Happy Halloween from ‘Eldritch Farms’

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Happy Halloween, to those of you who celebrate it like me. I finished up this drawing yesterday. It came about after my family and I went to a local garden center and bought some pumpkins for making Jack-o-Lanterns. A few days later a local squirrel got the notion that gnawing on them was a good idea. We ended up putting them inside, until Halloween night. But that incident got my imagination going and during my lunch break at work one day I did a sketch which turned into this pen and brush ink drawing.

However you celebrate Halloween this year, be wary of strange farms …

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Review: The Void

 

The Void begins with Carter, a local deputy, encountering a young man stumbling out of the woods and onto the road. At first he assumes the man has simply had too much to drink,  until he discovers the man’s covered in blood.  Carter races to the closest hospital  in an attempt to get him help. It turns out the hospital is short staffed, due to an impending closure due to a recent fire. An examination of the man reveals that the blood on him is not his own.

Things only get weirder from that point onward. The hospital is soon surrounded by a group of strangers all wearing hooded robes that have a triangular design. The strangers quickly make it clear that they’re not friendly when they prove to be knife weilding maniacs. But the strangest thing  is that they aren’t trying to get into the hospital, rather they seem to be determined to keep everyone inside it.

From that point on things just get stranger and weirder, in an entertaining way. Throw in some hellish beast that look like a Clive Barker and HP Lovecraft love-child, gun-toting nutjobs, and a desperate attempt to save Carter’s wife (She’s a nurse at the hospital) from the cult’s bat shit crazy leader, and you gotta lot of action and drama going on.

The Void excels is the practical special effects. The majority of the creatures and gore are done in an old school fasion that’s straight out of the ’80s. If you enjoyed movies like The Thing, Aliens, Fright Night, etc. you’ll love the visceral nature of it.

Enivornment and atmosphere are also strong elements of The Void. Being stuck in a remote location with no way out and a lethal threat inside and not knowing who you can trust or believe is a great way to build a tense atmosphere. The Void manages to use these all in an entertaining way, never letting the characters or audience feel safe or at ease.

The supernatural/occult theme of The Void is something that I love to watch or read when it is well done, and this movie doesn’t disappoint in that category. Too many movies rely on cheap scare tatics and cliched psycho killers brutalizing horny teen agers. Instead The Void delves into the disturbing idea of cheating death, and opening forbiden portals. As a fan of Lovecraft and Clive Barker, I appreciated and genuinely enjoyed the ideas that The Void took on.

For all the good things that The Void had going for it, I did feel it was weak when it came to its characters. I never developed any opinion about any of them, and did not really care about their fates. I think part of the reason this is is because there’s very little to no back story for most of them. The only exception is the reltionship between Carter and Alice, who are apparently either still married or exes – it’s never made clear. The film makers attempt to make them sympathetic to their audience but the whole thing feels contrived and fored. The rest of the characters are mere plot furniture, and other than being annoying or having some cool action scenes – they don’t stand out as strong well developed characters. I realize that in movies like this there are characters that are mere cannon fodder, but unlike other movies that do this, I didn’t find myself cheering for their on screen deaths or survival.

I think that there could’ve been a bit more backstory/development with Alice and Carter earlier in the movie to help establish their relationship and draw the viewers to the characters without bogging down the plot. It would’ve made Carter’s search for Alice later in the movie far more impactful as well as the conclusion of it.

The Void is the kind of movie that doesn’t answer all the questions that it raises which can make for a bit of confusion early on. But it does manage to leave a trail of proverbial bread crumbs along the way that help clear things up for the most part, but it still leaves somethings to your own imagination. I think The Void is the kind of movie that makes more sense after watching it a second time. If you’re the kind of person that needs everything spelled out for you and to  have the movie hold your hand and explain every detail then this isn’t the movie for you. On the other hand if you like having your imagination engaged and contemplating what you just watched, then by all means give The Void a shot.

I enjoyed watching The Void, a lot. It’s been a long time that a  new movie has captured my attention and imagination like this one. In fact I’ve kept it on my Netflix list to watch it again, something I hardly ever do. I won’t say that it’s the greatest horror movie I’ve seen but it’s a fun movie, and I can overlook the flaws it has.

If you enjoyed the supernatural-esque movies of John Carpenter, and Clive Barker from the ’80’s then I think you’ll enjoy this one. Fans of weird fiction, and in particular HP Lovecraft will enjoy it as well. A lot has been made of The Void being a homage to the 80’s horror movies, in particular John Carpenter’s work – Prince of Darkness, but I think it stands on its own as a solid movie.

Grade: B+

The Problem with a Bookworm

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The Problem with a Bookworm; Kevin Hurtack 2016; gouache an ink on birstol plate.

Goat-man is the worst upstairs neighbor …ever

So, this morning I spotted the trending topic of ‘Goat-man’. This immediately captured my curiosity. It’s not every day you read a headline like that one. It seems that there’s been increased sightings of the creature Goat-man in the Maryland area. Goat-man is supposedly based either on a Native American legend of a shape-shifter or the result of an experiment with goats (insert joke here) back in the 1950s. Either way it is both bizarre and hilarious. Especially when you see some of the photographs of it.

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I think the most terrifying thing about the photo is how bad the Photoshopping is. I also find it interesting that despite all our high tech gadgets we can’t get a good photo/video and we can’t manage to locate this thing, if it actually did exist, with a drone or something or game trail cam. Seems like there’s always something wrong with the footage or shot. Like the battery is dieing or the critter’s too far away or etc.

Earlier this fall I was in the Maryland/DC area. I have to say compared to where I live out West the Maryland area is very overdeveloped. I don’t see how a thing like this would avoid detection these days. Its environment would definitely be shrinking.

It also intrigues me that despite the fact we’re in the 21st century a lot of people still buying into myths/legends being real. But I suppose adolescence and alcohol play a big part in it, too. I guess irrational fear of things in the dark isn’t something we’ve outgrown as a society. These days instead of telling tales over the camp fire or a pint of ale at the local inn we do it online.

Here is the Wikipedia article about Goat-man.

 

 

Thanksgiving with Cthulhu

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Photo by Rusty Eulberg

So you’re probably wondering WTF? Well, here in the USA it is Thanksgiving this Thursday. That special time of year where we gorge ourselves all day and then fall asleep on the couch while American football blares on the flatscreen tvs. It marks one of the few days of the year where you have to socialize with relations that you normally only see at funerals and the occasional wedding. Some argue that the holiday goes all the way back to the days of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. Others claim its a time to celebrate family and reflect back on the past year and what you’re grateful for. I’m not gonna debate the pros and cons of  colonializm or Freudian psychology over our national over eatting holiday.

Oh right, the photo. You can thank Feind Gottes (@FeindGottes) of Thy Demons Be Scribblin (a great heavy metal/horror site if you’re into that sorta thing…) He shared it with me a few weeks ago. After a bit of googling I found out that this thing (turkey, octopus, crab legs) was created by this dude Rusty Eulberg a few years ago. His wife is a big H.P. Lovecraft fan apparently and that’s where they got the inspiration for this monstrosity. Lovecraft had an elder god character by the name of Cthulhu which was a tentacle/octopus headed creature with a humanoid body and bat-like wings.  Lovecraft’s writings often dealt with bizarre transformations as well, so this ‘Cthurkey’ is a great homage to old Lovecraft’s mythos. They say that turkey causes people to become drowsy and Lovecraft is known for drawing upon dreams/nightmares in his stories. It’d be interesting to know what sorta of dreams/nightmares you’d have after eatting a Cthurkey.

You can read a brief interview of Rusty and the origin of his Cthurkey in an article at Gothamist.com by clicking HERE

Unfortunately, I won’t be partaking in a Cthurkey this year, maybe next. My family and I will be having turkey enchiladas instead. A fair trade off, I figure.

 

 

Vacuum Robot Rage!!!

So you know those Roomba things that are supposed to vacuum your place automatically? Apparently they also can be used by your cat as some form of peronsal transport, at least if you believe the videos on YouTube?  Well over in South Korea they’ve apparently rose up against their human oppresors. Forget Skynet and Terminators and even Cylons. Apparently our robotic overlords will be house hold appliances…

Okay so the thing just sucked up her air as she slept on the floor while it was running, but you have to admit it sounds like some shit that Micahel Bay would develop into an over the top pop corn summer flick.

If you have not heard about the girl getting her hair sucked up by a robot vacuum click the link below…

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/09/south-korean-womans-hair-eaten-by-robot-vacuum-cleaner-as-she-slept