Friday, August 31, 2007



Directed By Joe Lynch

October 2007 Dir. DVD

Horror/Suspense 93 minutes

Wow. That’s just about the most basic of a beginning to a review I can possibly give but –and trust me on this one- it absolutely fits. In addition I think I need to coin a new horror movie genre title here, while I’m at it, and it is: Hillbilly Splatter. Oh, and by the way, I just finished WRONG TURN II. Speaking of splatter, it has been a long while since I’ve seen just a down to earth, nitty gritty mess like this one, and it really did my cynical horror-loving heart good. Yeah, sure, the whole back-woods family fear fest has been around for a while, so it isn’t like the concept is especially new, but even so, this really grabbed what could have been just another lackluster gore flick by the reigns and led it right off the beaten path.

Basically, against the backdrop of a new reality series called Armageddon, a group of eight ‘players’ have gathered within the most primeval of wooded surroundings one could possibly find: now animals, no people, oh, and NO ANIMALS! Keep that in mind. The typical intro to a reality game plays out introducing the characters: Nina (Erica Leerhsen), Jake (Texas Battle), Mara (Aleksa Paladino), Amber (Daniella Alonso), Jonesy (Steve Braun), M (Matthew Currie Holmes), Elena (Crystal Lowe), and Dale (Henry Rollins). Each has his or her story to tell, each swears victory, and each gets paired with another while they traipse through the forest attempting to survive any way possible amiss various games, traps, and, well –as it turns out- sub-humans. Though none to friendly to one another at first, each realizes that they are missing a key cast member without whom the game may not continue. She is one Kimberly (Kimberly Caldwell) who has just been involved in one of perhaps the most visually disturbing death scenes I have seen in quite some time: bisection via large axe. Just so, so gruesome. Well, a few shifts later and the games begin.

Well, as most good horror has taught us: let not the gore wait too long lest one may lose one’s core audience. The ‘spills’ start immediately and never stop. Back slicings revealing spine bones, full-frontal gutting, appendage consumption, arrows through several sets of eyes, exploding bodies, and a giant wood chipper thrown in just for laughs. In fact, some of these kills are so visceral and down right stomach churning I literally had to laugh just to keep from gagging! Forest-folk fun done up just right, and, just a bit of nudity tossed in for good measure. I’d say it’s worth the trip down this WRONG TURN, but that would be silly. Lastly, Henry Rollins, had we not already known it, kicks ass.

Stew Miller

Nightwatch Review


(Nochnoy Dozor)

Directed By Timur Bekmambetov 2004

When you realize that you have, for all intents and purposes, seen each and every Good versus Evil/Vampire/Light versus Dark movie that there is to see, along comes a gust of refreshing wind from the quite frigid east. Directed and filmed in Russia, NIGHTWATCH is a wonderful and exciting ride revolving around a story that may seem convoluted and arbitrary at first, but boils over into an astounding and thrilling ride with a conclusion you may never see coming.

Anton Grodetsky is as silly a man as one can be early on. He has taken on the magical wisdom and advice of a local “witch” who has, in her own voodoo, over-the-top way, guaranteed our hero a life without a child. How, you ask? Well, obviously, with an abortion spell that will render his vacationing girl friend without child from hundreds of miles away. All she has to do is combine a few drops of blood with this and that, make Anton swallow it, and then cast her spell culminating in the final handclap that will do the dirty deed. But there are those who would prefer that she mind her own business, and those people are the NIGHTWATCH. And so begins a wending, twisting trail through a world so entrenched in darkness that those in the real world have no idea it even exists.

Thousands of years ago a massive, enormous battle between the forces of good and evil was fought non stop for what seemed an eternity. When finally the leaders of both sides decided to create a truce, two sides were formed: The DAYWATCH, who were on the side of evil and do nothing but keep sly eyes on the good side, also known as The NIGHTWATCH; the good side whose very lives revolve around maintaining peace between the evil. The peace accord seemed flawless and those who habitually fell out of line (vampires and those confined to the Gloom) were policed and or killed to uphold the balance. But then, the chosen was born. In the vain of the recent STAR WARS trilogy, the one who would ultimately take control over one side or the other was born. Now it is up to Anton and a few select members of the Light Side to find this child, end an evil vortex forming over the city of Moscow due to an evil curse, and persuade the Chosen to join the side of good before it is too late. Without ruining the ending (a nice surprise to say the least) I will say that the story continues. In fact, those in the know will be reminded that DAYWATCH has been released in select cities as of this writing. This film is the sequel and you can check trailers on line to see just how amazing a movie like this can become.

If you liked BLADE, if you like 300, if you like VAN HELSING (and let’s face it, there is not a more fitting guilty pleasure movie that that), then you will more than appreciate this sprawling masterpiece. And heck, if all you want to see is the Evil Zavulon slide his own spine from his back as a weapon (and who in their right mind wouldn’t) it is well worth your time to check it out. It is dubbed in English, but it does little to deter from the story. Who knew Russian film could be this intense.

Stew Miller

Flash Gordon 2007
Episode 2
Starring: Eric Johnson and Gina Holden
Not only did I not think it was going to be possible, but I hoped to the good gremlins of TV world that it wouldn’t be, yet, as it stands, I think the second episode of this ill-fated series was even worse than the pilot. And that, friends, is saying an awful lot. However I must admit that it really isn’t the plot or story line of this mess, but it’s the stiff, wooden acting and the ridiculous, poorly placed dialog. I can forgive the sad set design and worthless ‘Science Fiction’ weaponry that they’ve managed to scrape up from some back room in a warehouse, and I can even excuse the simple fact that so little of this series thus far takes place anywhere else but Earth and Earth-looking alien worlds. But what I refuse to ignore is how astoundingly worthless and beyond help Flash and Dale’s acting is… not to mention everyone else’s. However, I must admit again that I absolutely love the skittish, over-the-top skills of Dr. Zarkoff (Jody Racicot). Basically the entirety of this sophomore edition takes place on our planet as a stranded bounty hunter, Baylin (Karen Cliché –appropriate to the extreme-) plays her fish out of water roll to a T. At the end of the pilot she was left behind after being set to earth through one of Ming’s rifts. Her job was to locate and secure the IMEX (watch, goofy) and the rift closed behind her. So now she’s been living in a park in a tree avoiding the local batch of throw-away actors and pelting them with food. Seriously, in one unforgivable scene we see Baylin toss a handful of what looks like chewed apple onto the park ranger while he, in turn, sniffs and proceeds to EAT it. No, bad monkey! Goodness, who eats food that falls on them from nowhere? NO ONE! So this path of hijinx goes on and on. Dale, meanwhile, hears of the mischief-causing out-of-towner and feigns stupidity as she deals with the situation from her press perspective as her fiancée, the rugged 100-pound-wet cop does, well, police-like stuff. Next, back on Mongo for the full four minutes we’re ever there, Ming (John Ralston) has called for the execution of an ice smuggler as, evidently, water is the hot commodity on Mongo and Ming controls every bit of it. This is why smuggling ice is a crime, see. Anyway, Ming’s daughter, whom we met and thoroughly gagged by in the pilot as well, Aura (Anna Van Hooft) believes this execution to be unwarranted since the ice thief was only stealing to give clean water to his dying daughter (*SOB*). So, ever so Ming-The-Mercilessly, Ming decides to offer all the assistance he can to the dying daughter by upping the poor whelp’s water rations… and then kills the father! Best part of the show. On earth a new bounty hunter has arrived and is after his ‘life-mate’, Baylin. He goes around whipping folk with the most ridiculous Star Wars garage-sale prop I have ever seen. He has a tussle with Baylin, Flash, and Dale, gets his supposed super-strong butt handed to him by our hero, and shipped back through the rift. This leaves Baylin still stuck on earth and ‘living’ with Flash. Man, some people. Anyway, as we fade out of yet another insipid episode in this series we see a naked and glistening Baylin bathing in oil as, apparently, she does on Mongo, and Flash slyly looks on impressed. Dale, for some reason, pulls him away. Second best part of the show. Oh, it still sucked, though. This needs to be better by episode three or I just might have to spare myself anymore torture.
--Stew Miller
(I don't see what Stew hates so much about this show. Flash Gordon is something different to every generation. The people who like the eighties flick compared to those who like the original serials and then there are the fans of the comics. Flash is a pretty braod character to begin with and open for some interpretation. I'm just glad that they keep an element of goofy in this series. It could have been all doom and gloom like that new Battlestar Galactica abomination. Oh well, to each their own, I guess. -- Editor.)

Monday, August 27, 2007


This actually has nothing to do with the fairy tale. What we get instead is a mother who is a plastic surgeon and her beautiful daughter. The daughter's friends are jealous of her perfect looks so they start to get procedures done. Unfortunately, they become suicidal, delusional and die horribly after getting work done. Is it something that the mother has done? And why is her ex husband referring to their daughter as not being their daughter? What horrible secret has the mother hidden from everyone?
This film is painful to watch. It shows a loving mother and the depths she is willing to sink to save her daughter's looks no matter what the price. This is a brutal film full of disturbing imagery and some pretty effective gore sequences as well. If surgery makes you queasy you might want to think twice before watching this film. It does tie in, in a very obtuse way, with the fairy tale we are used to but with such a demented slant to it.
Once you figure out exactly what the mother has done you will be horrified at the lengths she has gone to.
From the fine folks at Tartan bringing us unique horror from around the world. Be sure to visit them at You'll be glad you did.
-- Douglas A. Waltz


I don't read a lot of comics anymore. For the most part they seem to have lost what made them so good in the first place. It's always exciting, however, to get on board when a new story starts. This is the case of Madame Mirage. With an outfit that harks back to the days of classic pulp, but existing firmly in the here and now with a lean towards the future, Madame Mirage gives us what is good in comics. We don't know everything she can do, we're not even sure what is going on, but the storyline is exciting and grabs you from page one. Add some dynamite art like the piece above and you get a great comic. I look forward to this beating the odds and becoming a new standard in the realm of comics.
It's about time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flash Gordon on Sci-Fi

by Stew Miller
“…Nothin’ But A Man, Who Can Never Fail…” Well, almost never at any rate. Look, I knew going in to viewing the new FLASH GORDON series that I was never going to be sufficiently stunned, but the lackluster disappointment I came away with from this mess was a little more scathing that even I had imagined. SCI-FI Chanel has this inane hit-or-miss ability about them where they can either come blasting at you full force with a great series (see: DR. WHO, THE DRESDEN FILES, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) or pummel you insultingly with some arbitrary nonsense as to make you seriously wonder what on earth they were thinking (see: Any Sci-Fi original movies, for the most part, though I suppose a few have managed to pique my interest). Now, Take FLASH GORDON; a mainstay character that any Sci-Fi buff worth his or her salt knows and loves from the eighties camp masterpiece. We loved Max Von Sydow as the overly sinister and malevolent Ming The Merciless, Sam Jones as the Jets quarterback set upon to save the Earth, Melody Anderson as the butt-kicking, Princess Leia-esque Dale Arden, and, lest we forget, Topol as the boisterous and gallant Dr. Zarkoff (’If I Were A Space Man… ya da ya da ya da… sorry). The film was absolute and pure twentieth-century tripe served hot and tasty just as science fiction comedy needed to be: never once taking itself too seriously. Or, maybe you are more familiar with the second-run serials from the fifties featuring Steve Holland and Irene Champman, or, even more prehistoric, the original films from 1936 featuring… ACTORS! Regardless of how or when you came to love these characters, one has to be a bit irritated at the path down which our beloved fictional friends have flown.

Basically, from what I could ascertain from the oh-so difficult and astoundingly well portrayed opening sequences (that, friends, is sarcasm), our human-cum-hero (Eric Johnson… at the very least he looks like a Flash Gordon, in the same vein that Brandon Routh looked like Superman) is a marathon runner who has just completed and won his third race within the confines of his little dirt-water burg. Still, a feat of this magnitude ought to drag in some more press than, say, ONE LADY! Enter our woman lead: Dale Arden (Gina Holden, doing a fine Kate Bosworth). She is a journalist and Flash’s ex-girlfriend (natch) and is back in town now currently engaged to a cop whom we see later briefly. So, Flash discovers, by sheer accident, that his apparently still-living father was some kind of NASA-hired scientist working with his partner, one Dr. Zarkoff. Now at this point the acting was just atrocious and actually made me laugh out loud at how painful it was portrayed, that is, except for Jody Racicot as Zarkoff who reminded me so very much of Byers from THE LONE GUNMEN (X-Files fans, you’ll know) and was honestly really good. So, anyway, this ’story’ caroms on for another little while until this alien arrives in the fair city bent on locating Dr. Gordon’s IMEX machine, he stirs up some trouble, attacks Flash’s mom, and gets obliterated by a well-placed bit of electrical current. So this leaves this alien’s possessions strewn about and Flash uncovers some device and his dad’s ID! ARGH! Flash, Zarkoff, and Dale follow the blinkin’ beacon on the object and, just by dumb luck, discover the ability to OPEN A RIFT ACROSS SPACE AND TIME! Wow! Awfully bright for a innocent, hick-like marathon runner… hmm, must be related to Forrest Gump. Okay, Zarkoff had been frittering away the past 13 years preparing for a time rift thanks to his and Dr. Gordon’s work… apparently where the posthumous father has gone. WOW! Anyway, Flash and Dale burst through the tear in time and end up on (cue timpani) MONGO! Hey, look, it’s… Ming? Wow, I guess he’s twisted and evil… or, something. No, I just don’t see him attempting to rule the world, maybe a South Beach Ron John’s, I guess… just a bit under the top for me. Well, Flash gets captured and tortured by Ming’s consigliere, Johnathan Walker as Rankol, who, I suppose, is pretty twisted and sick as he describes a torture ‘gun’ designed to pierce the back of one’s eyes, that was pretty cool. Dale gets whisked away a-la the film by Ming’s concubines and dressed for success complete with the listening earring but, much akin again to the movie, talks her way out or something (never really touched on) and meets up with Flash who is, at this point, free from the restraints and with another one of the ladies in waiting (maybe?). They return to earth with the aid of a new friend who, as it turns out, is Ming’s daughter, Aura (Anna Van Hooft) bent on retrieving the IMEX as well. So what is this bewildering and mysterious IMEX? It’s a damn watch! A TIMEX! Flash has had it on his wrist the whole time, of course, and it evidently hides the ENTIRE SECRET TO THE UNIVERSE IN PRETTY COLORS AND SHAPES (Dr. Who fans, you may cry a little now). Oh, I failed to mention yet another woman from Mongo has arrived on earth to collect Aura and the IMEX and she looks as though Robin Hood, Mad Max, and Bloodrayne had a baby… killer but silly. They have a penultimate melee resulting in the apparent destruction of the IMEX, Aura goes home to Ming’s vengeful whining, and Flash visits his dad’s no-longer necessary grave. And there you have it: far too thin of a story for far too thin of characters. No one really hit me as someone who will stand out in future episodes, well, maybe Zarkoff if they can keep him sufficiently toned to the level he’s at, but all in all, if this series doesn’t come at me with the fierceness of a better ’sequel’ (see: SUPERMAN II or WRATH OF KHAN), I just don’t see myself becoming much of a faithful viewer. I’d say it was crap, but crap might be angry at the comparison.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

News From around The Globe!

Leading Game and Worldwide Comic Companies Join Forces to Develop and Publish Massively Multiplayer Online Video Game Based On the Popular Ramayan 3392 A.D. India-Mythology Inspired Comic Book Series
SAN DIEGO, California & NEW YORK, New York (August 9, 2007) Through a deal that joins two of the world's most innovative entertainment brands, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), a global leader in the online gaming industry, is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra's Virgin Comics to bring the popular, India-based Ramayan 3392 A.D. comic book universe to life as an MMO video game initially for the PC.
The deal was announced today by John Smedley, President of SOE and Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgin Comics.
"Ramayan has inspired the lives of millions of people through the ages. The re-imagining of this great ancient epic through the creativity of a game platform re-affirms the fact that Ramayan is one of the greatest stories ever told," said Deepak Chopra. "The fact that the same creative team of young Indians that created the story will be involved in working with SOE's game development team, is a testament to the innovative and mythic minds of these gifted Indian creators who will take a new generation to new frontiers across the seas of consciousness into new realms of mystery, magic, adventure, and transformation."
Through this exclusive multi-year, worldwide license agreement, SOE will develop and publish an MMO based on Ramayan's story of mythological lore. Virgin Comics will serve as a creative consultant on the project. Virgin's creative involvement with SOE's game development team will be spearheaded by its President and head, Suresh Seetharaman, who has also overseen the development of the comic series. Also involved is acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, a co-founder of Virgin Comics.
"Virgin Comics approached us with a portfolio of amazing comic properties based on Indian lore. We particularly love Ramayan 3392 A.D., as we feel Virgin Comics' telling of The RÄmÄyana is particularly gripping, graphically brilliant and lends itself extremely well to an MMO," said Smedley. "This a fantastic time for us to expand our games to include this culturally rich storyline and we are honored to do this with a diversified, creative and experienced company like Virgin Comics."
Virgin Comics' Ramayan 3392 A.D., initially released as a comic in late 2006, re-imagines one of India's greatest epics into a futuristic realm. Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics' Chief Creative Officer commented, "While many of the characters and settings remain familiar to the original lore, we never intended to re-tell the story, but essentially use it as the key inspiration for something fresh. What remains intact to our story are some of the core universal themes like duty, honor, sacrifice, and fraternity while also mining uniquely Indian ideas like karma (how action and consequence are linked) and the malleability of time itself. To bring all of these ideas into a game with SOE is just awesome."
Devarajan concluded, "In a world increasingly dominated with games influenced by a western Tolkien mythos, Ramayan will offer gamers a chance to experience a whole new universe of characters and archetypes derived from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Our mission at Virgin Comics has always been to allow this generation of Indian youth to have a creative platform through which to speak to the world. Through this collaboration with the like minded visionaries at SOE, our young Indian creators will make gaming history worldwide."


IDW Publishing Announces Wide Slate of New Titles

Doctor Who, Speed Racer among the publisher's Comic Con announcements San Diego, CA (July 31, 2007)IDW Publishing, the San Diego-based publisher of comic books and graphic novels, announced plans to expand their line of high-quality creator-owned and licensed titles with many new titles announced at this year's Comic Con International. Among the titles coming in 2007 and 2008 are:Doctor Who: comics based on the newest iteration of the long-running BBC television show (now airing in the U.S. on the Sci Fi Network),as well as newly colored reprints of classic Doctor Who comics, featuring art by comics industry legend Dave Gibbons, will begin at the end of 2007. The creative team for the new comics will be Gary Russell, a Doctor Who TV show story editor, and artist Nick Roche.The Transformers: In addition to the full slate of Transformers comics already published by IDW, the publisher will create new Transformers Movie Sequel comics, expanding the story in the smash-hit big-screen release. IDW's Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryallwill co-write the comics with writer Chris Mowry. Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now: Acclaimed science fiction writer and co-founder Cory Doctorowappeared at IDW's panel to discuss a new six-part series that will see six of the Lotus Award-winning author's short stories adapted to comic books. The series will feature covers from artists such as Sam Kieth, Scott Morse, Paul Pope, Ben Templesmith, and Ashley Wood.Joe Hill's Locke & Key: Best-selling horror writer Joe Hill will create and write an all-new fantasy-horror series for IDW entitled Locke & Key, featuring Beowulf's Gabriel Rodriguez on art.Angel: After the Fall: This new Angel series picks up where Season of Joss Whedon's fan-favorite TV show left off. Whedon and writer Brian Lynch are co-plotting the all-new adventure that explains what happened after the finale of the show, with Lynch scripting, Franco Urru handling art chores and Tony Harris and Urru providing covers for the series. The series will be ongoing, delivered in multi-part story arcs with one-shot spotlight issues filling in additional story gaps between arcs.Yr. Pal, Harlan: IDW will present a collection of legendary writer Harlan Ellison's letters, which promises to be full of writing as humorous and enlightening as it is scathing and impassioned. Speed Racer: The classic animated series will give way to an all-new animated show at the end of 2007, and IDW will present new comic bookseries based on both versions of the show, as well as offering collected versions of past Speed Racer comic book efforts.

Igor: IDW will provide a prequel series as well as an adaptation of the coming Exodus Film Group's upcoming CG-animated feature, Igor.The film, which will be distributed by the Weinstein Company and released wide on October 24, 2008, is a playfully irreverent comedy that brings a new twist to the classic monster genre, and features voice work from Steve Buscemi, John Cusack, Arsenio Hall, Eddie Izzard, and many others.More information about these projects, including creative teams and specific release dates, as well as other projects discussed at thec onvention, will be released soon.About IDW Publishing IDW Publishing is a division of Idea and Design Works, LLC. Among their best-selling titles are Hasbro's "The "Transformers, "Fox's "Angel," Paramount's "Star Trek", and "Fallen Angel." IDW's "30 DaysOf Night" film is in development and will be released by Sony Pictures in October 2007. More information about the company can be found at



New Series Features Michael Turner Covers
Pandemic Studios and Dynamite Entertainment are proud to announce the signing of an agreement to create a new comic book series based on the characters and story of the Mercenaries videogames!
The Mercenaries comic book series will incorporate all the intensity of the Mercenaries video games. The series will feature covers by artist extraordinaire, Michael Turner, interior art by Edgar Salazar and is being written by Brian Reed. As an added bonus, Mercenaries #1 will feature two connecting covers by Michael Turner -- A first for Dynamite! The Mercenaries video game franchise provides explosive third-person shooter action set in a massive, highly reactive, war-torn world. The first Mercenaries game, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (2005), featured the mercenaries capturing or killing members of the Deck of 52 and their ruthless leader, General Song, to prevent his launch of nuclear warheads. In the highly anticipated sequel, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, the mercenaries return as a power-hungry tyrant makes a play for Venezuela's oil supply, sparking an invasion that turns the country into a war zone. But for the mercenaries, profit comes hand-in-hand with chaos. " You are not a soldier. You don't have to play by anyone's rules. You have your own code: EVERYBODY PAYS."
"Mercenaries is one of the most intense videogames in the market today, and it's going to be an explosive addition to our 'dynamite' line up," said Dynamite's Nick Barrucci. "Writer Brian Reed is blowing comics fans away with his work on New Avengers: Illuminati, Ms. Marvel and Red Sonja, so you can expect more of the same incredible action-packed storylines and intrigue from him on Mercenaries. And one cover couldn't contain all the action, so the series debuts with connecting covers by superstar artist Michael (Civil War) Turner!!! If that's not reason enough to pick up this book, than we suggest you play a few rounds of Mercenaries and see what you've been missing! And to add to the excitement, Dynamite will be working hand in hand with Pandemic to help expand both of our audiences, as Pandemic will help get word out on the 800 Comic Shop Locater Service and Dynamite will help get word out on the upcoming video game! Truly a win-win for both industries!"
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is currently in development by Pandemic Studios and is slated for release on the Xbox 360„video game and entertainment system, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, PLAYSTATION3 computer entertainment system and PC. For more information on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames visit

Monday, August 13, 2007


I know, I know. You came to to get your fix for movies, comics and stuff. Mmmmmm, I loves me some stuff! Anywho, Larry Stanley, the fan boy supreme is laid up for a while and the site is being left in the capable (???) hands of our webmaster who shall remain nameless (Oooooo! Mysterious, ain't it?) and myself. My name is Waltz, Douglas Waltz and I have a license, sorry about that. Anywhat, this is the place to come from Penguin Comics for reviews and things. See, while our web master is a freaking genius I am pretty much a blithering idiot. I can, however, do blogging. So, I set this up to fill in the gaps for the site and to make things incredibly easy for me.
Thanks for coming and keep coming back. I promise to make things as interesting as possible around here. And say a prayer for our erstwhile editor. He can use all the help he can get.