Screwtape Letters part seven
Part our of my Screwtape Letters series. And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!
Pinhead makeup application, first attempt
This is really the moment we’ve been waiting for. We’ve done parts of the makeup here and there, gotten all the prep work done but haven’t done an actual application. There’s not time to do a test run. Already I can tell this is going to be a crazy long makeup, and I’m not about to waste a couple of hours and a bunch of makeup on a test run like I usually do. This is it.
We begin with some white makeup on the face, right around where the bald cap is going to meet the skin. I wan makeup under some of the cap so if it begins to ride up on my forehead we wont have a flesh toned line where the latex is escaping the skin.
Next we put the cap on. Time for more makeup. We need to do the whole face, but special attention is paid to that seam. The white greasepaint is what we are using to make it disappear. Adding latex to it would cause a bump, not the smooth surface we need and I can’t run a horizontal grid line across it because the shape would be wrong.
Once my face is white, we begin to draw the grid lightly with black makeup. This is entirely for guidance on where to put the pins, these black lines will be completely covered by the time we are done. The grid is lined up with the bald cap and we follow the vertical lines down, and begin the adding the pins at the intersections. This is slow as each has to be applied individually and dried. They don’t feel quite stable but that’s part of what the cotton is for, to add some support. Time to begin cotton process again, bit by bit. Applying all these small pieces was what made the Zombie Spider-man we talked about last Halloween makeup so difficult. It’s dragging this application on as well, really glad the bald cap is already done. Still, between the pins and the cotton grid, we’re still pushing three hours.
After cleaning up the grid we add some light gray to the corners to add shading and get dressed. The next step is going to be to create a proper costume, but for now, black cloths a puzzle box and a long coat should give the right impression. Adding a sinister belt and some knives just in time to meet up with Batman.
PINHEAD MAKEUP : COMPLETE
But that’s not really the end of the story. Like I said, I still have to create a proper costume. I can probably get away with a cheap black skirt for the lower part and a long black sleeved shirt for part of the top, but I need to create a vest for the center of the Pinhead costume…and that will also serve as a central part of any other Cenobite costume I make. We’ll be back to the Hellraiser project after I create some more Violent Blue.
The Resident Evil series
I finally decided to sit down and watch the Resident Evil series this weekend. I’m not a gamer so while I am aware of the source material, I don’t have any real experience it or any connection to it. I totally get it when my buddy Jason says “forget the movies, just play the game….” but that’s not quite as viable of an option for me! Besides, I liked the first one. It was fine for what it was…..
Hmmm. There’s a question in that statement – what exactly IS this move anyhow?
This is the first thing you have to understand. Resident Evil and all of it’s sequels are not horror movies. I hear “Zombies” and I think “monster movie”. But much like in the Walking Dead, the zombies aren’t really the main antagonists. They’re background. They’re waking props. Resident Evil is far more about the people, and the evil Umbrella corporation. Once you’re past the first film, the Zombies -they’re always there but they really fade in to the background for the most part.
Resident Evil is a sci-fi action series. If you go in expecting a scary movie you will be disappointed. If you go in to see punches and kicks and gunfire, you’re in the right place. Once I realized this it changed my expectations and how I was going to view this series (it also made Milla Jovovich’s casting in the Expendables 3 make a lot more sense). You don’t go into Rambo looking for great cinema. The quality of these movies across the board is still better than anything I see on the SYFY channel (in fact, if SYFY would just rise a few inches to this level, I’d probably be a fan again)
The thing that surprises me about this series is how uneven it is. What makes that odd is the fact that every one of these films have been written by the same guy. Resident Evil on screen is Paul W.S. Anderson’s baby, without a doubt. You can see it in the continuity and it benefits from having that guiding hand.
However, the second film is just SO BORING. I ‘d swear there wasn’t a scriptwriter here, just story by committee (It was what prompted me to check who the writer was. I was surprised to find it was still Anderson). In fact story is pushing the description a little bit. RE2 just drifts from set piece to set piece, encounter to encounter. Lot’s of action, some nice makeups but no development or plot. The series really isn’t expanded by this movie other than to point out that Umbrella really is evil….a point that one might be able to kind of argue in the first movie. A lot of people will blame this on the director – a newbie on his first film. I’d be quick to jump on him myself, but honestly, the direction is perfectly serviceable. There’s just nothing here for him to direct. RE2 really makes me wonder how RE3 ever got made.
I suspect the answer is two words: Ridley. Scott.
I’m not saying a RE movie is BENEATH Ridley…..well, yeah. Actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. It actually makes NO sense to me why he took this job, but he does a fine job with it. We go post-apocalyptic in this edition and it makes sense. He may have taken in it a little far though – suggesting the entire earth is one big Mad Max-like desert wasteland. That seems to be contradicted a bit in later films (but seriously, who in their right mind was expecting to milk this series for six movies?). Ridley was adamant about setting this one entirely in daylight. It’s an interesting turn, but perhaps not as noticeable as you might expect. These are, after all, action movies. Not horror.
The addition of elements like zombie crows and a chance to really showcase the main character’s powers is a good addition. The series has been around long enough to feature recurring characters and we kind of know the world now. It’s enough to justify another sequel.
Form here on out, Anderson will direct all of these himself and number four manages to once again impress me, picking up on a thread left over in 3 – the search for a part of the world that is safe and not infected. There’s a little retcon, but nothing to dire and the axe wielding bad guy is another nice addition. RE5 will pick up from about thirty seconds after RE4 leaves off, so closely linked you might have thought they were filmed back to back. However we’re back to meandering territory here. Little story, Lot’s of action and one of Milla’s best outfits. It almost seems like sometimes the producers feel the need to go back to making the movie look like a video game, just to get back in touch with it’s roots.
It’s a shame, other than the first and third, these films can’t really stand on their own, but it’s a series custom made for marathoning or running in the background of a party. I don’t ever expect much from Milla Jovovich. She’s nice to look at and I suppose it’s cool to have a female action star, but she’s never had any real acting chops that I’ve observed. Her best role is still in the Fifth Element because she doesn’t have to speak for most of the film. I can absolutely see myself popping this stuff on while I draw Violent Blue and I might even catch the sixth one next year when it comes out, but I can’t imagine going out of my way to really watch any of these again.
One last word
With all the hate and vitriol I’ve seen slung towards Ben Affleck in the last twelve hours there is one thing that really strike me about the vast majority of the detractors.
It’s all hate. It’s all passion. It’s all emotion.
Warner bros. ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING? BEN AFFLECK AS THE NEW BATMAN IN BATMAN VS SUPERMAN. NOW THIS MOVIE IS A TOTAL JOKE. NOT EVEN EXCITED ANYMORE.
Bunch of dumbasses.
I think this is a horrible idea and Daredevil sucked
I don’t want to live on this planet anymore
Thank you, Warner Brothers, for absolutely DESTROYING Batman for all eternity. You freaking IDIOTS.
I don’t want to talk about a guy that aff “lack’s” talent to be any hero.
its a travesty! Its immoral! Its unholy! I feel like vomiting!
There’s not a lot of reason going on. People aren’t THINKING about this, they’re just feeling and the knee-jerk reaction to Affleck is generally negative, no matter what role he plays.
I’m not convinced myself. But I’m also not declaring the end of the world. Sit back, let it sink in. Bale wasn’t coming back even if they drove a Brinks truck up to his door and let him pick out the crispest bills. Moreover, DC/WB can’t afford for this to tank. They didn’t pull this name out of a hat. I’ll admit I don’t have a CLUE what they were thinking, but you can bet they have some reason here. The stakes are far higher than they ever were with say; Batman Forever or Batman and Robin. It’s two years away and you can bet that WB is going to be immediately releasing some stills and pre production to try and slowly win people over.
Hang out for a while. Seriously. Let’s see where this goes.
The new Batman
So the news broke, Ben Affleck is Daredevil, and the internet is aflame.
Affleck as Batman, I think I could be okay with this. However, I don’t know about him as Bruce Wayne. The thing is, I LIKED him as Daredevil. I really did, and I think he had a good take on Matt Murdock. I have a much harder time picturing him as Bruce Wayne though…and I really would have preferred a deeper voice.
Those of you hoping the outcry will be enough to get him kicked off the project….well…you remember months ago the news was that he was in talks with Warner Brothers – the rumors were that he was going to be directing Justice league. This casting decision isn’t recent. I’d bet it’s been in place for a good year or so.
They had to know there would be a huge backlash especially in superhero circles, Affleck is damaged goods, and in the mainstream, it’s just conventional wisdom to hate him….in this case I’m kind of the opposite. I thought his Daredevil was good (particuarly to someone who’d been reading the character for twenty years at that point). The director’s cut even more so. In my opinion, most of the people who really hate his Daredevil either already dislike and dismiss the character out of hand or were strictly Frank Miller fans who hadn’t read the title in years- decades even.
I’ll grant Affleck’s Matt Murdock was really just him playing himself -yeah, he does that a lot (so do “respectible” actors like Harrison Ford)….but it worked for me considering Murdock is one of the least responsible lawyers I’ve ever seen. His daredevil fit well enough with what Bendis was writing around the time and had a few callbacks to earlier incarnations. We’re seeing him evolve into a hero in the movie – something that wasn’t always clear enough (Why does everyone complain about him killing Quesada at the beginning but no one has the same complaints about Batman killing the Joker in ’89 – twice if you count dripping Jack in a vat of chemicals or letting Ras die in Begins? At least in Daredevil it’s part of the arc that he grows beyond killing ). It’s a real shame they cut out the sub plot about him trying to solve a case about a dead hooker – we see more development there and a lot more detective work. I never really dug the Bullseye in that film….but that’s got nothgin to do with Batman….perhaps antoher article.
In the end it all makes me wonder what they saw in Affleck that lead them to this casting. Remember how much Michael Keaton was hated when he was announced as Batman as well, and suddenly the 1989 Batman movie was declared “Movie of the Decade!” and to be fair, if we’re going to talk about spotty careers…I still have a hard time disassociating Henry Cavil with the guy that was getting a hummer from a girl with a demonic mask in the eighth (and worst) Hellraiser movie. Superman vs. Batman has a long time before it get’s here. Let’s see what happens next.
This time Deadpool is the jerk
There are times when you see Deadpool sneaking up on someone, he’s stealthed and just being generally annoying. you know an attack will hit and do no damage, but you just feel like you have to take the shot anyhow.
Some of you may know that I have a full size Dalek in my Library. I’ve had it for years and occasionally use it in my magic act. Maddie was looking for something to do a still life of, and decided she was going to try and draw my Dalek.
I can see it actually…I see the roundels and the gun and claw hidden in the middle. I get that she’s trying to capture the roundness of the base even if she got the shape wrong.
The word she was trying to spell was “Bot”. “Pot” may actually be more appropriate.
All in all a really fun picture!
I finally got around to playing the Deadpool video game while I was on vacation. Gameplay is reasonably straight forward, though there are a few places you have to backtrack to achieve game effects. Still, that’s all standard. That could be any other review.
What Deadpool stands on is the tory and the character. This is the merc ith a mouth and boy, do they go out of thier way to live up to that reputation. I’ve never played a game where there was this much talking in game. As he slices and dices he taunts and talks and jokes. Spider-Man game developers could really learn from this mechanic. A lot of the material is repeated, but that’s to be expected. Heck, I tell the same jokes to diffrent audiences on a regular basis.
There’s a heavy X-Men influence here as well. Much more than I expected to see. Sinister is the villian and I was a little surprised about that. He dosen’t strike me as a typical Deadpool baddie. Cable and Domino show up enough to make me feel like I was reading old Liefield X-Force off-issues. Wolverine makes an appearance and it’s JUST enough. People have a tendancy to overuse him and he could have easily taken over a good level or so but no, in fact Rogue has more screen time than Wolvie.
I love the Rogue level. It’s easily the best one in the game and she comes off remarkably well in the game. We even get to play her for a minuet after Deadpool lends her his healing factor….and mask. Deadpool spends most of the level searching for her so he can make her fall in love with him. Maybe that’s why I really dig this part -I’ve had a thing for Rogue since I read Asgard Wars (and then there was that year I dated a girl who absolutely wanted to BE Rogue). I can relate with Deadpool’s low motives.
Nolan North captures Deadpol perfectly by the way, whenever I read the comics from here on out, it’s his voice I will hear. He’s as definitve as Kevin Conroy is to Batman. Daniel Wray has written a brilliant script. This FEELS like Deadpool. Even the potty humor (which I usualy don’t go for) works in this context. I’m not one of those people who thinks video games are the next evolution of entertainment…that thinks they are the natural progression from film, but I will say this: This game is far more satisfying than any Deadpool movie I could imagine (and I say that having read the excellent screenplay by Reese and Wernick). THere’s an inheriant goofieness, and breaking the fourth wall fits better here. One of my favortie moments is when Deadpool has to get across a huge chasm and he does it by jumping on old dialogue boxes.
Overall, a great game with a fun attitude and atmosphere that sets it above a normal hack and slash. It’s a shooter where the witting matters, and I love it.
Pac Man Kart
Today, I’m reviewing Pac Man Kart for Android. I’m playing i on my tablet, but you can get it for your smartphone as well.
Here’s the big problem. Mario Kart set the bar WAY high with innovative graphics, beautiful in depth back grounds, compelling characters and easy to use controls for streamlined game play.
This game has got none of that stuff. It’s clunky, blocky and just hard to use. You have Pac-Man and ghosts in go karts. It’s a good idea. I want this to work, but clumsy controls doom this game. To get him to turn you tap one side of the screen or the other and hope that it responds the way you intend. Sometimes holding down the button turns you into a sharp turn, other times it doesn’t do anything. There’s a whole different virtual button for power ups, some of which are actually pretty neat, but it’s not enough to save the game from the horribly awkward controls.
Grab the free version from the App Store just to see the graphics (very cool the first time but rapidly grow old), but pass on the full version.
Screwtape Letters part six
Part six of my Screwtape Letters series. And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!
Back from Vacation
We’re back from our vacation, but it’s going to be a busy first day back so this will be a short post.
We started our vacation at the Great Lakes Medieval Faire, and we ended it at the Cleveland Museum of Art – particularly in the armor display.
Maddie was enchanted by the tapestries that were hundreds of years old…trying to read them. And as we went through the armor display she asked for a picture holding one of the blades. This was the best we could do!
Lydia had her favorites as well, a photo with a skull at the Natural History Museum! Man that’s one creepy little girl.
We also encountered a fascinating sculpture in the modern art section made up of tools all suspended. you could walk through it and the context was just fascinating. I took this photo of the girls and suddenly realized it really reminded me of a scene from Evil Dead….
Regular posts resume tomorrow, and watch out next week for my review of the new Deadpool game! in the meantime head over to Violent Blue for the new strip posted today!
Pinhead Skullcap phase two
In our last post on the Hellraiser Project we had finally found success in creating nails for the Pinhead Baldcap. That process was actually a great deal more difficult than I had anticipated, but I’m glad it’s done.
The next step is to create the grid of cut flesh on the top of the head. The idea is that with a bald cap complete with pins and a grid, the rest of the makeup on application day will be half as difficult.
Back when we were trying out the facial pins, I settled on the cotton ball method of creating the cuts. A little latex, with pieces torn from a cotton ball sticking to it. This is a long process, and it’s giving me an idea of how long this makeup will take to apply. Just creating the cotton grid takes between an hour and a half and two hours. Each bit between the pins has to be added individually, then heated to dry faster. Instead of the long lines that it appears to be, what you are actually looking at is dozens of tiny little cotton pieces, four little pieces making up each square.
The next step is to mat it down with fake blood. This is where a creative choice comes in. I’ve seen people do the grid just drawn in with black, I’ve also seen it done in red. I don’t want to do any of that. I’m using blue food coloring to mat the cotton down. Pinhead is frequently shown in a blue light and the color gives an eerie look to him. It also serves to mark out the grid and highlight it, without looking unnecessarily bloody. That’s a principle of Pinhead’s look…he cause all this horrific bodily damage, but none of the blood ever gets on him – he always looks crisp, clean. The blue color adds to that stark, clean look. When I apply the makeup, we’ll use the same method, and follow the lines set down for us on the bald cap. Finally we add white makeup to the squares and clean up some of the edges of the cotton with white greasepaint and a brush. The idea is to create trauma, to look like the skin is puckering where the cuts are, rather than it look like there’s a bunch of makeup in rows on my head.
That’s it. Time to celebrate with some Violent Blue, because the next step is the full application of the makeup.
PINHEAD BALD CAP : PHASE TWO COMPLETE
I miss arcades. Back when I was a kid, we had an arcade in every mall. I especially remember two, the one in Midway Mall- Aladdins Castle, and the one at Center Ridge Lanes. Over the years I’ve built a MAME cabinet and put all the games I remember on it…but I still miss the arcade.
I first saw the template over here : http://www.wayoftherodent.com/gd101/bs_paperarcade.htm and thought that was such a cool idea. It also occurred to me that I could make these machines even smaller and maybe adapt them for use in Heroclix. Around the same time I noticed my friend Jim making an Arcade machine or two and that cemented my resolve.
I started out making machines themselves. The first hurdle was to figue out how much I needed to shrink the template down. After testeing a few times and comparing the sizes to my minitures I figured out every machine I wanted. Some o those machines didn’t exist, and had to be created. A few web searches and I was able to find artwork to things like Mortal Kombat, or the X-Men four player and then alter existing templates. X-Men went on the Gauntlet template. Mortal Kombat went on the Pac-Man one. Mario went on the Donkey Kong template (a standard for all Nintendo stand up machines actually). As I got more machines together I created a floorplan, deciding how big the map was going to be. I wanted brick walls and shiny wood floors. I also wanted pool tables, just like at Center Ridge lanes, where you couldn’t play pool if you were under 18.
Vending machines would come next. I wanted pop machines, preferably old ones. Old Pepsi and 7Up machines and cigarette machines (on the pool table side) and Token vendors. I also figured such a place would paner to kids with less money and would have some generic pop there too, so I threw in a Faygo machine.
Next I had to cut them out and put them together. These are incredibly hard, especially at this size. I wasn’t using glue…to small and it would be to messy. instead I was using a Gluestick, which worked perfectly. All in all, I created thirty arcade machines and a score of vending machines. Not only did I want vending machines in the arcade, but I wanted them in the alleyway as well where we set up a kind of Vending machine farm. These are really common in Japan, though not so much in the US. Still if felt liek it fit. You can see machines for food, snacks, drinks, coffee and all sorts of things out there. Inside I added one more machine; a crane game.
Of course, for there to be an outside, we need to finish up those walls and add some Aladdins Castle logos. It was always going to be an Aladdins Castle, somehow I knew that, but it’s an idealized one; one that probably never really existed.
It’s a fun map for Alter Egos, a great place for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson to hang out. It’s also great for super strength figures. Consider all the machines objects that you can pick up and attack with. Most of all though, it takes me back to a time when Co-Op meant going to the arcade, not just sitting on Broadband.
Great Lakes Medieval Faire
We did the Great Lakes Medieval Faire this weekend to kick off our vacation! No real review on it, just a few fun pictures! But never fear, while I’m on vacation, Violent Blue and Argo City will still update as usual!
Thank you Annie Potts!
I send M.s Potts a while ago. I’ll admit it was all Ghostbusters stuff. I’ve seen her in other roles, but not affect me like Ghostbusters. I had hoped to send one or two of these on to Rick Moranis, but he seems like he’s getting harder to get these days and i’m not sure I want to risk losing these pics in the mail. We’ll think about it some more. Maybe later.
(I’ll bet the guys in Violent Blue are Ghostbusters fans….)