the end of B.H.E. (the awkwardly named contest, not the entire event) so make sure you keep playing that every day. And you better be working on your costume! There's one week left for Behold Hamumians Enrobed, and no entries yet!

If you want to keep track of all the deadlines, visit the BHE page for a handy chart. It's always updated when new events begin.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Lake Mungo08:24 PM -- Sat October 15, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A girl drowns in a lake (oddly, not Lake Mungo). Her family begins seeing her ghost around the house. Documentary ensues!

Scariness Type: The creepiness of realizing there's a ghost over in the corner of a video. Real creepy and nervous-making as you start looking at the dark corners of your living room, but there are no jump scares or gore.

Rating: 5/5 Wicker Chairs.

Awarded: The Where's Waldo License Was Taken, So We Made This Instead. Seriously.

Good Stuff: This is a good movie! It's not a super 5/5, more like just a little too good to be 4/5, but that's still a definite recommendation. It's done entirely in documentary style, but not Blair Witch vomit-cam, more like a real documentary, where they go around interviewing the people involved, intercut with clips from videos the subjects have recorded themselves and so on. It's really perfectly executed in that regard, beyond the "we sure are lucky they filmed all that stuff!" aspect you always find with a fake documentary. It continues along building the story just as a documentary would. If anything, it's too documentary - it's like a documentary about something more mundane, where one about a ghost like this would be much more sensationalized and trying to freak you out. This just seems to take it all pretty much in stride. Anyway, it's all believable and realistic, and tells an interesting story along the way.

Bad Stuff: The story isn't that interesting. If this were actually a documentary, it'd be fantastic, but knowing that they made it up, it's kind of like "couldn't you have made up something more excessive?" It's still interesting enough though, and it's got some... not really twists, but elements that stand out from other ghost stories and give you something to think about. The story does zig and zag quite a bit, in the unexpected ways you'd get in a real-life story as opposed to a fictional one. And here I am saying good stuff in the Bad Stuff section, so it must've been good!

Classic Rules Of Film: We're breaking all the rules baby!!

My Take: Good stuff, interesting and creepy. Make sure you watch through the credits, where they show a bunch of little bonus shots. It made me want to go back and watch again to see if the bonuses were accurate. Wait, I will! I'm checking now... Yep! It's kind of fun. And it adds just a tiny little extra to the story as a result.

Artistic Nonsense: This movie is a fine example of just how fine the line between horror and tragedy is. Like The Disappeared, this is almost entirely just a movie about people being sad that someone died. The ghosts are just a metaphor for the grief of the living. I don't know why I enjoy movies like that, but they do tend to work for me!

Our next movie is The Baby's Room, in which I predict we will see a crib at some point.
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Beware Hamumu's Errors!01:46 PM -- Sat October 15, 2011

Hey, remember how the updated version of Dr. Lunatic came out earlier this week? Well, at long last, the source code is available! You can download it if you own the game, via My Downloads.

A few comments on this. First of all, only the source code is free to use. The sound, graphics, and music are not. You can either make your own graphics and sound, or make an EXE that you share with people who already own Dr. Lunatic to use with their files. Let me repeat that one more time: You cannot distribute the sound, graphics, and music of Dr. Lunatic to anyone! You can share the demo freely, but only in its full, unmodified form.

Second issue: You can do whatever you want with the code! Go nuts and enjoy. You can use it in commercial products if it's somehow useful for that. I'd love a credit in your creation, but you don't have to give it.

Third issue: It's very bad code. Yikes. Don't make fun of me. It is actually the first "full-sized" game I ever wrote, about 15 years ago.

Fourth issue: I offer no help whatsoever. Please don't ask me about the giant stream of errors you get trying to compile it. I'll tell you this: It was built with Allegro v4.4, and it's written in C++. I was able to compile it with MSVC8, which is free from Microsoft. I believe SpaceManiac used MINGW, also free. So good luck!

I don't know what you can accomplish with this odd assemblage of code, but that's up to you to figure out. Have fun!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Undead09:12 PM -- Fri October 14, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A vampire comes to town and wants to put on a play he's written. But according to ancient vampire lore (you all know this one, right?), he can't do that unless a human director presents opening night for him. So he hires our hero, who casts some of his friends. Toil and trouble ensue.

Scariness Type: Maybe you will laugh to DEATH! No, it's not that funny really. But it's definitely not scary.

Rating: 3/5 Holy Grails.

Awarded: Most Celebrity Lookalikes. I swear, there were only two real "name" actors in this movie (one being the Karate Kid, and the other Jeremy Sisto), but everybody else in it instantly reminded me of some very famous actor. The vampire was a cross between Paul Reubens (who is well known for his vampire portrayals), and Robert Downey Jr., the hero was Jason Biggs, his girlfriend was Drew Barrymore, his best friend was ... oh, the guy I always call "Boy Meets World's Friend", his dad was Eugene Levy, and Hamlet himself was a young blonde Michael Ian Black. Maybe only in certain moments. And maybe "very famous" is a stretch in some cases there. But people I recognize immediately anyway. It was weird, not something I've seen before. Actually, I semi-recognized the girlfriend as herself (Devon Aoki), but she was really pulling some Barrymore stuff here. There were really no characters where I didn't at least go "Oh, he's acting just like... hmm... who is it..." It became a fun game.

Good Stuff: Well, it's a comedy, and it's very ridiculous. It has a fairly unclear silliness level, occasionally dipping into Hebrew Hammer/Airplane levels of totally random, other times way up in the high-falutin' romantic comedy range, but it is always making some sort of joke, and so it's pretty entertaining. Some jokes are pretty good, some are kinda weak. Jeremy Sisto's performance is really amusing to me. He's just being totally ridiculous for no reason. You can tell the director really wanted them all to just get crazy and not worry about acting real, just acting funny.

Bad Stuff: I am no thespian. I never read Hamlet, and I've never seen it. I am pretty sure that that greatly diminished my ability to appreciate this movie. Just from how it was going, I suspect it was constantly referencing Shakespearian things and Hamlet in particular. For all I know, the entire plot was a parody of the play (probably not though, there was nobody going crazy, and I know that happens in there somewhere). It's definitely the kind of movie theater majors make for their friends to get. Kind of an inside joke for drama geeks. But not a college project like Thankskilling, this is a real movie with production values and everything.

One other bad note is that the plot seemed kind of random. I couldn't really guess where it was going just because it went weird places, not following typical storytelling. I am suspicious that this is again because I don't know Hamlet.

Classic Rules Of Film: If someone hands you a pen in Act 1, warning you that if you are in a play about Hamlet and vampires you need to call the number on the pen, you better call it in Act 2, just in case.

My Take: Comedy's a tricky business, and that's where the 3/5 rating comes in here. It was funny, but not funny enough. Definitely not bad, and it's a high 3/5, but you know, I have comedy standards. I guess I don't have much else to say. It was a very silly movie, which is nice. I think very Dumb comedy is the most appealing, where they don't really worry too much about how real people would act and just go nuts.

Artistic Nonsense: Oh I don't know. Like I said, I don't know Hamlet and I think I missed a bunch of artistic nonsense as a result. Let that be a lesson, kids: read your classics, or you won't get the subtext of horror comedy!

Our next movie will be Lake Mungo. I think that's down the road from Sam's Lake.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Disappeared06:20 PM -- Thu October 13, 2011

This is a movie review, so beware of mild spoilers. I won't go nuts, but if you want to be totally unspoiled, skip it!

Synopsis: A kid goes missing, causing his brother to go nuts, attempt suicide, and get committed. Once his brother is stable enough to be back at home, he begins to hear strange things, then see strange things, and then mystery ensues.

Scariness Type: Jump scares and general ghosty creepiness around.

Rating: 4/5 Lighters.

Awarded: 2nd Place in Most Depressing Movie Featuring Ghosts (just behind The Sixth Sense).

Good Stuff: Boy, mystery does ensue. There is a lot to piece together, and for a good portion of the movie, new clues are intertwined with new questions. I spent a lot of time just wondering which characters were actually alive, which is always a good sign unless it's because of their acting. The movie also looks and sounds good - it's got acting and whatnot like people like.

Bad Stuff: It's very slow, especially the first half hour which could've been boiled down to one scene: "This guy misses his brother and feels guilty." Many many shots of him moping around about that. Then ultimately all that mystery that the movie is so full of doesn't lead to that interesting of a conclusion, or a very dramatic climax. But it's pretty solid. Oh, the final 'big twist' didn't seem like much of a twist either, since I had been shouting the thing they revealed all along.

Classic Rules Of Film: I actually have a good thing to put here, but saying it would be a total spoiler. It's a different type of rule even, not the gun-going-off stuff! Oh well, watch the movie, then we'll talk.

My Take: I was pleased. As I mentioned The Sixth Sense above, this has a lot in common with that in terms of tone and pace and style. It also has the mystery of what ghosts are asking for and all that. It's a good movie. Quite depressing, and it almost jerked a tear from me, so it really does a good job showing people truly feeling a loss.

Artistic Nonsense: In good genre fiction (I don't know why "genre" by itself means fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, but it does. Maybe because those are the only genres worth paying attention to!), what it all boils down to is a totally human story that just uses the trappings of magic, ghosts, or rocket ships to get you intrigued enough to pay attention to the feelings. This movie of course has crime stuff and ghost stuff, but none of that actually matters to what it's truly about. It's about the sadness of losing a child. I don't really know that it can teach you anything as a result, it's more like just "Boy, this is pretty crappy, huh?" Like it's commiserating with you, if you've dealt with the same stuff. Or rubbing it in your face. I wouldn't want to see this movie if I had had similar experiences!

Tomorrow's movie is Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Undead. That should be interesting. P.S. In WoW, my friend and I made a pair of Tauren Death Knights named Holsteincrantz and Guernseystern that adventure together (actually, they're slightly modified versions, because both those names are one character too long for WoW). See, they're death knights, so they Are Dead! They're Undead too, but that's a separate issue, we named them for more classic reasons before I ever knew this movie existed. Boy, we never play those two. Ever. That's sad.
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Booty? Hauled, Everybody!08:54 AM -- Thu October 13, 2011

So, it's a week later and the booty has been hauled. The top scoring booty haulers are...

Pete with 55910!

Sonicchaos1993 with 48296!

And Stop its hammer time with 47705!

(So sad for BryanSNK with 47569... two more Kiwis and he'd be there!) So, Yerfbucks are being dished out, and to all of you, winners or not, keep on hauling booty. You may find there's a good reason to be as high up on that chart as possible later...
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Bots, Hacking, Etc.07:23 PM -- Wed October 12, 2011

Because this kind of thing happens regularly (and more than ever lately!), I want to share my stance on this stuff. If you are using a bot on Hamumu for any purpose, or trying to hack into the site, you are being at best extremely annoying and at worst extremely destructive.

It's not cool, it's not helpful, it's not a funny prank, and it breaks games for everybody as well as forcing me to spend my time developing enhanced security rather than more games. It wastes the bandwidth I pay for, it ruins the fun of games people want to play, it wastes my time making blocks to prevent it. I mean we can see it happen in the people getting mad about the bot playing Great Pumpkin's Field today. You're ruining the game for people and turning people off of my site. If you have something against me and want to hurt me, you're doing the right thing. If you want to help me out and help the community in some way, you're doing it wrong.

At various times in the past I've had a bunch of people come to me and say they hacked something on the site (usually meaning they found a file that's not supposed to be seen publicly), and they think they're helping me. You're NOT HELPING. The only people who have ever "hacked" this site are the people who thought they were helping me out. I don't need to put in safeguards for what you're doing because you're the only one doing it! If you'd stop "helping me", no such safeguards would be needed!

And to clarify, that doesn't mean you shouldn't point out if you see something broken or you stumble across something that you shouldn't be able to get into. By all means, let me know. I can't verify everything on the site myself and I rely on reports from the users. This is a message for people who are performing attacks on my site and my games, not people who innocently hit something.

It's a terrible dirty feeling to discover someone hacking around the site. Compare it to your house. Do you want masked people prowling around your yard just testing all the window locks for you? Or stealing your car to point out to you that you shouldn't have left the keys in it?

I can't tell you how crappy my day is when I spend a couple hours of it at war with one of my friends instead of making fun stuff. I understand that I have to battle people. Spammers show up, angry ex-members appear and try to trash the site. Those are fights I'm happy to have, I will slay the evil (well, I'd rather nobody attacked me, but I feel good about taking them down). But when my friends show up and force me to engage them in an electronic cat & mouse game, it's absolutely infuriating! Why am I wasting my time fighting battles against the very people who supposedly appreciate what I do?

So this isn't a message for evil people who want to mess with my site. Those people will do bad things because they want bad things to happen. This is a big, bold, strongly worded message to all you young programmers who are using my site as a testbed for your programs, all you white-hat hackers who are looking for exploits, and all you petty vandals who just want to get some "lulz" (hello, comment spammers), everybody who thinks they're helping or just having fun via non-sanctioned channels. What you're doing is harmful to me and to the community at large. I hope people will sign on to this in the comments, but the recent Great Pumpkin thread should be evidence enough. People don't like what you're doing, and I know I don't like it.

Key tip: If you want to help somebody, ask them if you can help. If you have to do your helping in the shadows behind their back, odds are they don't want you doing it. I'm not EA, some monolithic entity you can't speak to that operates a faceless website with an army of engineers preparing it for cyberwar. I'm just a guy running a site on my own, and I respond to any question you have. Maybe there's some cool bot you want to run that I wouldn't mind. Seems like asking me would be the polite thing to do.

Hamumu Rule #1 Since Day 1: BE NICE TO EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME. That includes me.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Tales From The Dead06:42 PM -- Wed October 12, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A woman has allegedly killed her husband, but was acquitted. Her car breaks down in the woods, and another woman picks her up and drives her home, regaling her with ghost stories along the way. Clearly, ghost stories ensue.

Scariness Type: There are some super mild jump scares, and that's about it.

Rating: 3/5 Black Widows.

Awarded: The Turning Japanese Medallion (I really think so). I found this movie completely unconfusing right up until the end credits. That's when I discovered that this movie was made by Americans, and filmed in California, despite being entirely in Japanese and only including Japanese actors. I'm still trying to figure out how that works. I guess they heard there was money in the Japanese film market? It does explain why their crime scene tape said "DO NOT CROSS" in English. I noticed a credit for "Script Translations", so it was even written in English.

Good Stuff: I have a soft spot for anthology movies, and I appreciate them being tied together. In this case, the actual ghost stories weren't tied together, but there was the wrap-around story, and it kind of all worked together. For the most part, the stories were fun to watch and short enough to keep you hooked, very light fare without a hint of scariness. I don't think a 6-year-old would be frightened by the ghosts in the first story. Of course a 6-year-old probably wouldn't watch a subtitled movie.

Bad Stuff: Low-budget and a fair amount of cheese. It was kind of like a 50's movie in terms of people acting intensely stricken by events, and lots of shots of the shadows on the wall behind them (also about half of it was black & white to enhance the feeling). It felt like a few Twilight Zone episodes, especially the third ghost story.

Classic Rules Of Film: Oddly enough, if you show a gun in Act 1 (of a flashback scene inside one story inside the movie), it doesn't have to go off at all. Instead, you can fire a different gun in Act 3 (of the flashback)! Come to think of it, maybe that was the same gun. I would go check, but I'm too lazy.

My Take: Let me break it down a bit. There are three ghost stories in here, plus the wrap-around story. The first ghost story was kind of fun, a little bit of a Twilight Zone twist. The second story was just dumb, no real twist beyond "ghosts can get revenge" which is kind of the point of ghosts. It also featured the perkiest detective in either California OR Japan. The third story was totally silly, but it was a true Twilight Zone episode. There's really no reason it had to have anything to do with ghosts, it was more about this other weird concept I won't spoil, which of course turns around and bites the protagonist in the end in true Twilight Zone style. It really didn't fit the movie, mainly because this woman was telling stories of things ghosts had told her, and out of the blue there's this whole... I don't know what to call it, but a new and unique supernatural concept just pulled out of thin air for that one story. It just seemed out of place. Like it's too much mythology for a generic series of ghost stories, and if that mythology exists, the other ghost stories could've been peppered with it for some added flavor. I could certainly see it affecting how they turned out.

Artistic Nonsense: The storyteller seems to think she's sharing these stories to make a point to her passenger, but I'm not real clear what it is. I guess the first story (which features the teller herself) is a nice piece of information for later, in terms of her motivations. But the other stories are just random stories. Or are they just too deep for me? That's probably it.

The Nameless still refuses to play. Our next movie sounds close enough though: The Disappeared. Can't have a name if you aren't there, right? It's about a guy who begins to have visions of his missing brother.
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B.H.E.08:51 AM -- Wed October 12, 2011

It's time for B.H.E.! That means a T.A.G. tournament! Like the other Halloween tournaments, this one runs for 7 days, and the prize is 50 Yerfbucks (25 for second place, 10 for third place). Make sure you play every day for the next week, or you'll have no chance to win!

Because of how T.A.G. works, this one was a little tricky to set up. Firstly, I'm hoping it's working right. Secondly, it works like this: Acronyms entered starting today (the 12th) count toward your B.H.E. score. You'll still have voting to do today, which is not for B.H.E., it's just from the previous day's acronyms. The acronym entered on the 17th will be the last one for the contest, because then on the 18th, you'll be voting on the one from the 17th, and on the 19th is when the results from that voting get added in. T.A.G. may be a simple game to play, but it's complicated to work with! Just remember to keep entering acronyms and voting, and you'll keep scoring!

Also, even though today is normal, the theme is much more appropriate starting tomorrow!
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Batman Has Ended03:31 PM -- Tue October 11, 2011

To interrupt the constant stream of BHE announcements and contests, I thought I'd talk about the game I finished a few days ago. Batman: Arkham Asylum. Amazing! I haven't been this hooked on a game in years, it's like going back to Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper (it's actually a lot like Sly Cooper). It's just fantabulous and everybody should play. It's got everything you could want - there's a good story, great graphics, nifty voicework (you can overhear dozens of different conversations between the thugs that tell you what's going on as well as letting you know there are thugs around), and several different really cool games all executed perfectly. By that, I mean it feels like multiple games all combined.

The main game is Metroidvania - you roam around this island figuring out how to proceed further, looking for ventilation shafts you can sneak into, or high ledges you can grapple up to. Of course, in true Metroidvania fashion, you gradually accumulate new methods of getting around, so you can go back to earlier areas and explore further. And there are little hidden "riddles" to find, which you'll constantly be backtracking to reach with new powers. The Riddler has placed these all over, but calling them riddles is a biiiig stretch. They are collectible question marks, but there are also other things that are a bit more riddley, like having to take a picture of something based on what he says (for example "I hope you SEE what Tweedledee and Tweedledum SAW", so you look around until you find a see-saw, and take a picture of it), or trying to align two pieces of a question mark in your view, then take a picture. I love those ones.

Then, as you're exploring, you come across a group of thugs. This is the second game. You beat the crap out of them, in a practically-one-button fighting system that actually feels really satisfying and fun. There's also a second button, which you use to to counter enemy attacks (super easily, I like that), and a third button for a 'stun attack' that you almost never use, and you could complete the game without, once you learn how to leap over guys and hit them from behind. Anyway, this is your usual brawling, but implemented in an awesome way that makes you feel super powerful as well as giving you a ton of options at any given moment, and a lot of stuff to do. As you go, scarier sorts of thugs appear, with knives or stun guns, and so there are constantly new techniques you have to employ.

The third game is stealth action straight out of Metal Gear Solid, only better. This is what happens if the group of thugs you come across happens to have guns. The game changes completely, because they can kill you very quickly. So instead of running up and punching them, you hide in the rafters, drop down and scoop them up. This is by far the coolest part of the game. It's also the best stealth implementation I've played. You've got no radar because you don't need one. If you get seen, it's not fatal, you can lose your pursuers in maybe five seconds at the most (on the other hand, you can also die in five seconds, so don't get seen). There are probably over a dozen ways that you can take enemies out and it's amazing how much variety there is. I didn't even know about some of them until I played Challenge Mode after winning the game and taking guys out in these special ways was among the "Challenges" it offered me. You can catch them with a grappling hook and yank them off a ledge, you can sneak up on them and do a sleeper hold, you can plant explosives so that a wall explodes on them, you can glide kick from the sky and slam them down, you can zip down and scoop them up and leave them hanging from a gargoyle, you can detonate a sonic batarang to blow one up (you can only do that to one guy in each area, so choose wisely...). And it's all very organic, they're just walking around this room, and you look at all the tools at your disposal, time their movements, and take them down.

Oh yeah, the best part about stealth is how the guys freak out as they realize they're being wiped out. When it's down to the last guy left, he's so terrified he'll occasionally shoot at the walls, and constantly turn back and forth, looking in every direction. This is extra cool because it serves a gameplay purpose - the more the guys freak out, the harder they are to deal with, so even though there are fewer guys, it's still tricky.

But never too tricky! That's the best thing in the game. It's constantly fun and interesting, and never gets too hard! Man, I can't remember the last time I've beaten a final boss without being horribly frustrated. It also only sends you back a very short way when you die. And not just fun, and not just easy, but also always new! The game just goes on and on with new events and situations. There can't be more than about five minutes of gameplay between each 'major event' in this game (unless you spend twenty minutes hunting for riddles like I always did). And you'll be going along, thinking you have everything down, when suddenly The Joker throws something new at you, like snipers or giant super-thugs.

Downsides... Killer Croc's Lair is just stupid. Outright video game stupidity, in the classic "too long doing the same thing and one mistake will kill you" vein. On the flipside, it includes several interesting events, with a bunch of different change-ups to the action. And it's not nearly as long and dull as other games would have. Other downsides... hmmm... I'm trying... it's too awesome? It ends too soon? Hey, the sequel is coming out next week! Whoo! Oh wait, I do have another actual downside. Detective Mode (basically X-Ray Vision that highlights important objects for you) is far too useful, and there's no reason to ever turn it off except during brawls. Why is that so bad? Because in Detective Mode, the entire world is monochromatic and weird-looking. So you spend about 80% of the game not seeing what the game actually looks like. Every time I actually turned it off I was shocked at how cool everything looked.

There's so many other little things I could fanboy about with this, it's just amazing, but I've said too much already, judging by the giant wall of text. It's really just a big ball of perfection the likes I haven't seen in gaming since... Portal I guess? I'd much rather play this though.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Sam's Lake03:21 PM -- Tue October 11, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A group of city folk head to a cabin in the woods (by a lake, duh!). Surprisingly, going to a remote cabin in the woods, in a horror movie, turns out to be a bad idea! Stabbing ensues.

Scariness Type: Not much really, but it's got some jump scares and a little teeny bit of gore.

Rating: 3/5 Logging Poles.

Awarded: The Excellence In Being Different Award. It's a teens-in-the-wood slasher that defies formula on many occasions.

Good Stuff: The characters are not one-dimensional, not entirely. I kind of wonder if a lot of the dialog is ad-libbed because it's got some odd moments of authenticity and awkwardness you wouldn't expect. Could just be awkward writing though! The main good thing is that there's a couple real twists that make this very different from the slasher movie you are expecting (it's still a slasher movie, just not the one you expect). I won't spoil what they are for you, which means there's a lot I can't talk about!

Bad Stuff: The actual slashing that occurs is not interesting in any way. Every kill is just stab-stab-stab. In fact, I'd say once the craziness kicks in, there's really nothing interesting that happens, it's just "let's go there, uh oh there's a killer there, run away!" until stab-stab-stab. On the other hand, there's also nothing really interesting before the craziness either... by which I mean that there's a very long stretch of movie which is just getting to know the characters, not even connected to the actual plot. The interesting bit is really just a tiny little tidbit in between the boring yak-yak-yak and the boring stab-stab-stab. That makes it sound worse than it is, because as I rated 3/5, it's pretty mediumish, once you factor in the differentness. Oh, one last bad: what is up with that ending?? They did succeed in not being cliche, that's for sure, but in doing so, they made nothing at all happen. I'd rather have a cliche than a lack of excitement!

Classic Rules Of Film: They followed the rules here. If you're gonna show and discuss a logging pole in Act 1, somebody's getting clubbed with it in Act 3. I actually spent the last quarter of the movie just waiting for that to happen, and I was not disappointed.

My Take: In a way, this is what I've been searching for in Belittling Horror Excessively, and it's what I was shooting for with Jason X and completely didn't get. Just a bunch of young adults getting scared, running around, splitting up, and then getting hacked up. That's how really lame horror is supposed to work, and here it did. As an added bonus, there was the unique plot element or two that really make it stand out. I don't know that I'd really recommend this, but it wasn't a bad experience, so why not? It's also just about the most tame movie I've covered here. If they bleeped out a few words, they could show this on network TV! Maybe they have, I don't know.

Artistic Nonsense: I can't offer much by way of goofy themes without giving anything away... I guess here's a list of handy tips that this movie and a thousand others teach you: First, don't go to remote woodsy cabins. Just don't. Second, when you do, don't split up. I mean come on! Third, pay attention to your surroundings, carry a rape whistle, and possibly a shotgun. These are key. Fourth, if the creepy small-town folks say "It's dangerous around here this time o' year..." in a creepy way, maybe that's not the place to visit (see tip #1 on that).

I tried to watch The Nameless both yesterday and today, but Netflix is still refusing to show it to me. I guess we'll consider that day a failure, but I'll try to slip an extra movie in sometime. For now though, tomorrow's movie will be Tales From The Dead, which I have been looking forward to all month! It's a Japanese movie that is actually a set of four short stories. I think it's four. Anyway, that will be loads of fun whether it's good or not.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: ERROR ERROR #212:04 PM -- Tue October 11, 2011

I tried to watch last night's movie, The Nameless, but Netflix wouldn't let me. It was working just fine, except for that one movie - it kept saying "We are unable to play this movie right now. Try again later." So we watched some other shows, and kept re-checking, but it never worked.

So I will be trying to watch that again today, and also the next movie, which is Sam's Lake. That's about a lake, owned by someone named Sam.
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Bring Healthy Eyes!12:00 PM -- Tue October 11, 2011


Remember this goofy little game? Well I think it's fun! And now I challenge you to take it on. Just like Booty Haul, Everybody, what we have here is a one-week high score contest on the Hamumu Word Search. And just like that one, the winner gets 50 Yerfbucks, second place gets 25, and third place gets 10. So start searching those words!

Other fun facts of note: your Profile tab on your Dumb Page contains all your exciting BHE statistics for the month. You can also spy on the competition by visiting their Dumb Page. Also, the BHE Page now has a handy calendar so you know when things are due or ending. Which means I should remind you: our first deadline is fast approaching! Booty Haul, Everybody ends on October 13th, in two days! So haul your booty over there and earn some points.
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Bouapha Heralds Entertainment!07:27 PM -- Mon October 10, 2011

Good news, everyone! Actually, it's big world-changing news. First of all, major credit to SpaceManiac, who did this work...


Dr. Lunatic has been updated to work properly on modern computers without any weird color issues or whatever! There are lots of other little tweaks in the code that are improving other issues (like as an example, the notorious add-on world limit has been massively upgraded). But the big news is that the game now includes The Expando-Pak and Fun Pack! So it's big and juicy and fun and cool. I have all the old add-ons still (they were taken down since the packs they required weren't available, and Supremized version were available), and I want to get those listed up on the site again, but it'll take a while, since I have to go through and find out who the author was for each one.

Now you're probably asking, what's the point? Who needs an upgraded Dr. Lunatic, when Supreme With Cheese is all anybody plays? Well the point is that this was the testbed for the conversion process. Assuming he doesn't run away, SpaceManiac will be converting all the other big games too! Things are going to be much nicer all around with lots of modern functionality and much-needed tweaks. It's exciting to know this stuff actually compiles nowadays.

Oh, and one note/warning/request for help. Please check out the demo version, and if you own the full game, download the new version from My Downloads and check that out. If you encounter any problems, let me know. This is actually a pretty darn untested release because of the tight deadline we had to work on it (lots of bugs fixed this very afternoon). So if you have problems, don't fear, we will fix them ASAP, we just need to know about them!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Thankskilling06:14 PM -- Sun October 9, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Some college kids get together and make a movie for film class. Unfortunately, none of them passed screenwriting class, and they did quite poorly in drama as well. That's not the plot of the movie, it's just how it came to be. Ridiculousness ensues.

Scariness Type: There's gore, but it's absurdly cheesy.

Rating: 2/5 Teepees.

Awarded: A C+ for effort by their teacher. But they probably forgot to put their names on the paper, so they lost ten points.

Good Stuff: I can't deny having fun watching this. It's about 50/50 whether I would've turned it off if I didn't have to finish it for B.H.E. It's got a bunch of funny moments, but...

Bad Stuff: ...it's very hard to tell when they are trying to be funny and when it's due to incompetence. It's extra tricky because they are intentionally doing things poorly for more comedy (this is a straight-up comedy, not trying to be scary at all). So the real challenge is figuring out where the acting-bad-for-humor ends and the acting-bad-because-you-can't-do-better begins. And I have no idea. So I just roll with it and enjoy it. It reminds me a lot of the kinds of things I made in high school with my video camera. Equal skill level. I found the stuff I made funny because my friends and I were in it. I bet the makers of this movie had a blast!

Classic Rules Of Film: If a hermit's dog dies in Act 1, that hermit better come back to make a stupid joke about it in Act 3.

My Take: It's fun to watch, but probably only once. I don't intend to go back. It's not So Bad It's Good, it's So Bad It's Mildly Amusing. I guess the hard part in that equation is that this movie is trying to be funny, which isn't really what you want in a So Bad It's Good scenario. You want poorly done earnestness. They succeed to minor degrees with the comedy every fifteen minutes or so, but that's not so bad since the rest of the time you're still smirking a bit from how bad it is. So I guess you get to laugh at the badness, alternating with occasionally laughing at the jokes. It almost makes me feel guilty laughing at the jokes, like I shouldn't reward these people. That's where typical So Bad It's Good is better, you don't have the uncomfortable sensation that you're laughing along with the creators instead of at them. This movie just left me confused!

Artistic Nonsense: This film strongly focuses on a powerful theme of respect for other cultures, and also the importance of literacy. And family, it's got family stuff too. Like how the kids grieve for a good five seconds each time one of their parents dies. It's not so big with the respect for women, but since the misogyny primarily comes from an evil turkey, I consider it just an example of his evil, and therefore the movie is saying, in a roundabout way, that women should be treated as equals because the evil turkey is not doing that. Oh yeah, and it's got things to say about auto maintenance as well. Very powerful messages, and many of them.

Tomorrow, our movie will be The Nameless, which I believe is in Spanish, and while the movie has a name, clearly at least one thing in the movie doesn't (can you tell I haven't recently read the Netflix description?). Oh, it has something to do with a phone call from a dead girl. Ghost movie!
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Byzantine Hallways Extend09:03 AM -- Sun October 9, 2011


For the rest of the month, enjoy a fresh new maze of horror! It will vanish and return to the original maze (with your progress intact) on November 1st, so build it up fast and enjoy! I'm not verifying rooms for quality either, so beware of unsolvable riddles... Ask your friends for help, because they probably made the room. Of course I do get notified about each new room, so you know, don't do anything inappropriate.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Antibodies10:59 PM -- Sat October 8, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Note: This movie is completely inappropriate for anyone under the age of 50. I do not recommend the young or anybody who has any moral decency watch it. I liked it though, so that says something.

Synopsis: A serial killer is caught with his latest victim. But there's an earlier unsolved murder, so they interrogate him, thinking he could be responsible. Major personal issues ensue. In German.

Scariness Type: Psychological stuff. Serial killer messing with your mind, you know how that goes!

Rating: 4/5 Red Squares.

In The Tradition Of: Silence Of The Lambs, obviously!

Good Stuff: Twists upon twists. It really is the Silence Of The Lambs kind of thing where the killer is trapped in jail, but somehow still in control, and manipulating the cops to accomplish more even though he can't do anything directly. That's always quite interesting. It's not a copy, by any means. The whole plot and story is very different, it just has that one same device (and the killer actually says "Who did you expect to see, Hannibal Lector?").

Bad Stuff: As I mentioned before, this movie is wildly inappropriate for humans to see. I don't think that's really a problem (as in there wasn't anything so wrong that I wasn't willing to watch - nobody got stabbed in the eye, hooray!), but it really limits the potential audience. Oh, and CGI animals again! Come on! The scene with them could've been done with real animals for like 1/10th the cost at most. And they looked all fake and robotic.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you shoot a dog in Act 1, that's just wrong and I hope somebody points out your personal inadequacies in Act 3.

My Take: I liked it. There's some hard stuff to deal with, like I always hate to see main characters in downward spirals, or arms being stapled. But when Major Twist 1 occured, I was disappointed - it was obvious from very early on. Luckily, that was followed by Major Twist 2, which twisted it right around again and I was pleased. I was also very surprised by the actual ending, which could've gone quite differently.

Artistic Nonsense: This is one of those "good vs. evil" movies (in the psychological sense, not the superhero sense). I'm not a big fan of that, I think it's a very religious as opposed to psychological notion, and this movie definitely layers on the religiosity. It's always a letdown when a villain calls himself evil. I mean really... if you thought an act was evil, you wouldn't do it, that's kind of the definition of evil! The best villains think they are doing something right via some convoluted logic. So yeah, the theme had something to do with the nature of evil.

Tomorrow's movie will be _Thankskilling_, and all you need to know about that is the name. If that doesn't get you watching, you're beyond help.
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Brag (t)Here, Everybody!08:58 AM -- Sat October 8, 2011

There's another Halloween contest?? It's not the last one, but this one is all about memories and fun, and doesn't require any actual work. It's Brag Here, Everybody! Go share your Halloween memories and potentially win a purple monster card.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Let Me In09:34 PM -- Fri October 7, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: That stuff what happened in Let The Right One In? It happens again, like word for word. But in English.

Scariness Type: Whatever I said last time, but with more gore.

Rating: 3/5 Rubik's Cubes.

Awarded: Redundant Award Of Redundancy II: The Repeatening

Good Stuff: This is a tricky ol' review to write! It's incredibly hard to judge this movie just a week after seeing the original. On the good side, it has about 75% of all of the goodness of the original. I think if you hadn't seen the original, this would be just a solid, creepy movie, much like the experience of watching the original.

Bad Stuff: The missing 25% of goodness! It doesn't quite measure up. It really is close to shot-for-shot, and it's not really Hollywooded up. It does have little touches that detract, and again, I think if you didn't see the original, you would just think this was good, instead of "not quite as good". One thing that I found entirely strange is that the movie opens with a flash-forward to a scene that takes place about midway through. I can't actually figure out what that was supposed to add, because it's a pretty meaningless scene until you get there naturally. Maybe if you didn't see the original, it would add the suspense of "oh, how they are going to get to there from here?"

Classic Rules Of Film: If something happens in that other movie in Act 1, the same thing has to happen in this movie in Act 1.

My Take: The dialog's the same, the shots are mostly the same, the plot is almost entirely identical except for one change of note (the cat attack is gone! But the CGI vampire effects are unnatural). But it's all in the subtleties. The biggest thing is that the overall mood is not nearly as stark and harsh, it's much more typical (not that they didn't try, and it is moody, just not as much). I also feel like the original movie left some motivations open that are just pat and simple in the remake. That could just be me not cluing in to things as well in a Swedish movie, though.

Overall, it's so hard to judge this because I can only compare it to the original. Anyway, if you're gonna see one, see the original. You definitely don't gain anything in this version, and I have no idea why they bothered to remake it. It's not bad at all, there's just no reason to see it! They could've saved a lot of money by just buying rights to the original movie and putting it out in the US.

Artistic Nonsense: Art shmart! This is an American remake! It's all explosions and ninjas.

Tomorrow's movie will be Antibodies, a German movie where the police have caught a serial killer, and they're interrogating him. There will probably be fava beans and a nice chianti.
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Big Horses, Ecstatic10:29 AM -- Fri October 7, 2011

The Great Pumpkin's Field has returned for another year of fun and frolic! If you've been around before, you know exactly what to do. If you haven't, I'd suggest you visit the field often, you never know what might happen!

This year, every time The Great Pumpkin is rescued, everyone who helped earns 1 Raffle Ticket. On Halloween, I'll raffle off a CD copy of Loonyland: Halloween Hill. Each ticket is one chance to win, so save the pumpkin as many times as you can!

Note: As is tradition, the thing that happens on the field will fluctuate in both difficulty and timing as the month progresses, so don't despair if it seems impossible. For that matter, you know what it takes to make it possible, so get in there and grab your gear, and tell your friends to help you out!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Bloody Mallory09:23 AM -- Fri October 7, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Hilarity ensues. In French, but with occasional hilarious English.

Scariness Type: I'm scared I might never be able to enjoy a lesser movie after this.

Rating: 5/5 Pink Hearses.

Awarded: BEST MOVIE EVER.

Good Stuff: The beginning, middle, and end. This is like a Joss Whedon movie, directed by Sam Raimi, while both on acid. There are gunshoes, gas pumps full of blood, Indiana Jones traps, exploding lipstick, exploding nuns, dimensional portals, vampires, succubi, ghouls, human wishbones, anime running-at-each-other-with-lines-of-light-behind-you, and a monster that eats sonar beacons.

Bad Stuff: That it ended.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you control the mind of a bat in Act 1, when you get chewed into a coma by ghouls in Act 2, you will return to the mind of that bat.

My Take: I guess all you really need to know is that at the beginning (after a bit of backstory), it introduces the team: Mallory, Leader of Anti-Paranormal Commando; Vena Cava, Drag Queen Explosives Specialist; and Talking Tina, Mute/Telepath. This is very clearly inspired by Buffy, and I suspect they borrowed the actual prehistoric vampires from the last season of Buffy to be the "ghouls" here. I mean they are the same. Plus there were a lot of those costumes lying around. This is all of course totally campy and awesome. I never understood why people did Rocky Horror Picture Show as this big cultural event, but I really think Bloody Mallory should become one. Vena Cava has countless lines (most of these in English) that an audience would love to shout in unison.

Artistic Nonsense: You know how Luke Skywalker is torn between the Light Side and the Dark Side? And everyone's telling him he has to fight and come to the Light Side and not give in to the seductive power of the Dark Side. This is like that, except it turns out the actual best place is the Middle Side, because good and evil are both lame. I'm not sure that's the best attitude... but it's what the movie is promoting! To be fair, I think they're talking about "good" in the sense of "overbearing, rigid and authoritarian" not actually being nice to people.

Today's movie will be Let Me In, the American remake of Let The Right One In, which we saw last week! Haha! You didn't know that was coming.
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Booty Haul, Everybody!08:48 AM -- Thu October 6, 2011

Today begins the first ever Infinite Deadly Islands Of Terror tournament! You'll note that there's now a new scoreboard on that page, underneath the game. It works the same as the other scoreboard, the difference is that it's starting from scratch! You have until October 13th to get yourself to the top of that new scoreboard. First place on October 13th will win 50 Yerfbucks, second place will win 25 Yerfbucks, and third place will win 10 Yerfbucks.

(And you might find later that there's another reason to do as well as you can in it, even if you're not the greatest pirate...)
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Dorm10:04 PM -- Wed October 5, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A kid gets sent off to boarding school and finds it not to his liking. The other kids tell him ghost stories, then he meets a friend, who turns out to be a ghost himself. And in fact the star of one of the ghost stories. Bromance ensues.

Scariness Type: There are a couple little jump scares, but it turns out this is not the horror movie it was billed to be (tricked again!!). It's a ghost story like Ghost is a ghost story, just with less Whoopie Goldberg.

Rating: 3/5 Vinyl Records.

Today I Learned: Ghosts can't see you if you hold your breath. I think it's like how T-Rexes track movement.

Good Stuff: It's a pretty good movie, a nice story that's constructed well and makes sense. It's got a nice arc to it, kind of a sweet story like some kind of Spielberg movie.

Bad Stuff: As a sweet little Spielberg story, it's kind of nothing special. No major twists or surprises, nothing to really think about. It just was a 'small' story, no real stakes, which isn't technically a problem so much as not what I was looking for.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you show a broken video game in Act 1, and tell somebody you're gonna fix it, you should probably fix it, or that's just rude.

My Take: The movie starts out with some really creepy mood and you think you're in for scary stuff, then it kind of just takes off into Tom n' Huck doing frog races and spying on Becky. It's interesting because it is a really positive story, but it's also depressing, from family problems to suicides to tragic accidents to the occasional dissection. All in all, it was a solid movie, and as an added bonus it included a movie-in-the-movie with a hopping vampire.

Artistic Nonsense: To be entirely unsilly since I had to review two movies today and I am done with thinking, this movie has a repeated theme of the redemptive power of forgiveness.

Tomorrow's movie is Bloody Mallory! Pretty sure that's gonna be an action movie rather than horror, but I count "horror-themed action". It's Halloween-riffic! Anyway, I think it's gonna be a cheaper version of Bloodrayne (which was a cheaper version of Underworld). And that's precisely what we need.
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BUY HAMUMU ENTERTAINMENT!!12:22 PM -- Wed October 5, 2011



ALL OUR GAMES ARE 50% OFF THIS MONTH!!

That's half price!!! What is going on!?!? That's RIDICULOUS! Fire that accountant! Incidentally, the "20% off for multiple games purchased" is gone, because that really would require firing an accountant on top of the 50% off.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Shiver10:38 AM -- Wed October 5, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A kid who's allergic to sunlight moves to a village that's in a valley so it gets less sun. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, this village is being plagued by vicious attacks on its sheep by an unknown entity. The attacks escalate beyond sheep, and hamstringing ensues. This movie is in Spanish and subtitled, by the way, which I didn't realize in advance.

Scariness Type: Jump scares, creepy small-town secrets, and I guess what I'll call "lurking horror". That's where you know something is out there, and while you never quite see it, you're on edge knowing that it's there somewhere. Also a little bit of gore, but your average action movie has more.

Rating: 4/5 Soccer Balls.

Awarded: Most Realistic Use Of Computers In A Movie, Ever. At one point, the kid is IMing with someone, and she sends him a picture, and it even has a pop-up that says "Peer To Peer Connection, Accept?", which I totally remember from old IM days. He also uses perfectly real search engines to get pretty much real results. And not once do we fly through cyberspace.

Good Stuff: I just felt good about this movie from the beginning. It's kind of the classic likeable outcast boy situation. Good acting, good creepiness. There's a lot of twisting to the story, and you truly won't guess what or who the monster is until you see it. It all kind of makes sense in the end, but the logic is a bit contorted (still, only a bit contorted is pretty impressive for a movie). There was also a scene that really got me, where the kid is alone at home, he thinks he sees the monster outside, and he runs around the house locking everything up and then huddles up on the couch, shoved up against a wall, holding a knife (him, not the couch), and he's jittering his legs around with nervous energy. It just felt so much more like what would really happen than what you usually see in movies, it was great. There's a lot of that real feeling here...

Bad Stuff: ...up until the point where they decide to run off into the woods and hunt the monster. Really? The justification is slim at best, and it's classic horror movie "The best plan is for us to split up, head into dark rooms without flashlights, and sit around doing our hair while loudly singing to ourselves so we can't hear anything" business. Otherwise, the only thing I can complain about is the logic of how it all pans out in the end, like I said above. It's pretty questionable, but it made for an enjoyable movie overall, so it works out.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you show a trap in the woods in Act 1, somebody better step in one in Act 3.

My Take: Well, it's a good one. Nothing major or deep, just a little monster movie, but with heart and fun. Provided you appreciate somberness as a kind of fun, because there really aren't any notable laughs or uplifting moments. And there's some good quality creepiness too, in many varieties. In fact, I'd say this movie borrows from a lot of different horror traditions. In one scene, it feels like J-Horror "something you can clearly see is slowly walking towards you and that's scary and why won't it end", and in another it's Stephen King "small town folks are creepy", and then it's Jaws with "we know the monster's out there, we see signs of it, but we can't ever get a good look". Also, it feels a little like Goonies, in ways I can't quite describe.

Artistic Nonsense: This movie is one giant PSA for keeping an eye on your kids. It could be rebranded as an ad for those leashes you see parents use at amusement parks. "Don't let this happen to you [show final scene of movie], keep your kids on a leash."

Later today, I think, or possibly tomorrow, our movie will be Dorm, a Thai movie about a kid going to a new school and not enjoying it until he meets a ghostly pal. I was trying to space out the subtitled movies, I didn't realize today's was gonna be in Spanish!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: ERROR ERROR10:07 PM -- Tue October 4, 2011

Pardon the intrusion... I didn't get a chance to watch Shiver today as advertised. Our power went out for several hours, and when it came back, the internet was down for the rest of the night (until 10pm, at which point I am dutifully telling you this! But I'm not staying up for an entire movie and review). I'm not sure how I'm gonna make up this delay. I really hadn't counted on actually being unable to watch a movie all day. Hopefully it won't happen again, and I'm going to keep the schedule in order, watching this movie tomorrow, and maybe a second movie tomorrow? I will squeeze an extra movie in sometime to get caught up.

Just in case I do, and you want to watch along with me, the correct movie for tomorrow is Dorm, a Thai movie about a kid going off to school and feeling lonely until he befriends a ghost. So it's like Casper!
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Bite Here, Enjoy!10:03 PM -- Tue October 4, 2011

I know it seems like it's nothing but contests around here all of a sudden, but that's because these contests where you do something creative need to give you time, so I have to launch them all at the start of the month! This latest one is simple enough: Invent a Halloween recipe, and share it with us!

Here's what I created myself, with some amazing inspiration today when I realized I should probably demonstrate with my own recipe...

CANDY CORN ON THE COB


Like it? Isn't it awesome? Here's a rough recipe to make it yourself...

Just cut off the yellow ends from a whole lot of candy corn. Keep a little orange on there, whatever it takes to make a nice consistent kernel size.
The next step is to make Rice Krispie Treats! I'm not gonna give you the recipe, because if you have a box of Krispies (or a generic equivalent), I am quite sure the recipe is right on there. One thing I would suggest, because it was a problem for me, is to go heavier than normal on the marshmallows. You want a fairly sticky krispie treat, not a dry one.
I can't give exact measurements here, but each cob you want to make should use maybe a cup and a half of krispie treat. It really depends on how big you want to make the corn! As you can see in the picture, I made two, and let the rest become good old fashioned treats. Now shape each cob. You can use a piece of waxed paper to keep from getting sticky hands. I found it was really not very sticky for me, but that caused me problems in the next phase, so again, make sticky treats! Shape the cob into a general corn shape. You can see that I made the top half skinnier than the bottom. This is because the kernels will stick out further, and the lower half is not going to have kernels. I'd actually recommend you don't do this - I discovered that pushing the kernels into the rice squeezed it together quite a bit, so if I had just made a sort of long football shape (like real corn!), that would've done the job.
Next, push the kernels of candy corn into the top half of each cob! Here is why you wanted a sticky krispie treat. Mine was so dry that the candy corn kept falling off.
The last part of the recipe is the most chef-ly and was new to me! I made fondant, following this recipe. It turns out to be very easy to make! We didn't have corn syrup, which I substituted a mix of honey and molasses for (you can taste that in the end result, for sure), and much too late I discovered that our blue food coloring had dried up, so you get this stylish dried-corn appearance instead of the green I had intended. Oh, and I substituted butter for shortening, but I always do that.

Once the fondant was kneaded, I rolled it out on a piece of waxed paper (the same one as before, because I'm cheap), and didn't even need to 'flour' the surface with sugar, because it didn't stick at all. I really have to repeat that I found fondant super easy to make and to roll out. You can see in the final picture that, much like the krispies, I ended up making it too dry though, and it cracked and broke a lot.
So I cut it into some sort of leaf shapes, wrapped them around the lower half of the cob (see why you didn't need kernels down there? Good thing too - krispie treats are much tastier than candy corn), and curled them down at the top like an open corn cob. Then for good measure, I used a knife to etch lines in the fondant. That added a nice corn texture. That's it!

Is it tasty? Not really. It's much too sweet. But I got to eat a lot of krispie treats, and it looks really cool. Now that you've seen mine, go make your own Halloween recipe!

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Belittling Horror Excessively: Jason X06:10 PM -- Mon October 3, 2011

This is a movie review... I will outright spoil things this time! So beware of fairly major spoilers of a ridiculous plot.

Synopsis: Jason (don't say you don't know who that is) is cryogenically frozen until he's discovered by people hundreds of years in the future. They thaw him out on their spaceship and actual (unintended, I think?) hilarity ensues.

Scariness Type: Medium gore, teensy bit of jump scares. The biggest shock I experienced was seeing how much of the gore was off-screen! Or not seeing, as the case may be.

Rating: 1/5 Machetes.

Good Stuff: Uh... hmmmmm... I had fun laughing some of the time.

Bad Stuff: This is a straight-up Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie, only for some reason they accidentally released it in theaters. Have you ever seen Axe Cop? Because I think the same person wrote this movie. Or if you're not familiar with that, Half-Life: Full Life Consequences is also similar. Written by a skilled team of seven-year-olds during their recess, this movie does seem to suffer as a result of that design-by-committee mentality. The sets, the costumes, the acting, the effects... wow. Now I like bad movies, and I had some fun in that regard, but it was a little hard to take overall.

There's not enough room on the internet to contain a detailed complaint about every stupid thing in this movie, but let me throw down a couple (spoilers will be happening, but were you somehow unaware of how the plot was going to turn out?)...

- The future people are interested in Jason because of his amazing ability to regenerate. Then when he's killed by an android with a rocket launcher (duh), the future peoples' regeneration technology is what puts him back together. This isn't so much a plot hole as a reverberating echo of incomprehensibility that rebounds off of itself in an infinite loop. Also on that note, if blowing up his head was sufficient to kill him, how did they not try that when they apparently had him in custody for years attempting to execute him in various ways? Did they even try beheading?

- These people! I get more frightened and concerned dealing with a nearby bee than these people do with an unkillable murderer staring at them from five feet away with a machete! The entire movie, everybody is totally blase, and not just in a bad-acting way. There had to be twenty people killed in this movie, and yet still the survivors would just look at him and be like "uh oh, guess we should think about getting away!" instead of screaming in terror. In the future, everybody's on Xanax.

- You know how Arnold Schwarzenegger always has a one-liner when he finishes off a badguy? Well, since Jason doesn't talk, this movie has the victims do their own one-liners. The best is when a guy gets stabbed through the chest and says "It'll take more than that to bring me down!" So of course Jason stabs him with something else. Instead of just dying, he adds "Yep, that'll do it!" I mean, clearly the comedy is intended, but... yeah.

Other Stuff: There's an old showbiz saying: if you show a guy's arm being re-attached by nanobots in Act 1, you better resurrect a serial killer with them in Act 3!

My Take: First off, let me say that there are two kinds of people in this world, plus a third kind that doesn't count. There are Nightmare On Elm Street people, and Friday The 13th people. And people who don't care, which don't count. I'm a straight up Freddy guy myself. He's a goofy guy with personality, who has a claw glove and kills people in their dreams, which automatically means all kinds of strange things will happen and there will be surprises. Jason is a lumbering hulk with zero finesse, who walks up and smashes people in reality, which means nothing interesting will ever happen. Half the kills in this movie were just him slamming somebody into a wall. He's basically a zombie that won't die. So Jason movies are zombie movies with only one zombie. And I don't need to write a thesis to explain why that isn't interesting.

Anyhow, it's clear this was a knowing parody of Friday The 13th movies. I mean, they really didn't even try to scare you. I admit, I haven't seen more than a couple minutes, fifteen+ years ago, of Friday The 13th movies, but I am quite sure they went for the jump scares and the gore. In this movie, you have more action and sci-fi than spooky surprise (and more unintentional comedy than either). So I get that they knew the idea of Jason In Space was silly, and they went with that, but boy... they did a baaaad job. For future reference, I don't rate bad movies 1/5 in general. A GOOD bad movie could be 3/5, maybe 4/5 if it's awesomely bad. But this is a bad bad movie. I considered going up to 2/5 because I like to reserve 1/5 for things I actively hated watching and maybe even turned off early, but that just seemed too kind. I had fun, but if I wasn't committed to watching it for this review, I would've turned it off. Actually I would've let myself fall asleep, I was really tired!

Artistic Nonsense: Rather than a theme, I want to point out the one interesting thought this movie brought me. I thought it was kind of interesting to see the scientific take on this supernatural legend of the monster of Crystal Lake. It's kind of a fun thing to see this closed-in little story (people massacred at a camp, and the police never find anything out), and see what happens the light of day is shone upon it, and the world at large sees it. It is also, however, the exact opposite of horror. When you expose something and examine it in detail (unless it's an internal organ), the clinical nature of that removes any semblance of fear. So that's a fun concept, handled terribly. To be honest, coming from the Jason stories, I don't think it could've turned out well.

Tomorrow, our movie will be Shiver, which I really don't know anything about. It involves a town where lots of people are getting killed, and nobody knows why. Something like that? We'll see.
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Build Haunted Environments!10:18 AM -- Mon October 3, 2011

It's another fine tradition (a whole year old?)! Let's all build levels for Costume Party!


Don't own Costume Party? How sad that you can't participate in this conte... Oh wait!!

Costume Party is free to play for all of October, for everybody with a Dumb Account! Just download the free version and play! That means not just playing, but level building and getting awards and trophies too. Don't miss out!

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Belittling Horror Excessively: Following06:30 PM -- Sun October 2, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Well, there's this guy, and he follows people. For fun, sorta. He ends up following the wrong person, and of course gets embroiled in a crazy mixed-up scheme. It's very much a 50's style (made in 1999) noir crime thriller. Black & white even. It feels a lot like episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents to me, and it's not much longer than one!

Scariness Type: None. See, here's the deal... when I set out to make this list of movies to watch, first I went through our Netflix queue and pulled out the horror movies already in it. I quickly noticed that there were very few of them, and thought "That's odd, I'm always sticking horror movies in here!" That's when I discovered that half of them were listed as "Foreign Movie" or "Thriller" instead of horror. So I began plucking those out. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I grabbed this one in the process (a Thriller), because even before watching it I knew it wasn't really horror. Anyway, the rest should be much more spooky. In fact, almost all the rest feature some sort of supernatural troubles, with maybe two or three serial killers thrown in. I like ghosts.

Rating: 4/5 Claw Hammers.

Good Stuff: Christopher Nolan doesn't really like things to go in chronological order, and you know what? I as neither well do! When you watch a movie that isn't linear, it engages a whole other chunk of your brain, as you have to put together parts from different scenes and connect it all. I enjoy that. So yeah, this is good with twistiness and all that. It's not a simple movie. It's also quite fast-paced.

Bad Stuff: I don't know if this is really bad because it all makes sense in the end, but it took several back-and-forths of time before I even realized it wasn't chronological. There's no indication, it just goes from scene to scene, with people in different moods, knowing different things, and in different physical condition. The haircut helps give it away. So I don't know if it's my IQ level that's the problem, or if the movie should've been more clear about it. The other bad thing, which I have to say without actually giving anything away, is that the overall plot really is too convoluted to have ever happened in real life. It's one of those kinds of things that nobody would've ever actually planned, simply because they'd know that not everything could possibly go according to plan (and they'd be right!). I don't mind seeing ghosts eat people, but it always grates a little when something is seemingly realistic, but doesn't feel like it could ever happen. Kind of an Uncanny Valley of plot. I enjoy that kind of thing in like an Ocean's 11 movie where it's all silly, but this was a gritty crime drama.

Oh, and lastly, I really think there is a movie you could make about "Following". This movie just had that as the most minimal jumping-off point (it's the reason the main character - who has no name, by the way - gets involved in the situation and meets the other characters), rather than actually asking "What would happen if somebody made a hobby of following other people around?" I really expected to see that, and I think it would be good. Of course he'd end up witnessing a murder, or becoming more obsessive until he's doing worse things... there's a million ways it could go!

Other Stuff: You know the old saying - if an earring goes missing in Act 1, someone better have previously taken it in Act 3!

My Take: I really feel like I don't have a lot to say about this one! It's a good movie, people should see it. Not fantastic, I would say. I think Let The Right One In is a better movie, but this is a much easier one to watch. It really hearkens back to 50's Hitchcock, right down to all the violence being off-screen. But it takes place in roughly the present (there are music CDs mentioned several times). Not that it isn't a warped present with a lot of very old style - the main character uses a clacky old typewriter and there's not a computer or cell phone in sight. There is a cordless phone though.

Artistic Nonsense: I think the moral here is quite simple - don't follow people around! Clearly, it can only lead to you being embroiled in seven layers of schemes and counter-schemes. Ya mook. It's a cautionary tale.

Tomorrow we slip into horror movies proper with a true classic of modern cinema, Jason X. Or as it should've been titled, Jaaaaaason.... Innnnn... SPAAAAAAACE!!
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Behold, Hamumians Enrobed!09:25 AM -- Sun October 2, 2011

Enter our yearly costume contest now!

Well, don't enter now... work on your costume now, and enter sometime before the 24th. I think I probably say this every year, but I LOVE the costume contest! It's my favorite part of BHE every time. You see people coming up with totally crazy costumes and being crazy in crazy ways with craziness. It's the best. Go now, become Enrobed, Hamumian!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Let The Right One In09:21 PM -- Sat October 1, 2011

Let The Right One In

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: This a bleak, stark, quiet, ponderous movie about a bullied kid who meets a girl who's a vampire. Hilarity ensues! That part's not true. At all.

Scariness Type: Er... not at all? There's a little gore, and a lot of unhappiness, but there are no jump scares, and not even really a feeling that a monster is lurking, despite the fact that many people get killed and technically there is a vampire hunting in this town.

Rating: 4/5 Fangs

Good Stuff: There's some thinking to be done here. I have a feeling there's a lot more meaning in this than I actually discovered myself. For a story about a 12-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old vampire girl, the acting is great. That's always a recipe for cheese, but this is deadly serious and except for one really silly scene, never seems to falter. This is not some cheap piece of junk like I'm hoping to see later this month, it's all very high-end and put together. A lot of emotion, a lot of depth, a lot conveyed with just looks and silence.

Bad Stuff: The one really silly scene where CGI cats attack... it definitely could've been worse, but CGI is always so painfully obvious and fakey looking (not that puppets would've been better!), and the whole premise of the scene was rather absurd. Not that it wouldn't be terrifying and painful to have cats jumping on you and biting you, but I think it would be silly to somebody watching! Unless they knew you. Then hopefully they'd try to help. And it wasn't necessary - they could've conveyed the information that scene gives you (which isn't even really information, more like "more evidence of something you already clearly knew") without ever having piles of cats slapped over somebody like a pointy fur coat. To further this issue, not that I need to keep harping on it because it really wasn't a big deal, I'm pretty sure that this scene was the only reason that apartment had a bunch of cats in it. It was that classic cinema element - if you're going to show a dozen cats in Act 1, they better jump all over somebody in Act 3 (that's a film geek joke, nobody gets it).

Okay, I spent too long talking about a cat attack that really wasn't overtly stupid, just kind of silly. The other bad stuff is that this movie is so slow and ponderous and just depressing and bleak. It has no joy, just very oppressive. It's all about mood - incredibly long shots and sad looks with a lot of violins. And regarding the pace, I really think the same story, with the same kind of mood, could've been told in literally half the time. Yes, it might detract a bit from the sheer oppressive feeling, but how much oppression do we need?

Other Stuff: There is almost no dialogue in the entire movie. Many scenes even where you'd expect people to talk, they communicate wordlessly. There are scenes where people ask questions, and the person they're asking just doesn't answer. And the asker is fine with that! Not that it doesn't convey the needed information - that's the thing with this movie. It's about 80% inferred information. Nobody ever says what's going on, or talks about what they're going to do, they just do it, and you see them do it, so you know it's happening. Which I suppose is all you really need.

Artistic Nonsense: I like to make up a silly theme that I find in these movies, but unfortunately, there is nothing silly here. It has sapped all the silliness from me. Rather, I'd like to point out a legitimate theme I see in it! I'm still not really clear on the meaning of the title beyond a few obvious elements which are too small to justify making it the title. But what I did notice was the theme of perpetual cycles. It comes up again and again in the movie, the idea that things repeat endlessly and you can become trapped in them. The entire movie follows that arc, and within it there are others - the cycle of abuse in a family, and the violent cycle of bullying. That's what I noticed, and I felt smart noticing it! Go me!

My Take: So, a good movie? It is... I'm fairly certain this is the most "quality" movie we'll be watching in this review series. I mean this is Oscar material. But if something is really good at making you feel depressed and miserable, does that make it something good? I don't really want to be miserable. If you do, this will work like a charm. It's along the ponderous lines of The Sixth Sense, but there's definitely an uplifting arc to that movie which is completely absent here. This is just hammering on the unhappiness for two hours straight.

In short, yes, it's good. It's high quality and well done. But I think twice is enough in my life to be subjected to this kind of abuse. It's crystallized misery.

Tomorrow, our film will probably also be quite somber and slow... it's Following, the Christopher Nolan film about a guy who follows people. Sounds innocuous enough!
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BEST HALLOWEEN EVER 2011!!!08:30 AM -- Sat October 1, 2011

It's time!!! YAY!!!! Keep your eyes tuned to this journal all month, as this is always the best place to catch announcements. But in case you miss anything, this year I've added a new page: The BHE Info Page. So you can always get links to everything major right there.

So, there will be new things happening almost every day, but what's new for today? Well, first of all, we begin Belittling Horror Excessively, my month of horror movie reviews, which I am looking forward to greatly. Doesn't everybody love watching horror movies in October?

Secondly, it wouldn't be BHE if there wasn't a BHE contest! Get your brain in gear and think up the most amazing surprise, with that wow factor, as Gordon Ramsay would put it!

And of course, it wouldn't be another month, without a new T-Shirt Of The Month! Show your Halloween pride!

In other Halloween news, I'd also like to plug something else going on this month... Our fellow indies RTSoft are running a 30-day Funeral Quest tourney! Like it sounds, that's a game where you run a funeral home. There's apparently a prize, described as "suitably disgusting", so how could you miss out on that? You can't. Play now!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Introduction08:05 AM -- Sat October 1, 2011

Welcome, my friends, to Belittling Horror Excessively!

Boy, that acronym was one I struggled over for days. I'm still not really happy with it. Anyway, the point is this! Each day of October, I shall watch a horror movie, and review it! I'm gonna let you know a day in advance (except today you get half a day), so you can watch it too, and add your own review or comments! You'll get the idea when the first review goes up much later tonight, as I've got a whole format set up with a lot of different things to cover. I've got a busy day, so I won't even get to watch it until evening. All the movies will be watched on Netflix streaming, so if you have that, I can assure you the movie is available for your viewing.

Now, very few of the movies I watch will actually be Hamumu-Appropriate. That's kind of how it goes with horror. So don't watch anything you're not comfortable with! I'll try to make the reviews fun and interesting regardless of whether you watched the movie. And of course I won't be actually saying inappropriate things.

The movie for October 1st is... Let The Right One In! Go and watch! It's the only one for this month that I've actually seen already, but I wanted my wife to see it, and later on, you'll see another reason why we watched it (you might be able to guess what that is).

One other thing: would you rather know the entire list of movies, or keep it a surprise day by day? Or somewhere in between, like knowing the next 3 movies? I've got quite a few shocks and twists in there, I'd hate to give them away! But I'd also hate for people to not watch along with me if they would when given more time to do so.
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