Matt Goes To The Movies 2014

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014 Logo

2014 was a pretty good year for movies, and while I didn’t get to visit the theater just about every week like last year, I still was able to catch many great films at my favorite theaters. It’s odd that after all these years I still feel the excitement of watching a film in the theater with some popcorn and an Icee. But before we get into my lists, I should say that my favorite theater is Cinemark at the Greene in Beavercreek, but man since they bought the theater from The Rave that place has had some issue and cutbacks that have really taken away from the place. The first thing you will notice is that on many days they are understaffed and many of the faces from last year are no longer working there, although my friend Chris still does so that’s a plus. Plus they did away with the flavor powder to put on your popcorn….so no more cheese popcorn for this movie goer. Others issues I have had is that during John Wick they left the lights on.  When my pal Jeremy Hoyt went and told them they turned off all the lights besides the center one that sadly we were sitting under…I felt like I was being interrogated by Dick Tracy! During November Man almost all the speakers besides the front two didn’t work, and worse, they had the front two cranked and it sounded like crap. During some movies, due to them going all digital with no projectionist when the film would start it would have no sound or no picture. Plus one of the most annoying things is the fact that they cram so many Coka-Cola and Microsoft ads at the start of every movie that it feels like your watching network TV! But to be fair for every bad experience, I have had way more good and that’s why it’s still my favorite theater. So let’s take a seat here at the Rotten Ink Theater lobby and let’s talk films of 2014!

Rotten Ink Cinema Lobby 2014Let’s get those bad films out of the way first, the ones that I left the theater wondering why film or even digital pixels were wasted on making them! So let’s take out this stinky trash before it smells up the joint! This year since I didn’t go and see one or two films a week, I was lucky enough to miss many stinkers but here are at least two that left a fowl smell in the theater.

WORST copy

# 2

300 Rise of an Empire

A direct follow up to 300 takes place at the same time and after the events of the first film, and instead of land battles, it’s mostly all about water warfare. Themistocles and his brave warriors go to war at sea with Xerxes and his evil sister Artemisia all for the glory of Greece. The film has some fun over the top boat battles and even a few sword to sword fights, but many times the action is pure cheese and some of the green screen effects look as if it was a made for the Sy-Fy Channel film. The scene that has Themistocles riding a horse from boat to boat and throwing fire is down right silly and mind numbingly bad. Highlights include a naked Eva Green who plays Artemisia. Over all, it’s a very poor follow up to the original and was a bland sword and sandal film. The film grossed $106,580,051.00 at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers.

# 1

Million Ways To Die In The West

This film just plan sucked! I saw it with my pal Jeremy Hoyt with a theater semi-full of people, and hardly no one laughed and many groans were heard at the poor attempts at humor. The film follows sheep farmer Albert Stark, who is a weak man with no backbone and no shooting skills, that is until he meets Anna, the wife of a gunslinger outlaw who has set his sights on killing Albert who has fallen in love with his wife! It’s up to Anna to help Albert get a backbone and survive not only a fight with her husband but that also with his ex-girlfriend’s mustachioed boyfriend. The film was written, directed and starred Seth McFarlane, who is a one trick pony with his gross and pop culture humor. So in other words, if you think fart jokes are top of the line comedy than Seth wrote this one for you. The film’s only real highlights are cameos from celebrities playing famous characters they have played in past Western films like Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown from Back To The Future Part III! At the US box office, this film brought in $43,139,300 for Universal. I hope they don’t make a sequel to this film…as the thought makes my brain hurt.

Those were the only bad films I saw in theater, but I should also note that I saw two really bad ones that went direct to video like Wolf Creek 2 and Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D. But let’s not inhale any more of this stinky trash!

Wolf Creek 2Trash CanArgentos Dracula 3D

Up second, we are going to take a look at action.  While last year we called it 80’s action, this year we are going to add more into it besides films starring aging action stars; plus I am going to add action thrillers into this category. So get your Rambo headband ready because I am about to tell you my top 6 action packed films of 2014!

80s action copy

# 6

sabotage

Arnold Schwarzenegger geared up in this action thriller film that was pretty solid even though it had many plot holes. Breacher is the leader of an elite DEA team.  His wife was murdered by drug lords in Mexico, and he has his team steal money from their busts. When $10 million goes missing from one of their heists, the DEA turns up the heat and disbands the team. But when members of the team are starting to be murdered off, the team must figure out who is killing them and what happened to the money they stole that went missing. The film takes many twists and turns; it also has a solid line up of supporting actors like Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard and Mireille Enos and some great gun play that all help add to the over all action film feel. The film sadly did very poorly at the box office grossing only $10,508,518.00 in the US for Open House Films, but both Juliet and I enjoyed it.

# 5

The Equalizer

Who doesn’t like seeing Denzel Washington kicking ass and taking names? This action drama follows Robert McCall, a retired black ops agent who is now working at a home improvement store after his wife’s passing. He comes out of retirement and takes on the Russian Mafia when his young friend Alina is beaten badly by her pimp who happens to be a Mafia member.  The bodies pile up as Robert takes the war to the streets and to crime that he witnesses. It’s a fun action flick based on the old 80’s TV show on CBS, that has Robert killing scum bags with all types of weapons from guns to hammers. Denzel is fantastic as is Chloe Grace Moretz who plays Alina.  In fact I think Chloe is an actress to keep an eye on because if Hollywood gives her the roles, she will pull them off. If you want to see scum bags get what they deserve at the hands of a man who knows no fear, then check this one out! The film did pretty well at the US box office and grossed $99,306,000.00 for Sony. I saw this film with pal David J. Getz, who was way too hard on it and took the stand of Denzel being to old to be an action star, and to that I say he’s wrong!

# 4

november man

The November Man is an action thriller that stars former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan who plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA agent who must go head to head with his former protege David Mason when a large plot involving a Russian general and a young female witness to crimes he has committed’s life is in danger. Throw in a hit woman who has been hired to kill her and you have a race to find out the truth and who is the real bad guy! One thing I like about the film is the good guy Devereaux is not a real nice guy as he lies and even hurts innocent people to make things go his way, but with that said he has his reasons and over all he truly is a “good” guy. Pierce Brosnan is fantastic in the role of Devereaux, and that’s what makes this over all average film a heck of a lot better. Sadly this is the movie that when Jeremy and I saw it at the theater, only the front speakers were working and to “fix” it when Jeremy told them, they turned up the front ones louder…doh! The film grossed $25,018,119.00 for Relativity via the US box office.

# 3

John WickThis was the surprise action hit of the year for me as I can safely say that I really enjoyed every bullet riddled moment! Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a one time enforcer for a crime family who has retired to spend time with his wife who passes away from an illness. After her death, she leaves John a puppy and together they morn the loss. But when the son of the crime lord makes the mistake of stealing John’s car and killing his dog, they awaken “The Boogeyman” who will not stop till the son is dead. What follows next is nonstop action that felt like a video game come to life as bullets and fights break out in clubs and hotels, all ending in deaths! Plus it was funny to see WWF Superstar Kevin Nash in a small role, not to mention the supporting cast was also fantastic with names like William Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki and John Leguizamo all doing great performances for an over the top action film like this. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US box office, grossing in $40,649,000.00 and bringing them in a profit. This is a movie I will buy on DVD when it’s released to show to Juliet and my parents.

# 2

Expendables 3

My favorite action star of all time, Sylvester Stallone, returns as Barney Ross for The Expendables 3.  The film has Barney disbanding his old crew when he finds out that Conrad Stonebanks, an old teammate turned enemy, is still alive when Hale Caesar is injured by him in a raid. Barney turns to his pal Bonaparte to get a younger crew that consist of such actors as Kellan Lutz, Rhonda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell, and when they go after Conrad and fail and become his prisoners, it’s up to Barney and his old crew to save them and stop Conrad once and for all. This film has a paper thin plot but is heavy on the action! It was nice to see Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger all return for a third time. Plus the addition of other classic action stars like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas (who steals the movie) was a nice way to spice up the cast. The new crew sadly are all forgettable besides Rhonda Rousey, who is a great looking tough UFC chick who can rock a red dress and bash a head in and look fantastic doing it. Not as great as the other two films in the series, but still a solid action flick that sadly did poorly at the US box office for Lionsgate only bringing in $39,322,544.00, but thank God the overseas viewers loved it where it brought in $166,850,000.00! Here is to hoping Sly will give this franchise a break and focus on a new Rambo film…or a sequel to Cobra.

# 1

Walk Among The Tombstones

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a film that mixes many genres together and does so really well; it takes elements from Action, Horror, Thriller and Drama and sprinkles in elements like Noir, Detective and Serial Killer. The film follows former cop now unlicensed private detective Matthew Scudder, who takes a case that involves kidnapping, ransom and murder, and once he’s involved he becomes a player in this sick and twisted game set up by a group of killers. Along the way he meets a young boy on the streets who becomes his somewhat partner and helps him stop the killings and expose the identities of the killers. I really dug this film and enjoyed the fact that it was a Noir Action film that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Plus the film’s killers are true scum of the earth! I saw this film with a pretty packed house and with my friend Jeremy, and you could hear many people talking at the end about how much they liked it. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, and the story has some surprises that are best left for you to discover when you watch it. The film did pretty bad at the US box office bringing in a total of $26,307,600.00 for Universal on a budget of $28 Million, and that’s a shame cause this film was pretty badass!

Liam beating Sly on my top action films, I would have NEVER seen that coming! So we whooped some ass with action now let’s get our nerd minds a good workout as we take a look at my top four Sci-Fi and Fantasy films! So charge up your Lightsaber and set you phasers to stun, we are talking Science Fiction now.

SciFi

# 4

transformers age of extinction

I hate to say it, but I really enjoyed Transformers: Age Of Extinction in the theater while eating popcorn, drinking a blue Icee with my gal Juliet.  That says a lot for me because I was by no means a fan of the other three films in this series directed by Michael Bay. This one’s plot is simple; the people of Earth have turned on the Autobots and have ruled it open season on killing them and taking the bodies away to be studied to see if we could create ones that would become weapons of war. When the Yeager family find and help Optimus Prime, they become the target of the CIA, and worse, Megatron is back in the form of Galvatron! Can Optimus and the remaining Autobots stop them from ruining the world..well of course they can! The film is packed with stupid robot one liners, wall to wall over the top action and the worst cameos for the Dinobots ever, who only have a few minutes on screen and are a waste of film as they really add nothing to the story. The film scored big for Paramount at the US box office bringing in $245,439,076.00 and when adding in foreign gross, it did over a billion dollars! So if you don’t mind checking your brain in at the door and want to see Mark Wahlberg team up with Optimus Prime, then this Sci-Fi Action film is for you.

# 3

Robocop

I generally dislike remakes of classic films, and when I heard Sony was remaking Robocop, my eyes rolled and I thought here we go again another heartless retelling all for the sake of a quick buck. But after seeing Robocop the week it came out, I must admit I was wrong and I think the people who made this film really tried to capture the feel of the original and update it all at the same time. This time around Alex Murphy is a cop on a mission, and when going after a crime boss he is blown up via a car bomb. OmniCorp, who create robots to fight wars, wants to make a super cop and use Murphy as the test subject and create Robocop! And once he gets revenge on those who originally set him up, he also soon finds that Raymond Sellars, the CEO of OmniCorp, is not a very nice man and wants Robocop shutdown for good when he finds he can’t control his mind and looks at him as nothing more than a computer. Can Robocop stop the evil corporation? Will his wife and son accept him? Will Raymond succeed in pulling the plug? All these questions are answered in this fun PG-13 action romp. Joel Kinnaman plays Robocop/Alex and does a pretty good job, but he is no Peter Weller. The supporting cast is also fantastic with such names as Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Jackie Earle Haley. The film did weak in the USA box office grossing $58,607,007.00 making the film a miss for Sony. It’s a shame; I would have liked to have seen a part two.

# 2

maleficent

Maleficent was fantastic ,and when seeing it in IMAX 3D, I felt like a kid again watching a Disney take on a fairy tale unfold before my eyes. My favorite animated Disney film has always been Sleeping Beauty so when I heard they were doing a live action film based around the villain Maleficent my interest was peeked. The film follows Maleficent, who is a fairy, and when a human boy misleads her and cuts off her wings to gain power in the nearby kingdom, she turns mean and waits for her revenge on the day the boy is now King and is going to have his first child.  Maleficent places a curse on the child to sleep forever until true loves kiss awakens her on her 16th birthday. But the film takes a twist as we see that Maleficent ends up befriending the young Princess and wants to try and undue the curse but can she do it? And worse the King has sent his whole army to kill her. This family fun flick was amazing and added so much more depth to the Maleficent character.  Plus Angelina Jolie does a top notch job as the “evil” fairy Maleficent. The special effects are top of the line with the fairy moors being breathtaking, as is the dragon that appears to help her in her fight against the army. The film did really well for Disney at the US box office, grossing in $241,381,217.00 and proving that the classic characters never go out of style. If you have not seen this film, you should check it out.

# 1

dawn of planet of the apes

The Planet of the Apes films have always been some of my favorite Sci-Fi films to watch, and these new films being made by Fox are just as great as the originals! This second film in the rebooted series follows Caesar, the leader of the ape population trying to work alongside the remaining humans who have survived a mass sickness that killed off most of the population.  This team up pisses off primate Koba who was abused by man many years back, and he sets a plan in motion where he makes an attempt at Caesar’s life sparking a war with the humans and apes. But can an injured Caesar stop the war or is it too late? The film’s special effects are top notch and throughout the whole movie, you forget that the apes are CGI! Plus with actors like Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Kirk Acevedo playing the humans, you know you’re getting sold acting. My favorite ape in the film has to be Koba; he is so bad yet somehow I think he really thought he was doing good by starting the war and killing any man or ape that got in his way! This was one of the films I was most looking forward to this year, and it was by no means a letdown as I loved every minute of it! The film was a hit for Fox and grossed $208,532,326.00 here in the United States showing that people still love seeing a world run by primates!

I saw a few other films that fit this genre this year that were entertaining but just couldn’t make the cut for this list: “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson, a film about a drug that allows a woman to use 100% of her brain after she is used as a mule to smuggle it to the USA when it’s surgically placed into her body.  When the bag leaks she becomes less and less human. “Pompeii” is about the town that was covered in lava and ash via an erupting volcano and follows a gladiator who has fallen in love with a young woman of power, and it turns into a tragic love story starring the likes of Kit Harington, Kiefer Sutherland and Emily Browning. “Legend of Hercules” is about a clean cut son of Zeus who is more of a gladiator than the hero we all know and love. All are entertaining movies in their own right but none were strong enough to make the list.

LucyPompeiilegend of hercules

So let’s trade our phasers in for capes as we now take a look at my top 7 Superhero films of 2014, and man I must say that films based on comics are dominating the box office and shows that comics are more powerful money makers then any company could have ever imagined.

SUPER HERO copy# 7

sin city a dame to kill for

This follow up to Sin City was laced with all the same techniques that wowed audiences upon it’s release in 2005 and even brought back many of the actors from the first film. Sadly it tanked at the box office and put the nail in the coffin for this series. The film follows many stories from Marv, who can’t remember why he killed a bunch of rich brats, to Dwight McCarthy falling for a woman who is using him and many others to get what she wants. There is also a story line of a lucky gambler named Johnny who tests his luck against corrupt Senator Roark and stripper Nancy who wants to kill Roark for crimes he committed in the first film. All the stories come together in the end and all ends well for some, while others end up dead.  The film was a lot of fun and not nearly as bad as many critics would have you think, but as I said it bombed and only did $13,757,804.00 at the box office for Dimension Films. The film also has an all star cast like Josh Brolin, Micky Rourke, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Lloyd and Jessica Alba to name a few.

# 6

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I was very lukewarm on the idea of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was a reboot to the series done by those masters of butchering of childhood memories, Platinum Dunes. But I must say the film was way better than I could ever expect it to be, and while it is flawed with a cheesy script and a Shredder who looks more like he should be in Transformers, the Turtles’ banter is well done even if they look like steroid goofy faced mutants. The film follows the Turtles who are going up against the foot clan who are tormenting New York and even have a plan in motion that will poison and kill many thanks to a gas they will be pumping into the air.  Alongside April O’Neil, the Turtles clash with the foot and their leader The Shredder, and of course along the way we learn about Master Splinter as well as a connection they all have to April. Again the film is flawed, but I enjoyed checking my brain at the door and watching a comic book/cartoon inspired film that tried to keep some of the basics of source material and also tried to add more of an update to it for modern fans. For me I would put it on par with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and say while bad, it was fun to watch. The film did pretty solid numbers at the US box office for Paramount bringing in $191,204,754.00!

# 5

Hercules

I am pretty sure many people who went to seen Hercules had no idea that it was based on a comic book from Radical Comics and to be honest, much like my cousin Steve Alexander said, this is truly one of the year’s most underrated films. The film stars WWF Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules, a mercenary who alongside his friends are creating the legend of Hercules, the son of Zeus. But when he finds out that he was hired to help the wrong side in a conflict, he and his friends stand against the odds and leave everyone wondering if he truly is the son of a God. The film is filled with great Sword and Sandal action as well as likable characters; this is one film I would have loved to seen sequels made about. The Rock as well does a fantastic job as Hercules and pulls off the role of being maybe a con man yet maybe not, making the character tough when needed and light hearted when the mood is right. The film sadly did not do as well as it should have and grossed only $72,688,614.00 for Paramount at the US box office. With the film being out on DVD and Blu-Ray, do yourself a favor and check it out.

# 4

Amazing Spider-Man 2

I feel like Amazing Spider-Man 2 was judged way too hard by critics and fans who seemed to want to try and nitpick it to death.  I for one really enjoyed it and found it better than the overblown Spider-Man 2 made by Sam Raimi that I think was praised way too much by fans and critics. This time around Spider-Man is locking horns with three super villains who are all gunning to take Spidey down for the count! You have the Rhino, a man in mechanical suit who feels as if he has been wronged by Spider-Man; you have Electro, a man who was a one time Spider-Man fan who after an accident finds that he has the power of electricity; and Green Goblin, who is really his long time friend Harry Osborne who is slipping into madness! And worse as Peter Parker is having issues coming to terms with the death of his girlfriend’s father to whom he made a promise that has him staying away from her. Action, Drama and Spider-Man one liners help make this one a good Super Hero film! Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Spider-Man, and Emma Stone makes one hell of a Gwen Stacy. The strangest casting had to be Paul Giamatti as The Rhino…his performance is down right silly! The film did pretty well for Sony at the US box office grossing in $202,853,933.00 even though they try and act as if it wasn’t a hit for them. I for one am looking forward to Amazing Spider-Man 3 as well as the spin off Sinister Six movie.

# 3

guardians of the galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy is the Marvel Comic team that showed the world that you don’t have to be a triple A team to have a hit movie! The film is about Starlord, a goofball outlaw who teams up with other misfits of space like the living tree Groot, talking raccoon Rocket, psycho brute Drax The Destroyer and green skinned female assassin Gamora to protect a infinity stone from getting into the hands of Ronan The Accuser, who is an evil Kree alien who is back stabbing the powerful Thanos in order to collect the jewel and become all powerful. The movie has lots of sci-fi action, drama and comedy and has some of the most likeable characters of any movie this year! Plus I really liked Ronan as a bad guy, and he is a prime example of a cold blooded super villain who will kill whomever gets in his way. When Juliet and I went to see this movie in the theater, it was a pretty packed house and it was clear that everyone in that theater that day had a blast watching it.  The overly positive remarks of people leaving their seats when it was over was a clear sign that Disney and Marvel Studios did something very right. The film did fantastic for Disney at the US box office grossing in an impressive $332,309,276.00 making this a huge hit. If you have not seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and check it out!

# 2

captain america winter

Captain America is one of my favorite Super Hereos of all time and has been ever since I was a kid.  This second film from Disney and Marvel Studios was a fun kick butt action film laced with enough drama to make the film feel very important in the over all movie universe they are creating. This time around Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury have became a target by a group controlled by a very high official in America, and they even bring Cap’s old World War II buddy Bucky Barns back from the “dead” and call him Winter Solider, a well trained killing machine. Can Captain America stop this evil group and talk sense into his one time friend? Watch and find out! While the original film was set during World War II, this second film takes place in modern times right after the events of The Avengers and trades in Red Skull for The Winter Solider and does a nice job of making the odds looking against Cap at every twist and turn. I must say Christ Evans makes the perfect Captain America/Steve Rogers and who would have thought that was possible? The film did great for Disney grossing in a massive $259,766,572.00 at the US box office. If your a fan of the star spangled Avenger like myself, make sure to give this film a watch.

# 1

X-Men Days Of The Future Past

The X-Men films, as well as the spin offs like “First Class” and “Wolverine,” are fun comic book action films that make for some amazing popcorn munching theater watches, and “X-Men: Days Of The Future Past” was just that and more as I found it to be my favorite Comic Book film of 2014! I know what those of you who know me are saying, the X-Men beat Captain America? But let me tell you, while Cap was amazing, X-Men was a fun thrill ride filled with some great faces from the franchise’s past. The film follows the future where mutants are being hunted and killed by Sentinels made by Bolivar Trask, and their only hope is to send Wolverine to the past to unite the mutants and stop an event that triggered the mutants’ death sentence. The whole mess is started by the younger Mystique, so can Professor X and Magneto put aside their differences and stop the terrible events to happen in the future…watch and find out. The film is based on one of Marvel Comics’ top story lines for the X-Men and FOX did a fantastic job of making it come alive on the big screen. The film stars all the classic characters from the series rich history with many actors returning such as Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Halle Berry (Storm), Shawn Ashmore (Ice Man), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) and Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) all returning from the first three films as well as actors who played the younger characters in First Class like James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult as Beast. Not to mention the addition of new characters like Bishop, Quicksilver, Blink, Sunspot and Warpath. I don’t want to ruin the end but let’s just say it feels like a High School Reunion, and all the faces you see are ones that make you smile and feel good about the journey you made to get there. The film did pretty well for Fox at the USA Box Office grossing in $233,921,534.00 and even more overseas! While I like the First Class actors, I am hoping that the next film based on The Age of Apocalypse story will feature more of the originals.

So now that we are retiring the cape, let me talk a little about some cool things Game Swap Kettering did this year for me.  They allowed us to have private screenings of Baron Von Porkchop specials. The first one was near Halloween, and we set up a projector, screen and big speaker as well as a buffet of wings, pizza, chips and cookies. Friends in attendance included Juliet, Stephen Alexander, Maurice, Joe G, Garrison, Todd The Fox and V and we all watched Baron host White Zombie as he tried to enjoy a peaceful Halloween that’s interrupted by an ax murdering zombie named Fulci! They also got a sneak peak at an episode for season three that has Baron hosting the film Face Of The Screaming Werewolf. Then around Thanksgiving we did it again, and they got a sneak peek at the new Baron Von Porkchop Black Friday special where he hosted the Independent B Movie film Razor as well as the First Black Friday special whose film was Farmer Joe. Those specials has his feud with a Chicken Man he made that has become a thorn in the Baron’s side. But a big thank you goes to Game Swap in Kettering for allowing us to do these fun screenings. Whenever I get a bigger place to live with a basement I would love to start a Horror Host Fan Club that has meetings once every two months and we project and watch host shows…who knows maybe 2015 will be that year! Below is a cellphone pic from the Halloween episode screening.

Baron Von Porkchop Screening

So while doing a rundown of the films of 2014, I figured I would take a brief moment to give you my top three best Survival Horror Games of 2014 as well as the worst, because those of you who know me understand that I love to play a good solid Survival Horror game! Now I need to state that of the “modern” game systems, I have a PS3 and will soon get a PS4 so all games on the list are ones I got for PS3. I also want to say that the games I buy are on physical disc, and I do not download games so while many horror themed games did come out as digital only games, I have not played them and won’t unless a disc is released.  I like to own what I pay for. So let’s start off with what I found to be the worst of the horror games that came out in 2014 that I have played. And I won’t ramble much I promise…okay, maybe a little rambling.

Worst Horror Video Games

# 1

Escape Dead Island PS3

Escape Dead Island is one of those games that just reeks of a quick cash in with boring fighting mechanics as well as a storyline that is a little weak. This game follows Cliff, a party boy who wants to get his dad’s respect so he goes to the island of a zombie outbreak along with his friends Linda and Devan and finds out that the stories are true and zombies are running wild on the island! Along the way he also meets Xian, a woman who is looking for her friend Rob who went missing while getting intel on the corporation responsible for the outbreak. While the other two games in the series “Dead Island” and “Dead Island Riptide” are first person shooters, this game changed to a third person game.  In the two games that came before you could customize your weapons multiple ways, and in this game your weapons are very limited and barely upgradeable. Plus I can’t help but notice the style of animation is clearly trying to rip off Tell Tale Games’s style with the more cartoonish look. Over all this is not a bottom of the barrel game, but it’s close.

So now that I spoke about the “worst” Horror Game this year that I would more label at “weakest,” let’s move onto what I considered the three best games that helped make 2014 a pretty good year for horror themed games!

Best Horror Video Games Logo

# 3

Alien Isolation PS3

After the complete mess that was “Aliens: Colonial Marians,” Sega redeemed themselves with this fun moody game that allows the player to take control of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen who travels to a space station that has been sending out distress signals.  Once she gets there, things go wrong as she is separated from her small crew and finds that Xenomorphs are on the prowl and hungry for a human host! The game stacks the odds against you, and the player must use their wits in order to survive this terror in space. The downside to the game is that I felt it took forever for the story to really kick in and that slowed the scares from coming in. The game is a first person shooter and plays much like Call of Duty and so many other shooters like this. I must also say that some of the cut scene graphics are really ugly on PS3, and it’s clear that the development team spent more time on the newer generation consoles versions. A major plus for this game comes via DLC that allows you to play as Ellen and has many of the original characters from the first film like Dallas and Ash back, and they are voiced by the actors who played them in the film! While not a perfect game, it was a fun game that helped make 2014 in gaming a little spookier!

# 2

The Walking Dead Season Two PS3

The Walking Dead Season Two is a great follow up to Season One and helps add more to the story it created. This is a point and click adventure game made by one of the best independent game companies, Tell Tale Games, who have made some of my top favorite games of the past 4 years and this game adds another hit to the list. This time around we follow Clementine (who was a major character in the first game), a young girl who is trying to survive this zombie outbreak.  Along the way she meets people and she loses people all of whom are running from Carver, a man that use to lead them in a group.  All comes to a head when she meets Carver herself, a jerk of a man who runs a camp that is held up in a home improvement center and who takes Clem and her friends hostage and makes them work for the group’s needs putting them in danger. Your choices impact the story so when playing make sure to choose wisely. One cool aspect of this game is some returning faces from the first game as well as references to choices you made. The downside is the new characters seem to have less development then those from the original and the settings are a little less impactful as in the first game I truly felt like I could be zombie food at any moment. But with that said, this is a great game and one hell of a fun play.  So if you liked the first or just want to play a fun story driven point and click adventure horror game, then this one is for you.

# 1

The Evil Within PS3Take video games Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Clock Tower and mix them with Horror films like As Above So Below, and you have the new Survival Horror Game by Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the original Resident Evil series as well as Dino Crisis! This game is about Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who along with his partners Juli and Joseph, go to a distress call at the Beacon Mental Hospital.  When they get there, everything is in chaos and the world as they know it has changed and infected people and monsters are wandering the world above as well as below. Can Sebastion get to the bottom of what’s going on as well as unearth the truth of why and who is responsible! The game is packed with great atmosphere and at all times I feel as if the odds are against me as ammo comes in only ones and twos and most the time it’s better to run than to fight. So if you’re not too scared, get this game and beware of Safehead!

It was very hard to pick between Evil Within and The Walking Dead Season Two for the # 1 spot as both are solid and super fun games, but in the end I had to go with Evil Within as I felt that it truly captured what a Survival Horror Game is all about and at all times I felt as if the odds of survival were against me. One game that came out that while I bought I have not played yet is Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2, so who knows where it would have placed.

Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 PS3

So we talked a little about screenings of Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop as well as Survival Horror Video Games, now let’s get to the bloody meat of this update and take a look at the Horror Films of Hollywood!

horror copy

# 11

Tusk

Tusk was so close to being on my worst films of the year list as once more Kevin Smith smoked a bunch of pot and unleashed another over the top film onto the small masses who still watch his films. But then I read some interviews with Smith and he explained that he wanted to make this film because he wanted to and not for a studio or for quick cash.  I began to see that the film is labor of love much like the film The Wolf Hunter is to Matt Hoffman. It’s about a podcast host who travels to Canada for an interview with a kid who is a Youtube sensation after cutting off his own leg with a samurai sword.  When he gets there, he finds the kid has committed suicide, and he then travels to an old mansion to talk to an old man who has a story to tell or so the letter left in a mens room says. The rest of this film has the old man turning the podcaster into a human walrus as his co-host and his girlfriend try to find and save him.  Oh yeah and throw in a dimwitted investigator, and you have the film. When the podcaster is turned into full Walrus, I laughed out loud in the theater and thought to myself what and why am I watching this! I should also note that Juliet and I were the only people at the theater watching this film at the time. It stars Justin Long, Johnny Depp, Haley Joel Osment and Michael Parks and all do fantastic with the silly parts they are given. Again when you see Long, who plays the podcaster, as a walrus you can’t help but to laugh as he swims and grunts around. The film did poorly for A24 and only grossed $1,826,705.00 and didn’t even get a foreign release. If you are to watch this cheesy thriller/comedy horror film check your brain at the door and be prepared for long goofy dialogue and unlikable characters.

# 10

the pyramid

Hollywood horror films are lacking mummies, and when The Pyramid was announced I was hyped believing that we got a mummy film in 2014…I was sadly wrong. I first need to say that I was hyped to see this film and was ready for a creepy Egyptian found footage film taking place in an old pyramid where the viewer was not sure what was stalking our characters.  So when this film was a disappointment, I think it’s because of my own hype I made for it. The hype I made for it was the fact it was the last theatrical horror film of the year and again the setting and the possibility of it being about a Mummy. The film is about a father and daughter team as well as her boyfriend being followed by a documentary crew who are in Egypt during stressful times who find a pyramid that could be the oldest one ever found.  When they are told to leave due to the outbreak of civil uprising, they send in a robot real quick to get a sneak peek and when the bot looses contact, they go in to retrieve it and soon find the pyramid was a place to keep something in and not things out! One by one, they fall victim to the hunter who is a jackal headed god who has been placed there because it went mad after the death of its father. Can any of them survive and can they also dodge the evil cats that are roaming around…yeah the film has evil cats. The characters all seem brain dead with the cameraman and father being the worst two.  The CGI for the cats and jackal god are downright eye rolling, and the film was just kind of boring.  I was not the only one who felt this as Juliet and several others in the theater also expressed these feelings. The film was pulled from wide release to limited, and we had to see it at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek.  Doing this made the film only gross a small $ 2,638,300.00 for FOX at the US box office. No Mummy but a heck of a lot of CGI Cats is what I got in The Pyramid.

# 9

Ouija

Ouija is a film based on the Hasbro board game and produced by those masters of crap Platinum Dunes.  It’s your typical paint by number ghost story. When a young woman commits suicide, her friends don’t believe it and soon find that she was messing with a Ouija Board on her own and had unleashed something terrible, but they only learn this after they themselves use the board to try and speak to her. Now the evil is after them, can they find the answers on how to stop the spirit or will they all become victims? No major gore, some cool spirit effects, some good creepy shots, pretty actresses, released at Halloween time and a fun film to torment my friend Jeremy with as he had to be dragged to this film kicking and screaming! The film did $50,856,010.00 for Universal and is clearly a teen PG-13 horror film that was nothing special and not fully terrible.

# 8

The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones is a Hammer Horror Film that follows a camera man who takes the job of documenting a college professor who, along with his helpers, are trying to cure a sick and possessed young woman named Jane whom they have locked in a room and wont allow her to sleep for any long period of time as well as keep her human interaction to a minimum. But when her treatments become more and more cruel, the camera man must come to a decision on whether to help Jane escape who he has fallen for or stay true to his assignment as the Professor thinks she can be cured. So is she possessed or being abused…watch and find out. The film is a little slow and while well acted for the most part, many decisions characters make are annoying and add to frustration as a viewer. Olivia Cooke plays Jane, the sick girl, and she is fantastic and probably the best actor in the film. I saw the film with Stephen, Garrison, Todd and Josh, and all of us felt the same way about it and that’s it was okay but way too slow and a little too long as a good 15 minutes could easily be cut out of the 1 Hour 38 minute run time. The film at the US box office brought in $8,509.867.00 for Lionsgate.  All I can say was much like Ouija, it was just okay.

# 7

deliver us from evil

A group of soldiers from Iraq have come back and are acting very aggressive and all have strange behavior. New York cop Ralph Sarchie is called in to investigate the crimes and soon learns the truth that demons are real and want to teach him a lesson for butting into their plans. Along with a Castilian priest, he must find faith and save the souls of the infected as well as save his wife who has been kidnapped by the possessed. It also shows that Sarchie is gifted and can spot evil. The film is said to be based on a real case and the real life of Sarchie. The film stars Eric Bana as Sarchie as well as the likes of Olivua Munn, Sean Harris and Edgar Ramirez with music by Christopher Young. The film was nothing special and for the most part is a run of the mill possession film with no surprises and a few gross moments. I watched the film with Jeremy and watching him go crazy with the overly religious tone of the movie made me laugh. The film didn’t do so hot at the box office only grossing in $30,577,122.00 for Sony on a 30 million dollar budget in the US. Not much more to say about this one, besides if you’ve seen one modern possession movie, ya pretty much have seen em all.  It’s not bad and has some good creepy moments – worth a watch to fans of this horror film topic boom.

# 6

Godzilla

I have been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kid and can remember watching the films all the time on TBS on Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grandpa Munster. But when Godzilla is made by Americans, it tends to not be so good; I mean just look at the over blown 1998 film that Hollywood spewed out to the fans that seemed like it was made more to sell toys and Taco Bell Cups than to entertain the movie goers. So when Warner Brothers said they were releasing a Godzilla film, I was stand offish even though in the back of my mind I was scream YES, a new Godzilla film on the big screen,  The more time passed and after seeing the trailer I became very hyped to watch it! The film has an accident that happens at a power planet in Japan that’s caused by a giant monster who is looking for its mate and when it wakes up it causes havoc and destruction.  As this is going on a US Solider is trying to get home to his family, and Godzilla has come from the sea and is on a path to clash with the other two monsters. You see Godzilla is acting as Earth’s protector! The human parts are what they always are in my opinion in giant monster films, and that’s filler. The major flaw I had with the film is more time is spent on the boring solider trying to get home and less on Godzilla who is why we all went to see this film in the theater. I must also say the shaky camera and pull away shots of the early monster fights was annoying and didn’t add suspense for me as much as it added frustration. Even with those small flaws I really enjoyed the film for the most part and am looking forward to part two as well as the announced Japanese Godzilla film in the works. The film did great for WB at the US box office bringing in a whooping $200,676,069.00, making it a hit for them this year.

# 5

i frankenstein

Frankenstein’s Monster was back on the silver screen this year with an Action Horror film called I, Frankenstein that followed The Monster who was a pawn in a war between Heaven and Hell who need him to find the secrets of life created by man and not God. The good side is gargoyles who at first want to protect or kill The Monster, and the Demons who are working for evil and they want him to study and make soulless husks so demons straight from hell can take over the bodies of the newly made soulless bodies. But what none of them counted on is that The Monster is a fighter, and he will be pawn to no man or creature! The film has a real Underworld feel to it, and the action is fun and over the top, plus for the most part is well acted. I think this film is pretty underrated and was judged way too much just by the trailer, the fact it’s PG-13 and that Aaron Eckhart plays The Monster. The film did terrible at the US box office and only grossed $19,075,290.00 for Lionsgate on a $65 Million Dollar budget, and it’s a shame as it’s not at all that bad of a film.

# 4

As Above So Below

As Above So Below is a “found footage” style film that follows Scarlett, an alchemy scholar who wants to find the famed philosopher’s stone that is said to be able to heal the sick and dying among other amazing things. She follows clues and finds that the entrance to achieving her goal is inside the catacombs below Paris, and along with her camera man and friend they hire some local urban explorers and find that this quest is more then they bargained for as they face sins of their past and find the gateway to Hell. This film was packed with some solid acting and atmosphere that was downright spooky and well done unlike The Pyramid that had a very similar type of feel. All the characters are likable and while they do make some dumb decisions, I still found myself hoping they all make it out okay. The film is by no means a bloodbath but what it lacks in the red stuff, it makes up for with heart and mood. I saw this film with Juliet, Todd The Fox and V, and we all left the theater thinking the film worked and was okay. Universal released this film and at the US box office it grossed in $21,321,100.00 on a $5 million budget. If you are a fan of the found footage horror genre then make sure to check this one out, oh yeah liked this one so much even bought the DVD when it was released.

# 3

The Purge Anarchy

The first Purge film was my # 9 horror film of 2013 out of thirteen and while I enjoyed it, I found it lost among many other solid horror pictures. The sequel The Purge: Anarchy in my opinion is a way better film and that’s why it’s locked itself as the 3rd best Horror film I saw in theaters in 2014! The film follows a man named Leo who is going out to purge a man who killed his son in a drinking and driving accident, but he gets side tracked from his task when he saves a mother and daughter as well as a young couple all of whom are being targeted by what seems like a government elite team hired to reduce the population not to mention a rag tag bunch of mask and makeup wearing youngsters who have set their eyes on them as well. Leo does his best to keep them all alive as well as get to his goal. The film is filled with surprises as well as a positive message in the end and that’s why I think I enjoyed it so much.  It was not your typical modern downbeat horror flick. The film is also well acted with actors like Frank Grillo, Cameron Ejogo and Zach Gilford. The film did great for Universal at the box office here in America grossing in $71,962,800.00 and making it that a part 3 is in the works. More action and suspense then the original and a solid good sequel, check it out if you liked the first one. I saw it with Juliet who also really liked it!

# 2

anabelle

The Conjuring was my # 1 Horror film of 2013, and this off shoot titled Annabelle is my # 2 for 2014 showing you that the makers of this film series are doing something right. It’s the 1960’s and satanic cults are all the rage, and a young couple is attacked in their home by cult members that leave the would be attackers dead.  When the female attacker dies in the baby’s room holding the Annabelle doll the odd events start happening. It gets so bad that something seems to be trying to hurt the woman and her unborn baby, even at one point setting the house on fire! After the baby is born, they move and find that whatever it is followed as the doll the cult woman held when dying is possessed by a demon who wants to take a soul real bad! Can they get rid of the demon before it’s too late? The Annabelle doll is the same one used to open The Conjuring and is over all creepy looking.  That’s one thing I really liked about the film, the longer it went on, the more sinister looking the doll became. And while the doll is never seen moving on its own, the dead eyed stare of its porcelain face is what terrified the audience. The demon who is the real baddie of the film is not seen too much, but when he is, it’s effective. This is supposed to be based on a true story and is a nice appetizer for the next Conjuring film that should be out in 2016. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the US box office bringing in $84,273,813.00 making it a hit for them. For some reason the film also seemed to get a lot of hate from Horror fans, but most of the ones I knew who trashed it, I question their taste anyway as they go to see Seth Rogen movies! I saw the film with Juliet, who loved it.

# 1

Dracula Untold

Universal is trying to breath new life into their classic Monsters, and the first on the list was Dracula.  This film, Dracula Untold, is about how Prince Vlad became a vampire! I was really hyped for this film that was set to release in October…yeah finally Hollywood gets that Horror Films and Halloween go hand and hand. The film follows Prince Vlad whose people are being bullied by the Turks and the sultan who want all the male kids to be given to them to become soldiers in the large Turkish army. So Vlad makes a deal with a Vampire that lives in a cave to gain powers to stop the Turks.  By doing so, he is putting his own soul at risk, but he gains the powers to single handedly kick the butt of his enemies. But when things go wrong Vlad goes full vampire, and once he does that, there is no going back. This film is filled with horror and a heck of a lot of action and is really well done. Luke Evans plays Dracula and does so with grace and it’s the first time that I can remember that you find yourself cheering for Dracula as he is not the bad guy and only takes the curse to save his son as well as the sons of all his people. I saw this with Juliet and Jeremy Hoyt, and both of them really enjoyed it as well did all the others in the IMAX Theater as praises were being said as people left. This film ends as well with a lead up to a sequel or to link to another Universal Monster film, and this makes this Monster Kid happy. The film did okay for Universal at the US box office bringing in $55,991,880.00 and did more overseas. If you like your horror mixed with action and enjoy classic monsters, then check this one out, because I really enjoyed it locking it in as my # 1 Horror Film of 2014.

2014 in Horror Films was filled with lots of ghost/possession films, and I have a feeling this trend will continue for awhile as they seem to be films that can be cheaply made and return a big profit. While sitting in the theater this year the two films that I noticed seem to have the audience in it’s grip were Annabelle, that had a few people gasp and jump when the evil things would happen on the silver screen, and As Above So Below where the audience had an eerie hush as the characters went deeper into the catacombs. Ouija had the worse response as people laughed at many of the scares and many of the younger people in the audience seemed to be having a fun time teasing the young ladies with them. 2014 was an okay year for Horror in the theaters, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store to send shivers up my spine. Well the next update is something terrifying as we take a look at another Draculina Photo Comic based on a film of Jess Franco called Tender Flesh! So until then, support your local theaters, read a comic or two and always support your local Horror Host and see you next update.

Tender_flesh_(1998) logo

MarvelProbe: When Pixels And Ink Meet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today I would like to talk about video games; right now on the home console market PS4 is kicking the butt of its competitors, the Nintendo WII-U and the Xbox One and with the Steam Box and even rumored Amazon Game System in the works this generation of gaming is going to be an interesting one. Most modern Triple A titles are like playing a movie as they are heavy on plots and the graphics are top notch.  Games of this style would be like Assassins Creed, Halo, God of War and Legend Of Zelda.  When playing a game like this, you are treated to beautiful breathtaking cut scenes that help draw you deeper and deeper into the plot. Also popular nowadays are the tiny mobile games that kids and adults play on their smart phones and tablets and most of these style games have very little plot and are quick play games that can kill boredom when waiting.  Examples of these games are Planets Vs. Zombies, Minecraft and Angry Birds. But for me mobile games are just kind of bland and when I want to play a video game, I want to pop in a cart or disc and grab my controller and play. In this day and age a player does not have to use much of his or hers imagination like they did back when Atari 800 or 2600 ruled the home game market with wire thin plots and pixels that were kind of in the shape of whatever your character was suppose to be. While I am sure gamers now look at classic video games like Pac-Man, Frogger and Q*Bert as primitive, nothing could prepare them for text adventure games! Yes, in the 1980’s text based games were very popular, and while some of them had some graphics at the top of the screen, many of them did not and looked like just a bunch of words on a screen waiting for simple commands to further the “adventure” along. Think of text games like the book series called Choose Your Own Adventure where by reading and making a decision, you have your character’s fate in your hands, because let’s be honest kids want to read a bunch of text in order to play a video game….right? Text based games have been made about all types of things from Dracula to World War II but some of the most popular ones were based on Marvel Super Heroes and would you know they also made comics based on their text based adventures and that’s what our main subject will be all about! So get ready to have a text not texting good time as we jump into the world of pixels and ink.

questprobe hulk screenQuestprobe Spider screenQuestprobe Human Torch Screen

Adventure International was an early video game company run by husband and wife Scott and Alexis Adams who specialized in making games for the home computer market like the Commodore 64 and Apple II that started in 1978. Scott Adams was a big name in the world of video games throughout the early 80’s, and he was mostly known for making top of the line text based adventure games.  This helped his company lock a partnership with Marvel Comics in 1984 to make a text based game series that would focus many of their top heroes.  In fact, 12 games were planned in the line as were comics that would come out alongside the games via Marvel. The first three games to come out were adventures based on The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and Human Torch & The Thing from the Fantastic Four. The main plot had the heroes being studded by a unknown figure called Chief Examiner who would place them in odd places and situations to see how they would react to them. But sadly Adventure International hit a financial snag and closed up shop in 1985 leaving the 4th game,which was based around the X-Men, unfinished and the remaining titles in the line canceled. While his company may have closed shop Scott Adams still continued to make computer games throughout the years and even as of 2013 made a comeback after 10 years of not creating his own game made a text game called “The Inheritance” and remains an icon of PC Gaming.

Questprobe SpiderMan C64Adventure International logoQuestprobe Fantastic Four Atari

Growing up the only text based games I could remember playing were ones that my Uncle Thurman would bring to our house in Waynesville when he and my Aunt Teresa would come visit us as kids. Most of the ones he had were more like dungeon and dragons and were the strict text ones with no graphics and were all for Commodore 64. I can remember one time looking through his massive collection of games all on floppy disks and finding Dracula and asking him if we could play it but after several tries the game never did load.  That’s one of the downsides to Commodore 64, it had lots of issues loading and when it was loading the time to get your game to start was very long. Imagine kids of today who already complain about the install times of modern games trying to play a full game on Commodore where you had to wait for it to not only load the game but also most of the times each level! But I will move on and over the years text games seemed like an oddity to me and captured my attention as I never could wrap my head around why gamers of the past found them to be hours of fun, and I got a reason to buy some when I started to review Video Games on my old website for my production company Bloodline Video a few years back under the name of Xmortis. So after getting a complete working Commodore 64 with the datasette reader and floppy drive from Game Swap, I looked for a text based game that I could review and it came down to one called Wolfman and the other being Questprobe: Incredible Hulk and when a cassette version of Questprobe popped up cheap on Ebay it became the lucky winner. The game is text based but does have graphics that for the time are really fun and try their hardest to look like comic book art.  I have to admit playing the first few times I hated it and was so frustrated by the lame commands that I would get bored and shut the game off or even gasp! Die in the game! How could I let The Hulk, one of my favorite comic characters, die in a lame text game is what I kept thinking, but finally I hate to admit it but I used an online walk through for what commands to give him and beat the game by cheating. The review never made it up on the site, and I hope to someday get back to Bloodline’s site and return it to the review and production glory it once was. As for now how I feel about Questprobe Hulk, I hate to admit it but I do like the idea of it, mostly cause it was the first video game based on Hulk. Below is the cover box for the game as well as some screen shots for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy all the pixel goodness.

Questprobe hulk 1-1Questprobe Hulk C64Questprobe Hulk 1

Marvel Comics had a great thing going, not only did they have characters in video games now being written by Scott Adams but they could also get a 12 issue mini series from it that would help boost the sales of the game as also the game could boost the sales of the comics. This team up was truly a time when ink meet pixels, and the team up would have been perfect if not for the game company’s sudden shut down. Marvel during this time I am sure had a tough decision to make as they could continue a comic series based on games that were no longer being made or they could do the unthinkable and just cancel the mini series and leave fans hanging on what and who Chief Examiner was and what he wanted…and Marvel did what they always do they pulled the plug and walked away from the idea and as time passed did kind of wrap up the story in Marvel Fanfare # 33 where they printed the X-Men story and later in Quasar they added in the story of Questprobe. So on this update we are only going to cover the three issues released in the original mini series and will be graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the vendor at Fright Night Film Fest for having issue # in stock and Lone Star Comics for the remaining two issues. So let’s pop these comics into the datasette player and type in the load keys and enjoy pixels and ink together.

Questprobe 1

Questprobe # 1  ** 1/2
Released in 1984     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

A race of peaceful aliens are preparing for an invasion from other aliens who are war hawks and want to kill them all as well as their planet.  They all turn on Durgan, a member of there council who wants to fight back and not just roll over and die. When Durgan leaves the meeting he knows that something has to be done so he dons a giant helmet and calls himself the Chief Examiner and heads to Earth to steal the powers of some of our top super heroes to use in a fight with the invading aliens. On Earth The Incredible Hulk is facing off with the National Guard and after making short work of their tanks, he heads off to find a place to sleep and does so in a cave on the side of a cannon. When entering the cave, the Hulk sees the Natter Energy Egg and the Blood Red Bio-Gem right as the two explode.  This event makes The Hulk tired and he falls asleep turning back in Bruce Banner and finally getting some piece and quite. Banner’s rest is quickly cut short as Chief Examiner enters the cave and tells him that he needs to have him walk through a door portal so that he can drain his power! Banner fights back and runs from the cave but soon learns that the cave is high and he is fallen to his death! Before he hits the ground he turns into The Hulk as the Chief Examiner tries to force him to enter the door portal, The Hulk doesn’t like to be told what to do and goes on a rampage to smash the dome headed alien into the ground, during this fight a group of white water rafters are knocked over when Hulk goes under water and breaks off one of the sides of the canon and pins Chief Examiner down, but by doing so the huge rock is blocking the river and causes the rafters to fall into the raging water. The Hulk dives in and pulls out all the males and see’s that the female is stuck in a whirlpool! The only way to get to her is by jumping into the portal doorway and he does so losing some of his power yet saving a young woman’s life. The Chief Examiner leaves with his prize the stolen energy as The Hulk waits to make sure the woman is okay and to remain some energy and leaps off into the sky.

This is a fun Hulk adventure that is a cool tie in for a video game and explains the strange world that the Hulk is found in during the text based adventure Game. The plot is pretty simple and has an alien who’s planet is under attack who travels to Earth to steal powers off powerful humans so that he can use it against the attackers, the first one he targets is Hulk cause of his brute strength. He tries to force the Hulk to enter his black doorway that allows him to steal/mimic his power and only does so when he forces The Hulk to make a decision to save a woman’s life and jump through the door or let her die and avoid the door. The Hulk in this issue is the simple minded version who just wants to be left alone and knows that his brute power is the best way to keep everyone away, this is my favorite version of the Hulk as he is the one truly grew up reading and the one that made me a lifelong fan next to the TV Show. I love the fact that while The Hulk is a “monster” in the eyes of humans he risks his own safety in this comic to save the life of one of them and by the end the humans seem to have a new respect for the green skin goliath. The Chief Examiner while not a full bad guy still is going about getting help in his planets soon to be war all the wrong ways, not once does he even try to explain to the Hulk why he needs his power nor does he even tell the power house about his planets upcoming doom or asks if Hulk would come back and help. Plus it’s great when The Hulk pins Chief Examiner down with a giant stone and how easily in the alien’s mind he gave up and knew that the Hulk could kill him with one punch. The comic’s art is done by the amazing Mark Gruenwald and inked by John Romita Jr. making for one powerful team that turned in a great looking comic, and the cover is amazing and is also what’s used for the video game. So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers?

Questprobe 1-1 artQuestprobe 1-2 artQuestprobe 1-3 art

So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers? Let’s jump into issue two and see what he has planned for Spider-Man!

Questprobe 2

Questprobe # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #2 of 12

Spider-Man is feeling a little down in the dumps as the city is hot and he has a lot on his mind as his personal life is a mess. Meanwhile in prison, Quentin Beck comes up with a plan to escape so he can don his Mysterio outfit once more and challenge Spider-Man to a final fight! While on a distant planet the peaceful aliens watch as The Black Fleet conquers another planet and is heading their way, as Durgan also known as The Chief Examiner sets his sights now on steal/borrowing the power of Spider-Man to mix with that of the Hulk he already has taken. Tuskar is a student of Durgan and wants to find his old teacher and see if he can help as it’s shown the Black Fleet really just wants the Red Bio-Gem’s cause when put together they hold massive power, and the kicker are the Gems are alive and are kind of evil! Mysterio shows up to the Daily Bugle and holds everyone hostage as Spider-Man shows up to save them and the two fight it out, all the while Mysterio is using cheap and dirty FX inspired tricks on his foe. The Chief Examiner shows up and tries to get Spidey to go through his portal but web-head thinks that Examiner is just a costume change for Mysterio as they both wear domes over their faces, in the end Spider-Man figures out they are not the same person and is forced to dive into Examiner’s portal to escape an attack by Mysterio that leaves our hero weak, and just as Mysterio is to finish off Spider-Man the Red Bio-Gem uses its power to make The Chief Examiner try and steal the power of Mysterio given Spider-Man some breath time and getting his energy back to beat Mysterio and watch as The Chief Examiner disappears.

This issue is a good one and is a fun story to break up the normal story line that was going on in the main Spider-Man comic series at the time, but I will also say that it almost feels as if the writers of this issue in this mini series didn’t talk to the ones who made issue # 1. Because now I am not 100% sure if Durgan is The Chief Examiner or if the Red Bio-Gem on his planet is, as both seem to be in control of the dome headed power stealing loony. The Chief Examiner seems to be a little more polite in this issue and less forceful in making Spider-Man get into his portal than he was with The Hulk, but in this one he seems to be almost a ghost as nothing is under the robe making me scratch my head to as how then in issue # 1 Hulk was able to pin him to the ground and make him fear for his life. I kind of am so-so with the idea of the Red Power-Gems being alive and having the Energy Eggs around them as a way to keep them in line.  Yep, if the egg feels they are in danger it blows up killing the gem and it’s power. Spider-Man is as he was in the 80’s, filled with one liners and drama with girlfriends, but I wouldn’t want the web slinger any other way. Mysterio was the perfect  bad guy to use in this issue as he does look a lot like The Chief Examiner making for Spider-Man to have an almost “Who’s On First” kind of moments as he jumps from room to room. We will have to see what Tuskar is all about and if he will play out as a major player in the next issue. The art is by Al Milgrom and has that 70’s style Spider-Man appeal, the cover as well is just taken from the video games cover box. One smart move they did in this issue is they ask the question want to see what happened to Spider-Man’s power once he entered the portal, cause if you do go buy the game! Over all a good issue two that sadly leads us to the final issue in what was to be a 12 issue mini series.

Questprobe 2-1 art

So The Chief Examiner has collected the powers of The Hulk and Spider-Man but can he now get the powers of members of the Fantastic Four? Lets read issue # 3 and find out!

Questprobe 3

Questprobe # 3   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #3 of 12

Johnny Storm and his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters return to the Baxter Building the base of The Fantastic Four to retrieve some books but while their they get a visit from The Chief Examiner who wants Storm’s powers! Johnny Storm flames on and turns into The Human Torch just in time to fight some robots that are being controlled by The Examiner who has taken over all of the electronics in the Baxter Building. After destroying many of the robots Human Torch is sprayed with water and tuned back into Johnny Storm and he and Alicia try and escape as The Chief Examiner still is forceful that Torch goes through is portal so he can have his power! Johnny and Alicia get onto a secret elevator to try and escape and give Johnny time to dry off to become Human Torch again, meanwhile She-Hulk has returned home from grocery shopping and rushes to Johnny’s aid as The Chief Examiner forces them out of the Elevator he uses a fantasticar to try and kill She-Hulk who knocks it away and it bounces off the wall and heads towards Alicia Masters and Human Torch rushes to save her from being crushed just as The Chief Examiner places his portal in front of them tricking him into going through and stealing the power of the Human Torch and poof he’s gone and they are all safe.  The Power-Gem during this time also overhears that Durgan wants the help of Tuskar to gain more superpowers and to stop the Black Fleet. The Chief Examiner then pops up onto the alien planet that The Thing is on after the events of the Secret Wars and uses a twisted version of The Baxter Building to trick him into going through the portal and stealing his power.

This third issue is good but not nearly as good as the first two issues in the series and almost seems like a filler issue that has a touch of rush feeling. The first target is The Human Torch who The Chief Examiner tricks into getting into the portal by placing it between him and Alicia who was in danger, his intent to kill She-Hulk shows that the character is really at odds with being controlled by The Power Gem who is starting to really be the main villain of the series. It’s clear that The Human Torch is the main focus hero of this issue as the second target The Thing’s brief moments at the end of the issue is kind of a waste and not nearly as interesting as all the others who have been tricked before him. Weird enough as well is the fact the main story of Durgan also seems to be a second thought in the issue, making this one that’s kind of bland to talk about so lets just go ahead and wrap it up shall we. I will also say its odd that The Chief Examiner didn’t want to try and steal the powers of She-Hulk instead his first thought is to try and kill her, I am sure her power on top of Hulks and The Things would make him even more powerful and a force to be reckoned with.  This issues art is done by Ron Wilson and is clearly a Fantastic Four style art. Cover is like the game same as the others and I must say while again a fun read it was also very lackluster and lost the “epic adventure” feel that the other two issues had.

Questprobe 3-1 artQuestprobe 3-2 artQuestprobe 3-3 art

It’s truly a shame that this mini series and video game series was cut so short as they had so many more Marvel heroes that could have been made into both.  Just imagine this series continuing not only with the already planned X-Men but also Captain America, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Thor to name a few. I truly feel that Marvel let all the fans down of the comic mini series and the video game series by just stopping the story arch before anything was really settled. But I guess that truly was the Marvel way just stop production on series without a second thought about their fans. So next month is September, and it will be the kick off to Rotten Ink’s second Halloween update that will go up on October 31st. For those who remember last year we took a look at comics based on Hammer Horror films well this year will be a little different and something I am super happy to bring all you friends and readers. But our next update will be a secret but I will drop you a giant hint when I say he hates New York! So until then think about it, plus play a video game and read a comic or two.