Opinion: Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is the Best Supervillain Portrayal Put on Screen

Sorry, Josh Brolin’s Thanos, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, and the best portrayals of The Joker ranging from Mark Hamill to Heath Ledger because Kingpin dominates this genre. Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance in Netflix’s Daredevil is the best the world has seen out of any superhero adaption to the big or small screen. The big bad guy of the gang world in Hell’s Kitchen manages to be the most complex baddie a superhero has had to face on TV or film.

Just a warning, there may be a few minor spoilers. If you do care then go watch Daredevil because the show is phenomenal.

One of the many reasons Tom Hiddleston, Heath Ledger, or any other memorable performance of a villain is due to several reasons, one of which being the subtle nuances they put into their character to make them come to life. D’Onofrio goes all out to not play as Wilson Fisk but to become him. Seriously, just look at comparison photos, the similarities are shocking. The actor gained 30 pounds going from 250 to 280. Taking into account that the character in the comics is 6-foot-7 and weighs 450-pound monster, that is quite a lot to take on after being a 6-foot-3 man. While he is not the exact weight or height, D’Onofrio towers over every other actor. Not only did he gain the weight, but he also shaved his head then once the wardrobe department gets him his suit, nothing can distinguish between the actor and the Marvel character.

 

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Image via Netflix/Marvel

He has the suit, especially the white suit in season three of Daredevil, the stature and mass along with being bald, but there is more to him. The writing in the Netflix original is fantastic, especially in creating his character. The best antagonists are often the sympathetic ones who blur the definition of being a bad guy. A chubby kid with an abusive father becoming an all-powerful crime lord. His journey is painful, yet inspirational. A flip on the rags to riches story for someone who murders his father and commits plenty of other horrific acts of violence.

 

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Image via Marvel/Netflix

 

While his origin makes for a complex man, his heart is what can trick anyone to root for him over our blind hero. He is ruthless with a mix of being an overly emotional child who throws temper tantrums. He has a love interest and shows genuine affection for her. Some stories show the monster with a disingenuous heart, but Fisk is in the head over heels type of love for Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer). The amount of emotion always comes out in his voice. D’Onofrio has stated that his voice for Fisk is intentional by putting all of that anger, sadness, and all of the other feelings come through by the way he speaks, no matter the subject manner.

Motivations for any character are arguably the most crucial aspect to their personality. Batman’s parents died which leads him to a life of fighting crime, Killmonger wants to fight against injustice against his people, Thanos witnesses his people going extinct, and Fisk wants to make Hell’s Kitchen great again. A man who has empowering speeches about rebuilding the city to create a safer neighborhood for the community. What generally goes wrong is these people have extreme methods. Having mass genocide is a bad idea, Thanos. If you want to improve your part of the city, then avoid criminal organizations, bombing buildings, corrupt police officers, and bashing a man’s head in with a car door until nothing is left except for some splattered brains.

The man does not need to say a word to outperform most of the already stellar cast in the Netflix original. The subtle expressions with his hands, eyes, and overall demeanor give the character an extra layer. Similar to Heath Ledger’s licking the inside of his mouth and Tom Hardy’s memorable accent as Bane, D’Onofrio mixes the loud way to tackle a performance and the quieter approach. The way he stares at the white painting is always impactful and haunting.

 

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Image via Marvel/Netflix

 

While a villain such as Loki gets multiple movies, the amount of screentime for Fisk is much greater, allowing for further development. The state of entertainment today gives room for a show to shine brighter than the blockbusters. While Daredevil has the advantage with more time, not every show does. Luke Cage stumbles with its villains, and Iron Fist delivers too similar to stories that feel repetitive in the storytelling. One of the biggest differences between great and bad TV is often time management. While season two of Daredevil was a bit messy, season one and three manage to utilize every minute with care. Allowing for Wilson Fisk and every other character to be developed into the endearing personalities that lift the show up.

D’Onofrio captures the complexities to one of Marvel’s most iconic villains. He has always had this multilayer personality that can switch in a few sentences. One minute is a raging bull then the next he is a crying baby. While many characters that are too emotional can come off as annoying, D’Onofrio strikes the balance to make for a captivating performance that rivals anything done in the superhero genre. Taking the old tropes that are seen in his character, but taking the initiative to take the extra step to bring the character to life.

While many excellent portrayals of iconic villains have been seen from Jack Nicholson’s Joker to modern-day performances by Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther, fans of the superhero genre have plenty to be happy about. While Vincent D’Onofrio’s process is similar to many of these talented actors, what holds him above is his consistent acting and the fantastic writing that brings one of the most iconic, complicated, and brutal Marvel characters to life.

All three seasons of Daredevil are available on Netflix right now.

Header image via Netflix/Marvel

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Interview: The Kings of Mars

1. How did the band come together?

 

I met our lead guitar player, Matt Gordon, in a guitar class at Columbia College Chicago. I showed him some of the songs I was writing at the time and he made some really great parts to them. From there, he introduced to me to our bass player, JJ Frale, and then we kept adding members until we could barely fit on a stage anymore.

2. What are some of your most memorable moments with the band?

Two of the big highlights of our career so far have been our first EP release show in the Fall of 2016. We had a packed house at the Subterranean in Chicago and got a bunch of great feedback from the new songs. Another highlight was our midwest/east-coast tour in the Summer of 2017. We had such a great time traveling around and making new fans!

3. When going to one of your concerts, what should people expect?

We put a lot of effort into practicing for our live shows. If you ever happen to grace us with your presence at one, you can expect a tight rhythm section, in tune three-part vocal harmonies, a boisterous horn section and some high energy from us all!

4. Out of every band you have seen live, who are some of your favorites?

I’ve seen Father John Misty four different times now and he’s by far one of my favorite performers. I also got to see Radiohead a couple years ago and I still think about that concert to this day. I would’ve loved to have seen Soundgarden before Chris Cornell passed away. He was always one of my favorite vocalists.

5. What are some of your biggest influences that have shaped your music?

Because we have so many members in the band, we have a wide range of influences. Some of us are really into jazz/fusion like Art Blakey and Snarky Puppy. Personally, I love Stevie Wonder for his horn arrangements and vocal chops and Father John Misty for his songwriting and brilliant lyricism. Since we have so many different influences, our genre can be hard to describe because we like to blend multiple styles together at once.

6. Have you met any of your favorite musicians and what were those experiences like? If

you have not met anyone, then who do you want to meet the most?

The only hero of mine that I had the pleasure of meeting was Josh Tillman of Father John Misty. I was working backstage at a theater he was playing at and got to meet him as he came through the door. He was a really nice guy and took the time to talk with me even though I could tell he was preoccupied. I would’ve loved to have met Mac Miller before he died. He was one of my favorite rappers and seemed like such a fun person to be around. I wish I could’ve had a chance to pick his brain about the way he wrote his music.

7. What are some long-term goals you have for the band?

As far as long-term goals, we want to go on another tour next year in the south and west coast. We’d also like to come up with enough funds to record a full-length album in the next couple years. We’re starting to expand our fanbase and would like to branch out of Chicago to gain some new supporters.

8. What is the biggest accomplishment you have had so far?

One of our biggest accomplishments was opening up for one of our favorite bands, The Dip. We played at Evanston Space, which is one of the classiest venues in Illinois. The room was packed with new fans that were there to support The Dip. The crowd loved us and we got a bunch of new fans that night.

9. What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

We’re releasing our newest album, Bleach and Aspirin, on 10/26! Make sure to check us out on Spotify/Apple Music to be the first to hear the new songs! We’re playing our album release show at Reggie’s Rock Club on 10/28. After that, we’ll be heading to some other midwest cities to support the album. We’ll be in Muskegon, MI at Unruly Brewing on 12/15!

Keep up to date with The King of Mars by following their website and Facebook.

 

Five Concerns for Red Dead Redemption II Online

With Red Dead Redemption 2 coming this Friday, the hype train is at full speed. I am aboard the train, but I have my worries. Rockstar makes some of the best single player campaigns in the industry. Online will resemble Grand Theft Auto 5 which concerns me. Their model makes sense, however, there are severe flaws in that business decision for microtransactions and how the experience with other players will be dramatically impacted. Here are some of the problems that I see with the upcoming Western multiplayer that arrives a few weeks after the game is released.

#5: No Singleplayer DLC

I will go on about this more in other parts of the article, but I want to dedicate number five to the potential lack of singleplayer DLC. Red Dead Redemption released one of the best and most surprising singleplayer experiences with Undead Nightmare. Chances of that happening are low due to Rockstar’s actions with GTA V. Plenty of players might want only the lone experience without other players. Sadly, if the online is successful enough, we might not get much more with Arthur once the multiplayer is launched. That puts me (and many other gamers) in a weird predicament. I want the game to succeed in every possible way, but I want add-ons or updates to the campaign for those days of not wanting to play with other people.

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Image via Rockstar Games

#4: Poor Character Customization and Models

While the variety of clothing, tattoos, and other accessories for your character in GTA was phenomenal, while the initial creation of your character is ghastly. Playing with genetics to make a unique person in the online world was a brilliant idea, but the character models came out ugly. Every person I saw would have weird bruises and marks on their body that looked unnatural. I am sure Rockstar has learned a lot in five years of working on GTA, but I can’t help to worry about how RDR2 might turn out due to past mistakes.

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Image via Rockstar Games

#3: False Promises

What burns me the most about GTA are the false promises. Announced DLC that would quietly disappear and features such as animals and the stock market would be forgotten entirely. If a company announces a mechanic and that aspect of the game is missing, then people tend to bring up their pitchforks. Rockstar got some backlash, but a smaller amount than expected. People shouldn’t go after a company too harshly over missing features, but should still call them out to keep the communication between a company and its customers open. If the developers announce something will be in the multiplayer experience, then we better see it at some point.

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Image via Rockstar Games

#2: Broken

Rockstar has said when the online comes out it will be more of a Beta than a full release. Surprisingly, this is excellent news. GTA Online came out as a disaster when fans expected a fully functioning game. The developers are playing it smart by covering themselves before the release of the game. Despite that feeling, I am still worried we won’t get the best quality in multiplayer for months after release. Hopefully, we can get something that will be worth staying for instead of waiting for dozens of updates to play with friends in a world that works correctly.

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Image via Rockstar Games

#1: Microtransactions and Game Currency

We are at the most significant concern many gamers tend to have after their business model with GTA. I won’t point a finger to say they are a greedy corporation. I love the free content updates GTA would receive every few months. I  also can’t blame them for wanting to make money when they can continue to support the game that millions of people still play. However, due to this decision obtaining new content such as cars and other goodies became almost impossible. If you want the new house, business, or car, then you have to play a seemingly endless cycle of heists or other missions to earn enough money to buy new items. If you decide you can’t dedicate a full-time job’s worth of time to play the game for enough cash, then you can buy microtransaction that can drain your wallet to play the game. I don’t want my game to feel like a chore, but I do want enough of a challenge. I hope Rockstar can find their footing to balance the economy of Red Dead Online.

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Image via Rockstar Games

I might be a little hard one of the most anticipated games of the year. I am genuinely excited to play Rockstar’s next masterpiece. However, their decisions on multiplayer in the past have made me not satisfied. I hope they have learned from their mistakes, but we won’t know until the online Beta launches in November. Comment below what you think of my concerns or if you have any of your own.

Red Dead Redemption II releases on October 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The online will be delivered sometime in November.

Pre-order the game here:

Movie Review: Halloween

The dumpster fire that is known as the Halloween franchise is back in an attempt to extinguish this disaster that has built up for decades. Director David Gordon Green (Vice Principles and Pineapple Express) teams up to write alongside Danny McBride (Vice Principles, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End) and Jeff Fradley (Vice Principles) the definitive sequel to the classic slasher flick. That is right, no more brother and sister Laurie and Michael or whatever Season of the Witch were meant to be. Despite some bumps in the road, Green, McBride, and Fradley manage to deliver the sequel that fans deserve.

Since the horrific murders from 1978, forty years later, Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) manages an impossible escape (seriously, it does not make much sense) during a transfer to a new facility. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has never been able to get past the terrifying events. Due to her trauma, her life has gone downhill except for her preparation for this moment, to finally kill Myers. She must protect her family, who have exiled her due to her mental health, and stop the masked killer.

Seeing Curtis reprise her iconic role is a dream come true for fans, but she is not alone in great characters. While her performance is tremendous. Her portrayal of a woman forever damaged by what has happened to her and her friends is believable in every way. Allyson (Andi Matichak) is Laurie’s granddaughter, a teenager living the best she can with a wacky family that turns for the worse every year during the spooky holiday. Her father Ray (Toby Huss) is one of my personal favorites. The goofy dad who annoys his daughter, but when it comes down to it, must try to protect his family. Some of the funniest lines (yeah, there is humor in this gory movie) come from Ray, and they land every time. Her boyfriend and friends Cameron (Dylon Arnold), Dave (Miles Robbins), Oscar (Drew Scheid), and Vicky (Virginia Gardner) have fantastic chemistry that makes these high school buddies feel real. They manage to capture the goofiness of a group of friends in high school and the dumb teenage drama that can follow.

Not everyone is in a good light in the film. Karen (Judy Greer) is that naive, annoying character who drove me insane with every dumb word out of her mouth. She is the daughter of Laurie and the mother and wife of Ray and Allyson. I feel sorry for these people to have this woman in their life. The typical doctor who is obsessed with his patient Michael Myers, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) might be even worse, but I will let that surprise you by how annoying his story becomes. Then there are the two dumb journalists who suck at their job, Dana (Rhian Rees) and her partner Aaron (Jeffery Hall). Somehow we got another movie with bad, stupid journalists just like Eddie Brock from Venom. We don’t need this stereotype, why not make smarter characters?

Besides some likable characters, the best aspect of Halloween is the skin crawling intensity. The pacing through the film is well done, a nice jog that moves the story along. Then the brakes are pressed down to a slow drive that builds up the tension. The moments of never feeling safe when you know Myers is around, but have no idea where will make anyone full of anxiety. The Shape lurking in the background that you can spot as he walks over to his next victim is superbly done. While not a scary movie, it is nerve-racking as anything imaginable.

Since people experienced in nothing but comedy have written and directed the film, there is plenty of humor throughout the first two acts. Much of it does not take away from the intensity, surprisingly most of the humor hits the right notes and the correct time. Just wait til you see Julian (Jibrail Nantambu) then you know what I mean by excellent levity in such an anxiety-inducing movie.

While the first two acts are great, the bridge into the third act has some trouble. A dumb move by a character who shall not be named leads the audience into the final moments of the film, and it is just annoying. Why do horror movies lose their footing at some point in the plot every time? The reason, a lack of creativity in the writing process to end this story. While the overall end is pretty strong, the road to it is rough.

The film is made by not just filmmakers, but by people who are fans of the franchise and want to see Michael Myers back to his former glory. With that said, they manage to throw in many references and nods to the original. For the most part, I love this aspect. A nod and apology to longtime fans for how much the series has gone down to hell. With the original music, a similar intro as the first, and plenty of recreated scenes will put a smile on fans. However, sometimes it felt a bit overwhelming of already used ideas. Rather than an homage, we get a fan-made film that acts childish at parts instead of treating being an adult.

The soundtrack is fantastic with a mix of the classic tune and a brand new twist. The new track takes the iconic 1978 and gives it a modern twist. Giving the people who may have never seen many older horror movies a taste of what the music used to sound like while giving people something with a modernized feel.

For a slasher flick with a satisfying body count, the violence, for the most part, was lackluster. Some death scenes were brutal and made it worth the wait to see Myers slaughter his way through the town. Sadly, many of the deaths were shown off screen or given minimal brutality. The aftermath would be shown more often than the actual murder, appeasing my want for The Shape to kill his way through dozens of people, but left me wanting more in violence.

Halloween is a fun, exciting sequel that fixes the issues in the series while delivering film fans would want. It stumbles in many areas, especially with some characters and the final twenty minutes. In the end, Green directed an enjoyable horror movie that has some brilliantly creepy moments despite some failures along the way.

Score: 7/10

Image via Universal Studios

 

Album Review: Disturbed – Evolution

Disturbed have always been a special band in my heart. They are my favorite band who got me into music. Sure, the group has some easy to spot flaws across their career, but they manage to deliver solid rock songs that great melodies and moving meanings. Now with the band’s new record, Evolution, they are trying to change perspectives to show they are growing. I thought I would never be that surprised by the quartet, but they manage to do more than just that. Many bands try to “evolve,” Disturbed shows how to change your sound while maintaining your identity. Rock and metal bands, pay attention to these pros.

To not scare away fans by allowing so many acoustic songs on the album, they have split it into two halves. One half is the traditional Disturbed style, while others might remind you of their hit cover of Sound of Silence. They don’t split it dead even; tracks vary throughout Evolution. You might get two or three heavy songs in a row then get a couple of softer tracks to calm you down, or make you cry. I was kept on my toes every second of the record, not knowing what will pop out of the shadows.

The record openers Are You Ready, and No More give a sense of the tone the heavy tracks are taking. A politically driven record that is perfectly timed when the world is on fire. Are You Ready is fast with some synthesizers to give for a Sickness feeling for old school fans. Much of the record gives them feeling by its aggression and use of electronics. It is 2018, so might as well use what tech giants have given us.

Speaking of aggression, two of the meanest songs are The Best Ones Lie and the bonus track This VenomThe Best Ones Lie is one of the most political songs off the album and one of the most in your face. The band has not released anything angrier since their 2008 hit IndestructibleThis Venom uses distortion while utilizing Mike Wengren’s powerful drumming to beat you down. The percussive nature and David Draiman’s vocals give This Venom a dangerous feeling.

Out of the many surprises found is Another Time. Not only do Disturbed deliver their most distorted song ever, but it also steers in several different directions that nobody can see coming. Prepare for a rollercoaster of a variety of methods for instrumentation.

The ballads are what knocks it out of the park and show Disturbed have evolved in more ways than one. A Reason to Fight is a rhythmic acoustic song that feels inspired by the band’s wildly successful Sound of Silence, while still feeling fresh. Some are more traditional in what someone might think of regarding an “acoustic song” like Hold On To Memories. Watch You Burn adds beauty to the beast by taking the regular Disturbed rhythm and aggression by turning everything upside down. The album closes (before going into bonus tracks if you choose the deluxe edition, which you better be listening to) with a somber and depressing note with Already Gone. Draiman delivers his most emotional vocal performance to date, making for a perfect balance from the explosive introduction with Are You Ready.

Usually, the biggest highlight tends to be Draiman’s animalistic vocals. Just like the previous album, Immortalized, he shies away from any of his iconic noises. He does nothing too different in the heavier tracks. He shines more so in the ballads, which was a significant focus for this record. While he is still his excellent self, I want to hear more zoo animal noises that I have come to love through the band’s vast catalog of music.

Draiman continues to deliver powerful lyrics that will move the listener emotionally and provoke from thoughts about the world. A Reason to Fight tackles addiction and depression. The main focus is the many people Draiman, and the rest of the hard rockers know who have lost their lives due to those issues. Already Gone maintains the statement after losing someone you love. Are You Ready, The Best Ones Lie, and several other heavier anthems discuss politics, something Disturbed has taken on many times throughout their career.

What shines through more than anything is guitar player Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bass player John Moyer. Donegan explodes with experimental solos that will turn the heads of fans. Savior of Nothing, Are You Ready, and Another Time are some of his best solos in his career. Immortalized made for a great return for the band but lacked any superb solos from Donegan. He has always been the member to try different methods like bringing out pianos and synthesizers. Wengren shines with his tactical drumming skills that are the base for both the softest and heaviest tracks. Moyer’s explosive style stands out on several tracks, most of all on A Reason to Fight.

Fans will get familiar vibes from older styles from the band’s early work while getting a feeling from the direction from Immortalized along with brand new ideas. I am always ecstatic about a new record from Disturbed, but I was skeptical how much the band would change for Evolution, I was hoping for them to make drastic changes to keep their creative juices flowing. They put their money where their mouths are and proved the world that they are a creative force that cannot stop. New fans or old, this is a record that every follower of the group should run out to get because Disturbed are back and are taking over the rock and metal world.

Score: 9/10

Buy the album here:

Image via Reprise Records

13 Horror Games You Must Play During Halloween Season

October is here which means Halloween is around the corner. During this season, fans can come out to play as many scary games and watch movies. To celebrate, we will go over plenty of spooky games and movies in the month. To start off, let’s look at some video games that will give you nightmares.

To note, I did cheat the list by adding games with their sequels to clump them together, so let’s get over that while we are here.

#13/12: Metro: 2033 and Metro: Last Light (4A Games)

While the first game, 2033 feels a bit dated, Last Light holds up wonderfully. The world has ended in a nuclear apocalypse and creatures roam the around. Set in Russia, survivors have set inside of the subway system to avoid monsters and radiation. The games have compelling stories along with a variety of gameplay from stealth to big shootouts. Not only are they a ton of fun, but the atmosphere and survival aspects make for one intense experience. While this is not the scariest game on the list, the sense of constant danger and needing supplies to survive will give you the emotions you want to feel during Halloween.

#11/10: The Evil Within 1/2 (Tango Gameworks/Bethesda)

Bethesda published Tango Gameworks’ The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2. A psychological horror game created by the mind who brought the world Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami. The story stands are the game’s strongest point with a well thought out world with rich lore that will keep you compelled through the series. Exploring trauma and psychology in a way that many games tend to shy away from, The Evil Within is not afraid to tell its story. While the game’s lean more towards action, the horror remains strong through every minute. With elements of psychological manipulation, extreme violence, and disturbing themes, this game utilizes everything creepy to make your skin crawl.

#9: Doki Doki Literature Club! (Team Salvato)

That is right, I am recommending a dating simulator visual novel. If you know of Doki Doki then you know exactly why this game is on the list. For those of you who have never heard of the game then you should go in completely blind. That is the only way to experience Team Salvato’s bizarre visual novel.

Warning: Do not play this game if you have struggled with mental health issues now or in the past. The game can be triggering for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, suicide, and self-harm.

#8: Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)

To the standards of modern gaming, Amnesia: The Dark Descent might feel dated by its graphics and clunky gameplay. For its time, Amnesia was the kind of horror. By many standards for years, gamers would find it difficult to find something more horrific than Frictional Games’ masterpiece. Not putting the game on a list of horror games would be disrespectful to one of the most influential horror games of all time.

#7/6: Dead Space 1/2 (Visceral Games/EA)

The first two Dead Space games are some of the greatest games across any genre. A universe with brilliant lore and storytelling along with excellent combat and genuinely terrifying elements to give you nightmares. The use of violence and atmosphere is to the point of perfection. With the bad taste of the third entry and Visceral Games being shut down, we may never get another adventure with Isaac Clarke.

#5: Bioshock (Irrational Games/2K Games)

A thought-provoking video game is rare, but Bioshock manages to be more than just your average game. A horror game with all of the typical elements with combat, dark atmosphere, and terrifying enemies goes above and beyond to completely shake-up the industry. Some of the most gripping stories are right in Rapture with its main story and the many audiotapes that can be found to make the deceased city seem like it once had a life. Usually, silent protagonists seem out of date to me, but Bioshock managed to be the one exception for me by its execution of having a mute hero.

A message to 2K, please make another entry to this series, even if it is like the less horror-oriented Bioshock: Infinite.

#4: Dead by Daylight (Behaviour Interactive)

The horror multiplayer game delivers a unique experience. You and a few other survivors must start up five generators then escape. Meanwhile, one player is playing as a killer who is hunting you down. From original psychopaths with unique abilities to classic horror film murders such as Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, there is a wide variety to choose from that will change play styles for both sides. The game is fun and manages to deliver unique experiences each time despite the seemingly repetitive concept. Playing the game with friends makes the game that much better. Grab some friends to survive with, or you can decide to murder them.

The game is getting constant updates such as new survivors, maps, killers, and rewards to keep players going. Go support the developers and give this game a try.

#3: Outlast (Red Barrels)

Yes, I have listed only the first game, not its sequel. Outlast 2 is one of the most disappointing games I have ever played. Let’s focus on the brilliant first game.

Outlast takes many elements from other horror games where you just run away and hide because you can’t defend yourself. What separates Red Barrels’ outstanding game from others is its story and use of lighting. 90 percent of the game is pitch black, so you have a camera with night vision to see what is hiding in the darkness. While the running and using stealth to survive is fun along with its terrifying atmosphere and use of night vision, the story about a secret experiment that explores the human psyche is the strongest element here. The influences and typical tropes are present, but the game manages to make itself as an individual in a crowded genre.

#2: Resident Evil 7 (Capcom)

Who would have thought Resident Evil would make such a comeback into the horror genre? The first-person take on the long-running franchise ended up being the refresher critics and fans needed. Taking inspiration from classic horror movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead along with the well-established world of Resident Evil, you get to experience one of the most disturbing and disgusting video games made in years.

#1: Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

If I had to make a list of the greatest horror games ever made, Alien: Isolation will be within the top three. Taking place after the first movie, you play as Ripley’s daughter who has to go through dangerous androids, hostile humans, and one big Xenomorph. The balance of stealth and combat is as close as you will find in the genre. Whether you are hiding around from the alien or fighting off people willing to kill anyone in their path to survive, every mechanic works with grace. The quirk that sets Alien apart from many others in the genre is that there is little safety. Of course, there are going to be scripted parts in the story, but for the most part, the Xenomorph is a living creature that will explore the ship, slaughtering everything in the way. Better grab a friend to help you endure a relentless journey full of death and terror.

Now you are set to go into the rest of the month with a nice stack of new/old video games to play for the sake of getting nightmares. Good luck sleeping after playing some of these terrifying games.

What are some of your favorite horror games? Be sure to comment your thoughts.

Buying any game linked will benefit the developers and me, you can just click a link then browse through Amazon to buy anything you want.

Header image via Capcom

Movie Review: A Star Is Born

Hollywood at it again with another remake, but the thing is, originality does not mean anything when it comes to quality. Bradley Cooper does it all in his first directed movie. The man acts, sings while playing guitar, and directs on top of everything. Just when I thought he is one of the most talented people on the planet, he gets even better. Plus he has Lady Gaga, if you have not stopped reading to watch this movie then what are you doing? Get to the theater and watch this award-worthy film.

Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is on top of the music world as a huge star. A star with addictions, unsettled mental health problems, and of course, hearing issues. He meets a talented young woman, Ally (Lada Gaga) and he believes in her right when he hears that voice. Yeah, it is that type of movie, so you think. They fall into a relationship, and we see their dynamic as the two grow as a couple and as musicians. A bleak look at the music industry and what it can do to two young lovers.

If you want to be a musician then maybe watch this movie and reconsider your choices. Cooper and Eric Roth have written an austere perspective into the musician lifestyle, along with some of the positives that come with this career path. Not just that, but a believable and well-developed relationship between Ally and Jack is on display. I can’t remember seeing a love story told so well, at least it has been quite a few years to see something so realistically depicted.

Cooper and Gaga are phenomenal, of course. They have this fantastic chemistry that makes you feel every moment they are together. When the two lovebirds are singing, I could not stop myself from smiling. When the tone gets grim, my heart is pounding, and my eyes start to water. I truly cared for these characters, and I want the best for them so much. Cooper delivers his best performance to date, which says a lot because the man has done plenty of brilliant work in the past. He has this charm that grabs the audience with that smile and deep voice. He manages to have that inner pain to his character show at all times. When the sky is blue, and the birds are chirping, you still see the pain in his eyes. In a world full of excellent TV shows that showcase how well developed and three-dimensional characters have become puts movies to shame. Cooper proves that you can still bring characters to life in just two hours. Gaga has always been a great artist, but I have never seen her given the spotlight for her acting until now. As a character who stands alone, she is captivating. When she is with Cooper, they are both a force that will not let go of you with their performances.

The rest of the cast are brilliant and bring their own substance to this intoxicating story. Bobby (Sam Elliot) as Jack’s much older brother, yeah they have Sam Elliot playing his brother, his compelling all the way through. They have a history that is complicated and well fleshed out. I felt that tension and love. Lorenzo (Andrew Dice Clay) should have had more in the film, but he was just as complex of a father for Ally. Ramon (Anthony Ramos) plays a good friend of Ally but felt more like a stand-in character. Her manager, Rez (Rafi Gavron), felt a bit generic but is lifted by the solid performance delivered by Rafi.

Sometimes music in these types of movies gets a little too much. They manage to cut into the next scene right when things might drag on too long. Surprisingly, the music is for the most part good. Even when I did not like it, every song has a specific reason. Every detail, in general, is well thought out, especially when you see Ally and Jackson play music. I knew Gaga for her incredible talents in acting and singing, but who would have thought that Cooper is such a good musician? I never knew he could, and he keeps surprising me. First, he pops up in Marvel as Rocket Raccoon and here he is playing as a mainstream musician.

The cinematography captures every mood perfectly. The delivery of the concert scenes shows how much fun and impactful music can be. When the story gets darker, the camera work and lighting show that tone to the audience. Every detail is precise. One of my favorite shots of the year is towards the final act. The use of lighting and zooming in on a house with a red light covering the entrance made for such a gorgeous view while maintaining with the tone of the scene. Nothing gets put onto the screen without a lot of thought put into it.

As we draw closer to Oscar-worthy movie season, A Star Is Born will blow any movie away. Cooper manages to make his directorial debut into a masterpiece that would have anyone thinking some A-Class director who has been making films for decades created this beautifully heartbreaking movie. No, it is the Bradley Cooper we have all known from Guardians of the Galaxy, American Hustle, American Sniper, and The Hangover. The execution of his vision is full of care. While the film is a remake; he has made it his own to stand as an individual film that does not lean on its predecessors. With some slight pacing issues in the first twenty or so minutes, it is smooth sailing that does not feel too slow or too fast. The chemistry between him and Gaga alone is the best aspect of the film, while it still brings so much more than their characters. We get a real love story that is not caked in makeup from typical Hollywood movies.  A Star Is Born is something raw, beautiful, and intoxicating. If this film does not win a single Oscar, then it is time to shut the award showdown.

Score: 10/10

Image via Warner Bros.