Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: Chasing Batman!

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  • DC’s big upcoming movie announcement
  • Carrie Kelley in Batman v. Superman
  • DC TV Updates – Arrow, Flash, and Gotham
  • Wonder Woman ‘77
  • Batman and Robin #35
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #35 (Godhead)
  • Earth 2: World’s End #2
  • Justice League #35
  • Hawkeye by Jeff Lemire
  • Robert Downey Jr joins Captain America 3
  • Edge of Spider-Verse #5
  • Death of Wolverine #4

The Reign of Ironclaw is HERE!  Check out Knights of Reignsborough Season 3!  Episode three is coming this weekend!

Also, check out the Ideology of Madness YouTube Channel for enhanced content!

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PHN 2014: #HHN24 Final 2014 House Rankings (The Gospel According to Kyle)

As part of the “Face Off” media event, we were invited to partake in a RIP (think VIP) tour of all of this year’s houses as well as premium seating for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. In the videos that I’ve put out on my View From The Cheap Seats YouTube channel, I’ve consistently stated that if you are planning on attending Halloween Horror Nights, the express pass option is highly recommended. That said, if you are within financial means (rates start at $109 per person), I could not suggest enough to partake in a RIP tour. The RIP tour is limited to 12 people to a group and allows for front of the line access to all houses. Universal will make you feel like a rock star with their RIP tour and you will never want to go back to waiting in general lines for HHN again.

With all of the extra time that I had from not waiting in long lines this past weekend, I was able to give thought to my final rankings of all of the houses in this year’s Halloween Horror Nights lineup. The best according to me, from the top down:

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PHN 2014: #HHN24 Face Off: In The Flesh Media Event

21_Face Off - In the FleshIt was quite a surprise when my phone rang mid-week with an urgent assignment. However, when assignments involve amazing times at Orlando’s premier Halloween event, you drop everything and run. As a result, the 2014 edition of Pauloween continued this weekend, with a special “Face Off: In The Flesh” media event held at Universal Studios Orlando Resort.

For those unaware, Universal has always used scare zones as supplements to their haunted houses at Halloween Horror Nights. Scare zones keep the guests feeling creepy as they traverse one section of the park to another. Over the last couple of years, Universal has experimented with roving scare zones and set scare zones all set to the same intellectual property (last year’s The Walking Dead theme). This year, Universal has a mixed bag of ground up (self developed) set scare zones (Bayou of Blood & MASKerade) and partnerships with intellectual properties “The Purge” and “Face Off”.

SyFy’s “Face Off” provides a perfect synergy for Halloween Horror Nights. “Face Off” is a reality based tv show, which pits contestants against each other in a timed environment where they must develop new creatures based on the supplies that they are given. While the show is currently approaching the end of its 7th season, many of the contestants have honed their skills while working at Universal Studios.

Season 5 winner (also season 3 finalist) Laura Tyler is an excellent example of someone that has come full circle by starting her career at Universal Studios performing airbrush makeup and then was able to apply her skill set to becoming a series champion. When I spoke with Laura, she indicated that felt her chances at winning at “Face Off” were increased by her background working at Universal Studios.

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By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War Book 1

bbohContinuing in the spirit of Pauloween, I have a review of book that easily fits within the season.

By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War Book 1 is written by Joseph Nassise and is set in an alternate history World War I. The Kaiser’s army has solved the problem of man power through the invention of Corpse Gas. This gas raises the dead on the battle field and transforms them into ravening zombies that thirst for human flesh. In addition to this discovery, the German army has discovered a method by which they are able to direct the zombies and use them as shock troops.

The war is not going well for the allied forces.

The story that we follow in this book is that of two brothers. Major Jack Freeman is a World War I flying ace and Captain Michael Burke, a veteran of several tours on the front lines. They are brothers but come from two very different worlds and their relationships is strained to say the least. Jack is shot down over enemy territory by the dreaded Red Baron, Manfred Von Richthofen. Everyone is searching for Jack. Von Richtofen wants to find him as proof of his skill over the best the allies have to offer. The allies need to find him to ensure the safety of the American people because of Jack’s parentage. Michael is sent because it is believed that he will do what is necessary to protect America if Freeman can not be rescued.

As the story unfolds, the reader is given a greater sense of the differences in this version of World War I and what happened in our world. Burke did not escape his tours at the front unscathed. He sports a clock work arm that gives him some what greater strength than he would have normally. Tesla works for the allied forces and developed the clockwork cybernetics that Burke uses. The Corpse Gas sometimes has an unforeseen side affect of raising a person with all their faculties intact and giving them greater strength and stamina. The Red Baron is such an individual. Their are tunneling devices, hints of remote viewing, and terrible human experimentation to create a better zombie.

By the Blood of Heroes is a two-fisted action-adventure story that does not sacrifice characterization over action. Through the course of the story, Nassise makes Burke and Freeman into people that you are rooting for by the end of the book. We get to know them and why they have such a rocky relationship which takes them from unreachable action heroes to people doing the best they can in a horrendous situation. The supporting cast are well developed and provide interesting counterpoints to these two strong individuals. In particular, I enjoyed Professor Dan Richards, Tesla’s protege, was my favorite supporting character. His curiosity was neat and fit well with the steam-punk aesthetic that weaved throughout the book.

I have to admit that I am not a fan of zombie and my knowledge of World War I comes from Snoopy and Hogan’s hero. Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. Nassise has created characters that are believeable and relateable. He has crafted s story that kept me riveted and turning the pages. If you like alternate history, World War I, Steam-punk, or Action-adventure, you should give By the Blood of Heroes a read.

Three Beers and a Scotch: La Biere Perdu

3B1S09.fwAron and Mark return to the Podcast Pavillion for a long overdue discussion of beverages, BBQ,  and Mark’s delicious balls from Dude, Sweet Chocolate!

The Drinks:

Aron mentioned his love of Wagner in this episode, particularly his enjoyment of The Ring Without Words as well as a master collection of the entire Ring Cycle.

Continue the discussion!  Leave us a comment in the talk-back section below.  Follow Three Beers and a Scotch on TwitterMark and Aron, too!  Give us a call at 972-763-5903 and leave us your thoughts. If we use your voicemail, you’ll win an Ideology of Madness SurPrize.

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Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: A Good Week For Gern!

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Flash and Arrow have started up for the season! What did we think of their premieres? Also, a villain returns in Batman, Batgirl is wearing Doc Martens, and Earth 2 is building to a World’s End!

  • Flash/Arrow Update
  • Batgirl #35
  • Batman #35
  • Superman/Wonder Woman #12
  • Earth 2 #27
  • Earth 2: Worlds End #1
  • Green Lantern & Green Lantern Corps #35 (Godhead)
  • Sabrina #1
  • Birthright #1
  • Wytches #1

The Reign of Ironclaw is HERE!  Check out Knights of Reignsborough Season 3!  Episode three is coming this weekend!

Also, check out the Ideology of Madness YouTube Channel for enhanced content!

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Madness at the Movies: Dracula Untold

dracula-untold-posterContinuing in the theme of Pauloween, I went and saw Dracula Untold at an early premier last week.

I know what you are thinking, how can anyone go see yet another remake of the Dracula story?

It is simple really.

I love vampires and it is the perfect time of year to go and see a vampire movie.

Don’t get me wrong, I went in with low expectations. Most of the Dracula movies in the past twenty years have been horrible. I was delight to find that Dracula Untold was an interesting take on the Dracula legend.

This movie comes at the legend as Vlad Tepes has returned to his country after serving in the army of the Turks. He has brought a time where no more children have been taken from his country. All the Turks demand is tribute. This all changes when a unit of Turkish scouts stumble upon the vampire living in the scary mountains. This affront can not be tolerated so a demand is sent for not only tribute but 1000 boys to serve in the Turkish army. Vlad goes to his friend among the Turks to ask for leniency and is told that his son must go as well.

Instead of turning over his son to an honor guard, Vlad slaughters them all, tells his family to run, and goes to the monster in the mountains as it was able to slaughter a battalion of Turks. Vlad asks for the power to defend his family and his land and the vampire pushes him for personal information. The vampire asks Vlad why he wants to become a monster again when he was a monster working for the Turks. Vlad explains that by being a monster, he spared more lives than he took. His mere presence caused surrender and less loss of life. This was worth being a monster for and he hopes to do this again.

The task is simple. Vlad must drink the blood of the vampire to gain incredible power. To retain his humanity, he must not feed for three days to become human once again. This is an easy answer for Vlad as he believes he can hold off from drinking  and save his family and his country.

What could go wrong?

As you might have noticed in my post about the New World of Darkness, This is the kind of vampire story I like. A game being played against the tapestry of the ages with someone willing to become a monster to save what they love. A bargain struck that only ends in tragedy and bloody vengeance.

The acting is good throughout the movie. Luke Evans has the regal bearing and smoldering good looks that makes a good Vlad Tepes. His nemesis is ably played by Dominic Cooper who comes across as cold, calculating and more of a monster than any supernatural being in the movie. The special effects are done well and I particularly enjoyed how the movie handled the transformation into a bat. The bats as a weapon was bad ass as well. Yes, I know it is impractical and not very useful but it made for stunning combat scene.

Dracula Untold is worth a matinee viewing this Pauloween season. You will not be disappointed.

 

Reign of Ironclaw: Shadow Override!

kor_s03e04.fwJosef has more questions than answers while the agents of Ironclaw tighten their grip on the city as Bette meets the infamous Shadow Override!

We’d love to hear from you! Give us a call and share your comments, questions, and suggestions. If we use your voicemail in the show, you’ll win an Ideology of Madness SurPrize!

GM’s note: Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is a role playing game actual play podcast. It is not our intent to teach a system, rather to entertain. As such, much of the game mechanic discussion has been edited from the audio.

Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is on a bi-weekly release schedule.  Episode 4 will be released the weekend of October 24th.

 

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Ghostbusters “3” Is Quickly Becoming A Train Wreck In Slow Motion

You've Got Jack-GhostBusters Edition

Like any other long-time fan of the Ghostbuster’s franchise, I got highly excited each time Dan Akyroyd ensisted that a third movie was coming.  Of course, each time a little less so, but excited nonetheless. Then, a ray of hope came when Dan Akyroyd came out in August of 2011 and said:

“Yes, we will be doing the movie and hopefully with Mr. Murray, that is our hope. We have an excellent script. What we have to remember is that ‘Ghostbusters’ is bigger than any one component, although Billy was absolutely the lead and contributive to it in a massive way, as was the director and Harold [Ramis], myself and Sigourney [Weaver]. The concept is much larger than any individual role and the promise of ‘Ghostbusters 3′ is that we get to hand the equipment and the franchise down to new blood.”

He went on to discuss how it was about the previous Ghostbusters getting old and needing a new generation to take over and even included a name-drop of “Criminal Minds”‘ Matthew Gray Gubler who could be a great replacement for either Egon or Ray.  Unfortunately the intervening period saw the production drag slowly along and the passing of Harold Ramis, after which director Ivan Reitman lost interest as well.  Fans thought that was the end for Ghostbusters.  Then July and August came with rumors of Sony Pictures looking for a new director and that’s when the train once again picked up steam.

Unfortunately, the crash was right around the corner. First, came the announcement that Paul Feig was chosen to direct.  Now, his previous movies, Bridesmaids and The Heat, were relatively well recieved but they were a completely different sort of humor than what the Ghostbusters franchise has been built around. It also came with a looming bit of worry since wherever Feig goes, he tends to bring Melissa McCarthy.

I have nothing against her personally, but if a majority of her roles are any indication, we’ll be replacing Bill Murray’s lovable, sarcastic and witty Venkman with Melissa McCarthy’s rude, crass and mostly unlikable characters she’s brought to “The Hangover Part III”, “The Heat”, “Identity Thief”, and “This Is 40″. Realistically, they’re all the same character. A self-important bitch who’s unnecessarily rude and vulgar to everyone around her yet never seems to get any real comeuppance for her behavior and is instead liked for it in the end.  In my opinion, the only way McCarthy could work is as a Walter Peck type of character.  The rude, asshole who tries to shut down what they don’t understand and makes things worse.  At this point the train was barrelling down the tracks towards a parked car but we were hoping that car could still move out of the way.

So, hot on the tail of the announcement of Feig directing came his insistance that it was going to be an entirely female cast.  I have no problem with it being all female as long as those are the people who are best for the roles.  I’d rather see a casting call going out regardless of gender (because you can gender swap anyone except Vankman in the original movie and have to change almost nothing about the script) and for the roles to be filled by whoever is best.  The announcement of an all female cast before you even have a script means he’s only doing it for the novelty of having an all female cast.  So now the train has hit the car, but it hasn’t derailed yet.  We still had at least Dan Akyroyd returning to pass the torch to the new actors.

That was short-lived as Feig announces that his Ghostbusters will be a complete reboot. Now the train has completely derailed.  The only hope of seeing Peter, Ray, or Winston again are as cameos the way the original Star Trek cast was going to be shoehorned into the Abramsverse as Academy instructors before they changed their mind.  Before we’d have had to deal with a new cast, but at least there would be the approval of the old cast visually as they were there to pass the torch.  Now, Feig has to deal with the fact that his Ghostbusters will be constantly compared to their original counterparts and will have a lot to live up to.  It’s easier to get away with making a mediocre sequel (they did it in Ghostbusters 2 if we’re being honest), but when you reboot something and you don’t do it just right, you not only alienate the original fans but fail to make any new ones.

Just like with other things still in production, I dearly hope I’m wrong but there’s been no evidence of it so far.

PHN 2014: Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Night Lights On House Pictures!

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Universal Studios Orlando offers two “lights-on” Unmasking the Horror tours of their HHN houses and, combined, you get a behind the scenes look at 6 of the 8 haunted houses of the event. I HIGHLY recommend checking these tours out (after you’ve seen the houses with the lights off) as you get a ton of insight into how the haunt experience works and all the hard work that went into each individual house.

You and your party, along with other Unmasking the Horror Guests, will be combined together to take part in a guided, informational walking tour providing an overview of this year’s event as well as a lights-on walkthrough of three haunted houses with the opportunity to take photos throughout. Along the way you’ll learn how Universal Orlando’s Art & Design Team take some of the world’s most popular movie, television and gaming properties and turn them into immersive Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses. You’ll also learn how the Art & Design Team create original haunted houses and characters that can only be seen at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights each year.

Due to the intensely graphic nature and lights-on viewing within the haunted houses, Unmasking the Horror Tours are not recommended for children under the age of 13.

Unmasking the Horror Tours last 2-2½ hours with combined groups consisting of no more than 15 guests per RIP Guide. Guests taking part in the Unmasking the Horror Tour will also receive a commemorative HHN lanyard.

For tons of lights on pics of the houses, as well as some spoilery trivia learned during our tour, check out more after the jump!

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