More WoW Portraits

As I stated in my previous post, as part of my return to WoW, I am making portraits of my characters (and some waist ups because variety, okay?) and would like to open up my drawing services to people who are looking for a nifty little portrait.

I will not charge money, because I never like taking real money for commissions. I don’t even like “charging gold” for commissions. So, if you want a portrait, just let me know what you think its worth and we’ll do it that way. If you don’t have any gold, that’s totally fine, I just like drawing things, and my creativity has been TOTALLY sapped since the beginning of November.

You want NSFW? I can do that (within reason). Tasteful nudity and gross Death Knights are totally fine by me! Want your gross Death Knight tastefully nude? I can do that too!

PLEASE SPECIFY if you just want lineart or my digital coloring. As much as I would love to hand color these portraits, my watercolor pencils are dying a slow painful death and I want to keep them around for craft show season.

And here are some more examples that I made of my own characters!

Lizz Fizzapow

Xez'rah

Mer'imangis Felspinner

Haestus Aurore

Betine Wellswood

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The WoW Portrait Project

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I’m Baaaaa~ck!

Starting up WoW again made me realize a few things:

  1. Most of my characters needed a bit of tweaking before I was happy with them again because as an “author” now, I am never happy with anything.
  2. Playing a Blood Death Knight is crazy fun.
  3. Roleplay is just as crazy as ever.
  4. Old art is old.

As part of my return, I am making portraits of my characters (and some waist ups because variety, okay?) and would like to open up my drawing services to people who are looking for a nifty little portrait.

I will not charge money, because I never like taking real money for commissions. I don’t even like “charging gold” for commissions. So, if you want a portrait, just let me know what you think its worth and we’ll do it that way. If you don’t have any gold, that’s totally fine, I just like drawing things, and my creativity has been TOTALLY sapped since the beginning of November.

You want NSFW? I can do that (within reason). Tasteful nudity and gross Death Knights are totally fine by me! (I even include an example of MY gross Death Knight). Want your gross Death Knight tastefully nude? I can do that too!

PLEASE SPECIFY if you just want lineart or my digital coloring. As much as I would love to hand color these portraits, my watercolor pencils are dying a slow painful death and I want to keep them around for craft show season.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES(ALL Colored and ALL of my own characters :B):

Airselyn Steelgaze

Alvaro Yanoro

Nulenwien Dawnblaze

Korrosvar Shadowstar

Qadir Calcour

Adrian van der Venne

THIS HAS BEEN AN ADVERTISEMENT BY A BORED ARTIST WHO NEEDS THINGS TO DO.

 

Goretober Part 3

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We are FINALLY HERE! The end of the gruesomeness.

HUGE SUPER ULTRA MEGA WARNING for some -particularly- nasty gore on this one. Although that does not mean that I am any less proud of my work, no-siree. Some of the best things I drew all challenge are here, in the last stressful days of October as I geared up for a work conference.

23 – Trickle (Belial – Demonverse)

Belial of Tears

If the Ten Kings had a ruler, it would be Belial, the Vicious Schemer. He does not lead by force, but rather through care and intellect. He is a strategist, not a fighter, and uses his mind rather than his body. I chose him for “trickle” due to the endless streams of onyx that spill from his eyes, shimmering and decorating him. Many Kings wear jewelry, but Belial prefers to just let the onyx grow wild. This is how he has earned the nickname “The Weeping Wiseman”. One of my favorite designs; regal and effective.

24 – Glass (Hugo Locklear – Demonverse)

Hugo stop being a fuckup

While others transitioned into demonhood with some grace, Hugo became The Dread Talon Andras by stumbling headfirst into it, drunk, and confused. He awoke with his throat cut and a strong craving for whiskey after a rough night. His story is one of the most interesting sections I have written for the compendium, because he’s more Chaotic Neutral than really “good” like the other protagonists. A drunk, a womanizer, a sleaze who uses his “heritage” as a boast, he’s interesting to write.

25 – Desperate (Victor Magnus – Demonverse)

Humans are the real monsters

Humans are the real monsters. That statement holds true for Part 1 of the Demonverse, where the villains consist of scientists wishing to create demons for their own self gain, lead by a madman who wants nothing more than control. Victor Magnus was a good friend of the protagonist, Celeste, until something happened that landed him in jail. We do not learn what that something is until later on, but let’s just say it has something to do with mermaid mythology. A particularly nasty villain who I just loved building up to tear down magnificently.

26 – Tortured (Father Ira – World of Darkness; Changeling – The Lost)

Father Ira Tattoo.jpg

A flashback from way back in my college days, Father Ira was sort of a “starting point” when it came to my methodology for crafting monsters. A True Fae, and the personification of self-destruction, he manifests as a priest of a church in a small town, leading humans to their unwitting doom to become Changeling, or die in the process. He’s rather cenobite-like, in that he feels that he is doing people a favor by leading them through the destruction of themselves and rebirth as something new, something twisted, something…horribly wrong. His design makes my boyfriend cringe. Hehe.

27 – Sick (The Princes – Demonverse)

Sick Comic

I am not too happy with this comic, but it served the purpose of establishing the designs for the Demon Princes, beings that are especially blessed by both the Powers that Be and the Ten Kings. Their bodies contain silver blood and their flesh is partially composed of a jelly-like substance that is translucent and comes in various colors. They are considered to be the most beautiful of the demons. From top to bottom and right to left are Seire, Orobas, Goap, Stolas, Vassago, Sitri, and Aiperos.

28 – Undead (Ulrich – Head Over Heels)

New Ulrich Fullbody

I had to draw my mascot, you know? Ulrich is undoubtedly my favorite character I have ever made. He’s kind, romantic, and brave. I constantly doubted myself when I began to write Head Over Heels, but now it’s one of my favorite projects. I have not only faced my childhood fear of the Headless Horseman, but I have embraced the mythology and made it into something beautiful. Also yes, I just needed yet another excuse to draw this handsome fellow.

29 – Lost (Abraham van Brunt – Sleepy Hollow TV Series)

Brom in stunning color

Brom is colored AGAIN

I did say Hunky HorseMEN didn’t I? Problematic husbando of the year right here everyone. I do really really like the Sleepy Hollow TV series, but only Seasons 1 and 2. As horrifying as I found him at first, Abraham really grew on me. Granted he’s not exactly a nice fellow, being a horseman of the apocalypse, going around killing people, and feeling entitled to Katrina, but he is a hopeless romantic, well and truly devoted to protecting the woman he loves. The outfit is something that I found online that I wanted to dress him in because why not? Also his shirt is open because -why not-?? I also couldn’t decide which version I liked more!

30 – Poison (Stolas – Demonverse)

Stolas paintschainered

Pretty as Princes Seire and Orobas are, Prince Stolas is -cute-. I wanted a character of an ambiguous gender, and the Venomous Tutor seemed to fit. Their color scheme is entirely in blues, and they spend their time as a Guardian of New Blood, helping to teach new demons the values of different forms of poisons. I really like how the coloring came out here.

31 – Gut Spill (Ronove – Demonverse)

Ronove Colored new

I knew that I would draw Ronove, the Fatal Embrace, as the final image, because I mean -look at him-. Once the heir to a fortune built by a former demon tracker that became a legitimate business, he was killed by one of Caasimolar’s bombs when he jumped on it to protect his younger siblings. Risen as a monster, he initially serves as an enemy, but quickly switches back to the heroic side. His design is kind of silly but kind of horrifying, and I love it. Hey, there had to be at least -one- tentacle monster in the Demonverse.

 

 

Goretober Part 2

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Oh, you’re back?

Ready for more scary monsters and super creeps? No? WELL TOO BAD!

BIG FAT WARNING for Gore, Body Horror, and general wrongness.

12 – Frostbite (Vexen – Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories) – TWO VERSIONS

Digital frigid bitch

Frigid Bitch

Wait WHAT?! The inner thought went exactly like this: “I need to draw someone with frostbite…I’M GONNA DRAW VEXEN AS A WHITE WALKER-TYPE UNDEAD!” I do rather like how this character looks. He has a gaunt face, a thin body, and very large eyes. I wanted to transcribe that into my own art style and then make him dead…ish. I’m not sure which version I like better, but for something I drew in a bar at midnight, it’s pretty good, I think.

13 – Sociopath (Human!Focalor – Demonverse)

Focalor Human

Handsome, well-dressed, debonair, and he’s strangling someone with their own intestines with the most serene look on his face. Focalor is a rather disturbing villain in Parts 2 and 3 of the Demonverse compendium, and it was nice to actually sit back and draw his human form, as opposed to his frankly terrifying demon appearance.

14 – Road Kill (The Cardinal Directions – Demonverse)

Four Unfortunate Souls

Anders Halvorsen (Ose), Marco Morales (Murmur) , Shiriki “Coyote” Foster (Decarabia), and Ken Yoshimura (Crocell) all died in a horrific car accident, but were given a second chance at life. The only stipulation was, they were to become representations of ideals, demonic in form, but angelic in heart. These four boys serve as protagonists in Part 2 of the Demonverse compendium. It was hard, but necessary to kill them off painfully, and I wanted to capture that here.

15 – Drown (August – Monsterverse)

August drowns

Before he obtained the Eye of Envy and became “The Creature”, August was simply a man who got involved with the wrong crowd. He was split open from neck to belly in the shape of a Leviathan cross, and his eye was removed to serve as a relic. Then, he was left to drown and bleed out at the bottom of a lake. I wanted to capture the crushing hopelessness of his situation, and remind the viewers that the man behind the roguish smile and witty jokes once suffered a horrible fate.

16 – Bleeding Out (Zagan – Demonverse)

Zagan Bleeds All over the Fucking Place

The Mangled Magician is one of my favorite subjects to draw, and one of my favorite designs in general. One of the 10 kings, and undoubtedly the kindest, Zagan is a blind and mute demon who navigates his surroundings through manipulating his own blood. Now, I could have had someone dying here, since exsanguination is pretty easy to draw, but Zagan just seemed to work in a more positive spin. Here he is navigating his way through a dark room.

17 – Fear (Damien – Monsterverse)

Damien Wtf

One of my favorite pieces I created this Goretober was this piece of Damien, the Morrigan Spawn, The Shadow, The Spymaster, The Gentleman, and the canon choice for Ruth’s partner. Being able to manipulate his body and survive all sorts of horrific dismemberments at the hands of his arch-enemy, known only as The Reverend. I really love this character (He’s second only to Ulrich when it comes to “favorite creation”) and I’m glad I was able to render him in action here.

18 – Broken (Celeste – Demonverse)

Poor Celeste In color

Torture your protagonists. Make them suffer, make them grow from that suffering. Make the happy ending well earned, if you are going to write one. Celeste Jennings, the protagonist of the first part of the Demonverse compendium goes through a LOT, and I wanted to capture just how horrified she is by all of it.

19 – Cracked (Dantalion – Demonverse)

Dantalion broken

Part 1 of the Demonverse compendium is kind to no one, not even best friends and powerful demons. Dantalion, the Many-Faced Scholar, turns out to be the main character, Celeste’s best friend, which of course puts him into danger. Even when broken, his design is still one of my favorites. He was one of the first I ever made, and still one of the best.

20 – Defeated (Istvan of Hungary – Demonverse)

Sorry Istvan at least your background is fancy

One of the ill-fated protagonists of the Demonverse, seconds before his death and subsequent rebirth as Andromalius, the Silent Executioner, Istvan is one of the few Lawful Good characters that I have. Or is it Lawful Stupid? Either way, he really pulled a Ned Stark here. I wanted to capture his final thoughts before his execution here, but I think I did terrible. Oh well, at least the drawing looks alright.

21 – Starved (The Hierophant (Ian MacElroy)(and The Hanged Man and The Magician) – Eldritchverse)

black and white comic

Starved Comic

The Hierophant is the researcher for the Arcana Gang, who found him alone, walled up in a science lab at the local college and close to death from starvation during one of the attacks. In a showing of his true colors, Zander Lazarus, the Hanged Man, welcomed the scrawny bookworm into his gang with open arms. I wanted to capture this moment in comic form, and have posted both the black and white and colored version.

22 – Cannibalism (Mars Mascar of Dorset – old character)

MARS

One of my oldest characters and a cannibalistic Lich with skin the shade of good blue cheese, I knew that Mars would end up in this challenge in some way or another. While I am not particularly proud of what he once was (since I made him as a teenager), I am excited to move this character in a new direction.

 

Stay Tuned for Part 3: The End! Anatomy lessons and Hunky Horsemen

Goretober Part 1

GORE?! Gross!

I bet you didn’t think that the Hut of Horrors was also transforming into an art blog, did you? Or perhaps you noticed the change in scenery, prompted by me using some of my own artwork as the headers on this little blog.

While I have disparaged gore for gore’s sake in the past, I took on one of many Goretober challenges, specifically the one below:

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I chose this one because it is VERY open ended and allowed for more flexibility within the prompts. Some of these are gruesome, some are lacking in gore entirely (fail!). I, however, am proud of myself in the fact that only two of the 31 prompts involve fanart.

Without further delay, here is the first 11 days. And, it should really go without saying, but here’s a BIG FAT WARNING for GORE and BODY HORROR:

1 – Acid (Caasimolar – Demonverse)

Caas barfs on himself in color.png

Caasimolar, the Hellhound whose entire purpose is to cause as much chaos as he possibly can, was a natural choice for this prompt given his acid-spitting ability. Being able to form skin-dissolving bombs out of your own spit doesn’t mean that you yourself are immune to the effects.

2 – Bone (Murmur – Demonverse)

Murmurs Bizarre Adventure.jpg

Hearing the voices of dead people is generally a bad thing unless you are Murmur, the Voice of the Dead. I chose him for “Bones” because his rib cage functions as a telegraph machine between the world of Demons, The Powers that Be, mortals, and the dead.

3 – Decay (Bifrons – Demonverse)

Bifrons Vintage Tattoo

Bifrons, the dual-bodied Grave Tender is the first individual most demons meet upon rebirth. She brings flowers, lights candles, burns sacred incense, and welcomes the new inductee with four open arms. The Keeper of Rot was the perfect choice for Decay. I was inspired by old-timey tattoo ladies and wanted to give one of my favorite female characters a spotlight.

4 – Beaten (Gunnar Argyle – Demonverse)

The literal hardest scene I have ever had to write

Vivisecting one of my favorite characters alive was one of the hardest decisions I made as an author, but sometimes, you have to induce the “Worf Effect” in your story to make sure that people know that the enemies are a threat. Officer Argyle was able to beat down abominations with his fists, so it made sense to have him be one of the first characters to die. Of course we all know he comes back as the giant fire-breathing werewolf, Marchosias, but this doesn’t lessen the impact here.

5 – Burn (Louis – Monsterverse)

Lou goes up in flames

Burned alive on Halloween Night as a child, only to rise again as a Pride Demon, The Hellfire Boy is one of four beaus that vies for the affections of protagonist Ruth. While looking like a stunner right out of the 1950s, I wanted to show what secrets Louis has burning under his sinister skin.

6 – Phobia (Andras – Demonverse)

Andras Colored

Andras quickly skyrocketed to one of my favorite designs and characters when I further refined him as part of this art challenge. A master of weaponizing fear itself, the Dread Talon actually serves as a protagonist in one of the parts of this multi-viewpoint story. He also makes owls scary again.

7 – Chlorine (The Magician (Sean Elroy)- Eldritchverse)

The Magician Card

I admittedly slipped up here. There is no gore. How can you make gore with “chlorine” though? That’s alright, The Magician was up for a redesign that works cohesively well with his buddy, The Hanged Man. A master of the slow-cooker bomb and setting whatever he can possibly find on fire, he doesn’t exactly help with the Arcana Gang’s reputation…

8 – Insanity (The Hanged Man (Alexander “Zander” Lazarus) – Eldritchverse)

WTF Hanged Man

A Terror Hero is a heroic character that goes out of their way to scare the complete and utter hell out of their enemies, and let’s put it simply; The Hanged Man is a one-man horror show. He’s rude, crude, and lewd, and all too eager to smash cultists’ faces in. This is one of my favorite pieces for Goretober, since the gore is subtle, and his facial expression speaks -volumes- as to just how unstable he is.

9 – Arrows (Barbatos – Demonverse)

Barbatos

One of a couple designs entirely created by this challenge alone, I am really happy with my interpretation of Barbatos the bearded huntsman. I pictured him as a more relaxed ally and battle partner of Byleth, the King of Swordsmen. I quite like his face-beard…beard face…and his blue color scheme in this image.

10 – Plant Growth (Purson – Demonverse)

Purson Portrait

Female Demonverse characters are always SO hard to design, because unlike the males, I risk getting the “sexism” statement. Hey, nobody is exempt from getting “changed” in the matter that the Powers that Be see fit. Queen Purson, the Beastmaster, is a kind, but fierce woman whose love for the earth’s flora and fauna is only matched by her tenacity in defending them. I really like this design for her.

11 – Dry (Crocell and Decarabia – Demonverse)

Cuties in the rain

Chibis for Goretober? Chibis for Goretober. While the idea is kind of hard to see here, Crocell, the Drowned Angel, helps keep his friend (later partner), Decarabia, the Knavish Star, dry in a rainstorm. Not my best work, but at least I finally drew them together! Please note that these two are of age, and this is just in a chibi style…I shouldn’t have to say this but…y’know.

 

Stay Tuned for Part 2: Bigger, Better and…is that Kingdom Hearts Fanart??

On Writing: Aesthetic/Mood Boards

Part 1 of a Series on my Writing Process

Disclaimer: This is not a how-to guide, nor am I claiming myself to be an expert on writing. I am merely sharing some techniques that I employ in the process of developing characters, establishing tone, and maintaining the flow of a piece. I’m also not claiming to have invented these, at all.

It’s not required, but feel free to let me know if you tried any of these ideas and if/how they worked for you. I’d love hearing about it!

Aesthetic/Mood Boards

If you have visited blog sites, you may have come across groupings of images and (sometimes) text, meant to evoke the “feel” of a character, original or otherwise. The way I think of it is, say you could not show someone a picture that you have of the character, and you could not describe them verbally, you would use one of  these to at least ensure that the person has an understanding of what makes your character “tick”.

Essentially, they are a collage of pre-existing images, sometimes edited, that can describe a character that you have created.

When I sit down to plot characters for a piece, I consider a lot of things. Each character has a different name, and appearance, yes, but each one has different ambience, mannerisms, and yes, aesthetic. These boards can help me establish that aesthetic so I can use proper words to describe them in the piece, and keep them in character throughout.

Examples

Aesthetics Seire

Aesthetic Board for Seire, the Dawn Prince

Seire is the first “demon” that the protagonist, Celeste Jennings, encounters in the first part of the yet to be named “Demon-verse” compendium. When creating him, I wanted something that was strange and unusual, but also welcoming and familiar, as he is one of the most helpful characters in the work. The color pink is predominant because of its warmth and association with gentleness. This aesthetic board is also very textural; the glossy lips and jelly, the soft feather, the rough geode. All of these are aspects of the character’s appearance, without being blatant about the fact that he is rather monstrous looking. “Have Courage and Be Kind” is essential to the character’s moral fiber, as one of the most unambiguously good figures in this work.

 

Aesthetics Venaesectio Adhibendus

Aesthetic Board for Venaesectio Adhibendus

In stark contrast is the mysterious, strange, and grisly Fleshmender, Venaesectio Adhibendus, also from the “Demon-Verse”. This character’s morals are beyond human comprehension, as, unlike the demons that he repairs, he isn’t human at all, and never was, even in thought. Faded colors of browns, grays, and drying blood evoke his profession as the surgeon who pieces together the creations of The Powers that Be, but also create a sense of discontent. He isn’t pleasant to look at. He is even less pleasant if you wind up on his table several times. The “strangeness and beauty” applies to every creation of the Powers that Be, as well as the entities themselves, and pervades the work.

Aesthetics The Shadow

Aesthetic Board for Damien

Taking a break from the “Demon-Verse”, and exploring the tale of a young woman named Ruth as a world of monsters is laid bare before her after a ritual gone wrong is this board for the very first entity she encounters. Damien is gothic horror embodied; elegant, monochromatic, and grim; a tall, skeletal man surrounded by a flurry of black wings as he disappears without trace into the night as a flock of ravens. As such, I stuck with black and white for this image. Foreboding and mysterious, the quote is from Ruth’s perspective rather than his own. What will she discover about him as her journey progresses? Is there a heart hidden in the chill of death?

 

Aesthetics Ulrich

Aesthetic Board for Ulrich Haupt

The final board is for the love interest of my supernatural romance piece, Head over Heels. The color red is highly prominent here, in spite of not being part of Ulrich’s color scheme due to its association not only with love, but also with blood. I especially like the contrast between the horse and the motorbike; the uniform and the leather jacket; modern day and the 1700s.  Ulrich is a complicated character, being shy, but lonely; angry, but gentle. The quote I included is really an underlying theme of many “monster romances”, and I quite like it. Granted, other authors and screenwriters have given him quite the…ahem…reputation over the years, but the Headless Horseman has been interesting to write as a romantic lead.

 

Tips for Aesthetic Boards

  1. Try to refrain from using images of famous people/characters. It might be tempting, but it really won’t help you in the long run.
  2. Color is as important as the images themselves. What colors do you associate with your characters? What mood do these colors evoke?
  3. Also consider textures (fabric types, feathers, leather, etc.), environments, and any equipment that your character carries.
  4. Quotes or small blurbs can be helpful, perhaps something that a character lives by, or a way someone could describe them.

 

NEXT: Writing playlists: How Music can Influence Your Work

 

 

 

5 Favorite Hammer Horror Films

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The first time in my life I leave the lights on to ease my soul.

Elegant.

Gothic.

Filthy.

Gory.

Wonderful.

These are just a few words that I would use to describe the horror films produced by Hammer, a British film production company. While still putting out films today, most notably Let Me In and The Woman in Black, it is the horror films of the 50s through the 70s that I enjoy the most. Known for oddly charming leads, dramatic soundtrack, and buckets of technicolor blood, it is no wonder that Hammer Horror Films are among my favorites.

“But BECK, why didn’t you write about it when you counted down your favorite horror films?” That is because I knew I was going to do a separate countdown, and truthfully, deciding on the placement of 1 and 2 was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Let’s face it, Hammer deserves a list of its own.

Honorable Mention: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

Frankcreatedwoman.jpg

The second Hammer film I have ever seen, it is also the only sequel on my list. It’s an honorable mention for a reason, as it’s really more of a guilty pleasure than anything else. I find it interesting, however, as it comments on the soul in relation to the body, and attempts to explore more metaphysical aspects of raising the dead. A somewhat silly tale of revenge, rife with gore and fanservice, it’s unique among the Frankenstein films.

5. The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)

This film is a particularly interesting take on the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While certainly not a successful movie, I find the general premise interesting enough to put it on my list. Unlike the original novel and most iterations of the tale, Mr. Hyde in this film is an attractive man. This is a comment on the allure of evil, and how anyone can be a monster without “looking” like one. The premise lands it on my list, but the execution places it at the bottom.

4. The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Vampire lovers231.jpg

Carmilla is a novella that many people are surprised that I have read and enjoy. Honestly, the story is more interesting than that of Dracula to me, and hey, lesbian vampires! There is a trilogy of films put out by Hammer that are inspired by the novella, but The Vampire Lovers has the closest semblance to the plot. It’s the raciest film on my list, but not without the trademark Hammer blood and gore.

3. The Mummy (1959)

Themummy1959poster.jpg

The top three films have two things in common; they star Peter Cushing and feature Christopher Lee as a monster. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with that combination. The Mummy is actually the highest rated Hammer Horror film on Rotten Tomatoes, with good reason; my own preferences aside, it is the most well-made of the classic monster films, and yet some people haven’t even heard of this one. If you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. I like it just as much as the 1999 version.

2. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Curseoffrankenstein.jpg

Placing this movie as number two on my list was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. The original novel by Mary Shelley is one of my favorite books ever, and the monster is one of my favorite classic creations. What makes this film so utterly enjoyable to me is not the creature, which, while terrifying, merely exists to be terrifying and to kill people, but rather Baron Victor Frankenstein himself. Cushing’s Frankenstein is a schemer, a womanizer, and a complete monster, which is extremely different from the novel’s depiction of the character. However, it works and I love it. Definitely give this one a watch if you haven’t.

And my favorite Hammer Horror movie is…

  1. Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula1958poster.jpg

This is the film that most people think of when they think of Hammer Horror, and that’s because of how iconic it is. Christopher Lee’s Dracula is known for being terrifying and imposing, and Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing is undoubtedly my favorite portrayal of the character. This film has all hallmarks of a good Hammer film; a veneer of elegance over the vibrant red blood. It’s beautiful and garish; grotesque and grandiose, and it’s one of my favorite horror films ever. While, as I said, it was very hard to decide between this and The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula is one of those films that is firmly cemented in history. I’m sure people will still be talking about this one hundreds of years from now. If you haven’t seen it, what are you doing?!

Reflections on Being a Media Snob

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You would think I would get the damn picture…

Everyone has different tastes and different opinions on what makes good media, but some of us are just generally pickier than others. Pickiness can be good so you don’t run into time wasters. However, it is a double-edged sword that can keep you from discovering things that you might like. People that take pickiness above and beyond just being discerning are called Media Snobs, also known as Elitists also known as Enormous Douchebags.

I, unfortunately, am one of these.

I’m fairly down-to-earth and honest in normal social interactions, but for some reason when it comes to content- particularly anime and video games, I am the biggest fucking snob on the planet. I would blame it on being exposed to genuinely terrible shows by my overly enthusiastic high school and college peers. I would blame it on the weebs. I would blame it on popular series generally being either okay or “dear god turn it off my eyes are bleeding”.

I think I need to tone down the snobbery a bit because I have had two cases of the SAME THING happening in the past few months (Incident 1 in August and Incident 2 LAST WEEK).

The Items in Question?

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a9/Killlakillpromo.jpg/215px-Killlakillpromo.jpg

The Events In Question?

Both times the same thing happened- someone told me about something I previously thought was dumb for some reason. I thought Overwatch was dumb because it was a “TF2 Ripoff” with boring, uninspired characters and a boring, uninspired plot. I thought Kill la Kill was fanservice disguised as nonsense and marked the continued downfall of the branch off of Studio Gainax.

In each case a friend said “Hey, check this out, give it a chance. It has a character you might like.” Hilariously enough, in both instances, said character is a giant, loud guy who serves as a “shield”. I accused them of “preying on my preferences”, but they said I really should give them a second chance.

So I did.

And now I love both things…a lot.

Ironically enough, in both cases, while I do like said “giant loud guy” in each instance, I ended up naming the single goofiest looking character in each cast as my favorite (I blame Australia and Osaka, respectively).

What Have I Learned?

I have learned not to judge things based on my likely skewed perspectives. I need to not let my previous experiences shape my current and future ones. I need to branch out and explore new things rather than clinging to the few things that give me joy. I need to accept that being disappointed with something isn’t the end of the world and at most, I would have only lost a couple hours of my time.

In short, I need to stop being an Enormous Douchebag.

7 Monster Designs I Love From Games I Don’t

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It’s been a while, y’all…

 I’m extremely picky about video games, sometimes almost annoyingly so, according to my significant other. Sometimes I get hung up on things that turn a decent game into a slogfest, other times I stumble upon a real stinker. Regardless of the reason, the games listed here are all what I would consider to be “bad”. Still, there are redeeming qualities to each entry here…the monsters.

I LOVE unique monster designs, and anymore, find them hard to come by, and sometimes, these show up in some decidedly bad games. In no particular order, I will discuss designs that I like from games that…well…I didn’t. Horror games and non-horror games alike will be making appearances here. I have limited myself to a maximum of 2 designs per game, (although for some entries, I would put literally everything). Again, I will be using the numbering system for ease of categorization, but these are not ranked. They’re all pretty interesting.

Warning: This list contains some rather disturbing content associated with some pretty hardcore body horror. Viewer discretion is advised.

7. Arnold Leach (Clive Barker’s Jericho)

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If I absolutely had to pick a favorite on this list, it would probably be this, because of how striking it is. Demonic and angelic at the same time, this design is honestly too damn good for the sadly terrible game that was Clive Barker’s Jericho. Leach only shows up at a few poignant moments, but when he does, all eyes are on him. This design features all of the highlights of a fantastic creation of Mr. Barker; elements of bondage, twisted and stretched skin and flesh, gruesome looking piercings, the whole bowl of wax. I wish there were more designs in horror games that had this level of both beauty and horror. It’s the sort of gruesome where you are disgusted, but you can’t bring yourself to look away, and it gets progressively more disturbing the more you look at it.

6. Laura (The Evil Within)

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The Evil Within is probably one of the biggest disappointments I have ever experienced in gaming. It was SO hyped up and there were so many commercials showing people getting scared. However, I found the game to be too combat heavy for me to truly enjoy. A lot of the monsters also resemble Resident Evil rejects…all except for Laura. This screaming, burning, bleeding pile of limbs is one of the creepiest creatures with a spider motif I have ever seen. I think my favorite part of this design is how it moves. It brings to mind other disturbing long haired spirits that crawl all over the floor, especially Kayako from the Ju On series, but cranks up the nightmare fuel just a little bit by tossing in a few extra arms and legs for good measure. It’s pretty simple, but extremely effective.

5.The Monocle Man (Silent Hill Downpour)

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The “Monocle Man” is the guilt of a suicide victim doomed for eternity to oversee the location of his greatest failure and shame in life. This design is already emotionally loaded before I even consider how disturbing its design is. It kind of reminds me of Cassandra from Doctor Who, except more messed up. Facial horror shows up a lot in designs I like, but this is probably one of the more extreme examples. It is literally just a stretched amputated face with an illuminated monocle. Spooky. Although I dislike Silent Hill: Homecoming a lot more, none of its designs are quite as interesting as the Monocle Man. If only Downpour was a better game…

4. Guardian (Dead Space)

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Ah, Dead Space. I…really really don’t like Dead Space. It relies too much on “oo scary gorey gore gores!” for me to take it seriously. Some people say it’s Event Horizon the game, but it really lacks substance. However, I will not deny how fucked up this necromorph is. I love it. I love everything about it. It’s so wrong. While most enemies in this game are mindless gross drones, this thing is implied to still be entirely conscious and the human aware of what is happening to their body. The fact that it looks human makes it creepy, as well as the fact that it attacks by launching its guts out. I might not like Dead Space, but the “I have no mouth and I must scream” type of horror NEVER gets old.

3.King Minos (Dante’s Inferno)

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Little known fact about me; I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis on the poetry of Dante Alighieri and the influence of his ideas on the Italian Renaissance. As such, I despise the video game “Dante’s Inferno” with every fiber of my being. One thing I will say, however, is that the twisted and disturbing landscapes of hell are captured quite well. Some creatures, however, either push the disturbing button too far, or not far enough, but King Minos is just about perfect. Only described as being snakelike in nature, various artists have tackled the design of the tyrant turned judge throughout the years, and I feel like this is one of my favorite takes on him. I especially love that he is blind in this iteration. Justice is blind, of course. His face resembles a skull shaped candle covered in cooled dripping wax, which is interesting, when you consider that his mythological iteration was scalded to death. It’s a damn shame that such a brilliant design was wasted on a game that so utterly butchers its source material.

2. Katharina Stein/ The Queen of Sorrow (Doorways: The Underworld)

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Doorways is an absolutely fascinating little compilation of horrible, delightful environments within the minds of serial murderers, however, The Underworld is my least favorite of these. The fact that it follows the Auditorium, which is my absolute favorite part of the game and was hyped up to be the best yet, but ended up being frustratingly annoying made it even worse. However, in spite of dying repeatedly to literal doorways and the obnoxious sewer level, I do hold some appreciation for the psychopath of this chapter. Her design is both graceful and gruesome and she has a winning smile. I found it interesting that,within her own mind, the doctor depicted herself as a victim of her own experiments rather than lording over them. Rather than simply causing others pain and suffering with her machinations, she became pain and suffering itself. The fact that you encounter her in such a claustrophobia-inducing maze makes her even more threatening. Too bad the rest of The Underworld was so disappointing.

1.Bishop Maltheus St. Claire (Clive Barker’s Jericho)

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed that I can’t find a decent image of a boss in my life than I have with this one. He’s a stark contrast to the other Clive Barker’s Jericho boss here because of how subtle his imagery is. I like creepy overblown body horror, but I also like subtle vaguely unsettling body horror. The uncanny valley is one of my favorite concepts, and Maltheus lands smack dab in the middle of it, likely because the Pyxis took what was once a young bishop with leprosy and further twisted and changed him. I think in the case of this design, less is more. While I do generally like elaborate, twisted monsters, Maltheus’s simplistic design tells the player about his history in an effective manner, while keeping him somewhat troubling.

5 Favorite Undead Characters in Video Games

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BRAAAAINNNSSS~

Ah yes, the Undead…Zombies, right?! A mindless, brain-eating corpse, right? Wrong. So VERY wrong. Here, I define “undead” as simply a reanimated corpse. Brainlessness is not a qualification, being awesomely written is. Ghosts do not count, and they will have another list of their own eventually.

5: Cervantes de Leon- Soul Calibur Series

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Cervantes is one of my favorite characters in the Soul Calibur series. I mean come on! He’s an undead pirate! Undead pirates are badass! Basically the Soul series equivalent of Davy Jones, he sails around in a ghost ship seeking the Soul Edge and the great power that comes along with it. Nightmare might be the “ultimate evil” but Cervantes certainly has a lot more flair.

4: Pious Agustus- Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

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I love this game, so so much, and let’s face it, the weird and wacky events wouldn’t have taken place if it weren’t for one man. An ill-fated centurion, Pious becomes transformed into a lich by an artifact and becomes the main antagonist through the rest of the game. This corpse has literally clashed with centuries of people, and won…at least until Alex came along. Still, when it comes to persistent villainous corpses with authority…

3: Squigly- Skullgirls

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Squigly has one of the saddest stories in all of Skullgirls, as she and her family were murdered by the Mafia. The awakening of a new Skullgirl caused this adorable little lady to rise from the grave with the parasite Leviathan in tow. She’s quite heroic in the grand scheme of things and very likeable, which easily lands her a spot on this list. Best DLC EVER.

2: Aaron Covenant- Clive Barker’s Undying

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Undying is a seriously underrated game, in spite of being one of the best horror games I have ever played. The story follows a paranormal investigator as he solves the mystery of the cursed Covenant family. All of the siblings could qualify for this list, but Aaron is without a doubt my favorite. An artist in the vein of Salvador Dali, he would paint hellish landscapes and twisted forms after taking hallucinogens. At some point, he suffered a truly gruesome death at the hands of his twin sister, leaving him with two forms: a ghostly version of himself when he was alive, and his hideous, flayed, shambling corpse.

And my favorite undead characters are…

  1. The Dark Purveyors – Lollipop Chainsaw

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They are like potato chips: I couldn’t pick just one! Speaking of these characters, an updated ranking of them will be coming up soon! But enough about that. What I like about these characters is that each one is fleshed out as their own unique entity as well as representing an entire genre of music. Each one has their own quirks and traits that makes them special. While my favorite out of the bunch is, and always will be, Lewis Legend, I couldn’t just give this spot to him. The other Purveyors deserve it just as much.