Friday, 22 January 2021

Christmas Pick-ups 2020 ( Part 2 )


More Christmas pick-ups, and as you can see from above I managed to get a nice collection of Get Along Gang comics from an online charity auction! 

I used to be a bit obsessed with collecting the Get Along Gang toys when I was a lad, and can remember getting the first few issues of this comic when it started too! And now I have them again, as this lot has almost all of the first 22 or so....couple of issues missing I think!

I had totally forgotten about Top Dog, who also appears in the comics...he was a character from the same stable as Heathcliff The Cat, and apparently once had a run in with Spiderman...well, that Spidey was actually an actor in the suit, but Peter Parker did put in an appearance in that particular strip....

And above you can see another thing I completely forgot about, Jasmin The Little Japanese Princess, which is actually an English-language reprint of Nahomi, a strip that originally appeared in Belgian in Tintin magazine in the early 80s! The Get Along Gang comic seems an odd place to find that....

Next up is some obligatory Moomin merchandise....a fluffy Moomintroll, the first book in the series, some Moomin stickers and a video which isn't of my favourite Fuzzy-Felt style Moomin series, but the later Japanese animated series! I'd better keep an eye out for Hatti-fatteners trying to steal this lot.....

Some games next, and I treated myself to this lot...

Tak 2 is a pretty decent platformer, Strange Brigade is a groovy multi-player shooty-puzzley-multiplayer thingy from Rebellion, White Knight Chronicles is an RPG by Level 5 that was exclusive to PS3, Need For Speed - The Run is a rip-roaring race across the United States, Shellshock 2 - Blood Trails is a zombie-shooter sequel that isn't meant to be as good as it's non-zombie predecessor but it interested me enough to give it a look and Lord Of The Rings - War Of The North is a nice party-based romp through the world of Middle Earth! Here's a few trailers for some of the games....

I bought quite a lot of stickers for myself this Christmas, mainly so that although I knew what I was getting, I could keep some element of surprise by opening sealed packets!

And so these Skeleton Warriors stickers are the first lot that I bought blind. I never knew much about Skeleton Warriors back in the day, but got interested after I played the PS1 game for the blog a few years back!

You can also see some Cartoon Time stickers that came free with the Marvel comic of the same name, and which I had back in the day but stuck them somewhere and lost them, so thought I'd rebuy this set....and those puffy Mr. T stickers, which are based on the 'awesome' cartoon!

I'll leave you with the intro for that, and tell you that I'll be back some time after the weekend with part 3 of the pickups! Hope you enjoyed checking out this lot of stuff! :) 

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Christmas Pick-ups 2020 (part 1)

I was planning to put pictures up of all the retro stuff I picked up at Christmas on Twitter, but it seems that Twitter have suspended my account, probably because of me responding to all the Merry Christmas messages with the same response, which they then flagged as 'suspicious activity'...*sigh*

So instead, here's a closer look at all of my pickups on the blog. A lot of these are gifts I bought for myself over the last half of the year and put aside to make sure I had plenty to open at Christmas, some are even older items I had picked up ealier but barely looked at, and the remaining few are ones I got from family! But there are lots, so this will probably be a three-part pick-up at least! 

First up is a load of retro computing mags and annuals, all from Fusion Retro Books....there's the Fuison annual, a Resident Evil based issue of the Fusion mag, this year's Crash Annual and a sampler and first issue of the brand new Crash magazine that has recently been revived and is available to support on Patreon. More information on all of these can be found by clicking the link above...

These toys above are ones I've been looking for for ages. I used to have some as a kid, and I remember buying them from toy bins that were scattered aong the sides of the book aisles in John Menzies in edinburgh in the 80s. All that remains of my old collection is a head exactly the same as the creature on the left's, and I had no idea what the toys were called or who made them. Well now I do...these are from Britains Toys Deetail Stargard series!

This little dude is Zarak from LJN's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toy line. He's another one I had as a kid that got lost in a move. I've been hunting him down for years too, as he fired memories of similar characters being in the intro to the D&D cartoon, which also took me ages to's the rarer dark intro to Season 2 where you can see what I mean!

For some reson it took ages for this intro to appear online, which made me question if it ever existed! anyway, it's good to have old Zarak back in my collection!

This Alien Xenomorph Madball was bought by my mum, and she did well....she apparently had intended to get me one of the old characters, but those have rocketed in price! I still have a lot of them anyway, so this was probably a safer purchase and one that is very appreciated! :) 

Ah, now this one is very special! It's another toy lost in the mists of time that I had as a kid, and this one has the special priveledge of being an old gift from Santa himself! The benevolent beardy one gave me this when I visited him in Edinburgh as a nipper, and so when I saw this while browsing Ebay a couple of weeks ago, I had to rebuy it! Especially as it came still packaged in the box and I could look at all the other ET toys on the back of the pack! 

These Marvel books were an old purchase that I repackaged as a new present, as I've barely looked at them. They collect a lot of the early comics in a handy pocket-sized form!

More from Marvel, and these Transformers collections are excellent! They gather together the old comics into handy volumes...and the first one has the bonus of having one of my favourite Marvel characters in too! The bounty hunting robot Death's Head!

And lastly for this first batch, here's an Intellivision TV game, that plugs straight into the telly and lets you play old classics like Night Stalker and Shark, Shark!


I'll post more of these later, so check back soon to get more retro memories fired up! 

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Vincent Price STILL Still Haunts My Youtube!

 Have some last minute Vincent Price! It's not Halloween without Vincent Price!

Okay people, that's Halloween posts done for me for another year! Gonna take a blog break, but might be persuaded to pop back in a month or so if Creepmas is still a thing! Hope your Halloween has been suitably spooktacular despite all this 2020 nonsense, and that pumpkins stay shining for as long as possible! 

Also, thanks to all the other bloggers who have been taking part in the Countdown To Halloween, and to Master Cryptkeepers Michelle and Michael for keeping the whole thing going! Pop over one last time to the hub and check them all out! Now that I have time, I'll be visiting and reading all the posts!

Happy Halloween! See you in the pumpkin patch next year!

Fury of the Macabre Mannequins!

 One last visit to the Digital Comic Museum for Halloween, where I found a tale that seems to borrow heavily from the 1953 film House Of Wax.....

But then, this one comes from the pages of Ace Comics'  Web Of Mystery Issue 8, from April 1952... a year before! But then, House of Wax is a remake of a 1933 film, Mystery of the Wax Museum, so this story probably got the idea from that! Anyway, here it is.....

(click to go big)

(Thanks to Tigger for uploading the scans to the museum!)


Spook Sightings Of Yester Year - No. 20 - More Wendigoes!


The Wendigo by Diana Franco

Following on from the last Spook Sighting post, here are some more real-life Wendigo reports! Fair warning that some of these tales are a bit on the grim and gruesome side.....

*Note - Once again I must apologize for any derogatory terms or blatant racism against First Nation tribes used in the reports which people may find offensive. These have been kept in to stay true to the original text. *



(From the Ottawa Citizen, dated Thursday August 17th, 1899)

(From the Vancover Daily World, dated Wednesday 13th September, 1899)


Trial of Indians for Slaying a Wehtiko or Wendigo.

The Edmonton Post contains a report of the trial of the Indians charged with killing a Wendigo or Wehtiko. It is as follows : The very interesting trial of the Indians charged with killing Louison Moostoos ended by the conviction of Napaysoosis and the aquittal of Payoo. The former, as he had been in prison since March last, was sentenced to only two months' hard labour. Although it was confidently expected that both Indians would have been aquitted, this verdict and sentence are satisfactory, inasmuch as they will teach the northern tribes respect for the majesty of the law, and prove a salutary lesson.

The whole story of the killing is an interesting example of one of the deep rooted beliefs and superstitions of these unfortunate people, and better than a whole volume shows up the devil worship and sorcery of the Wood Crees, to which tribe both the prisoners belong. The history of their crime, if crime there were, may be best learned from the words of Napaysoosis himself, and taken down from his own lips by George W. Gairdner, who was retained by the Crown as interpreter for the accused and was in constant attendance at the trial. Mr. Gairdner having spent many years in the north country as factor in the Hudson's Bay Company, is a proficient in Cree and other Indian dialects, and well versed in Indian lore.

The Awful Story

"Last winter, a band of us, 32 in number, counting women and children, were living at the Bald Hills, some 75 miles west of Lesser Slave Lake. We lived in two Shacks and two tepees. Entominahoo, our chief, along with Kunucksoos and myself and our families, lived in one shack. Moostoos and his family, with some others, lived in the other shack, and the other Indians in the two tepees. We were all on the best of terms with with one another and Moostoos was especially well liked by all of us. Some months before he was killed Moostoos told several of us that he was afraid an evil spirit was getting the better of him and that he would turn Wehtiko (cannibal), adding, 'if I ever go wrong you had better kill me, as I do not wish to destroy my children.' The time passed on, however, till about the 23rd of March. At that time some sickness was affecting the Indians, and two of them - Napaysis and 'the little old man' - were being treated by Entominahoo, in his own shack, which might be termed the hospital, as all the sick were taken there to be doctored. Entominahoo was chief medicine man. The third day before he was killed Moostoos also went there to to join in the medicine making and the sorceries, which were being practiced with a view to curing the sick men. During the last day and night I saw Moostoos was not looking as usual. His eyes were rolling and glittering, and he seemed afraid to look anyone in the face, and he was all the time muttering to himself. On one occasion he said: 'I look on these children as young moose, and long to eat them.' I was absent from the shack part of the day, and when I came back towards evening Moostoos looked wilder and more dangerous than ever, and it was clear to all present that he was becoming a Wehtiko. 

Ordinary incantations were tried, but without result, and as a last resource, the 'medicine lodge' was erected in the shack, and the whole skill and power of all our sorceries was enlisted in the attempt to bring Moostoos back to reason. It was certain from his appearance, words and actions that he had no bodily complaint, but that he was possessed with a devil. Our usual singing ceremonies were begun. the singing of medicine songs, drumming and dancing were carried on from sundown till about midnight, and as Moostoos was lying, covered with two blankets, comparitively quiet, the medicine seemed to have a good effect. There were in the house at that time Entominahoo and his wife, Eliza, the wife of 'Redhead,' Felix's wife, 'Redhead,' Kunucksoos and his wife, Napaysis and 'the little old man' : as I said before, these last were lying sick. All but the sick men and Kunucksoos, who was taking care of them, were grouped round Moostoos, striving by medicine songs and other means at our command, to drive the evil spirit out of him. Entominahoo, our chief 'doctor,' was inside the 'medicine' circle

Waving His Wand,

and using all his science and skill toward the same end. Suddenly Moostoos called out, 'This night you will all die,' and commenced twitching his limbs and rolling his eyes. Two of us, Chuckachuck and myself, went and sat on each side of him at his shoulders, prepared to hold him down if he became violent, while the two young women, Eliza and Felix's wife, sat at his feet. At this juncture 'Redhead,' sick with fright, left the shack. Moostoos began throwing his arms about and tried to get up, saying again, 'if I get up I will kill you all to-night.' The four of us laid hold of his arms and legs and held him down, while Entominahoo continued his 'medicine,' using the most powerful songs and incantaions at his command. Moostoos now became unmanageable, flung us off, rose to his feet, and sprang into the air, exclaiming, 'I will kill you all ; I will not leave one alive.' Fear, intense, blind fear took hold of us. We jumped up and, in spite of his gigantic struggles, we managed to pull him down and cover him with blankets. Entominahoo left his medicine lodge and sat down close to Moostoos, saying 'It's no use ; I can do no more ; do your best to hold him.' Moostoos struggled fearfully, throwing his head about and grinding his teeth, and twice he tried to bite me, tearing my coat. At that time I was holding his right arm, Chuckachuck his left, while the two women held his feet. I covered his face after he tried to bite me. The noise of the 

Drumming and Singing

had been going on all the time. By this time we were crazy with fear, and what followed is like a dream. Eliza sprang to her feet holding in her right hand a medicine belt and in her left an axe. Her hair was flying loose, and she was dancing and singing. All of a sudden she run round and thrashed Moostoos over the face and breast with the medicine belt several times."

"Did she strike him with the axe?"

"I cannot say as my head was bent low over Moostoos, but I saw blood outside the blanket after she thrashed him, and I only knew of two cuts on the head while the policeman found three. She then handed the axe to Chuckachuck (which I saw) and said, 'Here brother-in-law.' Chuckachuck struck him with the axe and

Split His Skull.

"That blow killed Moostoos. Chuckachuck then handed me the axe and a kinife, which I refused at first, till Chuckachuck called me a coward, and said I wanted them all killed. I then drove the knife into his belly, and stuck the axe into his body over the heart, leaving both weapons in the wounds."

"Did Moostoos breathe after he got the first blow?"

"Yes, a little ; but he had stopped breathing before I struck him. At that moment, Payoo, the other prisoner, alarmed by the screams of fear from the women and the calls of the men, entered the shack. He was handed an axe, and very reluctantly, and actually without looking where he was striking, struck the corpse on the head with the axe."

"What did you do that night?"

"Why, we sat round the body till daylight, by the light of the fire."

"What for?"

"We expected him to rise from the dead, and we wanted to kill him again if he tried to get up."

"What do you think was the matter with Moostoos?"

Windigo by Norval Morrisseau.

"He was a Wentiko, and I know he had a lump of ice in his body causing the malady. Why, we made strong tea and poured it boiling hot into the axe hole and the breast to thaw that ice, but first Dayoo and I drove a stake into that hole ; then we pulled out the stake and poured in the hot tea. After that, towards morning, Entominahoo's wife and I tied his legs with chains to two pickets driven into the ground."

"Why did you do this?"

"So that if he came to life again he could not get up and run after us. And last of all next day I

Cut His Head Off

with an axe."

"What was that for?"

"To be sure he was dead, and in order that even if he got up he could not eat us. Then we left him in the shack, tied up the door and left the place."

"What is a Wehtiko?"

"A Wehtiko is a person, man or woman, into whose body enters a most malignant evil spirit, which incites him to kill and eat his fellowmen. He is possessed of superhuman strength and cunning, and the only thing that saves the Indians is that a Wehtiko generally warns them of his coming state some time beforehand. It has always been our custom to kill these people. It was the only way to protect our lives from their violence."

This story was not taken from the lips of a raving maniac, nor was it copied from some old black-letter history of the ninth or tenth century. The atrocity occurred not five months ago, within 300 miles of this town, and, above all, the pitful story, shocking in its hideous circumstance, must excite detestation on account of its depravity, but at the same time it must arouse compassion for these debased beings who can be so remorselessly moved by their superstitions.


(From the Detroit Free Press, dated Sunday October 8th, 1899)


(From The Province, dated Saturday 28th October, 1899)


(From the Muncie Evening Press, dated Saturday 24th August, 1907)


Ceremony, Which Was Weirdly Carried Out, Clashes With Canadian Statutes.

(United Press Association)
Ottaawa, Aug. 24. - A report received at the government department of Indian affairs here shows that tribal customs and Canadian justice have clashed in the wilds of Kewatin. It appears that Joseph and Jack Fidler, the chief and his medicine man of the Sandy Lake Crees, are now under arrest at Norway house for the execution of an insane squaw according to the ancient Indian custom.

The woman, who is of the same name and blood as the two prisoners, fell sick in the spring and became delirious. The Indians of that district believe that when a sick person sinks into such a condition and evil spirit, or Wendigo, has entered and obtained control of him. they believe that should the person die naturally, the wendigo then escapes to the woods and pursues and frightens away game and famine follows.

In this case the tribe assembled and, according to custom, appointed their chief and medicine man to perform the ceremony of choking the sick squaw so that the wendigo spirit might not escape with the passing of the victim's breath, but might forever remain imprisoned in the dead body. Accordingly, in the presence of the whole band, the chief and the medicine man carried out the instuctions of their tribe.

A piece of canvas was placed about the squaw's neck and then the noose of a rope. This being tightened by the two leaders of the band, the ravings of the sick woman were effectually stopped, the evil spirit was kept within the body of the victim and the game of the forest preserved for the tribe.

This atrocious act of barbarism was executed within 200 miles of Kenora, Man. Word of it soon reached the authorities and the arrests followed at once. The prisoners besought the officials not to be so severe with them, as they had no idea that they were doing wrong. they declared that they were merely doing their duty at the command of the tribe, and followed the custom practiced by their forefathers.

The execution of this duty was considered a high honor and according to ancient custom the executors were handsomely rewarded by the parents of the victim. The justice department here is to decide on the trial of the case.



(From The Border Cities Star, dated Monday February 23rd, 1920)

In "Indian Legends and Customs" several stories current among the western tribes are told as they related to the author himself. A charming legend accounts for the ermine's white skin and black-tipped tail.

"Once upon a time, Wesakachac was tormented by a Wendigo, an evil spirit who pursued him night and day. He ran through the forest calling upon his animal friends for help. The ermine, a little creature with a black skin, hid in a tree and as the Wendigo passed, leaped down his throat and ate his wicked heart out. To show his deep gratitude, Wesakachac returned to the spot and taking the ermine in one of his hands, he stroked it's fur with the other. When with a last caress he sat the little creature down, lo, its skin was white, all except the tip of the tail, which the hero's fingers had failed to touch."


(From The Ottawa Citizen, dated Saturday 20th February, 1926)


"Wendigo Mound" Suggests Some Weird Traditions

According to the testimony of old residents in the neighborhood of Wendigo Mound, human bones, and in one instance an entire human skeleton, have been washed out of the sands near this dune. 

Many uncanny and gruesome stories are associated with the sand mound. They have been transmitted from father to son, from the time of the old French voyageurs.

According to one of these traditions this sand mound was, in the old days, occupied by a family of Wendigoes. These people were a constant annoyance to the dwellers on Lake Deschenes, but more particularly to an Algonkin camp on Sand Bay, quite close to the headquarters of these malignant beings. The old man, who posessed the gigantic proportions of his class, was frequently seen wading about in the waters of the bay, when on foraging expeditions aftr Indian children, of whose flesh, it is said, he and his family were particularly fond. The family consisted of the old man and his wife, and one son.

A Brave Indian

The bravest Indian warriors had, on several occasions, ambushed and shot at the old man and woman without injuring either of them ; but, by means of sorcery they eventually succeeded in kidnapping the boy, when his parents were away from home. Holding the young hopeful as a hostage, they managed to dictate terms to his father and mother and finally got rid of the whole family.


Jack Fiddler

(From wikipedia...)

 Like his father before him, Jack Fiddler became a famous shaman for his alleged ability to conjure animals and protect his people from spells. Most importantly to the people of the region, he could allegedly successfully defeat the wendigo, a cannibalistic spirit that would possess people during all-too-frequent bouts of famine and disease. In his life, Jack Fiddler claimed to have defeated fourteen wendigos.


(From The Ottawa Citizen, dated Saturday June 9th, 1928)

A Weird Story of a Ghostly Noise; Squaw Said It Was Made by a Wendigo

Peculiar Happenings Which Preceeded the Death of a Mountain Road Widow Some 35 Years Ago. Most Rigid Investigation Failed to Explain the Cause of the Noise.

This is a ghost story and a rather a weird sort of a one at that. Can you suggest what kind of ghost goes "click, click, click"; can't be seen, and follows people home?

"Old Betsy," the South Hull squaw, whom thousands knew, said it was a wendigo, or Indian spirit, and perhaps she was right at that.

Here is the story. Judge for yourself. The story is told by Mrs Dan Crilly of the Mountain road. According to Mrs. Crilly the thing happened about 35 years ago and occurred in the home of an old widow lady who lived back from the Mountain road, east of where the Deschene road joins the Mountain road.

The old lady took very sick and visitors began to call. Those who went heard in the house a peculiar "click, click, click" noise that could not be located and could not be explained.

Followed People Home.

If the noise had been heard only in the house people might have put it down for that of a cricket or other insect, though it was entirely different in sound to that of any known insect, being quite loud.

But it was not long before one visitor, a lady, declared that the noise followed her out of the house and stopped only when she reached the gate of the farm.

Heard By Two.

Then a male visitor declared that the "click, click, click" noise had followed him to his very door and had been heard there by his wife.

The story of the noise spread and the old lady began to have scores of curious and noise-hunting visitors. None of them, however, could locate the noise or say what it was. It was here, there and everywhere in the room.

Young Men Sleuths.

Finally two young men, who claimed to be ghost layers called and said they would find out all about it. But they didn't. In fact they had quite a weird and mystifying experience.

The noise suddenly was heard outside the house door. They opened the door and then the noise was heard in the garden. To make the story shorter, the noise receeded from them, and they followed it, just as one follows a will-o'-the-wisp.

Led Them a Chase.

The noise led them across fields into the bush, through swamp land, over rocks, but not once could they put their hands on anything that was making the noise. The next night they went back to the house and acknowledged themselves beaten. Then "Old Betsy" the Indian woman, who was known all over South Hull, heard of the noise and called.

Betsy's Idea

After listening a while she said "That's a wendigo. Don't try to see it or find it. You can't. A wendigo (Indian spirit), will never show itself."

The story goes that in due time the sick lady died. And, according to Mrs. Crilly, the "click, click, click" noise was not afterwards heard. Though 35 years have elapsed there has never been a plausible explanation of the noise offered.


(From The Winnipeg Tribune, dated Friday 31st January, 1947)


SAM, Medicine Man, To Conjure Evil Spirit

By R. L. TAYLOR                                   (Special to The Winnipeg Tribune)

THE PAS, Jan. 31 - Five hundred Cree residents of the isolated Indian village of Shamattawa, 120 miles south of York Factory, are much relieved today as their chief medicine man has consented to conjure the Wendigo this spring. The Wendigo is explained as the "heathen Indian spirit of evil."

Sam Beardy, a stocky little man with graying hair, is their David, and the Goliath-like Wendigo is scheduled to make his annual visit from the Nether regions some time in July. It will be a battle of magic, but no one will see it. If Sam can rout the Wendigo, the tribe will be safe for another year. If his magic fails him the white men will find a whole village of Indians has disappeared into thin air - that is the Wendigo's price.

Although it is ten years since the Wendigo has been observed - when he trudged through the eight feet deep rapids of the Echoing river, which only reached to his knees - there have been evidences that he still seeks human flesh after his winter's hibernation. Last year they saw his footprints - six feet deep with the ice and snow all melted around them from the heat he brings with him through his stairway beneath Echoing Lake.

Wendigo by Cecil Youngfox

Last year too, the terrified tribesmen heard him breathing while Sam went forth. He wasn't sure whether he had killed the Wendigo, but at any rate he conjured him home for another year.

Of course, Sam's preparations are manifold, and one of the necessities is alcohol. That renders him immune from the Wendigo while he shouts his incantations in this battle of wills.

A few years ago he consumed four bottles of powerful whisky, and ate portions of the bottles. With magic he transmitted the glass shards into the body of the Wendigo to exorcise him. At least, that's what the tribesmen told Joe Bignell, the game guardian from York Factory.

Last year, however, a bear and two cubs nearly caused the village to lose the battle with the Wendigo. Whisky was hard to obtain and several wise men manufactured whisky for Sam in a large kettle in the woods.

They left the brew to cool and returned the next day for it. The bear and cubs were imbibing and the tribesmen happened on the scene in time to see the bear holding her head between two paws, and the cubs fighting nearby. However there was enough of the spirits left to enable Sam to win his annual struggle with the malevolent spirit.

The Wendigo, report the Indians, is transparent one moment, and about 30 feet tall the next. It takes powerful medicine to deal with such a foe but, since Sam Beardy appears quite unworried about the outcome of this year's contest as he trudges his trap-line at Shamattawa, everyone is re-assured.


So there you have it...the Wendigoes are probably still around out there nowadays. I just hope that people are doing more of the Sam Beardy method these days to try and discourage them, and less of the slaying people who are a bit sick or suffering from mental health problems. Of course, if they are actually wendigoes then...well, then it gets complicated!

Please go have a last look at some of the other Countdown participants work before the night is over...although, I guess you could read every single post they've put up by this time next year! Click the badge below anyway! I've maybe got time for a couple more posts before the night is over, so check back in a bit! 

Friday, 30 October 2020

The Return Of The Gruesome Games (Part 2)

As has somewhat become a tradition of the blog, every time I tried to write this next installment of Gruesome Games, I ended up feeling terrible...the dreaded Curse of the Blog!! Nevertheless I persevered, and so here are four more games for you to consider for some fiendishly freaky fright-fest fun!


War Of The Monsters (PS2/PS4) :

Big giant monsters! Ever since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building and Godzilla first rose up from the sea, huge creatures have been stomping all over our on-screen cities. Naturally it wasn't long before such creatures met up to battle each other to find out who was the best, and cause even more destruction! Once video games appeared on the scene, they also didn't wait very long before giving us control over these mega-sized monsters! 

This game then is similar to a few other monster beat-em-ups, but it is a very good example of the genre! There are eight characters unlocked at the start of the game, with a few more available to unlock. These characters will look fairly familiar to any fan of the aforementioned sci-fi flicks too, with a giant ape, a giant lizard, a huge get the idea! The game knows it's target audience and knows what they'll want to see!

Once you've listened to the 50's style music, watched the spinning newspapers of the intro and picked your favourite monster, you can play against a friend in fully 3D environments, smashing buildings, picking up cars or sharp pointy pieces of metal to throw at them, and using your characters unique abilities (radioactive breath, for example) to defeat the other player. You can also add an extra couple of fighters, although sadly these can only be computer controlled. If you can't find anybody else to play with, there is a fairly decent solo mode too, with the added feaature of slightly smaller monsters to battle in between the big fights!

The environments are pretty cool, often hiding little discoverable easter eggs such as extra weapons to use, and the way the buildings fall apart and add more things to lob at your opponent is pretty cool. There are apparently also a few mini-games to unlock, but I've never managed to unlock any of these yet, so can't really comment on those.

It all makes for a pretty enjoyable, suitably sci-fi, beast-filled brawler that's a bit of a hidden gem on Playstation 2. It took me a while to find a copy, but Im really glad I did, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a slightly unusual addition to their collection of fighting games!


Monster Madness - Battle For Suburbia (Xbox 360 / PC) :

I stumbled upon this game in a charity shop a while back, and was amazed I'd never heard of it before. I thought I knew about most of the 360's horror-themed titles, but this one had totally escaped my attention, maybe because it was quite an early release on the system....

I'm certainly glad I picked it up though, as what I found was another hidden gem of a game, that almost feels like a 3D version of my old favourite, Zombies Ate My Neighbors! Almost.....

You play as one of four teenage characters, who are having to deal with a zombie outbreak that seems to have happened at the worst possible time for one in particular. Zack, the nerd, was about to tell Carrie, the goth, exactly how he felt about her just as his skater friend Andy turned up, swiftly followed by Jennifer the cheerleader and the zombie horde!

Starting in Zack's house, you'll need to scour the environment for weapons and pickups to use against these icky ex-humans, and you'll also other pieces of metal and materials that can be used to later to construct more powerful weapons to keep them at bay. A boss zombie appears, and once you defeat him you can escape the house to the city and a whole host of other environments as you try to stop these undead fiends from ruining your night!

It soon becomes apparent however, that its not just zombies! There are all sorts of messed up monsters to battle....Bigfoot, Zombie Dogs, Werewolves...even Evil Clowns! Each new monster is introduced by a short cut-scene, which is a nice touch, and from what I've played so far new enemies pop up very frequently which keeps things interesting!

There's a fair dose of humour involved in the game doesn't take itself too seriously at all, and this is what gives it that B-movie mocking, light hearted feeling thats similar to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. The weapons also harken back to that classic, with you using all sorts of weird implements to bash in the baddies heads! It does add a few tricks of its own too though, with a selection of vehicles to control such as a boat to battle zombie pirates, or a hot-rod style buggy thing to traverse the roads...

Sadly though, the game has a few issues, chief of which is the camera. It quite often picks a weird angle to show you, and although it can be swapped between a close up view, or one that gives a slightly more top-down look to the game, it would be better if it gave you full control over it instead of it being semi-fixed. The controls can sometimes feel a bit janky too, and sometimes the gameplay does some weird things, and jumping around the levels can be frustrating.

So a gem, but a flawed one then! Interestingly, there's apparently an updated version for PS3 that fixes some of these issues called Monster Madness - Grave Danger, so I'll need to see if I can find that one! I can still recommend this one though...despite it's flaws it is the closest thing to a ZAMN sequel that I've seen, and was a very pleasant surprise! Pick it up if you can!


Blair Witch (Xbox One / PC) :

Blair Witch is another one of those games that I really don't want to talk about too much...I just want to recommend it to you so you go and experience it for yourself! I feel the less you know about it going in, the better the experience will be...

I can tell you the basic details though. Two years after the events of the original film, a young boy has gone missing in Black Hills Forest. Ellis Lynch, the character you play, is an ex policman and military veteran who decides to put his training to good use and go help the local police force to track down the kid. With him he takes his faithful dog, Bullet, and can use his canine chum to access areas that would otherwise be inacessible. Bullet also becomes really handy when things get a bit darker or foggier at night, finding paths and ways through the you'll be wanting to keep him on your good side by occasionally playing with him or giving him treats when he does well.

As you search through the creepy forest environment you'll discover various clues and items, the most notable of which is a camera. I mean, of cant have a Blair Witch game without a camera right? Needless to say this also becomes a very handy thing to have around...

Like previous Bloober Team games, this first person horror will have you jumping in fright on more than a few occasions, and it does a great job of capturing the feeling of being lost in a forest at night, before it ramps things up into the suitably weird experiences of being around the Blair Witch. But maybe I'm saying too much...

It's not a flawless game, but it's certainly suitably scary and worth a playthrough, especially at this time of year! Just be prepared to have your mind warped as you try to wander the woods.....


Scary Monsters (Commodore 64) :

In true horror movie style, American football hero Harry Johns and his girlfriend Conny have found themselves stuck on an island near some spooky old mansions. These mansions are owned by a mad scientist called Dr. Graves, who has been pottering around in the corspe filled places that he shares his name with, and conjuring up monsters with which he plans to take over the world! 

It's up to Harry to wander around the island, enter these mansions and find the special weapons required to take down the six main monsters who are also lying sleeping in some of these cursed buildings. He'll need a gun to defeat the werewolf, a hammer and stake for the get the idea! Trying to put a stop to Harry's plan are all the lesser monsters under the control of Dr. Graves. Touching any of these fiends will see you bounced around the screen, your health diminishing as you do so. Luckily Harry has somehow managed to power himself up with some sort of magical energy and can fire bolts from his hands to kill the beasties! Bizarrely, they also seem to be a bit spooked themselves, as pressing down on the joystick while in a building sees you giving the baddies a scare by waving your hands around in a spooky fashion. It's all a bit odd...

I had high hopes for this one after reading the premise and seeing the screenshots, but unfortunately the game is a mess. Trying to navigate the map screen I immediately came up against an invisible wall that stopped me going in one of the directions. Entering the first mansion I couldn't find anything but enemies, but had no idea how to leave the building again. And so I spent my time endlessly getting bounced around the screen before dying 3 times and getting a game over screen. Oh, I should say that was actually my second attempt as well, as the first time I tried to play the game sel-aborted to the title screen from the map.

A real shame then, but although this game looks lovely and has pretty good presentation, I can't recommend it at all, as it is utter, utter poop!


Tomorrow! Yikes! Tomorrow is Halloween! 

Hopefully I'll be able to get a few posts done for the Grand Finale! There will definitely be the second part of the Wendigo stuff, and hopefully another comic strip and some more stuff to watch too! I'll see you here for all the Halloween hilarities anyway! Right now though, go check out what the other folks taking part in the Countdown have been doing by clicking the badge below to be zapped as if by magic to the Countdown hub!

Thursday, 29 October 2020

The Forbidden Room!

There really are a lot of stories about mirrors in old horror comics....and this is another one! From the pages of Charlton Comics Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, issue 4, dated July 1957, today's tale is called The Forbidden Room!

Well, what are the chances, eh? Luckily the people in charge of the Sands Of Time managed to avoid a nightmare of a legal battle there! 

(Thanks to fett who uploaded the original scans to the Digital Comic Museum)

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