The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for August, 2019

842

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


841

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Michael Berryman

A couple of new graphs from Berryman. I couldn’t resist getting him on “Voyage of the Rock Aliens”!


Butterfly Effect 3

box8filmsindexThe Butterfly Effect part three start off with a brutal murder – much bloodier than anything were used to seeing in these films. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Everything about this worries me – the after dark productions are meant to give exposure to small indie films that couldn’t get made otherwise, and a sequel is a weird choice… As if somebody bought the rights to the franchise and intended to crank out low-budget sequels one after another, match the way Dimension has done with Hellraiser and Children of the Corn.

Our main character has a reputation as a psychic cop, a profiler like Will Graham in Red Dragon. His task is to solve the mystery of his dead girlfriend, and his dilemma how to use the Butterfly Effect to do that.

indexYou can already see he’s a practitioner of the Butterfly Effect. We are not slowly discovering it this time, it’s not a secret or a surprise. The skill is a firmly established thing, approached with a methodology to maximize and monitor it (using a bthtub full of ice and electrodes to monitor his vitals). He has a mentor who cautions him about using it, in particular using it to change its own past and timeline. It serves as both exposition and foreshadowing, but the almost casual approach to the Butterfly Effect almost robs it of its mystery. Basically the series has shifted from horror edged sci-fi to superhero without a costume, much like Jumper or Wanted.

Still, the suspense ramps up as he makes his first jump back to try and save the girlfriend and discovers the murderer, but as it always does, things take a turn for the worse. We are treated to more gore. More and importantly, in the new timeline there are more murders. His time jump created a serial killer which he must now stop or prevent from ever existing.

It’s an interesting premise, and makes for a very different kind of film than what we’ve seen before in the series… Indeed, it almost feels like fan fiction set with in the Butterfly Effect universe. It feels as if it were written by someone obsessed with the mechanics and rules of the power and the chaos theory driving it. The part of me that loves reading sourcebooks and who’s who reference books really digs that. They don’t overdo it, it’s kind of like a television pilot – it’s enough that someone who hasn’t seen the previous films will be able to understand what’s going on in what is otherwise a solid but average film. I do need to mention, it’s got a great ending, with a curious twist. As far as quality goes, it fits right in with the rest of this box set collection, however despite some impressive gore, it’s not horror and that does make it the odd man out. The simple story entertains but makes it forgettable.

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840

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


The Penguin

 

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Butterfly Effect 2

franchisebannerindex2The Butterfly Effect to has a cast that is so CW it hurts. Indeed, we start out the film in a coastal scene that could be straight out of Dawson’s Creek.

Tragedy strikes when the cast’s cars tire blows out in front of a semi truck barrelling down on them. Our hero’s next scene is in the hospital, dreaming series of flashbacks to the events that we just saw about five minutes previous. Alone, the only survivor we very shortly get a glimpse of the butterfly effect as he stares at a photo… Fast forward one year later. Stress triggers the effect at a business meeting and he is sent home – that’s where things really get started.

In a lot of ways this movie feels cheaper… And yet somebody is very interested in playing with the special effects . It’s a similar look, but not the same and our main character seems more analytical, less emotional than Ashton Kutcher. He is not exploring the power to change time through memories, he is examining and analyzing it as it happens.

The movie in general feels more shallow. The stakes are far less serious, and then there’s the little things – there is a lot more sex in this movie (though weirdly enough way less nudity than the first). The ending too, feels diluted, far less satisfying than the first.

I’m worried about the next one.


838

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Gotham villians

Costume

I wanted to try something with my fellow Gotham villians in a Dark Knight style….

gotham-villians


NEO and Hazard con video reviews

ConmanSteel City Comic Con was this weekend, but that’s a bit big for me, especially with celebs charging an extra $20 for a photo at thier table on top of autograph charges. That didn’t stop me from sending my Victor Crowley poster with a friend to get signed, but I digress….

While we were taking a con break this weekend, Maddie finally got around to doing her own video reviews of the last couple shows she attended! I’m always interested to get her perspective on the conventions we attend. Below you’ll find her reviews of both Hazard Con and NEO Comiccon!

 

 


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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Autopsy

box8filmsindexAutopsy is definitely the standout picture of this collection. It’s also arguably the best movie here, not because it’s the most intelligent, thoughtful, well written piece, bbut rather because it simply the most fun.

What we have here is a basic slasher film set in a creepy hospital. It hits all the right notes and practically throws the gore at the screen while not always taking itself too ridiculously seriously. A group of kids get involved in a car accident in the woods – running over body, and the whole group is taken to the hospital they are picked off one by one, by staff that’s not everything that it seems.

Of all the films in this collection, this is the only one I’ve actually heard of. The Butterfly Effect 3 is an obvious sequel, but nevertheless not one I was really aware existed. Autopsy I’ve seen, though I can’t remember if it was Netflix or SYFY . Still, of all the films in this set, index2it managed to break out on its own and deservedly so.

If you’re looking to turn your brain off for little while and just enjoy a fun and gory picture, this is it. This movie alone was worth the price of admission.


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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


NEO Comiccon 2019

Conman67684357_2625943994116674_2942901661254811648_n“Hey! Can I be your leg?”
A blue blur raced towards me. It was a cosplayer in a plushie blue outfit that reminded me of Sonic the Hedgehog.  My little con buddy Maddie giggled as she whipped out the camera – after all, Voltron haven’t even made it into NEO Comiccon yet!

Sometimes when a convention changes hands, an anxious feeling of uncertainty can arise – that certainly seems to be the case with the uncertainty surrounding Akron Comic Con right now. With NEO though, there was never any doubt. After founding anr running the show for the past four years, Shawn Belles had decided to hand it off to Eric Anderson, the proprietor of Comic are Go.  Anderson is a regular vendor on the con circuit and is well known and respected… and it doesn’t hurt 58660717_1238222676336911_7137187081226289152_nthat his store happens to be my favorite comic shop. He pulled the show off and kept it the same con that we know and love. If nothing else, the event maintained enough continuity that you probably wouldn’t even know there was a new promoter unless somebody told you. That’s good because I love this show, especially since it’s so close to home. The Soccer Sportsplex where it’s held is about a ten minuet drive from where we go to Church. Maddie and I hit the early service and then headed down the street to the con.

We knew from previous years that you couldn’t show up too late and still expect to get parking on site. We pulled in a little after eleven to find that the lot was full. I swung around and backed my little black car against a fence, creating my own parking space. While Maddie was high fiving me in the front seat, four other cars pulled in next to me, the five of us creating the last half a row of parking possible in the grass.

“I feel weird going into a convention without a costume!” Maddie complained to me.  The thing is I don’t disagree with her. It reminds me of that first time out to the late and lamented Shinbokucon. I arrived in jeans and an Excel Saga shirt and felt woefully out of place among all the other cosplayers. Nevertheless I assured Maddie that in this 90° heat, she wasn’t going to want to be suited up all day – we’d do our shopping, say hello to 67456777_2623822630995477_2276036739338338304_nfriends, get autographs and armor up after lunch.

I brought a collection of interlocking Green Lantern covers for Paul Pelletier to sign. I had actually met him the previous day at a signing held by Comics Are Go. He and Matt Horak had popped into the shop for a couple of hours to sign comics and talk about the industry.It was a great time, almost like having my own personal panel with them. Pelletier described his early days breaking into the industry;
“I actually got into the Kubert school but then discovered I couldn’t afford to attend, so I went to work at the shoe place by day, doing comic books pencils practically for free on the side. I was drawing Ex-Mutants for Malibu and the guy who was inking the book also did work for DC. Some of his bosses there started to notice my pencils and asked ‘who is this guy that’s drawing for you?’ He gave them my information and they called me, I didn’t even have to send samples”
It’s a fascinating story, because his breakthrough into the industry wasn’t just about luck, there’s obviously a lot of hard work involved as well as being in the right place at the right time. He’s done amazing work on Aquaman and Justice League for the new 52 (I ALMOST pulled the trigger on one of his Superman prints – but it’s that new 52 outfit and I just can’t bring myself to spend money on Superman unless he has red shorts….) and I 67602223_2625952624115811_7500589555540557824_nwas stoked to have my books signed. We noted it was funny that while he’d always been more of a Marvel fan, most of his work had been done at DC.

While Tony Isabella was technically the guest of honor this year, the real draw for me was Tom Mandrake. Mandrake is probably best known for his legendary run with John Ostrander on the Spectre.  I remember my buddy Mike Roop having a bunch of those glow in the dark covers, but I never really started reading books until very recently.I’m not sure why. They’re totally down my alley, and what’s interesting is we even see some crossover with us Ostrander’s Suicide Squad.
I didn’t just have just a stack of Spectre though, I had a curiosity with me. Mandrake did a single issue of Shadowman – something I found odd. I pointed out to him that  I wasn’t aware of much work that he done with Valiant and asked if he was a regular there.
“Actually, that’s the thing, I didn’t do much work with them”, he said in slight bewilderment. “I don’t even remember how I got this job – they probably called me up 67814509_2626003677444039_6803964702150885376_nbecause they needed an issue done quick. Back in those days we were all a lot closer in the industry…”

I grabbed some resin landscapes from a miniature dealer who was creating a variety of interesting things – since the rise of 3-D printing and the popularity of Perler beads, I don’t really see too much resin and looking at these figures you can realize exactly what a shame that is. I’m really excited to paint these and use them for photography with action figures and HeroClix. Maddie scored a Simpsons comic from Chris Yambar. He is a regular stop for her when ever we are at a convention.

I grabbed a Green Hornet poster at the local TV station’s booth and we moved on to Rubber City Cosplay to sign up for the costume contest. I noted that on the line above my entry there was another set of names with the series “Voltron”. I looked up at Cody and asked “Is there another Voltron costume here today?”
He nodded. “They’re playing a couple of the characters – Keith and Link.”
68616513_10216933015696450_2869430297127026688_nMaddie and I looked at each other.
“We’ve got to find these guys to get a picture!”

Indeed, we’d already spend much of the day chasing down cosplayers for pictures. Coming in to the show, Maddie had spied a girl dressed as Pokemon’s Serena. It’s Maddie’s favorite character, and she’d actually had her Serena custom on the previous weekend. She was totally excited to see another one. We also ran into my wife’s friend Crystal in her Miss Piggy outfit. She had nailed the character. it wasn’t just the ig nose or the blonde wig, what really sold it was the eye makeup. Big black lashes and heavy eyeliner, topped with purple eye shadow, I had never realized until that moment how essential all that is to the look.
We followed a trail of feathers on the ground to find Cruella Deville, but my favorite costume of the day was Chubby Bunny Cosplay, dressed as the Evil Queen from Snow White. Not only was the costume perfect, she had brought props that just made the look. A 67726514_10216933014056409_2771453958437208064_ngoblet that frothed (with cotton) and glowed (with LEDs), a magic mirror and a large spell book (which was hollow and served to carry her hone and wallet!). Maddie and I both cheered when she won the Adult division in the costume contest.

It was after 12:30 and Maddie was getting hungry so we headed out front and caught the shuttle bus. The viehicle was brimming with hustle and bustle, cosplayers all around us. It took us down the road a bit to the local college where there was overflow parking for the convention. The welcoming sight of a McDonald’s loomed across the street. Maddie and I nipped across the intersection to grab lunch and cool down under the air-conditioned golden arches. By the time we had eaten and got back to the show, it was just after one and we are ready to suit up.

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About 17 hours before the convention, Maddie had come to me asking if we could pull her Iron Sapphire, – she hadn’t worn it in two or three years, and I knew it would have to be altered. We dug through the attic and found most of the pieces, I cancelled my plans to see Troll 2 at the Cedar Lee, and get to work adding inserts and extensions in the armor to make it fit a 13-year-old girl instead of an 11-year-old. (and here I had thought that since I finished my upgrades on Voltron Friday morning, I wasn’t going to have to deal 67476994_2625944764116597_4387398544147873792_nwith any con crunch this weekend!) While we’re at it, we added extra lights, rebuilt the mask and tiara and completely revamped the mid-section for my daughter who is now taller and – well, shaped differently then she had been a few years ago. By 1 o’clock in the morning I had painted pieces drying on the porch and was ready for bed. It’s a little nerve wracking though, we were breaking one of my general rules – always try on the whole thing together before bringing it out to a show. It turned out to be okay – the midplate didn’t go up quite high enough, but it was forgivable and Maddie darkened up the Star Sapphire logos on her shoulders with a sharpie while we were in the car, giving it that final touch. I suited up as Voltron and never even made it into the convention center before getting stopped three times for photos. The addition of the sword to the costume is something that had often been requested of me, this time around I decided to not only create it but to do so in the anime tradition – that is, oversized and detailed. I had taken care to make sure that it was removable – the hilt had no paint on it since it would probably just rub off from being inserted into the lion heads that form to my hands. One of my favorite things during this show was to hand the sword over to people who wanted pictures with me and show them holding it in the photo. By the end of the convention we got the hang of pulling the sword out of the lion head using two hands with a sharp upward motion and then lining up to the holes and steadily inserting it back in.
As we passed Archie Cunningham‘s booth, he waved us over, delighted and wanting a picture.
“Hang on, and I’ve got something for you!”
He reached under his table and produced one of his prints of Voltron : Legendary Defender and presented it to me.
“I was so upset with how the series ended, and I think it’s last time I’m ever going to 67650055_2625943030783437_6874811467598659584_ndraw him this way. I’m gonna go back to the classic – the way you look!”

We wandered around, taking pictures with Pennywise, a space marine, even a xenomorph from Aliens! Maddie got in on the act as well taking photos in her Iron Sapphire outfit and had a generally good time despite the uncomfortable armor (I had been right, even the three hours we were suited up was tough. We never would have made it through five hours). One of the vendor’s was nice enough to handle water bottles “I know how hot those things can get!” He suggested hooking up a old computer fan in the helmet perhaps to help cool me down.

67953339_2625944430783297_5224409123776364544_nWhen it was time to lineup for the costume contest, I was fortunate enough to be right behind the other Voltron cosplayers, and Maddie was right in front of another young woman in hand made Iron Man armor – the synchronicity was beautiful. My friend Rhonda was in the line next to us so we were surrounded by familiar faces.

We made one last pass at the dealers room, but shopping is always hard when you’re in a cumbersome outfit. Still, you never know what you might find. During that last pass, in an old toy booth, I spied it – a vintage 1979 Twiki action figure. It was in fact, the exact figure I’d been looking for at the Neotacc swap meet a couple weeks prior. I reached into the hidden pocket by my hip armor and grabbed my cash. I ended up paying about 25% more than I was really comfortable with on the toy, but I shouldn’t complain – it’s easily worth double what I paid, and routinely goes for much more on eBay. I definitely got a deal.67498229_2626003684110705_7751653603995025408_n.jpg

Finally it was time to pack things up and head home. The crest in my breast plate fell out as I was shuffling out of my armor – I had managed to perspire right through the foam. We cranked up the AC and left our makeshift spot in the now mostly empty parking lot. NEO Comiccon was still the great convention that it always has been and I’m glad to see it in good hands. We can’t wait to come back next year.

 


Lego Deadpool and friends

 

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Comic Creator Autographs fall 2019

Conman
A while slew of updates fell into my lap just before NEO Comic Con (review will be up later this week), but I wanted to wait until after the con to make sure a couple of them were still correct. As always, we’re not really going to discuss the pros and cons of comic professionals charging for autographs. There’s plenty of other forums for that. We’re just going to acknowledge the reality of modern convention economics. This is a little something to help you know what to expect when you go to a con so you don’t get blindsided. A lot of artists don’t have autograph charges clearly displayed and frequently con websites either don’t have this information or are asked not to display it. Here’s my current list – in sort-of alphabetical order. It’s not exhaustive by any means, things may change next month or next year. We’ll update and repost from time to time.

Amanda Conner – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.

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Me so excited to meet Gerry Conway I forgot to open my eyes!

Alex Saviuk – $5
Arvell Jones – $5
Al Milgrom – $10 per book
Adam Kubert – $5 per book
Brett Breeding -$5
Brian Azzarello – $5, except for graded items and Batman:Damned
Bob Camp – $30
Bob Wiacek – $2 (He might make you a deal for multiple issues)
Bob Hall – free for the first issue, or if you purchase a something from the table, otherwise $5
Bob Layton- $5 for CGC graded signings, otherwise free
Bob Mcloud – one for free, then $5

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Bob Budiansky – first six free, $2 each after
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Chris Clarmont – first free, then $20
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
David Finch – 2 free, then $5
Don McGregor – $5 per signature
Edgar Delgado – $5 CGC grading signings
Fabian Nicieza – $10 Deadpool/X-Force related
Fiona Staples – $20 CGC grading signings (otherwise free)
Graham Nolan recently started charging, but not sure how much.
Greg Capullo  – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)
George Perez – Free, but he has a ticketing system so get to his table first thing after the show opens or you’ll be stuck in line for HOURS waiting for a spot to open up. Alternatively, if you can deal with not MEETING him, you can buy a print and he’ll sign that and a couple books in between sketches and stuff.

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Nolan signs some bat-issues!

Humberto Ramos – $10-$20
Howard Chaykin – $5 per book
Joe Sinnott – $10 per book
Jim Starlin -$10 per book (goes to Heroes Initiative)
Joe Giella- $4 per book
J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $20 ($50 for Wolverine)
Jimmy Palmiotti – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.
J Scott Campbell $10
John Cassandry $10
John Beatty – $3
Jim Sternako charges $20 per item last I checked – and that includes items and prints BOUGHT FROM HIS TABLE. Also, do not ask for a photo with him.
Keith Pollard – $5

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Larry Hama wondering exactly what he’s gotten himself into…

Kevin Eastman – first is free, $20 after that (He also doodles on the items!)
Keith Giffen – 1st book free, $5 per book after
Klaus Janson– $10, $20 CGC grading signings
Len Wein – $5, $20 CGC grading signings, $25 for Hulk 181, Giant Size X-Men #1 or House of Secrets #92.
Larry Hama will sign two items for free and charges after that.
Matteo Scalera – $20 CGC grading signings
Mike Zeck – $5
Marv Wolfman – one free (I’ve heard elsewhere it’s two for free, but in his last interview he said one), $5.00 after that
Mark Texeria- one personalized signature free, $10 per book after or unpersonalized
Mitch Gerads – 2 free, then $5
Michael Golden- $5 per book

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With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $5
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3
Ron Frenz -$3
Ron Lim – 1st book free, $10 per book after
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Scott Snyder – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Simon Bisley – $10 per book
Tom DeFalco $5 each for three or less. After that $20 (“Dealer’s Pricing”)
Tony Isabella $3. (As of Akron Comicon he’s dropped the “first one free” schtick)
William Messner-Lobes – $10
Whilce Portacio – He was free when I met him several years ago, but from what I understand there’s a few key books he charges $10 to sign
Victor Olazaba – $10

Tip Jar – pay what you want
Some of these are for causes like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or Heroes Inititive. Others are just personal. I urge you, respect the tip jar. (It’s so much better than autograph fees)

Billy Tucci
Ben Templesmith
Barry Kitson
Charlie Adlard
Denny O’Neil (Heros alliace tip jar)
George Perez
Gene Ha
Jan Duursema
Jim Calafiore
Larry Stroman
Peter David
Mike Barr

Free
14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_nAlan Davis
Ann Nocenti
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brandon Montclare
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepared to wait a long time in line)
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Bob Almond
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Carla Speed McNeil
Charles Soule
Clayton Crain
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Chris Yambar
Casey Jones
Darryl Banks
Dave Gibbons
Dan Brereton
Dirk Manning
Emanuela Lupacchino
Erik Larsen
Evan Dorkin
Fred Van Lente (assuming you can catch him. He dosent do to many shows these days)
Frank Cho
Franco
Gail Simone
Greg Land
Heather Antos
16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_nIvan Reis
Jason Latour
Jon Bogdanove
John Ostrander
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub
Judd Winick
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jeff Schultz
Jacob Chabot
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Joe Kelly
Karl Story
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Keron Grant
Kyle Higgins
Lela Gwenn
Lee Weeks

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It’s just a shadow. James O’Barr didn’t actually give me a black eye…

Louise Siminson
Mike McKone
Michael Cho
Matt Miner
Matt Horak
Mike Mayhew
Mark McKenna
Mike Okamoto
Marc Sumerick
Mike Gustov
Mark Waid
Mark Schultz
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Stephen Blickenstaff
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Jorge Lucas
Jim Pasco
Phil Hester12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Phil Noto
Paul Pelletier
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Rafer Roberts
Sergio Argones
Scott Hanna
Steve Leialoha
Steve Mannion
Stephen Sharar
Scott Snyder
Stefano Gaudiano
Skottie Young
Stephen T. Seagle
Tim Seeley
Tom Mandrake (sometimes a tip jar for Hero Initive, but not when he was at NEO in 2019)
67602223_2625952624115811_7500589555540557824_nTim Bradstreet
Todd DeZago
Tim Truman
Walt Simonson – donations for quick sketches
Will Rosado
Yanick Paquette


835

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


The Butterfly Effect

franchisebannerindexThe Butterfly Effect starts so with a tense scene about Ashton Kutcher hiding under a table with a notebook.  We then rewind to his childhood and teenage years to discover he’s been having blackouts and terrifying visions all this time. It doesn’t help that one of his teen friends is a psychopath. After a particularly traumatic event, he leaves his girlfriend behind with a message to her “I’ll come back for you”. Fast forward to college, and we’re off to the races.

You know, I have always despised Ashton Kutcher – I’m not a fan of the sort of dumb shaggy pretty boy he usually plays. Unexpectedly, this is different. Haunted by the memories, and clinging to his journal, Kutcher displays a greater range than I’ve ever seen him show in any other role. There is genuine fear and despair as he remembers those terrible things that happened during his blackouts – things chronicled in his journal. And as he concentrates on the memories from the journal, suddenly…  something in that memory changes… and when that happens, everything changes.

As horrifying as it is, as much as it feels like a thriller, this film is science fiction and not really horror. It’s brilliant and has laid the groundwork for a lot of things we have seen since– especially for those of us who watch the Flash. It’s everything Donnie Darko wishes it could be. The end was heart wrenching and now I want more… I understand why we got to sequels.

But is that a good thing? We’ll see shortly.