A Stranger Look at STRANGER THINGS, Season 1

Recently, the movie streaming company Netflix has expanding their horizons by taking the film industry into their own hands by producing original content. These series and movies as a whole have taken off in popularity, creating some of the most loved and watched shows today.

Today’s look will focus their recent series: Stranger Things.

stranger-things

    • Created by: The Duffer Brothers
    • Executive Producer: The Duffer Brothers, Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen
    • Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Matthew Modine
    • Genre: TV Shows, TV Sci-Fi and Fantasy
    • Production: 21 Laps Entertainment
    • Distributor: Netflix
    • Release Date: July 15th, 2016

Synopsis:

“When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl”

Personal Thoughts (Spoilers): 

Stranger Things provides the viewer a gateway back to November 1983 into the small, fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. Unlike a large majority of dated media, the series does not coin itself on being a 1980’s show. Instead, the viewer drifts through the atmosphere created, transporting themselves back into a middle school and high school environment while following the main protagonists. The main characters, a group of middle school outcasts by the names of Will Byers, Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair, provide an easy and quick relation to not only themselves but the story itself.

After a brief introduction to the main cast of characters through a D&D campaign, the plot begins its launch when Will Byers goes missing; taken by a mysterious, unrecognizable creature. It is through this launch that the understanding of certain characters becomes more noticeable; such as the mother and brother of the missing boy.

strangerthings_s1_ep1_7

The mother, Joyce Byers, gains easy sympathy upon the sudden loss of her son. Characterized by dedication and love for her son, there is no stop to how hard she will try to get him back. I love that despite how different and weird he is from the rest of the family, Joyce does not try to change a thing, instead embracing his differences. By supporting him and his interests, the mother provides a stable ground for Will to walk on, providing a loving support system. Despite her constant need to work to aid the house and family, she takes time to bond with her son. Despite being in middle school, she got him tickets to see Poltergeist; a movie shows interest in. She knows the password to get into his personal space and uses it, respecting his privacy and authority of the area.

When Will Byers goes missing, her dedication and perseverance kick in. Joyce goes on an emotional roller coaster trying to save him from an unknown force. This high-powered emotion becomes her downfall that when she reaches out to anyone for help, they accuse her of being crazy and distraught. Despite this, she is not stopped. Joyce knows what is right and sticks to it, trying her hardest to bring her son back safe and sound. There is something heartbreaking about a misunderstood and mistrusted mother tearing her house apart, trying to get answers about her missing son.

stranger-things-review-ew

The series does a wonderful job of building suspension without reaching cheesy or campy levels. To fit the mysterious tone, the viewer only discovers clues and aspects at the same time as the characters, creating it to be more inclusive and absorbing. This suspension is built through mystery, light and shadows, and tone. Earthy and deep colors are mainly employed, creating a naturally dark ambiance even if the setting takes place in broad daylight.  I love how through the colors and lack thereof, they manage to make strings of Christmas lights look ominous.

gallery-1470165178-ep108-stillpullsfornetflix-052516-11951r-1-light

Recently, news has arisen that Stranger Things will return for a second season. Moving on from the original story line, the plot and characters will cycle over as the mysteries of Hawkins, Indiana continue. With season one being such a riveting success, the show’s creators, the Duffer brothers, are hoping for a few more seasons to build and expand characters and the lore of the land.

stranger-things-poster-s2-pic

 

 

I do not feel that Stranger Things should get this second season or any more seasons that the producers are hoping for. As a whole, it presents itself as a short series of eight episodes, all pieced together in a fluid and complete story line.  Upon the ending of the last episode, the viewer leaves with a sense of completion; all loose ends wrapped up and accounted for. In no way does that seem like a good or legitimate way to begin up again in the second season. Unless there is a completely new cast following an entirely new story line, the endings of season one would make no sense in comparison to the beginnings of season two. Unfortunately, this is not what the producers are planning.

I feel that this series is much like the Cartoon Network short of Over the Garden Wall. This is mainly due to the short and complete feeling that surrounds both series. The fluidity of the story lives among itself and itself alone, providing no wiggle room for continuation. Given the film industry’s obsession with sequels, this action is no surprise. To have a one-shot series would be a delight, but gaining a season two is definitely not the end of the world. Ultimately, I am looking forward to seeing how the producers can expand upon the world.

Katherine A

Stranger Look at Final Fantasy XV Brotherhood, Ep. 3 – Sword and Shield

Final Fantasy XV, Episode 3

  • Studio: A-1 Pictures
  • Producer: Square Enix, RightTracks
  • Director: Soichi Masui
  • Time: 13:41
  • Notes: This is episode 3 of 5, Based on the upcoming video game Final Fantasy XV.

Synopsis :

“This 3rd episode of BROTHERHOOD FINAL FANTASY XV focuses on Gladiolus and Noctis and the childhood event that strengthens their friendship. BROTHERHOOD FINAL FANTASY XV delves into the extraordinary friendships between Crown Prince Noctis and his three comrades, setting the stage for the adventure players will set out upon in the action RPG. Subsequent episodes will be released before the game’s launch on September 30, 2016.

Episodes 1 and 2 are viewable on the official FFXV YouTube channel. Details on the game can be found at finalfantasyxv.com.

Personal Thoughts:

I wasn’t as hyped up for Final Fantasy XV as a game, until I started seeing the thought put into its characters through the game trailers and the animated FF XV: Kingsglaive movie special. FF XV: Brotherhood takes the latest installment a step further in short strides; with extra background details to its protagonists, can be engaging enough for those with no interest in the game. The game and anime shorts are complements of the other.

Episode 3 is a story itself with no needed continuity from episode 1 or 2. It stands alone. Here, focuses on the characters of Gladiolus and Noctus, two characters playable on the game it’s base on. Here, both have rich histories in royalty and high privilege, yet not caught up with advantages of each. Noctis comes off as a caring and loving soul, with much depth one would want in a prince of some magnificent kingdom. While we have the usual anime tropes of isolation and boyhood struggle, there is an old-fashioned feel about him with his humbleness and heroism. He protects those he cares about, while taking responsibility for his actions. It’s a of that heroism through will that makes him strong, as we see his fighting skills are a bit lacking early on.

Gladiolus meanwhile is the brother, a sort of protector type we find. Also a good man, but a necessary addition to the crew as someone whose extra strength and brotherly friendship is necessary to a “brotherhood.” I love how this ends, coming back full circle to the training as Gladiolus sees the greatness but in the heart of Noctis, not his sword skills.

The anime is fair and typical of modern anime shows, with no innovation in visual or storytelling styles. However, the backgrounds and details of the FFXV world adds a unique ambiance to the setting and style. The comforts of royalty and enclosed city life in the flashbacks are an interesting contrast to the current settings filled with the consistent dangers of the open world.  The inside city life has rain and enclosed suggest coming restraint and struggle, while the blue skies and freedom suggest an optimistic outlook. FFXV is an interesting choice for the series direction, with mystery on where that goes. At least, the ongoing theme of companionship shall see things through, as long as someone picks up the controller.

Overall, this is the best of the three episodes so far, as I look forward to the remaining two.

– Orion T

 

– Orion T

SW Fan Film Review – Star Trek Continues E06 “Come Not Between the Dragons”

 

Star Trek Continues E06 “Come Not Between the Dragons”

  • Writer, Director, Executive Producer: Vic Mignogna (also stars as James T. Kirk) 
  • Time: 42.12
  • Release: Released on Youtube May 28, 2016
  • Notes: Purely a fan-made work, and the 6th episode in a series so far.

Synopsis :

“A troubled creature pierces the Enterprise hull, pitting the crew against a pursuer that threatens to tear them apart.”

Personal Thoughts:

Star Trek Continues, is a fan-made film based on the original TV series of work of Gene Roddenberry. It’s on-canonical and not affiliated with the CBS or Paramount copyright holders. Yet, it feels far closer to the feeling of the original premise than the movies and other popular fan films out there (including the highly controversial Axaner fan-film).

What sets this series on its high pedestal goes beyond its truer to original set-design, effects and costumes. The premise is kept alive, to see out new life and new civilizations and boldly go.. Here we get just that, though the new life finds them. It’s the high question of just how far we as humans can fit into the universe, when the variables of life are so much greater than our comprehension.

For this episode, our somewhat familiar crew encounters a creature (Usdi) who can fly through space, affect emotions, has a very unearthly appearance that at times seem closer to the Horta than human. Much of the episode is a desperate need to understand this, while dealing with the changing of their own emotions. Neither side seems to fully understand how one affects the other. It’s a story they may not need a Star Trek to tell it, but such the setting and vessel called Enterprise fits perfect.

That’s due to the maze of conflicted negative emotions leading to mutiny and discord, to add drama I suppose to this bottleneck episode.  Somehow, Eliza surpasses where even Spock fails in her emotions, to better understand the creature. In establishing successful first contact, the sides must find some connection and mutual understanding. Here, there is a parental bond that is eventual understood by the humans, which brings about a positive end for both.

Overall, a good story that reminds us that Star Trek is not about galactic warfare and eminent warp core breaches. I feel it’s about finding our tiny place in a vast universe, as explorers and knowledge gathers. Such is more exciting, to deal with unforeseen dilemmas and complex situations; than to learn and grow from it all.

The crew once again does well to emulate not imitate the original cast. I see at this point, the cast are looking to match the mannerisms and characteristics of the crew members, not the actors who originally portrayed them. The acting is good enough, and acceptable for a fan broadcast. Vic Mignogna does Captain Kirk best, though I feel it’s his involvement in the overall production that leads the presentation to its success. He is a captain on and off the set. The characters of Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are also taking on a life of their own, as the Abrams movie versions by other different actors have also done.

But the only problem I see in this, is the lack of possible development the show can do for such characters. I doubt there will be any drastic changes for the main crew, as such would remind the un-canonicity of the science fiction copy. Yet, we have some original cast members, mostly of the female crew members. Perhaps in future episodes, they could develop and capture the hearts of the fans in the changes they go through.

Overall, a great episode for being fan-work. I would enjoy more, but also hoping for more original crew members and stories of such that revolve around them. I hope for the show to stay to its roots, and stay away from other overall complex canon on Romulan-Klingon-Vulcan-whatever other established aliens overdone by the other canonical series and expanded lore. Keep it real, and I will boldly watch.

– Orion T

Short Science Fiction Film – C (299,792 km/s) by Derek Van Gorder and Otto Stockmeier

C (299,792 km/s) from Seaquark Films on Vimeo.

Temple

  • Studio: Seaquark Films
  • Director: Derek Van Gorder
  • Producer: Otto. Stockmeier
  • Musical Score: SelloRekT/LA Dreams
  • Time: 14:45 Release: Released on Vimeo 2013
  • Notes: For more info, visit c-themovie.com

Synopsis :

“C is the story of Lieutenant Commander Malleck, and her radical act of mutiny aboard the 
KESTROS IV. With the help of her co-conspirators, she attempts to harness this weapon of mass destruction for a grand new purpose. But when a contingent of ground crew led by Second Lieutenant Kai threatens her master plan, Malleck must use the ship against them in order to succeed.

To build the future, we looked to the past. No CGI or greenscreen was used in the making of the film; all our sets and props were built by hand and filmed in-camera. Combining new advances in digital camera technology with traditional special effects, we sought to create a unique look through lighting design, camera tricks, miniature photography, split-screen, and stop-animation. We believe that this approach allowed us greater creative possibilities on a low-budget science-fiction film”

Personal Thoughts:

C (299,792 km/s), is a modern example to what I feel science fiction should reach towards..

I think upon watching this, to expect the random unpredictable outliers in our future civilizations. We set our rules, only to have the eventual revolutionaries break them; otherwise, we face destruction either from boredom or the caveman natures of conflict on who has the bigger stick. We meet the hero or anti-hero (depends on POV) in Malleck as a maverick more than a mutineer. We know little of her background and purpose, other than odd hints to her plan. The result, is interesting for what or may not benefit our hopes for space travel.

The best answers in consideration and reflection is the old-school cool video snippets between. We have explanations on the past and future of the overall manifest destiny, and how the need for advancement has always intertwined with human conflict. Was it such relics of science truth in found footage the inspiration for Malleck? We don’t know. What is important, is the old message lives on and a new story is told.

For the 15 minutes present, there is enough memorable style and brilliance. The cinematography and designs mixed best of the early 80s, late 70s of hard science fiction putting space travel on its true visionary track, almost derailed from the Star Wars and Galacticas. But, we get some sweet action scenes and interpersonal drama to keep the pace going.

A short note on the action I found interesting, is the ineptness of Kai and his soldiers. From the start, we can mistake them as the protagonists. And, perhaps they were; but they fail terribly. It seemed the intelligence and cleverness of Malleck were enough to keep control of the story towards her own end. Such is a constant in storytelling, as the better vision is often guided by the more intelligent.

Also, a huge shout-out to the music produced with the awesome early synth track pumping, with feels on rewind back to early days of electro-pop. Such music, combined with the practical effects, lighting styles, and feelings of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, I feel a nostalgic vision of the future kept alive. We need this, as new distractions may lead us astray in looking down, into those little black mirrors.

Still, the overall triumph of good science fiction whispers to those who dream, and eventually push us a little more towards making a new realty.

– Orion T

Short Science Fiction Film – Temple (by Nguyen-Anh Nguyen)

Temple

  • Director: Nguyen-Anh Nguyen
  • Actors: Osric Chau & Yue Qi
  • Sound design, Musical Score: Cult Nation & Kannibalen Records
  • Time: 9:14 Release: Released on Vimeo February 29, 2015, premiered in 2015
  • Notes: For more info, visit thefilmeffect.com/temple

Synopsis :

“2045 A.D. A new genetic disease is causing humans to reject their own organs. Cybernetic enhancements are the only means to survive. One desperate man is forced to steal cybernetic implants to save an innocent life.

Personal Thoughts:

A beautiful combination of great VFX, sound, scripting, and editing.

The story content itself is a reinvention of several dystopian concepts left from the past 80s/90s era of sci-fi urban cyberpunk fiction. One being the idea of the failures of genetic enhancement, though in this setting the enhancements are necessary for survival. I can only wonder what kind of genetic diseases could lead to this sort of necessity. Another being the idea where technology wins and surpasses humanity, as we see not only the boost of tech in humans but in vehicles and city development as well. The “filthy air” and “flood” are hints and perhaps warnings towards continued harm to our global environments.

Then we have a major theme and moral dilemma for the sake of drama. Our main character and narrator cares little for the opponent, as we have little back story from him other than his want to survive and fight back. He takes no joy in the fight, as he must save another he cares for from dying. In this cruel world, we ponder his moral judgement in the choice of who lives and who dies, based on his martial arts skills. Yet here we are, and can hope for a happy end beyond the nine minutes shown.

The martial arts action is great though not as necessary I think to the overall story. We have a feeling we know who the winner will be and that may deescalate where the overall tension goes. Yet, the brutality and gore result does heighten the gritty mood and shock of the violence this world brings. There is a high degree of nihilism we get from the feeling where “we all have to become monsters.”

The music is very captivating, with elevated electronica mixed with ambiance and tension. The audio set mood feels established for the grit and futuristic noir. The visuals of deep colors and grainy filters used with timed depth of field techniques feel suitable, feels modern to this era of indie filmmaking. These are good things. Together with the great editing and cinematography present, I can envision a full movie worthwhile for independent audiences looking for hard-sci combined with meaningful action sequences.

Overall, a great watch that serves enough as a standalone tale leaving much open. This would be a great prologue to a large story where perhaps the woman is the main protagonist, and perhaps a more cheerful ending. I can hope someday for that bigger story.

– Orion T

Stranger Reading Suggestions: Recent low cost digital comics…

Looking for something new without stretching your wallet?

I have just the things for that sequential art appetite, especially good for those who enjoy some variety in their browsing. Check out my chosen below, all fairly recent in 2016, though some suggests going back to 2015 for earlier issues. Each is available online through the Comixology digital comics reading service. Even better, each issue can be at your enjoyment for 99 cents; a price that wasn’t standard for comics of around 20 pages since the mid 1980s.

Check these out:

(click on the title of each for a direct online link to download and purchase)

GOOD NIGHT #1

Good Night

  • Writer, Artist: Fey Nefeloma
  • Released: Feb 17, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Nevo Digital
  • Price: 0.99, Age rating: 9+
  • Notes: Original webcomic at goodnight.nocturnenebula.com

“Ayesha, a bright, young girl with a fear of monsters, questions her caring father the whereabouts of her absent mother.”

A very touching black and white comic series starter with curious fantasy and light horror elements. I love the idea that behind the monsters here, where lies an interesting story that’s starting to unfold. The setting feels very modern, yet has some fairy classic fairy tale style moments. The ending left me wanting more..

KINGS AND CANVAS #3

King and Canvas

  • Writer: Neil Kleid  Artist: Jake Allen colorist : Frank Reynoso
  • Released: Jan 13, 2016 by Monkeybrain
  • Price: 0.99  Age rating: 12+

“In this corner, fighting for aid in his journey to Queensbury: Mammoth! In the other corner, the Gateway Champion, determined to keep Mammoth’s crew from heading west: Argos Dane! It’s champion vs former champion for the fate of the quest…but will Mammoth throw the bout in order to get everything he’s ever wanted since escaping Gaol? Ding, ding, kids. Grab a ringside seat for the fight of the…well, the fight of this issue, anyway.”

A fresh series I have recently jumped on to. Love the art style and fight sequences, a combination punch of shonen manga meets classic Saturday morning cartoon faire. The 3rd issue shows the pacing going well, and the characters further developed. It’s a must for anyone looking for some good adventure, a little historical fantasy, and a heavy dose of fun.

THE HALF #1

The Half

  • Writer: Justin Porter   Artist: Jeremy Stain
  • Released: Feb 17, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Half Assed Industries
  • Price: 0.99 Age rating: 17+

“A young boy finds his way amid the ashes of love and the myth of family.”

It’s a very dark series with serious matters dealing with domestic violence and psychological abuse. The first issue sets up a strong premise for what could lead to anything at the end, as there some curious hints of something far more unfamiliar afoot. The coloring is especially done well with the stylized art, for a story package that will keep my curiosity for whatever comes next.

GUARDIAN OF THE FOREST

Photo Feb 20, 10 58 28 PM

  • Writer: Robert James Mediavilla   Artist: Diana Naneva   Letterer: Danny Djeljosevic
  • Released: Feb 17, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Model Town
  • Price: 0.99  Age rating: 17+

“What is a guardian of the forest without a forest?” This question has plagued family man Ben Taylor’s life since he unwittingly unleashed a supernatural force upon his small town. Now, as the body count rises and the creature draws closer, he and his daughter will come face to face with the brutal answer.”

A dark horror short story with a surprise twist. The fantastic dramatic build-up is in huge part to the awesome art and color, shading detail, balanced with great pacing. There is much to the story for its mere 14 pages of comic art, 4 pages of straight text; with elements of religion, myth and metaphors.

EVO-Z #1

Photo Feb 20, 10 58 50 PM

  • Writer: Paolo Ferrara   Artist: Silvano Beltramo
  • Released: Feb 2, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Mache Models
  • Price: 0.99  Age rating: 12+
  • Notes: Available via Comixology Submit, though translated from the Italian free version at machemodels.com

“Hunted, lost, Thy is an exobiologist, member of a scouting mission, who finds herself plunged into an unknown universe.
Fighting for survival – in the middle of a war about to explode and of which she, inadvertently, was the fuse – Thy finds some extravagant allies, aliens with mysterious abilities and needs, with whom she will try to find a way to return to her galaxy of origin.”

Evo-Z is hard science fiction full of variety and interesting sci-fi concepts and designs. The vehicles are based upon the original concepts from Germàn Impache, a master modeler with work displayed at machemodels.com. The story has much going on, not allowing for a quick read. This is a good thing, with much to take in for its fantastic world-building and character depth present.

BANDETTE #12

Photo Feb 20, 10 59 31 PM

  • Writer: Paul Tobin Artist: Colleen Coover
  • Released: Jan 27, 2016 by Monkeybrain
  • Price: 0.99 Age rating: 12+
  • Notes: Ongoing series, in print volumes via Dark Horse Comics

“The Voice holds Daniel hostage! Bandette and her Urchins scour the city in an effort to locate their abducted friend, while Daniel looks for a way to escape his captivity, and Inspector Belgique sets his sights on apprehending The Voice himself! All the while, Monsieur and Margot narrow in on the elusive prize at the root of the whole affair: the House Of The Green Mask!”

Love the heck out of this series since the first issue. At this point in the 12th issue, our spunky protagonist is well established as a unique lead unlike any other in all the comic book lands. The classic French style setting and expanding cast of characters are further well-developed and paced well for expanded interest. While this issue is not exactly the best jumping on point, this is worthwhile mentioning to anyone looking for something newish and different with high emphasis on fun.

That’s all for now. If you checked out any of the titles presented and have thoughts to share, or have suggestions of your own (cheap or free, accessible online or app)..let us know in the comments!

-Orion T

 

 

Short Star Wars Fan Film: Rebel Scum

Rebel Scum

  • Director, Writer: Timothy Van Nguyen
  • Production Company; Blood Brother Cinema
  • Publish Date: January 9, 2016 – Time: 9.07
  • Notes: For more info, visit bloodbrothercinema.com

Synopsis :

“A Rebellion pilot is hounded by death from the merciless Empire and a frozen grave, after being abandoned during the retreat of the Rebel Alliance from Hoth. Rebel Scum pays homage to the original Star Wars trilogy; nearly all visual effects were created without the use of CGI, using time honored methods such a stop-motion animation. Shot on location in -30°C (-22°F) at Columbia Icefield in Alberta Canada.”

Personal Thoughts:

This is fantastic work, especially with the cinematography.

The stop motion on the Imperial Probe Droid is a great throwback to the early Empire Strikes Back special effects use. Its mechanical movements, ominous floating, and the sound effects are well-played. The AT-ATs were also well done in detail and motion, but not as awesome creepy as the Probe Droid.

The story itself is a cool little tale, well done for one using no words. A favorite thing about the latest Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens), was the little insight of a soldier’s POV in the intergalactic conflicts. After the Clone Wars, they must have personal struggles as well, and must ponder just how high in duty they take their cause to live and fight.

In Rebel Scum, we a nice example of a Rebel fighter. He is also a family man, with extra motivation to survive in the Hoth wilderness. The Imperial soldier is a perfect contrast, clean-cut and cold as the icy planet itself. Her darkened eyes and deathly skin gives off a hateful vibe, perhaps thinking the Rebel fighters as ungrateful troublemakers. To suddenly miss and be shot by one, is a humiliation to her.

The conclusion leaves much open. Will the Rebel soldier as an Imperial sabotage from within, steal some secrets, and return to his family? Can the Imperial soldier now trapped in the Rebel fatigues survive the Probe Droid and “join” the Rebellion? While the answers are best left to the viewer, I would much welcome an extension to the story by the filmmakers here.

Overall, Rebel Scum is a now a personal favorite among the Star Wars fan films out there. I am also turned to other works by Blood Brother Cinema, which now have my interest on bloodbrothercinema.com.

 

– Orion T

Short Science Fiction Animated Film – Sputnik (by Maxim Zhestkov)

Sputnik

  • Director / Designer / Producer: Maxim Zhestkov
  • Compositing, Sound Design, Music: Alexander Kulikov
  • Animation: Dmitrii Kolpakov
  • Character design: Ben Mauro
  • Time: 4:56
  • Release: December 2015
  • Notes: For more info, visit www.zhestkov.com

Synopsis :

“Sputnik” is a Maxim Zhestkov short film about the evolution of an extraterrestrial mind, and its journey to the light. The project was created with the help of industry leading artists from all over the world, including: United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Russia. Production of the full CG animated short film took a year and a half. All crew members worked on the project remotely. Maxim directed it and produced from his HQ in Ulyanovsk, Russia..”

Personal Thoughts:

A visually stunning film, of which I briefly enjoyed.

Much is on the stunning visuals, yet not too heavy. There is a message, though I feel it’s somewhat lost to me. The happenings I feel are interpretive to those enjoy the fiction in their speculative thinking. We have a lone alien, that perhaps represents the truly intelligent life among others, guided by curiosity and a reaching out for history and links to the unknown. To carry it within oneself, not as leader but as a keeper of things come and gone.

The twist I suppose, is how the alien species didn’t seem to care about the greater civilization above, almost dominating yet ignorant of their existence (or perhaps intelligent enough to leave them alone). It’s their junk that now lies in this backyard..an important treasure I suppose to at least one. I wonder how many in our world considered life on our Moon before humanity set foot? Does that light and operations of the unknown represent evolution to our drive for growth? There is much thought provocation within the short time, though I wonder how much intended by the filmmakers.

The alien design is beautiful, in showing a strong frame yet gentle presentation in characteristics. The movement displays fluidity and sense, for living upon a primitive isolation environment. In defense, I could see them as deadly and brutal, with their muscular features and long arms. The closest I can thing of in reality, would be that of the gorilla.

The sound noise is magnificent for its monotone brilliance and setting mood. The reminds me a bit of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Overall, a nice little short that goes beyond to the ideas of anything but short.

– Orion T

Spooky Indie Comic Reads for Halloween!

We have some great, lesser-known comic suggestions for you strangers out there; all spooky, creepy, and supernatural.

These are available online now in a digital format via download or app, at a lower than average cost. Below, are some lesser known, yet great reads hand-picked by me, as I love to share good things. Check these out (click on the title of each for a direct link):

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A Girl Walks Alonw

  • Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour,  Artist: Michael DeWeese
  • Released: August 20, 2014 via Comixology by RADCO.
  • Price: $0.99 – first issue, $1.99 – second issue
  • Notes: Ongoing series, I hope.
  • Age rating: 17+

“Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps and other sordid souls, is a bastion of depravity and hopelessness where a lonely vampire, The Girl, stalks the town’s most unsavory inhabitants.”

Great black and white art inside, with a narrative prospective of a lone young woman vampire in a post-apocalyptic style setting. The story also turns very violent with sexual situations, so better suggested for those who don’t mind such things.

The Suicide Forest

Suicide Forest

  • Writer: El Torres,  Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
  • Released: June 2011 by IDW Publishing
  • Price: $7.99 (Digital version is on sale 50% this Halloween weekend, via current IDW online outlets)
  • Notes: In print, and available via digital apps. 106 pages.
  • Age rating: 12+

“The legend of the Aokigahara forest (which lies just outside of Tokyo) says that those who have committed suicide in the massive wilderness are cursed to have their souls trapped within its very roots. Unfortunately for Alan, his girlfriend, Masami, committed her suicide there and she’s now on a vengeful mission to ruin his life!”

The art is gorgeous with mystery, hooking the readers into a dark nature setting. The story reminds me of the older Japanese horror films like Kwaiden and Jigoku, with connections to real life superstitions and Japanese folklore.

Who Needs the Moon? (#1-8)

Who Needs the Moon

  • Writer, Artist: Michael DeWeese
  • Released: 2014-2015 via Comixology by Todd McCullough .
  • Price: $0.99 each
  • Notes: Complete volume standalone series, also available in Spanish language
  • Age rating: 17+

“The townspeople of Kingford are unaware of the growing vampire problem that is soon to ruin them and their home. Fortunately for them, there is a newcomer that has plans to stop the monsters. And since being a werewolf, he’s got the muscle to do something about it. Maybe too much muscle.”

I am reading this now, in the middle of the series. I’m loving it so far, as it features a character who kind reminds me of Dexter Morgan from the early seasons of the Dexter TV series, struggling with his own morality and judgement with his newfound werewolf instincts. It’s set in a small town with all sorts of interesting characters and situations. The art also has a nice moody yet colorful style to it.

The Dead (#1-6)

The Dead

  • Writer: James Maddox,  Artist: Jen Hickman
  • Released: 2014-2015 via Comixology by James Maddox and Jen Hickman
  • Price: $0.99 each
  • Age rating: 17+

“The Dead brings the story of what happens after you die. And while there’s seemingly a room for every occasion, clouds and halos are in short supply. Chased from his own room in this infinite house, Sam must find his rightful place among the strange (and sometimes dangerous) residents.

A series full of mysteries and unpredictable turns. You also get some action, humor, drama with the supernatural horror; all mixed in with an interesting cast and a great ending.

Super Drac

SuperDrac

  • Writer, Artist: Nic Lawson
  • Released: Aug 15 Via Comixology via Nic Lawson Comics
  • Price: $0.99
  • Notes: Single, standalone issue
  • Age rating: 9+

“Superdrac is about an eccentric vampire who becomes bored with his life. So he decides to use his vampire powers for good.. with interesting results!”

A single cheap standalone issue. Very cute and funny short story of a boy vampire looking for something a little extra in his life…

Dark Horse Horror Sampler 2015 #0

298714._SX640_QL80_TTD_

  • WriterArtist: Various
  • Released: Oct 2015 via Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: FREE!
  • Notes: Available digitally via current Dark Horse Comics apps and services
  • Age rating: 15+

“Get previews of 2015’s hottest horror stories. Get eight different stories and over 80 pages of horror for free.”

I added this in there, as Dark Horse Comics has been around for horror fans for decades, with a lot of original titles for horror fans. For free, it’s worth picking up and seeing the latest from them.

That’s all for now. If you would like to add to this list, or have thoughts on my suggestions, leave a comment below!

– Orion T

 

 

Short Animated Science Fiction Film – NO-A

NO-A

  • Director: Liam Murphy
  • Time: 5:32
  • Notes: For more info, visit noafilm.org.

Synopsis :

“Award winning graduation film NO-A completed at the Savannah College of Art and Design by a core team of 8 students.

The world is a desolate, unforgiving place in this action sci-fi with a surprising amount of heart. We follow NO-A (Noah), as he attempts to rescue Aixa, the young woman that created him. In his desperate attempt to save her, he must face an unknown enemy force and fight to keep them both alive. NO-A is the passion project of several visual effects artists from around the world.”

Personal Thoughts:

A fantastic short of science fiction, worth the thousands of minutes of work put into just over five.

The story is brilliant in its pacing and presentation, as it leaves a little guesswork by the viewer on the robot’s initial motivations. We get pieces of a larger story, to which we can easily speculate. The intrigue leads to the robot in rescuing its creator, captured and put into some deep sleep for unknown reasons.

What we do know is that this machine is full of heart and love for his master, and little for the soldiers against him. The robot’s characteristics and motions are poetic almost, with determination to the end. The action sequences are exciting but not overdone, as emotional aspects throughout are good and balances. We also see beautiful cinematography, with moments to take in the details and depth of the surroundings.

The content brings me to a favorite trope of science fiction, artificial life. We have much artificial sentience in our robot fiction, yet still not enough exploring the idea. I find often in robot stories, that robots are either good or bad. The idea can be dangerous now, as warned by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates. Yet, with stories like Wall-E, Short Circuit, Chappie, Terminator 2, A.I; we have robots who choose upon a greater good for peace and friendship. However in storytelling, such choices are up to the creators who present them. Results can result in thought-provoking discussion on what it means to be really human, or at least achieve such.

The art and filmmaking of NO-A is superb with sharp attention to details, environments, and motion. The robot’s design is beautiful, as we see the moving parts and working lights of NO-A, with sensible movement and a feeling of weight in every step. Everything to him and around seems practically and necessary in design for a believable story. The musical score and sound effects are a great fit, further enthralling the viewer.

Do I want more from the short time? No, as I think the story is great in its simplicity. The rest of the world is probably uninteresting and boring. However, I would like to see more animated work from director Liam Murphy and his staff. It’s their kind of heartfelt storytelling brought to the top-notch visual effects and sequences, that I would like to see more in modern cinema science fiction.

– Orion T