Review: Black Sunday/Mask of the Demon (Blu-Ray)

(Thanks, FulciLives!)

Layout 1Say, did I ever tell you all the story of the time a few decades ago back in the 80’s when I learned how to brine a chicken thanks to a pair of very helpful Satanists looking for Kosher salt at a grocery store? No? Well, that’s not why we’re here, so I won’t go into it other than to say I didn’t know they were into that stuff, and hell, I’m an atheist anyway. The chicken? It was excellent by the way. Still is, whenever it’s made.

Uh, speaking of “anyway”, Let’s move on.

Still scary and somewhat phenomenally timeless, Mario Bava’s classic “first” film La Maschera Del Demonio/The Mask of Satan (aka Black Sunday in the US) starts off unsettling and keeps the frights coming until the end. Bava’s direction and art direction here are generally superb, although yes, there are a few plot holes you can drive a rattly (or rat-filled) old Fiat through if you follow the story too closely. But taken as a whole, it’s still a work of brilliance that many films have paid homage to over the decades since its release.

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“Where the hell is my coffee? I just woke up after 200 years!”

Very loosely based on The Viy, Nikolai Gogol’s horror tale from 1835, the film revels in its high Gothic style, early use of gore effects and the stunning Barbara Steele who plays both the evil Asa Vajda and 200 years after her demise, her relative, Katia Vajda. It’s a revenge story of sorts, as that witch and her soulless-mate Igor Javutich (Arturo Dominici) are separated and then executed in a most bloody fashion for their crimes and yes, there’s a bit of a promise of defiant revenge from the witch. 200 years later, it’s young Katya who’s target of a newly revived Asa’s demonic ways and in tandem with the revived Javutich, things get ugly for a few people after that curse literally comes to life. Wait, or is it figuratively? I forget.

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Vincent Price wants his stage wig back when you’re done, pal.

Interestingly, the film links Satanism and witchcraft to devil worship as the same thing, which is about the sole flaw that sticks out (well, I’d guess it was seen as the same in the 1630’s, but I’m a terrible time traveler, getting too sick from the trips to pay attention and all that).

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The Tiny Bang Story Makes the Switch

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Time to be royally puzzled!

Russian developer Colibri Games and publisher Ellada Games have a neat puzzler for Switch owners with The Tiny Bang Story, a game that’s had some solid success on mobile. As I don’t play mobile games these days (I play way to many console and PC games and have quite the backlog here), it’s the first I’ve heard of this. But it sure looks mighty impressive and yes indeed, my Switch is humming for the chance to play this.

 

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The hand drawn artwork style is lovely here and the games wordless accessibility means just about anyone can enjoy what’s here. I’m into this, that’s for sure.

Here’s a trailer to tempt you with:

A review is in the cards, so check back for that, please.

-GW

Save 10% Off iNetvideo.com’s Scary Flicks (Or Else)

Ooh, this is a nice deal on some frightening flicks for Halloween or for someone who likes the scary stuff any time of year:

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Hop on over here and take a peek at many horrors old and new to pick up. You have 114 pages of films to peruse and choose, so get to it!

-GW

Win a Switch Lite and Valfaris From Signature Edition Games

Well, it’s a few clicks and about two or so minutes of work, but the prizes are cool if you win them. Signature Edition Games is running a little contest where you can win these:

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Nice prizes you have there…

Which turns out to be an excellent way to get to poke around at their site and check out what else they have to offer, right? Anyway, go take a look at what else is in that Valfaris set here and hey, for the heck of it, see 25 minutes of boss fights from a pretty darn skilled player (WARNING: here there be spoilers!):

(Thanks, horheristo!)

-GW

A Knight’s Quest Trailer: This Looks Like Fun Stuff, Indeed

From Canadian developer Sky9 Games and publisher Curve Digital comes A Knight’s Quest which definitely wears its 1990’s platform/RPG influences somewhat proudly on its sleeves for all to see.  It’s coming soon to Epic Games store, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and has already arrived for Xbox One. Fun fact: the game seems derived and definitely different from the quest-filled 2D adventure game by the developer from a few years back.

Check out the PS4 trailer below and get set for its October 10th release on the platforms that don’t yet have it:

I just got a PS4 review code yesterday and an pretty pleased to report that so far, it’s quite good stuff. Familiar intentionally to some classics you may recall, but absolutely very fun stuff, indeed. You’ll have to wait a touch for the full review, but I’m really having a blast with this one. Who’d have thought a clumsy main character would be so fun to play as?

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-GW

Review: Neo Cab (PC)

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Here’s a ride worth taking.

Now, this was pretty cool one, and not a “honk” in sight.

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Geez. Well, maybe if they have a lousy attitude like you, they might, lady…

Chance Agency’s excellent “survival adventure” game Neo Cab  (also on Switch and Apple Arcade) feels to me like what would happen if the classic cyberpunk FASA game series Shadowrun got a first-person expansion focusing not on weapons or magic, but a human taxi driver who just took mostly normal and a few tech-enhanced passengers where they needed to go, listening or responding to their mundane stories along the way.  There’s also a smidgen of a more recent game Night Call, minus the murder investigation aspect to contend with (there’s a taxi accident mentioned a few times that occurs off-screen integral to the plot, but the Teen-rated game doesn’t feature any violence). The people you meet as pax (passengers)  here are a pretty interesting (and well-written) sort where if you have time over the game’s six-day period, you’ll want to pick a few up multiple times in order to find out more of their stories.

There’s replay value here because the game’s main story only lasts about four or hours and intentionally limits pickups to three (or four in cases where you decide to take a chance on an extra run) a day. Granted, the plot threads all link up at some point, but it’s impressive to see how it all comes together even if the finale tends to be a bit of an anticlimax on one front when compared to the bulk of the game. It’s not a bad ending, mind you. It just forces a particular choice at you until you pick what seems to be closure for some characters. While there’s no voice acting here, most of the “acting” here is nicely mimed and/or conveyed through what’s seen on-screen.

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