deadly tower of monsters

The Deadly Tower of Monsters revels in the schlock of B-movies

Bad movies can be a laugh to watch. It’s best done with a certain camaraderie, a group of buddies getting together to voluntarily partake in schlock, probably with alcohol and snacks to push them through it.Hell, Mystery Science Theater 3000’s (1988-99) Joel Hodgson has made an entire career out of that idea alone. But stripped of the jokes, there’s only so many rubber-masked martians and tin foil spaceships held aloft by fishing wire that your average viewer can tolerate. Let’s be real: no one is earnestly watching 1950s camp like This Island Earth (1955) for its cinematic merits. The cornball…


Falling through 100 million stories in Gravity Rush: Remastered

Gravity Rush (2012) director Keiichiro Toyama didn’t choose horror, it chose him. His first game as director, Silent Hill (1999), was assigned to him by his bosses at Konami. A stranger to horror as well as a self-professed scaredy-cat, in order to find his feet Toyama turned away from schlock and gore and towards those softer influences that did appeal to him: occult practices, mystery stories, and evidently enough, the work of David Lynch. Silent Hill’s thoughtful, ambiguous atmosphere may have gone on to define survival horror, but it also went on to define Toyama’s career. Which is why Gravity Rush,…


The dizzying art of the cinematic zoom invades videogames

Zooms have long been the crux of dramatic filmmaking. Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock popularized the dizzying camera effect in his classic thriller Vertigo (to, obviously, envelop the viewer in a sense of vertigo). Afterwards, zooms became a trend among filmmakers seeking to add that extra depth of environmental distortion to a shot – sometimes even to comedic success. For videogames, the art of the cinematic zoom is harder to master. In most cases, the player has control over the camera, and cutscenes hardly ever implement such dramatic effects. In reaching, a game borne out of a recent Global Game Jam,…

11 Executions

Artist uses GTA V to investigate the motivation behind modern terrorism

There is no logic to it, but it happens with enough regularity to be memorable: A tragedy occurs, and days later, journalists report that if it wasn’t for a quirk of fate it might have taken another victim. To wit, Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jong switched flights from Malaysian Airlines flights MH370 and MH17 at the last minute. The former flight is still unaccounted for and its passengers presumed dead while the latter was shot down over Ukraine. There is no genius in finding a cheaper flight or one with a shorter layover, as De Jong did. Nevertheless, he lived…


Oxenfree’s supernatural teenage drama will also become a movie

Have you played Oxenfree yet? Probably not, given that it comes out today. Do you think you’ll play it, or just wait for the movie? Oh! I forgot to tell you—turns out there might be a movie in the works. This seems fitting given that Sean Krankel and Adam Hines, the two founders of Night School Studio and the creators of Oxenfree, put together a team comprising Telltale and Disney alumni to produce the game. The talent behind this videogame learned from movies and animation and now the result of their work will be fed back into the machine that enabled it. And,…


The most subversive uses of drone technology

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Initially known to many for their military use, drones have evolved quickly into tools for creating and enjoying new experiences. They have become flying extensions of the human desire to innovate, help people and have fun. Nearly four million commercial drones are expected to sell this year, rising to 16 million a year by 2020, according to a new report by Juniper Research. “Three years ago, this technology was so expensive, so unattainable, that only the professional cinematographer could afford it,” said International Drone Racing Association CEO Charles Zablan in…


On Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece of misogyny, The Hateful Eight

What you make of Quentin Tarantino’s latest genre genuflection The Hateful Eight will really come down to one thing: how many times can you tolerate a woman getting hit in the face? The gauntlet is thrown down early: Kurt Russell’s ursine bounty hunter John Ruth smashes his captive, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue, full in the face when she speaks out of turn. She gets a lingering close-up courtesy of Tarantino’s vaunted “glorious 70mm” frame, seething with fury through the blood. I lost count of how many times Domergue gets slapped, thumped, and punched, but I’m comfortable with saying it was…


The game design of the Hunger Games

Calling the design of the Hunger Games terrible is kind of missing the point, right? There’s no fairness intended, no logic, no rules. The “gamemakers” are industrial-scale butchers, striking a balance between mass execution and mass execution that’s fun to watch. They’re games only in the bread-and-circuses sense: distractions. Bloody spectacle. (The series’ ravaged, enslaved nation is called, in a Kojima-esque flourish, Panem.) Author Suzanne Collins famously says she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games books while flipping between reality TV and Iraq War coverage. That might be embellishment, but it’s also a cogent appraisal of the…