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  1. #331
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    Wal-Mart

    Exclusive glow-in-the-dark slipcovers for Halloween titles...


  2. #332
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    Past Tense


    [An earlier version of this PT was originally posted on May 23rd, 2012 on JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum.]

    This week we face the start of the second American Civil War in "Jericho".

    Hey, didn't we cover this before?

    Yes and no. And before I continue - this is a short entry.



    "Jericho: The Complete Series" was released on home video on June 17th, 2008.

    It streeted against "The Nude Bomb", "Alive Or Dead" and "So I Married An Axe Murderer".



    This is a re-packaging of seasons one and two (which also hit shelfs on June 17th) together. It came with a large cardboard slipcover holding both seasons. The set did not come with an insert.

    - - -

    There was an exclusive for the box set, but not a store one. As with the box set for "300", this includes an extra DVD only available within.



    It came in a cardboard printed sleeve. The disc has a run time of 35:28 minutes. As far as I can tell these are the video shorts that was on the CBS website for the series' second season. Including the promo ad touting the return of the show. I'm okay with the extras.

    Studio DVD releases often do not include the network website content. The sad news is that the bonus does not include the webisodes that made up the prequel called, "Jericho: Countdown". This followed Robert Hawkins before he and his family moved to Jericho, the agent gathering information before the nuclear attack. There were twenty-two episodes, all part of season one. You can find them on YouTube though.

    The box set sold for $84.99.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Notes.

    There is another exclusive, a store one - Target. This was for season one (released on October 2nd, 2007) and was covered in the Past Tense entry for January 21st, 2016. Click here to read.

    - - -

    As with the virtual season three in comic book form (mentioned in the season one PT), there is a fourth season released by IDW Publishing.



    A five issue mini-series (issue one has a limited edition glow-in-the-dark cover) was written by Kalinda Vazquez, overseen by the original television series’ writers. It picks up where season three left off. This is official canon.

    Working so closely with the creators of the TV show has been a blast, their love of the material is contagious, and one of the reasons I think fans relate to it so fervently.
    - Senior Editor (IDW), Scott Dunbier

    Jake and Hawkins have finally come home to Jericho and we want to personally thank those fans and IDW for allowing that to happen.
    - Series Executive Producer, Dan Shotz

    All the issues have been released, finished a couple months ago. Season four had a July of 2012 start, but it didn't happen until August.



    The issues will be collected in a trade paperback.

    The graphic novel is 120 pages.

    It had a July 9th, 2013 release for $19.99.



    I am a bit surprised from one of the featurettes on the bonus disc. The train sequence from the cliff hanger, season one. It was a model, I thought it was CGI (granted some of it was, but I thought it was all computer generated). Very sway.

    Need to get these virtual seasons, don't own any of them. Will there be a fifth? Don't know.

    What do I know?

    Next month the beast rises once more - Limited Edition Horror 2017 - one entry each week! Come back here on October 5th for your nightmares; bring extras lives.

  3. #333
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    Target - September 26th, 2017


    Transformers: The Last Knight
    Exclusive bonus BD disc and packaging; BD/DVD/DC combo $19.99

    - - - - - - - - - -

    CDs

    "Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me" with 2 exclusive bonus songs $14.99 (available 9/29)

    "Fergie - Double Dutchess" with 2 exclusive bonus songs $9.99
    "Lana Del Ray - Lust For Life" with exclusive poster $11.99
    "Thomas Rhett - Life Changes" with 3 exclusive bonus songs $13.99

  4. #334
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    Best Buy - September 26th, 2017


    Transformers: The Last Knight
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    Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
    Exclusive digital bonus content; BD/DVD/DC combo $22.99

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    Best Buy - October 3rd, 2017


    Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
    Exclusive steelbook; BD/DVD combo $24.99
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    Creature From The Black Lagoon (available now)
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    Dracula (available now)
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    Frankenstein (available now)
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    The Invisible Man (available now)
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  7. #337
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    Past Tense - The Death Of Death Part I


    [An earlier version of this PT was originally posted on October 10th, 2013 on JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum.]

    You can't keep it down, it is insatiable. Hide if you must, pray if you wish. It's HERE!

    Welcome the Third Annual "Limited Edition Horror", 2017. Four weeks of horror themed Past Tense entries, one each week for October.

    We kick off '17 with a three parter and face our worst enemy - ourselves in "George A. Romero’s Diary Of The Dead"...



    The motion picture had a very limited theatrical run on February 15th, 2008. It mostly played on the film festival circuit; Austin Fantastic Fest (September 20th, 2007), Screamfest Horror Film Festival (October 12th, 2007) and Sundance Film Festival (January 18th, 2008). You could very well say, this movie ended up being a direct to video release.

    It was made with a budget of $2,000,000 (estimated) and grossed over 952 thousand during its U.S. theatrical run. It did make some money, when including foreign receipts it grossed $5.3 million. The film opened number thirty-two at the box office, the following week it dropped to number thirty-nine.

    The feature opened against "Step Up 2: The Streets", "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour", "Definitely, Maybe" and "Juno".

    This release originally came with a cardboard foil slipcover which mirrored the case's wraparound. No insert (or advertisement) was issued.

    - - -

    There were two store exclusives. One of them was nearly impossible to find. In fact, it wasn't even advertised. I didn't get mine until May of 2013, off Ebay ($12.99 including shipping) with the slipcover.



    Best Buy sold an exclusive gift set; the DVD with the Scott Kenemore paperback book, "The Zen Of Zombie". All of which was packaged in a cardboard foil slipcase with different artwork than the wraparound (as shown above). This set streeted on May 20th, 2008 and sold for $19.99.

    The 263 page book (released in 2007) was not an exclusive, it can still be found at your local book sellers. It's basically a 'how to' - be a zombie and be happy; written for both the living and undead from Skyhorse Publishing. It's cute, I guess. Don't really know why it's here. *shrugs*

    The package does not include the slipcover for the DVD (though it does fit inside the slipcase). I had to be creative at Wal-Mart to obtain it (slipcover); there I also bought "Night Of The Living Dead: 40th Anniversary Edition" which also streeted that day too.



    What you see above was Circuit City's weekly ad - notice something missing? It just highlights the movie for $13.99.

    There was an exclusive postcard set; five of them.

    Didn't know about this until later that evening. I bought "Diary" along with the better re-release, season one of "Twenty-Four" at Best Buy.

    I found out about the cards through a DVD enthusiast message board (a daily haunt of mine). I went to the store, but discovered that my Circuit City did not get any copies of the exclusive.

    Hell, the clerks didn't even know about it. And that's where it remained for me - for five years.

    Almost a myth; once in a long while I would see someone selling it on Ebay. But it was always expensive.

    Then in late May '13, I was able to complete this movie. I'm anal. The exclusives were still sealed in its wrapping (inside the case). And it came with the slipcover, a sticker showcasing the physical bonus inside. The thing was, that slip was quite damaged, didn't want it.

    Ended up using my adhesive remover, Un-Du (paper safe, no staining) to peel off the sticker and re-attached it to my far better slipcase. But there was some areas of the sticker that no longer stuck. So I used some light, wood glue to finish it.

    All of this, now inside the slipcover box. *smiles* This was bought knowing it would be used for an L.E. Horror post.

    Opened it, ever so gingerly, cutting a slit on the side so I can access to them and put them back once finished.



    So here they are; one of the most limited Circuit City exclusives - in the same league as the mini CD-ROM (iActiveCard) for "Hellboy II" (2008). Man, that was super rare (the exclusive got pulled - the store was in the middle of their major money woes before shutting down; they couldn't pay their creditors and vendors).

    I'm VERY lucky to have mine.

    These postcards were printed on non-embossed cardstock, their backs are blank; each are roughly 5 x 7 inches. How many sets were actually released?

    I do not know, not many. All I can say - it's pretty damn rare.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    Let me start off by saying, this movie is the second reboot of the Romero zombie franchise. No, this needs it's own section, I'll explain in detail in a few.



    Before we get into the meat as it were; here is the slipcover with the Circuit City notice.

    Man, this movie has a lot of haters.

    So many bitch about the effects; CGI blood and gore. Man, they need to watch any SyFy movie of the week and they'll appreciate the effects in "Diary" - "Sharknado 5: Global Swarming" (2017)) anyone?

    Yes, this had CGI, but production had a limited budget. It also had numerous practical effects as well. These thing take time to prep on site and if they go south, you can potentially lose half a day waiting for such effects to be ready to film again. It's expensive.

    The argument is often made that Hollywood used to do it for real; squibs for their gun shots wounds. It is true, but that took time and if it didn't go off correctly you lost filming time and wardrobe. Once CGI effects caught up (mostly) with the physical simulation, it became the norm.

    Time is money for production - it's one less thing to worry about during filming.

    Back then there was ZERO choice. If you wanted a gun shot impact, you had to do it. End of story. Now - no, effects added in post. I'm totally okay with its use here. It's a rather mundane application of computer imagery. I do take offense at productions who use CGI as crutch and not as a tool.

    A hammer is great for nailing boards, but I wouldn’t use it to crack eggs or pet animals - unfortunately too many in Wonderland have not learned that. Poor Mittens.

    Back to the topic of hate. The one of examples sited as very poor is the pool scene at Ridley Wilmott's McMansion home. Ridley (Philip Riccio) had to contain his undead parents and servants, he picked the family's enclosed swimming pool, an ill conceived choice.

    When he takes Debra (Michelle Morgan) and Tony (Shawn Roberts) into the pool room we see the zombies underwater, still moving on the bottom. On the commentary, Romero explains that they were in a crunch, but they ran out of both; money and time. This was the best they could muster under that situation.

    Yes, he admits the effect is so-so. What can you do? That effect by the way was a favor to production, otherwise it couldn't have been shoot. That's life, get over it.

    The other is the undead bald follow who's head is melting (acid thrown at him) at the fortified warehouse. I don't get the hate here. It works, a well executed effect. Things don't always have to be photo-realistic. And if it's not, you're taken out of the feature. There's this thing called 'imagination', use it.

    While in the minority, I enjoyed, had a good time. Good zombie gags, some nice moments. I'm happy. To each their own, but some folks need to be reasonable with their entertainment. I'm not sure what they expected. This was an indie flick.

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    Past Tense - The Death Of Death Part II




    I enjoyed Morgan, she what's the girl next door should be; pretty, capable and courageous. The one with the socks, above.

    And who didn't like Samuel (R.D. Reid)? Just wish his character lasted longer.

    Enjoyed the voiceover cameos; Guillermo del Toro, Stephen King, Simon Pegg, Tom Savini and Wes Craven, appear over the radio - news reports. Even had bits from "Night" '68 too, the news caster, Charles Craig. Sway.

    That was the other issue.

    "Diary" was filmed in Canada where the dollar has more power. Some were upset, he didn't film in Pittsburgh once again. A simple truth - the movie could not be made in the States, not as they planned to shoot. End of story.

    The first "Underworld" (2003) was shot in Hungary, otherwise wasn't cost effective. This is the new reality.



    Folks continue to be upset/angry at Jason Creed (Joshua Close). 'I would never do that.' He was all about recording, documenting the madness around them; uploading the videos onto the net. Some have called him a douche.

    This can be hard for people to understand. The need to archive an important moment for the world - for history. You can help, drop your camera and miss the incident or let it play out making sure that it is recorded for the planet to witness - to remember.

    Jason's actions saved a lot of lives. His footage (played over the internet) contradicted official news reports and government statements; this is what's REALLY happening.

    Not apathy; all the stuff he recorded; his friends were there around him; they gave him opportunity to chronicle.

    The perfect 'real life' example.

    Go to YouTube, type in "Vietnam Airlift Last Flight Out Of Da Nang" in search. Or if you know how, "0eC73rZPH3Q". It's still there (as of writing), I checked. Uploaded on March 20th, 2011 by Jetwashed.

    What is it?

    It's a CBS broadcast from 1975. Journalist Bruce Dunning; cameraman, Mike Marriott and soundman, Mai Van Duc were on the very last flight from Da Nang; mass chaos happening a ground. The plane's door was still open as it sped up the runway - people still trying to run inside.

    Some were helped, other fell off to their fates. Dunning and his crew documented the event. To show the world what had happened that history making afternoon. Just as Creed was doing. Men and women like him inform us, try to expose the truth to the public. If you have peeves over "Diary" this should not be one of them.

    Another issue was Professor (University of Pittsburgh) Andrew Maxwell (Scott Wentworth). How convenient, he's is an archer.

    It was explained, the man was in the service in the U.K., he probably took archery classes in his youth. Which is why he's good with a gun (army training). I get the impressing he was sicken with the things he saw and perhaps did (there is a reference, "it becomes so easy to kill"), left the service AND country, becoming a teacher in the States.

    By the way, Canadian military still teaches archery.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Tangent.

    It's pretty straight forward, but some are confused; believing all the Romero films tie together - not the case.

    The first iteration was a trilogy which became a quadrilogy:



    The modern/contemporary zombie concept, now a trope started with...

    "Night Of The Living Dead" (1968); the undead contagion begins. The movie concerns itself with the events through the eyes of (mostly) random people who have taken refuge in a now abandoned farmhouse in a rural part of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is day three of the infection, now becoming an epidemic.

    "Dawn Of The Dead" (1978); three weeks have passed since the events of "Night"; the undead crisis is getting out of hand, the authorities are overwhelmed. We are witnessing the fabric of civilization coming undone. Now following four survivors who take refuge in a fortified mall in Pittsburgh.

    "Day Of The Dead" (1985); undetermined number of years have passed since the events in "Dawn". Humanity is facing extinction. As Dr. Logan says, "400,000 to 1" (conservative estimate), the ratio of undead to the living. We follow a group of suvivors; military and scientists who were gathered in the last minute to find a solution in an underground, repurposed facility. This is where film series originally ended, a bleak conclusion. This entry took place in Florida, not in Pennsylvania.

    "Land Of The Dead" (2005); undetermined number of decades have passed since the events of "Day". People have been born, only knowing the world of the insatiable resurrected. Humanity consolidated itself, retook urban areas, created (mostly) safe zones. Fiddler's Green is one of several such places around the planet. We follow a group of city soliders and mercenaries who were tasked, retrieve a stolen survival tank, Dead Reckoning which will be used against Fiddler's Green by a terrorist. This is where the franchise starting with "Night" '68 concludes. This was a previous Past Tense, L.E. Horror no less (Part I, Part II and Part II)

    - - -



    The first official reboot happened with "Night Of The Living Dead" in 1990. The remake could've restarted the Romero undead series. It failed.

    Production was plagued with various problems - watered down for an R rating by the MPAA. And bombed at the box office when you count the money spent on promotion; made with a budget of $4,200,000 [estimated]. It grossed over 5.8 million during its U.S. theatrical run.

    In fact it would be years later before director (and effects man) Tom Savini would helm another motion picture - he got so burned.

    This reboot is a stand alone feature, not connected to the previous films. As with the original, takes place at the start of the infection, once again - Pittsburgh, PA.

    - - -



    The second official reboot occurred in 2008 (as earlier written)...

    "Diary Of The Dead"; once again on Day One. This new series is NOT linked to the Romero undead films that came before. No reason given, the situation is what it is - the dead have risen. Events takes place in Pennsylvania once more.

    "Survival Of The Dead" (2009); this follows the characters which were briefly introduced in "Diary", the AWOL National Guardsmen who robbed our main characters in their Winnebago RV. It is set a few weeks after the last movie and mostly off the coast of Delaware on Plum Island. Where our carpetbaggers encounter two family clans at war with each other - over what to do with the dead.

    And that's where we are, uncertain if another sequel will get made. Romero has passed away a three months ago. There was some talk about following the Tracy Thurman character (played by Amy Lalonde). When we last saw her in "Diary", she had taken off alone in the RV - future unknown.



    In 2011, George A. Romero bought the rights to a horror novel, "The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks From The Apocalypse" by Steven C. Schlozman, M.D. (published by Grand Central Publishing). Yup written by a real doctor.

    In August of 2013 he finished the big screen adaptation. And it so far has halted there; the screenplay is being sent to various studios, hoping one of them will bankroll the project. No takers.

    I finished the script and talked to Schloz about it. He approved it, so we sent it to my agents and they sent it around. You never know what’s going to happen, but it’s out in circulation and I hope it works out.
    - Romero

    Sadly since he passed, it's unknown if this will ever come to big screen. Just to be clear, it is a completely separate motion picture, NOT related to any of Romero's undead franchises.

    Adaptation centers on Dr. Stanley Blum hired by the U.N. to find a cure to the zombie plague that is ravaging the planet (two thirds of the world have been overtaken). He and his crew are given a remote island, Bassas da India to conduct the research. Besides the obvious, he has a special interest in finding a remedy, he's been infected.

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    Past Tense - The Death Of Death Part III


    Just for complete sake.

    Rumor/fan theory that "Diary" was actually a prequel to "Land".

    But that got shot down.

    A fatality at Fiddler's Green is a security guard, fellow named Brubaker. Played by Alan Van Sprang - who played a guy nicknamed 'Colonel' in "Diary"; leader of the thieving National Guardsmen.



    The notion - he found a home there, used his skills for a living. If Brubaker is the same guy as in "Diary", he should've looked much older, decades senior. The events in "Diary" was Day One. But it's twenty, maybe thirty years after the zombie apocalypse in "Land".

    Not the same character.

    In "Survival" he calls himself, Nicotine Crockett.

    You get a gold star for effort. *nods*

    - - -

    Another fan theory tries to connect "Dawn" with "Land"; that the bikers collecting goods in "Dawn" were working for Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), a younger man.

    - - -

    The origin of the virus is unknown, nobody knows how it came about.

    Yeah, I'm gonna tell you what else. You ain't never gonna figure it out, just like they never figured out why the stars are where they're at. It ain't mankind's job to figure that stuff out. So what you're doing is a waste of time, Sarah. And time is all we got left, you know.
    - John (from "Day Of The Dead")

    But...

    These are excepts from my "Night Of The Living Dead DVD Retrospective" where I cover NOTLD DVDs, LDs, BDs, CDs and books. An ongoing compendium, well researched - updated today with a BD entry!

    Two answers were given - not part of official canon:

    The Pittsburgh Press; October 2nd, 1968; page forty-six had tiny piece on the movie which had its premiere the night earlier (at the Fulton Theater). "Grisly Scenes: Pittsburgh's First Movie Real Shocker"; the story was written by Thomas Blakley - the Press Drama Editor who was in attendance.

    His quote is of particular interest as I've never seen it repeated/mentioned on the back text of any home video releases.

    These ghouls are the recent dead and "because of a freak molecular mutation due to man's atomic research," they have risen up by the hundreds to strike down their victims and also devour them.
    Who was Blakley quoting??? This shuts down the theory that the dead rose up because of the radiation from the probe. The piece does mention Judy O'Dea and Duane Jones. Was it one of them?

    The second is from Japan.

    When "Zombie: Dawn Of The Dead" had its theatrical release in the land of the rising sun on March 13th, 1979, they added a short prologue.



    The Japanese distributor, Herald Films felt the people there would never accept the concept unless there was an explanation for the zombies.

    A short opening was filmed with an explosion in space and white text appearing on screen with a telex sound effect (like a typewriter) overlayed.

    In 19XX, an exploding planet in a far off galaxy beamed strange rays across space to Earth. It cause the transformation of the dead one after another into resurrected zombies seeking the flesh of the living...
    Yes, it actually said "19XX", are we to fill in the blank??? By the way, the Japanese release is a censored version of Dario Argento's cut, "Zombi" (1978).

    - - -

    I like this from Ass To Mars, different message board...

    Romero's first three Living Dead films are like the first three Alien installments.

    Night of the Living Dead/Alien = trapped in a confined environment, simple story of survival against a voracious monster(s)

    Dawn of the Dead/Aliens = trapped in a larger but confined environment longer after initial outbreak of zombies/xenomorphs (also took a poke at consumer and business culture of the time with the big ass shopping mall setting in Romero's film, and corporate sleaze Burke in Cameron's Aliens)

    Day of the Dead/Alien 3 = similar to the previous films, but darker and misunderstood or disliked by a lot of fans of the other two movies in the trilogy
    Unrelated...

    Actress Megan Park has a bit part in "Diary", she's the PA (production assistant), Francine Shane on Jason's student mummy movie.



    She later appeared in an episode of the former ABC series, "Happy Endings" (as Chloe Garrity; from the episode "Baby Steps", October 5th, 2011).

    Then had a recurring role on another former ABC series, "The Neighbors" as Jane an alien.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Recommendations.

    I'm showcasing five Halloween suggestions for three weeks, since my last post (week four) will hit five days before Halloween. I may change my mind, but you should already know what to watch that night.

    Most can be found in your local video rental shops. A very few can be found in stores. The best bets is to find them online, cheaply, through Ebay or from Amazon's resellers marketplace where you can purchase used/new DVDs or BDs. Or even at pawn shops.

    Some can be found on Netflix and such streaming services.

    "The Arrivial" (1996)
    Back when Charlie Sheen didn't need to extol the virtues of Tiger Blood... Radio astronomer Zane Ziminsky believe's he's picked up an extraterrestrial signal. But after turning to the recording over to his superior, Zane is fired due to budget cutbacks, his girlfriend gets transferred and his partner is found dead from a supposed suicide. Zane's desperate search for answers takes him to a mysterious power plant in Mexico, generating more than electricity. Escaping police custody for a falsely accused murder, Zane travels backs to the States and acquires proof of an alien invasion.
    Artisan Home Entertainment - 1999 - PG-13

    "Dan Curtis’ Dracula" (1974)
    Yet another retelling of the Bram Stoker's classic. Why see this made for TV movie? Imagine Jack Palance as the hungry immortal. Boom! That’s why. The man eats scenes. And the teleplay was written by novelist Richard Matheson, directed by Dan Curtis (creator of “Dark Shadows”). This aired on CBS; February 8th, 1974. But was to have broadcast on October 10th, 1973. Why the delay? History happened; Vice President, Spiro Agnew resigned that evening.
    MPI Home Video - 2002 - NR

    "Harper’s Island" (2009)
    Not a movie, but a limited run TV series; a horror mini-series which ran for thirteen weeks on CBS, but bombed in the ratings, not known by most. But slowly gaining cult status. This is a wedding gone horribly amiss. A gathering of family and friends have come to Harper's Island off the coast of Seattle for the marriage of Patricia 'Trish' Wellington and Henry Dunn. A weekend long event with rehearsals and various pre-day proceedings. But someone is quietly murdering the guests, violently. Until the deaths can no longer be kept hushed; the wedding turns into a siege - a serial killer with a grudge. Is he/she one of the attendees? This is self-contained; beginning, middle and end; with twists - dark and tragic. No one is safe.
    Paramount Home Entertainment - 2009 - NR

    "John Carpenter’s The Ward" (2010)
    Not one of Carpenter best, but still decent. It is 1966; a troubled young woman, Kristen is taken to North Bend Psychiatric Hospital after starting a fire at a farmhouse, burning it down. She is introduced to the various patients in her ward; Zoey, Emily, Iris and Sarah. And their group doctor, Dr. Stringer. But as days go by, she notices something is very wrong at the hospital. Patients have gone missing; they seem to be related to another detainee, Alice Hudson. Kristen seeks out the truth with her roommates and gets far more than she wanted. This was the first film Carpenter directed in ten years.
    ARC Entertainment, LLC - 2011 - R

    "Stephen King's Storm Of The Century" (1999)
    Another TV mini-series, a three parter which ran on ABC. The first of King's TV movies and mini-series, NOT based on a published story. Little Tall Island is off the coast of Maine. As the title reads, the locale is getting pounded by a colossal tempest. As the residences deal with the storm they have an unknown visitor, André Linoge making a cryptic demand, "give me what I want and I'll go away." The mysterious man seems to know all their deep secrets and is killing folks. He's soon captured by the police, but things get considerable worse. He's not human, not any more. What follows is Linoge pushing people to their breaking point to force his ultimatum. Unlike many of King's work, the finale here is satisfying. I'm listing the Trimark DVD since it's double sided with far better image quality. This has been released several times over by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment which crammed it all on one side (256 minutes), low bit rate.
    Trimark Home Video - 1999 - NR

    - - -



    Did not forget; here is the Best Buy exclusive slipcase for the DVD and book. And the early production poster.

    Come back here next Thursday - if you dare! You better have some kind of wood on you and lumber too. These things bite.

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    Past Tense - Not Our Feathered Friends Part I


    Brand new entry!

    Since this surfaced last month; still available and 2017's L.E. Horror offerings are expanded, re-purposed entries - you're getting an extra one!

    Nature has run amok... the original "Angry Birds" in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".



    The motion picture opened on March 29th, 1963. It was made with a budget of $2,500,000 (estimated) and grossed over 11 million during its U.S. theatrical run. The film opened number one at the box office (the highest weekend debut of 1963).

    The feature opened against "The Pink Panther", "How The West Was Won" and "Lawrence Of Arabia".

    This re-re-re-re-release has no insert.

    - - -

    Single exclusive.

    Wal-Mart once again has their annual Halloween themed exclusive DVDs. Started in 2016 was glow-in-the-dark slipcovers for assorted titles - in three colors on black, red, green and orange; each title has a different color, not variants for a single DVD.



    On September 11th, 2017 they offered - "The Birds" with a red slip; this sold for $7.96. There was no Digital Copy or any kind of insert - which I'll get into.

    How is the glow?

    Works as well to be expected, but you have to shine a bright light on it for while to charge.

    - - -



    I can guess some are in the dark about this. The director, Alfred Hitchcock with his not-pal above.

    The movie takes place over a long bloody weekend.

    Socialite, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) got spurned by San Francisco, lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) at a bird shop - looking to buy his little sister a pair of lovebirds. Not wanting him to have the upper hand - Melanie buy the birds and travels to Bodega Bay to hand deliver the gift... by breaking into his childhood home.

    A middle finger to him.

    Looking back as an adult, she's kinda crazy - it's address in the film; she's a known rabble-rouser in social circles... tabloid material.

    After the B&A, riding her little motor boat back to town, she is attacked by a seagull - bleeding. Moments after the breaking, Mitch finds her note along with the gift and races to her by road to head her off. He does.

    Intrigued by her spunk, he invites her back to the house for dinner. Here she meets the rest of the Brenners, his somewhat autocratic mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) and his tween sister, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright) who hits it off with Melanie.

    This is a slow burn flick. The attacks do not happen until well over forty minutes in.

    What started as random bird death (from chickens, pigeons, seagulls and crows), grow into worse strange behavior - soon becoming serious and life threatening as they are actively HUNTING humans and murdering them in mass; mixed bird species working together.



    Before the tipping point is reach (the attack on the kids was small compared to what was to come) - the attack on Bodega Bay; Melanie has taken refuge at the local diner after dropping off Cathy at her school teacher's home. Waiting for Mitch to pick her up, not to be out in the open.

    This is the moment that has become iconic; the size of the attack (the scope) and viciousness.

    I wonder how audiences reacted when guy who was putting gas in his car was sideswiped by a seagull. It just happens, random. BOOM! He goes down.

    After the attack ran its course, Melanie and Mitch go to Annie's house to pick up his sister to find even more carnage. The trio then return to home - where the night siege begins, no mercy.

    My major issue is the ending - doesn't really have one. In fact, we don't really know how far this phenomena has spread, it has hit San Francisco, that much is known. What has cause it?

    There a lost, deleted scene where Mitch and Melanie at Cathy's birthday party discuss what could be happening. But it's mostly a throwaway moment, which is probably why it was cut. We don't get any possibilities.

    I'm not looking for a definitive reason. What I DO want is theories for the culprit. They just went wonky is pretty weak.

    Back on topic, the finale is our characters slowly getting into Mitch's car - a lull in the attacks. And very slowly driving away, the wide shoot showing the extent of the birds - as far as the eye can see. The end of humanity?

    There was a second half as it were, scripted, but it didn't happen. They had a deadline to reach and I would imagine, over their budget. But that would've been so good.

    Mitch and company drive away a bit, but then are assaulted by the horde. The convertible's top is on, but is getting shredded by dozens and dozens of claws and beaks, all trying to get in. This is happening on a road bend (there are two of them), too much of a curve to drive fast.

    They're getting cut up and screaming. But once the road returns to a straight line, Mitch floors it; leaving the critters behind them. The last shot is looking behind them - at the mass still trying to reach them. The end.



    Fine; made for cable, "The Birds II: Land's End" aired on Showtime on March 14th, 1994. So bad, the director Rick Rosenthal removed his name, disown it - now lists, the ultra generic, Alan Smithee as director.

    This wasn't so much a sequel, but a remake - though there is a scene with an old man who talks about a similar thing which happened decades ago on the West Coast at Bodega Bay.

    Tippi Hedren had a tiny role as Helen, more like a gloried extra. This mess starred Brad Johnson, Chelsea Field, James Naughton, Jan Rubes and Megan Gallacher.

    When it aired, Showtime aired it back-to-back with the first film - an event hosted by none other than Hedren. As with the original, this had no real finale too - ends with the flock flying back towards the mainland after crapping all over our on screen family (on an overturned boat), a mile or so out in sea.



    If you want eighty-seven minutes, nails to the eyes, this was released on VHS and Laser Disc only. Sorry about the poor res image above, it was the best I could find and needed a lot of work - just to look like that.

    "The Birds" is a solid flick with good characters given room to breathe before the attacks begin. Just has a weak ending. While researching, I found out something.

    It is being turned into a TV series in England by the BBC. The series will air sometime in 2018. The show will be more based on the original 1952 British novella of the same name by Daphne du Maurier (part of her book, "The Apple Tree") than the motion picture. The attacks are happening at Cornwall instead of Northern California as it was in the story. The pilot written by Conor McPherson.

    The novella has a bleak ending - everbody dies, the birds won. What I want to hear is the radio adaptations. There was "Lux Radio Theater" (episode 838) aired July 20th, 1953; "Escape" program (episode 217) aired July 10th, 1954; "BBC Afternoon Theatre" on November 20th, 1974 and from "The Friday Play" aired April 30th, 2010. Indeed!

    There was an aborted remake in 2007 which had Naomi Watts and Martin Campbell attached.



    Something I didn't know, until now. Age; this was Hedren's very first movie. Her then bio lists her as twenty-eight years old, not so; she was thirty-three when it was made.

    33 was far too old for a Hollywood movie debut, the leading lady, back in the day.

  11. #341
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    Past Tense - Not Our Feathered Friends Part II




    Okay, release drama - not fluff, this IS noteworthy.

    The first DVD happened on February 22nd, 2000 (for $24.99). It came with an insert - various trivia and chapter listing.

    But as you read above was not the only time on DVD.

    From left to right...



    The first re-released happened on August 28th, 2012; part of "Universal 100th Anniversary" collection with foil slipcovers that opens up with some film trivia and that film's position in Universal's movies released that particular year. This also came with a Digital Copy. The wraparound mostly mirrors the slipcover, it does not have those banners on the top and bottoms. No insert issued, minus that DC instructions and code.

    On the following year, July 9th, 2013 - it happened again, "Best Of the Decade" re-re-release. This was the same as the 2012 edition. No Digital Copy and no insert once more. Came with a matted slipcover. Unless I'm mistaken, the same wraparound as 2012.

    The next on July 12th, 2016; the "Pop Art" re-re-re-release. No insert or Digital Copy. It did come with a slipcover (matted) which mirrored the wraparound. A re-package of the 2012 edition.

    I keep saying 2012 edition for a good reason.

    You see, the 2012 re-release was altered and did not get much attention.



    The Hitchcock movie was remastered. The aspect ratio from the 2000 DVD is changed, now with more info on the horizontal and slight less on the vertical in addition, better image quality; not overexposed and better bit rate too. The 2000 DVD had a soft image as if this came from a laser disc transfer - which is old if that was the case.

    To make it clear, that comparison has no enhancements - I took those screen snaps and edited together, that's it.

    Sure - for the most part, every picture in my Past Tense posts have had some kind of tweaking to make them the best as possible; from color, contrast corrections to full out, image restoration (gotten quite good at that, the power of being anal!). Anyhow...

    Something has to give for it to happen. The movie is two hours long.

    What is omitted?



    Gone is the nearly eighty minute documentary, "All About The Birds" featuring interviews with living crew members and stars Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor and Veronica Cartwright as well as Hitchcock's daughter Pat and others too.

    In mid August (2017) I got off my ass and bought a mint copy (with insert) of the 2000 special edition. Then when the 2017 exclusive came out, bought that too - for the slipcase. Made it very clear - I'm anal.

    Was going to get rid of that extra disc copy. But before I would do that, I wanted to see the doc...

    And nothing. You see, while I had that DVD, a month before; I still had not gotten around to watching it.

    That menu for special features (2012) is a single screen. I could not find it. WTF? So I pull out my 2000 release and there it was - two screens of options. The 2012 just crammed it all (minus the documentary) on a single screen.

    My solution was getting a two disc transparent case. Putting the original wraparound on the inside (to be seen) and the 2012 wrap on the outside, inserting the booklet. This way I have the best of both worlds. One to watch for movie and one to watch for extras. Sway.

    And topping it all, the new glow-in-the-dark slipcover.

    By the way, I'm not including the box set (streeted March 6th, 2001); "The Alfred Hitchcock Collection: The Best of Hitchcock, Vol. 2" which was a slipcase holding the 2000 edition along with "Vertigo", "The Trouble With Harry", "Frenzy", "Marnie", Saboteur", "Torn Curtain" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents Vol. 3" (four episodes of his TV show). DVD special editions, minus "Saboteur" and "Presents".

    Oh yeah, the film poster on top, that's not Hedren screaming, it's Jessica Tandy from the scene where the birds are coming down through a chimney.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Recommendation.

    Just one.

    Life After Beth (2014)
    Zach Orfman is heartbroken when his girlfriend dies, a fatal snake bite - hiking in the woods. But is shocked to see her after the funeral; the family is keeping her resurrection a secret. She's quite human, slowly decaying - until her higher brain functions widdle way into full Romero territory. A different take on the zombie genre. This is a tale of a man who comes to understand that his love was an illusion. Beth didn't genuinely care for him, alive or undead; sometimes seconds chances are not worth it. She becomes patient-zero in an ghoul outbreak. A mostly low-key comedy with some horror. Funny and tragic at times.
    Lionsgate - 2014 - R

    See you back next week... *muahahaha*
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 10-08-2017 at 03:17 AM.

  12. #342
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    Target - October 10th, 2017


    Dreamgirls
    Exclusive bonus disc (format unknown); BD only $9.99

    - - - - - - - - - -

    CDs available 10/13

    "Kidz Bop 36" with exclusive bonus track(s) $9.99

    "Beck - Colors" with exclusive cover art $9.99
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 10-13-2017 at 02:48 AM.

  13. #343
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    Best Buy - October 10th, 2017


    Baby Driver
    Exclusive steelbook; 4k BD/BD combo $29.99

    Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
    Exclusive steelbook; BD/DVD combo $24.99 (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook; 4K BD/BD/DC combo $34.99 (available now)

  14. #344
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    Past Tense - Moist And Deadly Part I


    [An earlier version of this PT was originally posted on July 26th, 2015 on JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum.]

    "Limited Edition Horror" 2017 does not know, "no" for an answer. It wants blood - this week, a cautionary tale; toxic waste and water rodents just don't mix in "Zombeavers"...



    The motion picture opened on March 22nd, 2015. The budget is unknown. It grossed $8,163 during its limited U.S. theatrical run. The film opened number sixty-nine at the box office (69!!!), the following week it dropped off the chart.

    The feature opened against "The Divergent Series: Insurgent", "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and "Chappie".

    This originally was not issued a slipcover. As far as I can tell, both formats did not come with any inserts.

    - - -



    There was a single exclusive, this was from Best Buy, a Blu-Ray only release. This streeted on May 19th, 2015 for $9.99.

    Was there on release day.

    Curious... where's the DVD? Could not find it; typically when the store does a BD exclusive release they also sell the DVD too (as they did with "WolfCop" [2014]). Not in this case. I asked for help, the clerk did a search and discovered that no, Best Buy did not have it in store.

    But I could buy it for the same price online. Pass, no free shipping - I would end up paying more.

    Nobody had it - not at Target or even Wal-Mart which is real surprise since they carry all sorts of low budget and direct to video titles. It's quite neutral, you can find some solid gems and real turkeys. Anyhow...

    In the end, I bought it from Ebay for the same BD price. Got it two and a half weeks later. *shakes head*

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    Let me take a step back since I'm sure there are a lot of folks who are in the dark. Though the film's title is pretty self-explanatory.

    The film centers on three college girlfriends who decide to have a girls' weekend out in the woods - a cabin; away from their guys. Especially for Jenn (Lexi Atkins) who found a cell photo of her boyfriend cheating, but the girl in the picture is obscured by hair.

    Zoe (Cortney Palm) and Mary (Rachel Melvin) do their best to keep her mind off the infidelity. Little do they know that within hours they'll be caught, ground zero of Beavageddon!

    A few days earlier a barrel of toxic waste fell of a transport truck (very much like "Return Of The Living Dead Part II" [1987]) and landed into a stream which feeds to the lake; it ruptures in front of a beaver dam, naturally.

    Man, too bad the song "Spacehopper" (by Julian Cope) wasn't playing on the truck's radio.

    Back to the ladies...

    Later that evening to their dismay, their other halfs show up; Tommy (Jake Weary), Sam (Hutch Dano) and Buck (Peter Gilroy). It's hours from home in the middle of the night, the guys are allowed to stay. Quite awkward between Sam and Jenn.

    Before going to bed Jenn plans on taking a shower and finds one of them in the tub. She is rescued by Tommy who smashes it with a baseball bat. What happened?

    It is believed the critter was infected with rabies, the situation is over. Not even close.



    The following morning the Zombeavers attack in full force while some of the group are lounging about on a raft. Things go horrific wrong.

    That scene reminded me (I'm not the only one) of the segment story in the anthology, "Creepshow II" (1987), "The Raft". In that, a group of college kids are trapped on a raft in a lake - hunted by an giant ameba.

    A nice twist ending on that, the stuff on the lake is just the tip of how big that ameba is. The best short in that film.



    By the way, this isn't a CGI movie, the aquatic rodents were puppets. There is minor CGI, but that was for removal. Like the bear scene, the trainer was taken out of the shot, minor stuff.

    The animatronic beavers were created by Creature Effects who did SFX for such features as "Cowboys & Aliens" (2011), "300" (2007), "Army Of Darkness" (1993), "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines" (2003) and "I Am Legend" (2007).

    My understanding early on - these animals would look like the "Caddyshack" (1980) gopher, which was a hand puppet.



    Not really, these have robotic armatures. Above is director Jordan Rubin with his Mecha-Beavers. Which by the way would make a cool sci-fi flick.

    What impressed me is something that is mostly a throwaway moment. Post raft attack...

    In the kitchen, an impaled beaver was still moving... flapping its tail. Tapping to the others outside like morse code.

    This opens the door for something worse.



    Not just fevered attacks, these animals ARE engaging in coordinated strikes!

    That I found quite interesting.

    This is a horror comedy. And for the most part does not take itself too seriously. There's a plot point I'm leaving out which turns quite absurd. Just roll with it, I did. AND there is a healthy amount of nudity.

    I miss that in scare flicks. Bare breasts used to be a stable of the genre. Before horror got overrun by tweens and jump scares.

    And there is a stinger after the end credits for a possible sequel, would like to see that get made. I like the idea by Rasec125 on a different message board, "Racoombies". Indeed!

    I do have a moan. I wish the commentary was feature long, it isn't. It's two separate recordings edited together and ends way before the finale.

    I wanted more.

    What I really enjoyed was the end credits song - "Zombeavers" by Legolambs, featuring Nick Amado. The band is made up of Al Kaplan and his brother Jon. They along with Jordan Rubin wrote the screenplay. So it's quite fitting they would compose the end title song.

    Imagine a cheesy song, but SUNG by a Frank Sinatra impersonator. It gives the words that extra umph.

    A cheerful gang of college students think they're on vacation; instead they're dodging beaver chompers and facing their damnation. So board up the doorways and windows my friend - it won't do any good, these furry brown bastards are fully equip and they'll chew right through the wood.
    - song lyrics.

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    Past Tense - Moist And Deadly Part II




    I enjoyed it. Quite silly at times and works well. As I wrote in a different message board, these critters are the new Krites. Sway alternate poster. I need to get that CD soundtrack.

    In a lot of ways this reminds me of "Black Sheep". The 2006 New Zealand horror/comedy, not the '96 Chris Farley movie. Out on DVD from Dimension Home Video, unrated.

    Not zombies, but murderous sheep transformed by genetic experiments; they have developed a taste for humans. Just so you know in New Zealand, sheeps greatly outnumber humans on the island. They are infectious and can turns people into weresheep. Yes, you read correctly.



    Like "Zombeavers", over the top with its ridiculousness. There's a great moment when our characters witness a massive heard of infected sheep racing over a hill towards them. Be afraid.

    A nice quote the director:

    This may very well be the most important film you will ever see about zombie beavers.
    - Jordan Rubin

    Oh yeah, let there be no confusion, Rubin got there first. In 2003 there was a direct to video release called "Beaver Lake Zombies" which in fact has no zombie-beavers. Just so you know.

    - - -

    Not a plot hole.

    Why did Smyth (Rex Linn), the hunter turn faster than the rest?

    It's was established that he hunts beavers and trapped them - more than likely he was infected by one early one.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Tangent.

    It's that time of the year. Yes indeed.

    Time for sexy Halloween costumes!



    Winter's coming!

    I bet she is. *smiles* Kinda surprise it took this long for "Game Of Thrones" sexy costume. She's sassy!

    Oh my god! Too Sexy. Too sexy!!!

    Said 'no one' to the "Pierrot Clown". Frack me, that's just sad. On her way to a Max Hardcore video shoot. Yeah I went there.

    Be more melancholy.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Recommendations.

    More titles to consider this Halloween season.

    "The Blob" (1958)
    Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Steve Andrews and Jane Martin are making out on 'Lover's Lane' when they witness a falling star. Curious, they seek out the meteorite which crashed in the nearby woods. The couple isn't alone; an elderly vagrant living in the forrest finds it first, regrets immediately. The small rock opens, revealing a transparent, gel-like substance which he pokes with a stick. A moment later, it lunges at the man's hand, latching onto his flesh. In intense pain, he runs into the road where Steve nearly runs him over. The couple take him the local doctor - shocked by the injury, an unknown parasite. In short, what fell to Earth was a cosmic ameba; consuming all living creatures. As it digest, it grows and becomes a dark red from our blood. In one night, what started as a bowling ball sized life form - became the size of a house. Able to move on its own and displaying stalking mentality. The film was remade with considerable skill and gore in 1988 (same name). The original film, while campy at times still retains enough of its horror to make this list.
    The Criterion Collection - 2000 - NR

    "The McPherson Tape" a.k.a. "UFO Abduction" (1989)
    This is a low budget, independent, shot on tape, found footage horror film. It had a limited VHS release back in the day. Other than that, there hasn't been another official release - be it VHS, Laser Disc, DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray; anything out there now is a bootleg. This was remade in 1998, aired as a TV special on the former network, UPN (January 18th, '98) as "Alien Abduction: Incident In Lake County". The one hour broadcast was re-aired with additional footage. Though (the original) made with a budget of $6,500; it is a tense feature about the mass abduction of the Van Heeses, a Connecticut family who were celebrating Thanksgiving when a 'Fourth Kind' encounter happens in the worst way. Why is it called McPherson? A carry over, most people know it as such since the family taken in the remake were the McPhersons - a common mistake that stuck. Both versions were produced by Dean Alioto. Why see this hard to find flick? Dripping with atmosphere and dread, though the ending is a bit weak - corrected for the remake. The redo doesn't show the full length tape, rather it is mock scientific analysis of the footage. People thought it was real, some still do. Go with the original, it can be found on YouTube. Quick side note, the remake has never been release on home video; there was a warehouse fire that consumed the master print - insert your conspiracy theory.
    Axiom Films - 1989 - NR

    "Outlander" (2008)
    At war with a species, known as the Moorwen, a solider finds his spacecraft damaged. The co-pilot picks the nearest inhabitated world, a place called Earth. The ship crash lands into a lake, Kainan is the only survivor or so he believes; there was a stowaway. The vessel has landed in Norway; the year is 709 AD. A series of violent deaths strike the Viking countryside of Herot. Kainan, a foreigner is taken to King Hrothgar to be sentenced for the supposed crimes. But the stranger claims that something else is responsible, a Moorwen - a creature humans would call... a dragon. Haunted by guilt, he leads the primitive to slay the beast, only to find out things are much worse than he thought. A re-imagining of the Beowulf tale.
    Genius Products, LLC - 2009 - NR

    Pandorum (2009)
    In the distant future, Earth is longer able to sustain long term human life; we are facing extinction. Scientists discover with long range probes, a far away planet which could suport us, Tanis. In 2174, the world's largest spacecraft was launched, Elysium - an interstellar ark. A voyage that will take 123 years to complete. But in it's eighth year out, disaster strikes Earth; Elysium is all that remains of the human race; 60,000 people in suspending animation. The year is now unknown; Corporal Bower wakes up to a nearly dead ship along with his commander, Lieutenant Payton, part of the the ship's automatic systems. What happened? Where is the main crew? How far are they away from Tanis? All of which become moot when they are hunted by a cannibalistic, aliens inside the craft.
    Anchor Bay Entertainment - 2010 - R

    "Without Warning" (1994)
    Made for CBS TV movie (October 31st, 1994). It aired once. A special news broadcast of the end of the world. The news bulletin is anchored by real news anchor Sander Vanocur. A meteor impact happens in Wyoming which caused a quake. Then reports come flooding in of two additional impacts in China and France - all crashing in isolated areas. But things get odder when all three rocks start broadcasting; a triangulation siginal for another, larger meteor on its way. It's a race to stop this foreign threat, but it results in three additional significantly bigger meteors (two miles wide each) on its way to Earth. All have a specific target; Washington, D.C., Moscow and Beijing. This was a tense, real time feature that incorporated commericals into the program. There was some minor controversy as some people thought this was real. A lot happens; we are given no real answers other than First Contact was made that night and we blew it, big time. The bumpers for it, 'brought to you by...' were actually foreshadowing the conclusion. The DVD is long out of print.
    Madacy Entertainment Group - 2003 - NR

    Hate to tell you, but all your bullets are gone. And yet it still comes for you, unfazed and so determined - next week, witness a beast from the depths.

    Look at it this way; you're very popular! And tasty. Okay, mostly tasty.

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