VIDEO GAME REVIEW: FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE GAME

Friday the 13th: The Game
Friday the 13th: The Game

By Nick Durham

After what felt like an eternity of waiting, the eagerly anticipated Friday the 13th: The Game has finally been unleashed upon the masses. Developed by Illfonic and published by Gun Media, Friday the 13th: The Game was originally being developed as an independent title called Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp before Gun Media managed to acquire the Friday the 13th license and have a successful Kickstarter campaign as well. After seeing numerous screenshots, test footage, and hearing tons upon tons of hype; does the game deliver the goods and manage to be as entertaining and visceral as we’ve all collectively hoped it would be? Well quite frankly, yes and no. 

Played through a third person perspective, Friday the 13th: The Game is a survival horror, multiplayer scramble to hide, survive, and escape Camp Crystal Lake from our favorite hockey-mask wearing slasher. If playing as one of the camp counselors, it’s up to you to run and hide, and be resourceful as well. This ranges from setting traps for Jason, finding weapons to combat him (and run), repair the cabin phone to call the police, as well as repair a car and boat in order to escape. If you play as Jason however, your sole mission is to kill all the horny, dope smoking teenagers you come across. Jason has special abilities, including stalking, shifting (AKA, managing to appear out of nowhere), and sensing out where the counselors are hiding. 

I will say first and foremost that after being able to spend enough time playing as both the various counselors (who thus far all seem to control and play the same) and as Jason Voorhees, I can honestly say that I’ve had more fun playing as the counselors believe it or not. Surviving and managing your resources is much more enjoyable than playing as Jason, which is a major disappointment. The first few times I played as him, I realized how much of an absolute fucking chore it can be in terms of the way Jason controls and stalks around. Maybe I need some more time with him to fully grasp it, but after a variety of sessions playing as him, I can safely say I’m not impressed.

Now as for the rest of Friday the 13th: The Game, it manages to be both pretty fun and insanely frustrating. I downloaded it at launch for my PS4, and saying it took forever to actually be able to get on to the servers and play a match is saying it lightly. This wasn’t much of a surprise considering video games are meant to be defective at launch it seems these days, but the fact that this continued for a while afterwards is almost inexcusable. Not to mention the fact the game itself is loaded with glitches, bugs, and lag time across the board. Although there is plenty of fan service thrown into this game (the various Jason looks, Thom Matthews as Tommy Jarvis, Kane Hodder providing motion capture work), too much of this game just feels flat out incomplete to justify laying down 40 fucking dollars for it.

Apparently eventually there is going to be a single player mode of Friday the 13th: The Game to be released at some point, which would be nice considering that the multiplayer-only aspect of the game thus far only has so much lasting appeal, and like I said, it isn’t really worth laying down 40 bucks for that alone. With that being said, maybe when that mode gets added, and maybe if some other aspects get tuned up, this game could be something really, really special. Until then, it sadly isn’t. Still, it has enough fun elements to be worth checking out, just don’t expect anything spectacular out of it.

Rating: 3/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: PUMPKINHEAD 2

By Nick Durham

Do you enjoy needless sequels to beloved horror films that have no right to exist and only serve to squander any promise or good will that was made with the first one? If so, you’re gonna be head over fucking heels with Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings. Released in 1994 (and filmed in 1993) and directed by Jeff Burr (who knows a bit about needless sequels since he also directed Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and The Stepfather 2), Pumpkinhead 2 features more demonic small town shenanigans that seem to have little to do with anything that took place in Stan Winston’s original film, other than the titular vengeance-driven creature, who looks nowhere near as creepy or scary here, despite featuring effects work from KNB. But really how bad can this movie be? Well, Scream Factory has decided to give it the Blu-ray treatment, so let’s find out.

Pumpkinhead 2 focuses on small town sheriff Braddock (Hellraiser‘s Andrew Robinson) who returns to his home town along with his wife and teenage daughter Jenny (Ami Dolenz, suffering from 90s hair). Soon enough, Jenny begins hanging out with a crew of 90s cool kids/bad kids/toolbags (including Return of the Living Dead 3‘s J. Trevor Edmund and Punky Brewster star Soleil Moon Frye) who end up running afoul of a local old witch (not Haggis). Soon enough, Pumpkinhead is reborn thanks to the soul of a tortured deformed teenager, and he begins taking out those responsible for killing him back in the 50s before focusing on the crew of 90s toolbag teenagers. Got all that?

To put it bluntly, Pumpkinhead 2 is a slog to get through. It shifts between being boring and unintentionally funny, with plenty of cliches and predictable story twists along the way as well. It lacks the emotional depth that the original film had, and we don’t care one ounce about any character’s fate. Hell, in all honesty, I was flat out hoping that everyone would seriously fucking die. Not to mention the fact that the look and feel of the film comes off as being cheap. Now I know the original Pumpkinhead didn’t exactly have a large budget, but it overcame those limitations thanks to the fact that the film had heart and soul to it, where as Pumpkinhead 2 has the heart and soul of being a cheap knock off, which is exactly what it is. Between unlikable characters, shitty plotting, atrocious dialogue, and a score that sounds like someone gave a four year old child a bag full of sugar and let him go apeshit on a Casio keyboard, this movie is one pure fucking turd. Genre stalwarts Kane Hodder and Linnea Quigley (I recognized her by her rib cage I swear) are here in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos, but even they don’t help this amount to being anything other than a turd of a sequel that no one asked for.

Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Pumpkinhead 2 features a half decent transfer of the film, as well as a handful of special features. These features include an interview with director Jeff Burr, and a retrospective about recreating the monster featuring Greg Nicotero. It seems everyone involved thought the film would turn out to be more fun than it actually was, but at the end of the day, did anyone really expect an unwanted sequel to Pumpkinhead to be anything more than a steaming turd of celluloid?

Even though Scream Factory gave the film a half decent Blu-ray release, I implore you to skip Pumpkinhead 2. It’s a needless sequel that no one was clamoring for, and it isn’t helped by the fact that the film is a cheap mess from beginning to end. You know what’s worse though? There’s even more needless Pumpkinhead sequels out there, and even those pieces of shit are better than this fucking train wreck.

Rating: 1/5

The Killer & I: A Reality Series

By Machete Von Kill

Hodder and Author Michael Aloisi
Hodder and Author Michael Aloisi

From the guys who brought you the books Unmasked: The True Life Story of the World’s Most Prolific Cinematic Killer and The Killer and I: A Journal About the Making of Kane Hodder’s Biography Unmasked comes the reality series. And right now, you can watch it for FREE on Amazon Prime. The series consists of 12 ten minute episodes, following Michael Aloisi (Author Mike) and horror legend Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th part 7 -10, Hatchet, Old 37) on their 4 month book tour across the United States and Europe.

It’s reminiscent of Jackass, and most of my dumbass (I say that with love, lol) friends. Two guys doing goofy (and sometimes gross) stuff while on the road. Frankly, it reminds me of being on the road with indie professional wrestlers Cody Kelley and John Campbell (only, we are so much cooler lol).

Kane Hodder at Frightfest 2010 at The Empire Leicester Square, London, 29 August 2010. Picture by Julie Edwards
Kane Hodder at Frightfest 2010 at The Empire Leicester Square, London, 29 August 2010. Picture by Julie Edwards

Two years ago, I probably would have gushed about how awesome Kane is, and I would have told you that you MUST SEE THIS. After a not-so-impressive run-in with Hodder at Motor City Nightmares this past April, my rose colored glasses, when it comes to Kane, are gone. For a guy who talked about being bullied as a child, he has become a bully in his own right, when it comes to fat shaming. Throughout the entire series, he makes numerous “jokes” and remarks about Aloisi being overweight. Some may find it funny, I however, find it pathetic.

Beginning with golf and then a trip to Oklahoma’s Safari Sanctuary Zoo, the pair take viewers along for the ride to the Las Vegas Strip, the legendary Stanley Hotel in Colorado, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. I really expected Hodder and Aloisi to at least touch on some of the paranormal incidents at the Stanley. I was disappointed to see they skipped over it and instead ran with static electricity induced shocks and manicures. I wasn’t expecting an episode of Ghost Hunters or anything, but seeing as Hodder is a co-founder of Hollywood Ghost Hunters, I find it surprising and saddening that they didn’t even attempt to catch any EVPs or activity of any kind.

Don’t get me wrong, it is funny, entertaining and worth checking out, if you are a Hodder fan. You also get a small taste of the sites and atmosphere of the locations they filmed at. I guess I was just expecting more. When I finished episode 12, I was left with the That’s it!? feeling.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 10 Machetes