10 Favorite Horror Movies

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Spooooooo~ky!!

I am just as picky about my horror movies as I am about my horror games, however, I will cut most movies some slack if I enjoy the overall theme and it’s not another “teens partying” story. Some of these films are commonly known, some of them are a little less well known.

As with games, I prefer my horror films to contain less gorey gore gore moments and jumpy jumpscares and more moments of growing suspense and dread. I also enjoy films that are both beautiful and disturbing at the same time as they pull me in, and as horrified as I am, I cannot look away.

Some horror movies I see more as comedies than horror, and so they will not end up on this list, along with actual horror comedies. We’re just going for pure horror here. There will also be no hybrid films here, no scifi horror, mystery, thriller, or fantasy horror, even though some of my favorite films ever come from the meshing of genres.

Honorable Mention: I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

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I watched this for a class, and was honestly surprised by how much it honestly creeped me out. We’re not talking flesh-eating zombies here, but rather zombies created via voodoo. In this film, people are cursed to roam the earth as zombies with wide, cold, staring eyes. The film creates horror and tension with little more than light, shadow, and very bizarre facial expressions. It’s not as good as the other films on this list, but it’s good if you want to watch something retro.

10: A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

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This film is an intense and psychologically arresting one. So, why is it so low on my list? That’s just because I find this film to, in spite of it being classed as horror, fit into the category of thriller better. Still, this film throws more twists and turns than a Shyamalan picture and actually does it WELL. Following the story of a traumatized girl as she tries to deal with her father’s remarriage, there are a lot of unexpected and shocking events throughout this film. Also there are ghosts. Ghosts are a trend for this list.

9: Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

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I had to put a J-Horror film on here somewhere. While it is far from my favorite, I do enjoy watching The Grudge once in a while. By the Grudge I mean the original Japanese version. While I sometimes find myself poking fun at the “burping” ghost of Kayako and Toshio’s meowing, there are some moments of genuine horror in this film, particularly when an individual is alone and the ghosts decide to pay a visit…

8: The Conjuring (2013)

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James Wan has finally managed to make a film that I consider good, and in 2013 no less! It is a very well written ghost story, being based on cases that Ed and Lorraine Warren, pioneers in the field of paranormal investigation, worked on. The visuals and effects are fairly simple, but sufficient to create a mood of dread and suspense. If only more modern horror films were made this well.

7:Eyes Without a Face (1962)

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A French film, this entry counts under the “beautiful but disturbing as all hell” type of horror film that I enjoy. Despite being in black and white, it manages to be deeply unsettling. The plot centers around a man who kidnaps women in order to take their faces for his disfigured daughter. The image of Christiane in her stiff, lifeless mask is one that will stay with you long after the film ends.

6: The Others (2001)

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This film showcases how a twist ending should be done. A brilliantly written ghost story, it features a mother and her children as they are haunted by mysterious spirits. Years before ghost stories became “trendy” again, this film still does it right, only outdone by two other ghost stories higher on this list. If you don’t know the twist, it will leave you reeling.

5: Hellraiser (1987)

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Clive Barker is one of my favorite authors. His gift for the twisted, mad, disturbing, and beautiful has only been matched by writers of much earlier times. While I am generally turned away by gory works, Hellraiser pulled me in. It is gross, yes, but it is also very visually impressive and bizarre. It is also a pretty good adaptation of The Hellbound Heart, one of my favorite Barker works. While it is not my favorite of Barker’s creations, it is still one of my favorite horror movies.

4: Suspiria (1977)

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GOODNESS this film is visually beautiful. The first of Dario Argento’s “Witch Trilogy” the story follows a ballet student who attends an academy in Germany. Everything about this film is strange. The rooms, the events…the blood. Aside from being visually arresting, it manages to get in a few good scares. Its one of the few actually scary movies about a coven of witches, and, for anyone not turned away by blood, comes highly recommended.

3: The Orphanage (2007)

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A Spanish horror film, The Orphanage stunned me with how emotionally intense it is. I will let any viewers know, this film WILL toy with your emotions and make you feel anger, sadness, and horror. Still, this is what makes it a great film. The visuals are stark but powerful, with the image of Tomas in his sack mask being the most notable. A tragic ghost story, this is a good watch when you want something that is more than just cheap scares.

2:The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

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German Expressionist horror at its finest, Featuring a mysterious man and his somnambulist, Cesare, it has so many twists and turns that it makes your head spin. The film is beautiful, and, while some people do not have the patience for silent film anymore, I do highly recommend it as it manages to still be scary despite its age. This film is considered a classic for good reason.

And my favorite Horror Movie EVER is…

1:The Haunting (1963)

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This movie is the quintessential ghost story, and there is nothing better than a damned good ghost story. It doesn’t have flashy effects, gore, or jumpscares, but what it DOES have is atmosphere. This film creates scares and builds tension with little more than noise and shadow. It is one of the few films on this list to actually make my skin crawl on top of being a great movie overall. This one comes highly recommended.

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10 Favorite Indie Horror Games

*evil cackling*

To say that I am picky about my horror games is to make an egregious understatement. Horror games are meant to scare me, right? Then why is it that so many things rely on cheap jumpscares and overused plots that are predictable?

The criteria for this list is that the game actually scared me a few times, that it is fairly original in content and story, and that it is atmospheric and unique. Demos are acceptable for this list. To be fair, I have disqualified the Amnesia games, and may do a countdown about them at some other point, including spin-offs that I like.

Honorable Mention: Outlast

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I WANTED to love Outlast. A creepy asylum, disturbing monsters, and the inability to physically defend yourself? AWESOME! A sudden and abrupt turn toward an explanation for the events that I wasn’t expecting? Not awesome. Nonetheless, I feel like Outlast belongs on this list for the sheer moments of terror within it. Also, Dr. Traeger is one of the best enemies I have seen in a game in a LONG time. It’s rare that disturbing and hilarious mesh so well.

10: Knock-Knock

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I love, love, love this game. The graphics are unique, and the story is something that I have never seen before. You play as a strange little person called The Lodger, an obsessive compulsive individual who is a “Word-ologist”, meaning that they must record their life in a diary. The entire game takes place in the waking nightmares and mind of the Lodger, as their insomnia starts to materialize “Guests” to haunt them. So if I love this game, why is it so low? Well, to be honest, it is short on scares. Although I enjoyed it immensely, I was never truly “scared” by it. However, I do highly recommend it.

9: Devil’s Tuning Fork

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Now here’s a unique little gem of a free game. Created by university students, the story centers around an epidemic that leaves many children in comas. As one of the children, you wake up in a strange world that can be navigated through sound waves. By “can be navigated”, I mean that the entire game is based on sound and the visualization of sound. You really have to pay attention to sound cues to solve the mystery. Although sound is an important in many horror games, it is absolutely crucial to listen to sounds generated by the tuning fork to navigate the all-consuming darkness. This is a really different game.

8: Fran Bow

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Although I have only played the demo, this game has potential to be amazing. I have heard that the full game has been released now and will have to give it a go, since I enjoyed the demo. To make a long story short, you are Fran. Fran is a little girl who suffers from a horrifying mental disorder, and most of the game takes place within an institution. Your goal is to find your beloved cat, Mr. Midnight, and reunite with your aunt, however, an evil presence within your own mind is out to stop you at any cost. This game is very unique, with a nice art style and point-and-click format. It is a bit gory for my general tastes, but still deserves a spot here.

7: A Mother’s Inferno

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This game is…weird. Good weird. It is based entirely around the primal fear of losing a child. It’s also based on Dante’s Inferno, so of course I love it. It also can be interpreted as a woman going through the many different stages of loss. I find that this game isn’t as well talked about as it should be. This is perhaps because it only takes about fifteen minutes to complete, however, the imagery and intensity of this game grants it a spot on my list.

6: The Cursed Forest

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This is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. And it’s FREE! It is a “collect-a-thon” game in the vein of Slender, although it manages to be a LOT scarier by virtue of disposing of many tacky stereotypes. Your goal is to reassemble a dismembered corpse in order to break a curse…or so I think, most of the game is in Russian. Still, this doesn’t take away from how good, (and scary) this game is. It features shadow creatures and a mysterious occult plot, which are both bonuses in my book.

5: The Cat Lady

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One of my favorite Indie games EVER, the Cat Lady would be higher on this list if it were about “favorite indie games”. Heck, I might even put it at Number One! But this is about indie horror. While the Cat Lady has many themes, it isn’t quite as scary as the other games higher on this list. What I love about this game is its black and white color scheme, the realistic and tragic characters, and the rare moments of horror. Susan is one of my favorite female game protagonists and her journey is a dark and disturbing one. I highly recommend it!

4: Nevermind

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One of the most unique demos I have ever played, Nevermind is a bio-feedback horror game. This means that based on your heart rate, the game can change and warp. The basic premise is similar to the movie The Cell, except WAY better executed. You travel into the mind of a patient and help them to overcome childhood traumas. The imagery is beautiful and it is a well-constructed game, even without the heart-rate monitor. I look forward to the full game at some point!

3: DreadOut

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Indonesia is a goldmine of disturbing horror figures. Walking corpses still strapped up in burial shrouds, vampires that resemble floating heads with intestines hanging out of them, damned spirits and cannibalistic beasts. You can only defend yourself from these monsters using your phone’s camera in the vein of Fatal Frame. I LOVE Fatal Frame! Fatal Frame with Indonesian monsters is an amazing idea!

2: Among the Sleep

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Oh my goodness gracious do I love this game. It really speaks to my childhood. As a child, I always managed to see faces in things such as blankets, and other objects looked monstrous to me. Even the wood paneling in my parents’ house could be a monster to me. As such, this game immediately drew me in. The story is deeper than it appears, and the environments are beautifully rendered. Among the Sleep is absolutely brilliant, and can really resurrect all of the fears you had when you were small.

And my favorite indie horror game is…

1:Anna

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This may seem like an odd choice for Number 1, but the beautiful, somber, and disturbing imagery throughout made it a standout game for me. It does have some difficult puzzles, which may frustrate some gamers, but makes up for it in spades with subtle atmospheric changes, unique scares, and a lingering sense of dread. It’s one of the closest indie games that gives an experience similar to that of my favorite mainstream horror series; Silent Hill. There are very few jump scares here, but rather, things start slowly getting to you, as the many dark rituals in the seemingly idyllic cabin in the woods lead you down a path from which there may be no return…

Why Edgar Allan Poe is Important to Teach in Schools

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Spare Poe his work from the Common Core Monstrosity

My mother was up and spent yesterday being fairly ill due to a blocked tube in her ear that made her dizzy. We spent a lot of time talking and she lamented an experience from when she was a teaching assistant, a position she just retired from last year. The new-ish principal, who I had only known as the parent of a girl a few years younger than me who fancied herself a genius, had suggested that the works of Edgar Allan Poe had no educational value. My mother, a Poe fan since she was in middle school, was taken aback, but, valuing her career and not wishing to argue, kept quiet.

“Poe time” was something to look forward to for me from 7th to 12th grade. For those years, every Halloween season, me and my classmates were regaled with tales of murder, disease, torture, and love beyond death. Not exactly standard school material, which made us excited. We were learning, but we were being creeped out while we were learning. It was a lot of fun! Of course there were essays, response questions, and analysis, same with anything else, but we were learning about all kinds of disturbing things. Stuff the grown ups wanted to shelter us from.

That’s probably why the principal wanted to stop the fun.

I am strongly against censoring things, particularly good literature. Honestly, I was just as horrified by The Giver as any of Poe’s work. Classes are required to read Night which is true horror incarnate, as it details the experience of a Holocaust survivor. One of my favorite books as a child, Lord of the Flies is disturbing and terrifying, and some of my classmates openly admitted to not wanting to read it because of this. So what makes Poe different? Is it because he sets out to horrify the reader? Is it his focus on death rather than life?

Frankly, I believe Poe is important to teach students. A master of the short story, his work has no doubt inspired many great authors, including H.P. Lovecraft, (Which should ALSO be taught in schools but at the college level). Poe’s work can be helpful for short story writing projects, and his language use can enhance reading comprehension. In short, Poe was a genius. To not present the work of a genius to a class is to weaken the learning experience of that class.

Some spooky ideas for the classroom can be found on this blog’s Sister Blog, Rainbowneontiki: https://rainbowneontiki.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/the-tricks-and-treats-of-halloween-and-education/

Drunkality #4

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Because I’m all out of ideas.

I’m sure some people are wondering: Why do you have these booze posts on your blog? To be fair, that’s where I got my start, with a 21 Sacraments inspired collection of booze recipes. I understand that it’s not necessarily an original idea, but hey, it’s fun! Things that are fun don’t have to make sense. As for this particular series, I plan on covering everyone featured in the series reboot, while doing other characters as requested. I do plan on starting out with the ninjas and then branching out into others. For some reason, the Ninjas are the most popular characters, and so I have decided to make them shots so that they can be easily paired in groups of two or three.

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Jury’s out on whether or not Error Macro- erm, sorry Ermac is still a ninja, but if I had to pick a favorite ninja, it would be the ninja that isn’t really even a ninja anymore. Ermac’s character development really kicked off in Deception, which, while it was a generally crappy game, made me really like the character. This continued in MK:9 and MKX, where Ermac becomes less and less of a palette swap and more his own character. Originally serving Mileena, he realized how inept of a leader she was and instead swore allegiance to Kotal Kahn, making him really neither good nor evil. Also of note are the many different souls warring for control within one body, which leads to some interesting endings and may be implemented into the story one day.

I was originally going to make this green and airy in conjunction with Ermac’s powers, however, I realized I already HAD a green shot and instead sought to work off the red of his outfit. The flavor of this beverage is less one-note than the spicy, cold, sour punch of the first three. It’s bittersweet, like the fate of the souls living within one husk.

Ermac Shot

Fill a shot glass half full with Chambord and top off with bitter Campari. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy.

Drunkality #3

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Indeed!

The nightly migrations of the college students in my area have begun once again. The liquor stores are stocking up in preparation. Attempting to purchase liquor for my Drunkality! series has become less and less of a fun trip. It’s one thing to drink and enjoy drinking, it’s another thing to run down the street in your underwear screaming.

I have no idea where I’m going with this, but…uh…yeah, Lizard people. Lizard people and millennials are basically the same thing, right?

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Reptile is…sad. Not only is he the last of his kind, but he always ALWAYS gets his ass kicked. Seriously, this guy has almost as bad of a time as Johnny Cage. Reptile really only became a character in MKX once he was actually given some damned sympathy by the man sent to dispose of him. Granted, people still pick on him and treat him with contempt in game, but he actually catches a break for once. He defends Kotal Kahn regardless of any threat to himself, which shows that he has potential as a decent character if the series continues, rather than as a mindless hissing beast.

Unlike drunk frat boys that spew junk food, Reptile is known for spewing acid, which was the main influence in the creation of this shot. Paired with the Scorpion and Sub-Zero shots, it’s an interesting trio of spicy, frosty, and sour. It’s one of my favorites in the ninja shot collection, as sour apple is one of my favorite flavors in general.

Reptile Shot

Fill a shot glass half full with Sour Apple pucker and top off with Midori melon liqueur. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. Enjoy.

Drunkality #2

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This is about what my creativity has been…

So I finally return to continue this series of boozy beverages. However, I plan on doing one of these once a week rather than feeling like I have to crank these out all at once. That way I can switch between this, countdowns, and discussions on concepts and theories in horror. Think of it like this: would you rather just eat bagel chips or eat Chex Mix? Granted the bagel chips are the tastiest part, but variety is nice.

So let’s keep the booze coming, eh?

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Sub-Zero or…more specifically, Kuai Liang, is more likeable than Hanzo Hasashi in my opinion. Granted he has the standard “vengeance for a deceased sibling” thing going on in the first few appearances he has, but eventually became his own character. Like with all of the characters, he got a lot more character development in the new storyline. He goes through utter hell, being forcibly “cyberized”, dying, being resurrected, being mind controlled, and finally being freed and becoming the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei. He even buries the hatchet with Hanzo…like, for real. And not in his brain.

The (HA!) Polar opposite of Scorpion, Sub-Zero exerts control over ice. Well, any drink could represent him because many alcoholic beverages are served cold. Then I thought of mint, which can enhance the “coolness”  of any beverage. And of course, it has to be blue. -ICE- blue. Har har.

Sub-Zero Shot

Make an ice shot glass if you have the mold for it, however, a regular glass that has set in the freezer will do just fine. Fill the glass half full with Hpnotiq, Top with peppermint schnapps. Enjoy.

Drunkality: #1

Sadly I cannot find the rest of the Mortal Kombat Tag. It’s all a big mess…so what now?

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BRILLIANT.

It has been some time since I have done a booze-related post. I do plan on getting into more horror-themed discussions later on, but this has been LONG overdue.

DRUNKALITY! will be my new Mortal Kombat-themed drink series, because everyone has Mortal Kombat parties involving alcohol, right? Take a shot every time one of the Cage family makes a lame joke? Every time Scorpion does something grim-dark? Every time Raiden progressively becomes the worst person ever? You’d be trashed in a few minutes!

So let’s begin with the most popular character in the series: Mr. Hanzo Hasashi, also known as Scorpion.

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I’m not really a fan of the character, but I can understand why he is so popular. I mean, a rope-spear wielding ninja Ghost Rider with 100% less Nicholas Cage. I did enjoy the character development he received in the alternate timeline as he became something more than just “emo flame zombie ninja”, and served as a teacher to Takeda. It was honestly great to see him regain his humanity, and, although I am skeptical on the success of the series without one of its major villains, (haha, nobody dies in MK), it was good to see him finally get his revenge.

Scorpion is most famous for being on fire and having attacks relating to fire. I’m someone who has crafted some fiery beverages in her day, I welcomed this challenge. As a bit of a note, the Ninjas of this series will be represented as shots so that if desired, the drinks can be consumed in rapid succession. I am not kidding when I say that this is the “meanest” spicy drink I have made as it has nothing to cool down the fire, making it especially well paired with the upcoming Sub-Zero shot.

Scorpion Shot

Fill a shot glass half full with Fireball whiskey and then top off with Cinnamon Schnapps. Add a dash (or a few) of Sriracha sauce depending on how masochistic you are. Enjoy.

30 Days of Mortal Kombat: Part Two

2: Least Favorite Character(s)

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Oh there are SO many…I don’t know if I can pick just one? As much as I love Deadly Appliance (Alliance) for rounding out some great characters and introducing characters like Kenshi, Bo’ Rai Cho and Nitara, I really really question the logic behind the “Red Dragon”.

Seriously? Who even are these dumbasses? Who the hell is this little hack using hookswords who claimed to have defeated the amazing Kabal? Who is this dumbass in pseudo Nazi gear with a laser chest? They’re trying to make these losers seem important by tying them into the already catastrophic storyline of Armageddon? Lovely.

Mavado and Hsu Hao are literally the worst. They’re that guy who is trying to be cool and edgy and instead looks like a complete moron in the process. I found it amazing that one of the things the Alternate Timeline did was kill them both off hilariously. Even Netherrealm Studios hates these guys, and yet they still manage to have fangirls. Logic. There is none.

Dishonorable Mentions:

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What do I see here? I see one AMAZING character and two poorly developed hacks. Kobra is an obviously cheap ripoff of Ken Masters and Kira is just some wouldbe edgy chick that a fangirl would make. The two of them are not as much of a shame to the makers of the series as Mavado and Hsu Hao, but they have been reduced to injokes in X, with Erron Black stating that he killed Kobra in casual dialogue, and Kung Lao making fun of Kano by calling him Kira. The only members of the Black Dragon I want to see or hear about are Kabal and Kano, let’s leave it that way.

30 Days of Mortal Kombat: Part One

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*techno music*

Although I dismiss it as a fragment of my “edgy emo” past, this hyperviolent, crazy awesome, and unintentionally hilarious series still has a place in my heart. While the series has evolved from “funny” to “nauseating”, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for some characters, fatalities, and other junk. Do I consider myself a member of the fandom? That’s a more difficult question to answer. I consider myself an avid fan, but I would consider this to be one of the most troubling fandoms of all. Between the teenaged boys fapping to dessicated women and the teenaged girls distilling great characters to parodies of themselves, I generally try to avoid being too open about my love for the series so I don’t seem like part of a whole boatload of crazy.

Anyway, let us begin.

1: Favorite Character

This has changed over the years somewhat. I still like Dairou the forehead-zilla and his foe-yay interactions with prettyboy Hotaru. So what’s changed? I’ve finally accepted something that I knew for YEARS since my exposure to Conquest…

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I -fucking love- Quan Chi. He is what I wish every truly evil villain to be- sinister, conniving and manipulative. He’s creepy but elegant and intriguing. Brutal, but cunning. Although I was introduced to him in Conquest, and I absolutely loved him in that, I became a bigger fan with my introduction to Deadly Appliance (Alliance). I lost interest in Mortal Kombat for a VERY long time after Deception, with Armageddon being a complete mess and the reboot being tarnished by what I felt was a pretty crappy plot, but regained it with X thanks in large part to Quan Chi being absolutely amazingly well-crafted for the game. Granted he spends most of the story mode getting beaten up, but his dialogue and mannerisms are on point. Ironically, the game where he actually gets his just desserts is the game where he shines the most. Also, dat voice.

Honorable Mention

I had my doubts about X starting over with what basically amounted to a whole new cast. A whole new group of young champions from Earthrealm, (which are also great characters) were introduced, but it wasn’t them that caught my attention…

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It was the new Kahn. Kotal Kahn is such an interesting character. While his predecessor fell into the pitfall of being a cliche angry villain who likes yelling a lot, Ko’atal is more of an anti-hero, as in he’s not that terrible of a person, just prone to doing foolish and evil things when under duress. He served as the Blood God to the Mayan people at one point, and oh does it show, as 90% of what he does involves drawing blood in some manner. He even gets the “heart rip” fatality this time and it actually makes sense with his character. He, oddly enough, reminds me a LOT of the Pillar Men of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, in both appearance and mannerisms, and I think that’s part of why I like him. I think it will be neat to see what Netherrealm Studios does with this guy, and hope they don’t simply find a way to dispose of him.