Thursday, 30 September 2010


This was an interesting movie.  I liked it, very retro and Japanese I felt.  But at the same point I don't really know what to think of it.

Hausu is a Japanese Horror film made it 1997 by Toho.  Toho was made famous by Godzilla and other giant monster films.  Though there is more to the story than horror.  While horror is the overall theme, I felt the movie was trying to encompass as many genres as it could, and wasn't entirely sure what it really wanted to be.


Yes, thats an eyeball.

The premise of the movie is seemingly generic enough.  School girls visit a the house of one of the girls' aunt only to slowly disappear one by one.  But honestly, in the first 30 minutes of the film I wasn't even sure if I was watching the right movie.  It didn't feel like a horror movie at all.

Her face is shattered.

The movie starts out with two friends talking about how they will spend there summer break.  One of the girls, Oshare, finds out her widower father has been seeing a woman and intends to bring her to the family's annual vacation.  Oshare is not happy and refuses, and decides to bring all her friends to her aunt's house.  The aunt lives in a large estate in the middle of a forest all by herself.  The aunt is crippled and has to use a wheel chair.


The film is really out there.  Its surreal, and cheesy, all mixed together under a central horror plot.  There characters are all pretty much arch-typical.  The smart girl with glasses, the girl that eats too much, the strong aggressive girl, etc.  The characters don't hurt the plot, if there really even is a plot to begin with.  


Slowly the girls all disappear.  And as they disappear the wheel-chair driven Aunt gets stronger, even so that she doesn't need to use the wheel chair anymore.  And then there's the cat.  The cat is clearly more than it seems.  Its eyes glow a demonic green color, and the cat is usually present when something bad occurs.

Cheesy Special Effects.

The end of the film is what really threw me off guard.  I'm not entirely sure how I was supposed to feel.  It was quite melancholic, but it also seemed to be trying to have a moral too.  I can only think that it was bittersweet?  And that doesn't really feel right.

Her time has run out.

The effect of the film are cheesy.  The glowing eyes of the cat for starters.  In one scene there is a flashing zigzag border around the screen as if to emphasize the horror of a girl being eaten by a possessed piano.  The film was obviously filmed on budget.  Backdrops are obviously painted.  I'm fairly certain few (if any) of the "outdoors" scenes were really even outdoors.


Despite the budget, I believe the film is strengthened by them.  If the film were made today, I think it wouldn't be as effective.  It would just be another horror film.  Whereas the film as it is, is clearly a cult classic.

Not entirely sure how the piano was able to eat her...

While Hausu is not entirely scary, it is a somewhat violent (?) film, no matter how comedic the blood is.  Hausu might not be for everyone.  If you're looking for a bizarre (a man turns into a pile of bananas, if thats not bizarre I don't know what it) comedic horror film that will make you say WTF out loud at some points than I can't recommend this enough.  

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Serious Sam: First Encounter

**As I'm currently playing the second game and have uninstalled the first game, I'm gonna post this without pictures**

Last week I bought the Serious Sam series off Steam.  I've heard good things about it and always wanted to play it.  The Steam offer included and HD remake, which updated models and textures, which was a nice touch, though I went and played the Classic version instead.


Underneath one of Earth's oldest civilizations is a ruin of another ancient, albeit technologically advanced, civilization called the Syrians.  Using the knowledge gained from this ancient technology, humans advanced greatly.  Now in the 22nd century, humanity faces its greatest challenge of all: an alien race known as Mental who had previously battled the Syrians on Earth millenia befor..  Through many a battle, a hero emerges:  Sam "Serious" Stone.  Earth stands on the brink of destruction, but discovers its last hope: the Time Lock.  The Time Lock has the power to send an individual back in time.  By going into the past, humans could defeat Mental in the past and alter the course of history.  Of course, only one man can do this:  Serious Sam!

Basically Serious Sam takes the whole "Aliens helped the Egyptians make the pyramids" theory and runs away with it.  All the stages are based in Egypt, taking you through the Thebes, Memphis, the Alley of the Kings [sic], the Temple of Ra and finally to the Great Pyramids.  The final battle is inside a pyramid, which has its top removed and a giant flying saucer hovering above it.


Serious Sam is a First Person Shooter game, however, unlike most FPS games where you might encounter small groups of enemies at one time, Serious Sam will pit you against armies.  Some areas will put the player into a rather large arena and spawn dozens (if not hundreds) of monsters. 

Riddled through most of the stages in the game are secret areas.  Some secret areas are helpful, supplying the player with munition caches, others can be harmful such as traps and/or spawning monster, still others may even take you to a secret level.


Despite taking place in ancient times, weapons and ammo are quite abundant.  Serious Sam's weapons are mostly standard issue FPS weapons with a few exceptions.

Military knife: The only melee weapon of the game.  (I never used it, so I don't know how useful it is)

Shofield .45: The pistol.  Its actually pretty decent for being the default gun.  You can also find a second one and dual-wield.  Whats more, using techno-magic (really!) the Shofield has infinite ammo!

Shot guns: 12 Gauge Pump is a pretty useful weapon, although less powerful than its Double Barrel brother.  The upside to the 12 Gauge is it only uses a single shell at once, whereas the Double shoots two, which of course makes the double more powerful.

Machine Guns: Tommy Gun and the Mini Gun. The Tommy shoots slower than the Minigun, but the Minigun take a second to actually start shooting.  Bother are excellent at taking down large distant targets.

Explosives: The Rocket Launcher, and the Grenade Launcher.  Nothing special about the Rocket Launcher.  You can sort of charge the Grenade launcher to determine how far it goes.  Grenades can bounce off walls.

The Lasergun: In my opinion this is one of the best weapons in the game for taking out fast oncoming enemies.  Not very good at long range.

Cannon: Not much to say.  Its the most powerful weapon in the game.  It shoots out a giant cannon ball that mows through anything in its path before finally exploding.


 The game was released in 2001 but had been in the making since 1996 and I feel the graphics show this.  The graphics aren't terrible or anything, but they do feel a bit dated.  I hate to compare graphics, but I feel the graphics weren't too different from Unreal Tournament which was released two years earlier.

The HD version updates models and textures, and leaves the rest of the game identical.  Its a nice touch.  The graphics are immensely better.  I only played through the first 5 or so stages just to see how different it is.


Some of the enemies are pretty weird...  Some of the first enemies you'll see are headless people.  There are 4 flavors of headless enemies.  The "rocketeer" shoots a magic missile that barely even hurts, the "firecracker" which can shoot multiple magic missiles at once, the "grenader" which throws a grenade at you (almost never actually connects) and will explode after you kill them, and finally my favorite, the Headless Kamikaze.  The first three all hold their head in their off hand.  The Headless Kamikaze hold two bombs, one in each hand, and charges at you (quite fast too) all the while screaming.  I have no idea how it screams without a head, and probably should ask!

Most other enemies are different kinds of aliens and would be too hard to describe.


I had a blast playing Serious Sam!  The shear number of enemies thrown at you keeps you on your toes during the entire game.  Most games you can rocket jump (jumping and shooting a rocket below you to launch you further than a normal jump) but you usually don't need to.  In Serious Sam you almost NEED to rocket jump to survive.

If you play Serious Sam I can guarantee you will die often, but that makes it feel all the more satisfying when you survive!

The graphics may be a bit dated, but if you don't like the dated graphics, thats what the HD version is for!

If you're a FPS fan that wants a fast paced game, this game may be for you.  If you're more of a casual gamer, you might not like this game.