NEO Zone

NEO Zone

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Island of the Dolls

On a creepy island in a creepy swamp south of Mexico City there’s a place that looks like the stuff of nightmares and horror movies. Here, among the scraggily branches and dead trees hang hundreds of old, mangled dolls.

The winding canals of Mexico City’s ancient Xochimilco district harbour a disturbing and exceptional locale. Within the meandering waterways of the quiet wetlands, eighteen miles from the city’s centre and away from the mariachi bands and most of the colourful trajineras, lies a small island on Teshuilo Lake where a spectacle can be seen that is so unique and macabre it is quickly gaining worldwide infamy. Amid the native trees and the overgrown wetland flora that populates the diminutive island, thousands of children’s dolls cling to branches, tree trunks and other unusual perches, all in varying states of decay. Their sightless eyes and lifeless limbs swaying silently in the gentle Aztecan breezes until the veil of night falls upon the land and, as the local residents claim, the dolls become animated by the spirits of the dead and beckon the unwary to a watery grave.

Half a century ago, in the late 1950s, Don Julian Santana Barrera moved away from his wife and family and came to inhabit the island, which was then a lonely, uncultivated spot and seemingly perfect for Julian’s hermit-like requirements. A native of the Xochimilco district of La Asunción, he had been an able farmer and had wandered the settlement’s streets selling his produce from a wheelbarrow. Despite being profoundly religious he eventually fell into alcoholism and began begging for money to supplement his income. He was soon labelled a drunken nuisance and the local people tired of his drink-fuelled behaviour. It wasn’t long before he was moved on and, bitter at his treatment, he sought a peaceful refuge away from the meddling of other people. Somehow, he found Teshuilo Lake and he decided to settle on the little island.

But Julian would not find serene solitude for long. A child’s voice he claimed, a mere whisper on the wind, would speak to him and the message it gave interrupted his solace forever. What the voice whispered is up for debate, but where it came from is the stuff of local legend.

It is said that many years before Julian’s tenure, in the 1920s, three young girls were playing on the island, only for one to drown, falling into the murky waters near the small pier. The neighbouring inhabitants claimed that the dead girl’s spirit still lingered on the island, unwilling or unable to sever itself from the corporeal world and find the peace that she sought. The island soon gained a degree of local infamy and few dared to trespass on the supposedly haunted land, especially at night when strange voices could be heard. Now, with Julian’s arrival, the drowned girl’s spirit once again had someone to talk to, and she told him of the manner of her demise and made a request of Julian, asking him for offerings of dolls, not only so she might have something to play with but also to ward off the ancient, evil spirits that wandered the prehistoric wetlands. Julian listened to the girl’s plea, and, wanting to appease the spirits, soon began to scour the area, searching the rubbish dumps and plucking any unwanted dolls from the flowing waters of the gloomy canals.

For decades it seemed that Teshuilo Lake was forgotten by the outside world and Julian made the place his home away from the living, tilling the earth and collecting dolls. But then in 1990 the entire area of Xochimilco was named a site of national heritage. A multi-million pound civic program was undertaken three years later to clean up the canals, and soon water traffic once again passed by the island.

At first the people considered Julian to be something of a madman; a crackpot who would fish discarded dolls out of the canals because he thought they were real children that he could nurse back to life, but eventually it was realised that he was merely a harmless old man with an eccentric habit. In addition, he had cultivated such a superb garden that the locals began to trade with him for his produce, bringing of course, old dolls to swap for the fresh fruit, vegetables and other plants that he grew. And so, the island was nicknamed La Isla de las Muñecas (The Island of Dolls) and the plastic inhabitants were joined by more and more of their ilk, until hundreds of assorted dolls hung from the branches and foliage.

But no amount of dolls seemed to slake the spirit’s thirst, and soon hundreds turned into thousands as the island became festooned with the strange offerings, an ever-growing memorial dedicated to appeasing the young girl’s lingering spirit and keeping the evil forces at bay. Julian even went so far as constructing a small shack for the purpose of housing a shrine dedicated to the little girl and the most special dolls he was given.

On April 21st, 2001, Julian enlisted the help of his nephew, Anastasio Velazquez, to move mud and water from a small section of the canal in preparation to plant pumpkins. It was ten o’clock on a bright Tuesday morning and after the laborious task they shared a small meal before going fishing.

After a while Julian put down his rod and began to sing. He told Anastasio that what he called ‘mermaids’ had recently been calling out to him from the depths of the canals, urging him to follow them and enter their aquatic domain. The strange beings had been beckoning to him all day, but Julian insisted that they had visited him many times before and that singing would keep them at bay. The two men carried on fishing together until Anastasio left to tackle some errands. When he returned shortly after eleven o’ clock, he discovered his uncle floating face down in the canal near the small pier –almost at the exact same spot where the girl had also lost her life.

 Xochimilco coroners pronounced Julian’s cause of death to be heart failure, but had the eighty-year-old finally given in to the otherworldly voices and followed their instructions, entering into the deathly grip of the gloomy waters, never to emerge alive just like the young girl that he insisted whispered to him from beyond the grave? Even now, some people think Julian’s spirit has joined the drowned girl’s and attached itself to the island, wandering among the decaying dolls and warding off sightseers.
Despite Julian’s passing the dolls remain behind to stare at the visitor with eerie, inexpressive eyes. That is if they have any eyes at all; many of them are headless, limbless and burnt and all have been discoloured by the elements, in many cases creating even more unnatural and disturbing visions: a curious mixture of neglect and love that swing silently, forebodingly in the trees. Everywhere the visitor looks, mottled, blistered faces stare back. Even the flora and fauna have come to live with the island’s plastic denizens with plant-life sprouting from acceptable perches and exotic spiders living within doll’s cavities, their webs spun inside mouths and eye sockets.

In spite of their decay, the dolls are still said to become animated at night and move and whisper to travellers, offering a ghastly invitation to visit their home and perhaps perish in the waters surrounding it. Anastasio does not live on the island, but he claims that he himself has witnessed the dolls moving by themselves, turning their heads and twisting their limbs unnaturally. Is this the spirit of the drowned girl as the locals insist, or has Julian’s phantom attached itself to the island he came to love? Whatever the truth is, La Isla de las Muñecas remains an striking sight and the four hour round-trip to the island is becoming ever more popular, and, since Julian’s demise, La Isla de las Muñecas is set to be one of Mexico's strangest tourist attractions, with visitors bringing offerings of candles, sweets and of course, dolls. It is their donations that allow Anastasio to take care of the island and keep it open. “Some days we have up to 50 visitors,” says Anastasio. “Other days no one will come, but the average number is 20.” Television program makers are also becoming a regular source of income for Anastasio and the curious island of dolls is fast-accruing world-wide fame.

Originally published in Ghost Voices Magazine

Friday, June 10, 2011

Video Game Movie 'Asteroids' Off-Earth Plot Revealed

Video Game Movie 'Asteroids' Off-Earth Plot Revealed + Emmerich?

June 8, 2011
Source: Vulture
by Alex Billington
Universal Asteroids

A couple of years back (wow) it was announced that Universal was going to adapt the classic arcade game Asteroids, a game which consists of nothing but lines and dots, into a feature film. How? We now have the answer. Although we did write an article after the news saying what it would be "about", there wasn't much to the concept, which is what we're really looking to find out. Vulture is now reporting news that not only is Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) the top choice for director - he's apparently been "offered" the job - but they also reveal more info about the plot and it sounds pretty cool.

We're not calling this as an Emmerich-directed movie yet, because he's only been offered the director's chair and there's no saying whether he'll take it. Emmerich seems to be focused on developing his own unique projects, from 2012 being a package he created to his more intimate Anonymous flick coming up. However, the plot and setup for this Asteroids movie needs a big director like Emmerich because it takes place... after Earth has already been destroyed by aliens. (Awesome.) Writing the script is Matt Lopez (Race to Witch Mountain, The Sorcerer's Apprentice) for Transformers franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

Here's how Vulture goes on to explain what the concept for this Asteroids movie is all about:
"We're told it's an ersatz sequel to world-ending Emmerich films like Independence Day and 2012, but one in which the aliens have won. The remnants of human civilization are now living on far-flung colonies within an asteroid belt alongside aliens. The survivors were led to believe that this alien civilization was benevolent, rescuing them from doom, but ultimately discover that the aliens have engineered Earth's destruction, and soon will do the same for the rest of humankind."

Now, there's good and bad things about what they say. First, it reminds me of The Last Starfighter or even Wing Commander (dare I mention that film), which is exactly the epic space adventure movie I always want to see, especially out of something like an adaptation of Asteroids. Now that's the bad part - this is basically some sympathy-turns-to-revenge kind of story where we find out Earth was destroyed by aliens all along, we'll probably get a cool flashback, then watch as a young maverick starfighter takes on the asteroid belt. Sounds a bit cheesy, but what do you expect for what might potentially be a Roland Emmerich movie? This could either turn out great or terrible, and considering it's yet another video game adaptation, I'm worried.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Autographed Army of Darkness (Atari 2600)

Army of Darkness (Atari 2600)

Cartridges were made to be signed by Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Tom Sullivan and Timothy Quill at the Spooky Empire Event May 27-29, 2011 in Orlando, Florida USA. The label was designed with black space to allow the autographs to be clear. This is an original game designed for the Atari 2600 and will play just like one of the original games for the system.

If you want more details on the game itself, See this post:

Here are photos of the carts being signed.

Death by flying bear (News)

Death by flying bear

A young Ottawa woman and her friend were killed on Monday night in a bizarre collision involving two vehicles and a bear on Highway 148 in the Pontiac. Police say a vehicle traveling eastbound near Luskville, Quebec. hit the 300-pound black bear at about 10:30, sending the animal into the opposite lane.

The bear was then struck by an oncoming car, sending the animal through the windshield and out the back window. "Add the weight of the bear, about a 300-pound bear, plus the speed of the vehicle, it's a deadly impact," said Const. Martin Fournel, spokesperson for MRC-des-Collines-de-l'Outaouais.

The two occupants of the first car escaped injury. However, two people in the second vehicle were killed instantly - those victims have been identified as a 25-year-old female driver from Ottawa and her friend, 40-year-old Steven Leon from Gatineau, who was riding in the back seat. The bear was also killed. - CTV

The Walking Dead (Season 2 Zombie Pics)

AMC has released the first bit of information on the second season of The Walking Dead. It is just two pictures of zombies. Season two is filming now in Georgia and should be set for October.

That zombie has some funky eyes. I can't wait for Season Two to start. If you missed Season One, Be sure to pick up the DVD.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Filmmakers The Chiodo Brothers Talk Killer Klowns From Outer Space

The Chiodo Brothers, Charles and Stephen Chiodo, appeared October 9, 2010 at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. They answered a series of questions from the host and the audience, almost entirely focusing on "Killer Klowns From Outer Space". (The Chiodos have also worked on "Critters" and "Team America: World Police", among many others.)

As I cannot differentiate between the two men's voices, their answers will simply be listed as "Chiodo Brothers" (unless it's obvious who is who), under the assumption that anything one says the other would agree with.

Transcribed by Gavin Schmitt.

Music Box: Alright guys, with killer klowns and acidic pies and all this... where did the idea start? 

Chiodo Brothers: A single conversation. I was trying to figure out what the most frightening thing possible would be, and for me, it was driving down aroad at night, having someone pass you on the left, and when I turned to see who it was, it was a clown. A clown driving a car. A clown being where it shouldn't be is scary. And then we said, what if the clown wasn't in a car? And we decided if a clown came up beside you and it wasn't in a car, it would have to be from outer space. It's one of the primal fears: spiders, snakes and clowns.

MB: The film has many scenes that go from funny to scary and back and forth. What was the writing process like? 

CB: We tried to create what we call "candy-coated kills". We took ever circus and carnival motif we could but put a twist on it. We tried to do with the toilet bowl what Alfred Hitchcock did for the shower. One time we had a fan come up and tell us that we hit on his wife's two phobias: she's afraid of clowns and she's afraid of the toilet.

MB: How were you guys able to bring all this to the table? 

CB: Really old school technology. It was a low budget film, and we got our friends to do the miniature and animation effects. It was really pulling all our friends and family together. But the imagery came from our influences, like the Corman films, the AIP films. Everything was done conventionally. There were hand puppets, and there was stop motion animation. The shadow puppet gag was all stop motion.

MB: A lot of people love the look of the klowns -- the face, the costume, everything. Can you take us through the process of making one of these? 

CB: I thought they would be like these giant, looming quiet things. But then we wanted them to be more maniacal. And they're aliens. Maniacs in clown makeup attack people with knives. But these are aliens, so we wanted more fantasy. We tried to make a new life form that just happened to look like clowns, create a new mythology. Albino-type skin, but a new life form.

MB: Where did the laugh come from? 

CB: Yeah, actually, originally the klowns didn't speak at all. But as we went through various cuts, we realized we needed to give them a language. The director of the music video ended up doing the voices. They say things like "modo", and maybe saying we gave clowns a brain would be going too far, but we wanted them to have a kind of crazy intelligence.

MB: Is there ever a reaction that people have to your movies that really stands out in your mind? 

CB: You know, it's funny, to be creative artists and do something to express ourselves and to get the reaction we got tonight is just amazing. You laughed in the right places, and it was great. But yet, I was really surprised, because everyone applauded when Dave came out of the car. I was really surprised, because there's this love triangle going on there, and in the original script Dave got killed. He did not survive the blast, only the Terenzi Brothers did. And I noticed you didn't applaud them. It's interesting, our executive at TransWorld told us, "guys, it isn't that kind of movie where you have to kill the hero." So we came up with this ending where Dave crawls into the car and survives. We shot the whole thing i na parking lot after the rest of the film had wrapped. The car came down, they came out, and then we hit them with pies. But the executive was right. You want to laugh and feel happy when you leave the theater. Of course, if you look at the timing closely, he couldn't have made it. So remember, if there's an atomic bomb or something, hide in the freezer with the ice cream.

MB: I think Indiana Jones just did that. What was it like working with John Vernon? 

CB: He was great, one of the real pros we had in the show. He showed up, and John was making sure I got respect from the crew as a first-time director, and made sure I got the time i needed to work with him. He was great with comic timing. The scene where the klown squirts him with the flower in the police station, I directed it so there's one squirt and John reacted, and I was fine with that. John said, "No, let's have him squirt me once, wait a second, and then one big burst." We did that, at John's suggestion.

MB: And the ventriloquist scene? 

CB: The ventriloquist scene was really bringing to the film what we thought was scary in the first place. Clowns may be scary, but ventriloquist dummies top even clowns.

MB: Was the film dubbed over? 

CB: No, but it should have been. We had the worst sound mix. We found a cheaper place that would give us the same deal for two weeks as the expensive palce would for one. Then it was cut to one week, so we had one week in the bad place. The soundboard blew up, we had to loop some extra lines in there. We were sitting there, saying "raise that, lower that, this sounds perfect" and after we finish it the technician tells us that what we have been hearing is not necessarily what has been laid down. What the fuck are we doing?

MB: What about a sequel? 

CB: We've been working on a sequel ever since the first one came out, but it's a bunch of legal ramblings, with the film getting tossed from one studio to another. We are working on it, we have a great concept, and we've now been working on it so long that we debated between a sequel and a regular remake. We did both. We have content in it that will introduce it to new audiences, but there's material in there that will make it a really great sequel. The only problem is that after 22 years of ideas, we've tried to throw it all into one thing. We have three or four movies' worth.

MB: Any backlash from the clown industry? 

CB: I get letters and threats like you wouldn't believe. No, no, that's not true. But they may have shut down the Ringling Clown College because of us. We talk to a lot of people, and let me ask you: how many of you are afraid of clowns? (audience roars) How many like clowns? (bigger roar) No, that's scary! Most people have a phobia. We did meet one guy who said our movie was bad for the kiddies, so we told him, "You know what? You're kinda bad for the kiddies." He's a clown performer and he says peopel crystallize at a very young age, and he was afraid about a person who doesn't look like a person walking into your space. That first impression could stick with you for life.

MB: What was it like working with the Dickies? 

CB: They were great! It was interesting, one of our crew knew the Dickies, and he asked them, "Hey guys, do you want to write a song for Killer Klowns From Outer Space?" They knew only the title, and those guys came up with that really great song. What's cool is I think they brought i na whole different audience than we had intended. Now we get these hard rockers that love the Dickies and who love the film.

MB: I've been wondering this for fifteen years: why is Mike making out with Debbie on a raft? 

CB: Mike Tobacco and the Terenzi Brothers went out one night on the raft in Long Island Sound, the police were looking for them, and when they got back Mike's father was so mad he took a knife and stabbed the raft. Mike Tobacco entertains the ladies in the back of his Pinto with a rubber raft. We had to dub over that, because two people rolling around in a rubber raft makes fart sounds. We didn't know that, but after we heard the fart sounds we had to dub the dialogue over the top of that. That explanation is in the movie. Debbie asks why the raft is in the car and Mike tells her the story. But we had to cut it from the film because we had too much exposition. We thank MGM for giving us a great DVD to put some of that back on the disc.

MB: How many scenes did you have to cut out of the film? 

CB: Mostly in the beginning of the film, stuff with Mike and Debbie, like them in the woods and him trying to scare her. Typical horror stuff. We just wanted to get to the klowns. We figured you have to see a klown in the first reel, the first ten minutes, or you lose the audience. There is another scene, a tragedy of this being a low budget movie. They are in the tent, and they are walking a tightrope. The tightrope becomes a staircase ,and they go up above into something coming out sideways into the Room of Doors. They open a door, a klown comes out, and they shoot its head off. It was cut because of technical problems. It was a labor of love, and we appreciate how supportive the fans have been.
Gavin adds: In a private conversation that evening, the Chiodo Brothers explained that there are no female klowns. This is why the men went into cotton candy and the women went into balloons. The two female klowns who slept with the Terenzi Brothers are not actually female, but male transvestites. A possible plot for the sequel involves the Terenzis being pregnant with the klown babies. How they intend to explain the 20-plus year gap remains a mystery.

Interesting notes -

* Harrod Blank auditioned as an extra, but the Chiodos liked him enough that he played the part of seven different klowns.

* Grant Cramer would wind down after the night's filming (all filming was done at night) by playing Pong.

* After filming the nights scenes for a while, and then switching to interior shots, the cast voted to continue shooting at night to keep their sleep schedules. Suzanne Snyder said this was the only bad thing about shooting the film: trying to correct her sleep when it was all over. Shooting took about 2 months.

* Suzanne Snyder did all of her own stunts, getting bruised up, with one exception: the scene where the stunt klown (Mike Martinez) hits the hood of the car. Since there was a chance he might go through the windshield, for that brief scene they had a stand-in.

* Many of the special effects were very low-tech. For example, the scene where the cast is running away from the monster... this is a simple shot where they are running in the background and a small toy is placed an inch from the camera, making it appear larger.

* The klowns could rarely see where they were going, and could almost never hear. There were loud motors in the klown heads controlling facial expressions, so the grinding of the motors was all that could be heard. Also, the heads were very, very warm and sweaty.

* Talks of a sequel have been in the works for a while. They went nowhere because the film's original owner, TransWorld, went under and nobody knew who had the film's rights. Actors were not getting residual checks. Eventually MGM picked it up, and released it on DVD. In a short time, they sold 700,000 copies, making a considerable profit. The chances of a sequel are better now than ever. The cast is interested and the Chiodos have a script. They just need funding.

* Grant Cramer had an interesting relationship with assistant property master Mark Barofsky (who is now deceased). Mark insisted on calling Grant "Gram". There was a day or two on set where Grant was sick and had to leave on short notice. He would nod to the director and then run off the set. He would then return a few minutes later. This happened repeatedly. After shooting was over, Grant's agent called him up and said, "Grant, we have a problem. The rumor is that you have a coke addiction, and it's so bad you have to run off the set in the middle of shooting to get more coke, and they have nicknamed you 'gram'." It apparently took a bit of convincing to play down that rumor.

Original article by 
Gavin Schmitt

Friday, May 20, 2011

Alien Menace (Atari 2600) Story


An Original Story for the Atari 2600 game Alien Menace by: Eric (Mindfield) March

They were all dead.

Somehow, it was different when it was the enemy. That was the job -- killing the Kryll. One or a hundred of them, it didn't matter; they all looked the same when their corpses littered the ground, and you were glad to see it. It meant you were earning your paycheque. But that was on their world, sectors away; a universe apart on every concievable level. When the smoke cleared and your shift was over, you dug yourself out from the rubble and took your ship back to the home you knew waited for you. Back to Earth. Back to your family.

Everything was fine as long as things stayed that way. Sure, there was always the danger that you'd be wounded or killed in action. Nobody said working for the OMC was a safe job. We were marines, with all of the perks and dangers that went with the title. The Outer Marine Corps provided well, though. Heavy armor and even heavier ordnance. The Kryll were no match for our technology. What they lacked in weaponry they made up for in every other area: Speed, cunning, determination, and most alarmingly, numbers.

Krylian, their homeworld, was a good three times the size of Earth, and the Kryll seemed to fill every land mass almost to overflowing; there were tens of billions of them. Their cities, primitive by comparison, sprawled across the planet to the point where there simply wasn't any more land to build on. That's how we found them -- or rather, they found us. They had grown so numerous that their world faced famine and death unless they found new habitable digs to settle on. Obviously they weren't very good urban planners or they would have done that long ago.

But that's how their problem became ours. It had begun as peaceful talks with their assembled consuls. They wanted to emigrate to Earth. We would have none of it; Earth was pretty crowded as it was, and we certainly had no room for Kryll in the numbers they were talking about. The Kryll disagreed, though. Earth still brimmed with untouched wilderness, desert and forest land that, properly terraformed, could serve the purpose ideally. The Kryll had no love for nature; theirs was a life of survival and it left no room for such trivialities as art or beauty. It was at that point that the talks broke down and the Kryll recalled their emissaries, seeming to withdraw all of their interest from Earth.

We should have known better. By our standards, the Kryll weren't what we would have called an advanced species, but they were desperate. Desperation makes for an unpredictable and very dangerous adversary. That one fateful day, our routine mission through their sector met a not-so-routine Kryll sortie bent on our destruction. We were caught off-guard. Their fighters were poorly armed, and we managed to make quick work of them, but not before I lost three of my best wingmen. We limped home to report our misadventure.

That's how it all started, now three years past. The war waged steadily, but all we managed to do is staunch the flow. Their numbers were such that they could build ships and weaponry just as fast as we could destroy it. Worse, they just seemed to grow more desperate every day, and the more of our fighters they downed the more they were able to study and ultimately reproduce our own technology. By the day they became more fearsome foes while their numbers didn't diminish appreciably. They became a cancer, yet we have been little more than a daily chemo treatment. Our only saving grace was that they had yet to figure out how to reproduce a StellarDrive engine. Their range was limited to their own sector without it. It was only a matter of time before they did, of course -- that inevitability was what drove our own technologists to devise better weaponry so that we might defeat them before this happened. We figured there was time yet.

But we underestimated them. They weren't dumb. They had scientists of their own, and the war had done them the favour of handing our technology over to their scientists to be reverse-engineered. It might have been a mystery to them in the beginning, but any puzzle can be solved given enough time, thought and perseverence. Their desperation made them work all the harder to achieve that end. It followed then that the arrival of several hundred Kryllian battle cruisers in our sector caught us all completely unprepared. They materialized just beyond the Moon. There was no warning, no time to mobilize. Their attack pummeled the Earth from every direction. Their lack of familiarity with terrestrial geography made their targets random, but their numbers ensured a devastatingly effective strafe run. It was all I could do to dodge plasma bolts that made my hair stand on end and my skin feel like it was being peeled whole from my body. I was saved only by my proximity to my fighter. I hopped in and bolted like a rabbit with a gun to its tail. Pitching and yawing through enemy fire, I made my way to a nearby gorge where I landed and took refuge in a shallow cave until the dust cleared.

It seemed like forever, and yet but a heartbeat. When it was over, the silence crashed in like mute waves. It was absolute. It sounded like death. I got back into my fighter and flew out of the gorge, back to the base. Suddenly I didn't feel so lucky; the base lay in utter ruins. Neither structure nor craft survived the barrage. It lay flattened and smouldering, looking nothing so much like the shockwave from a nuclear bomb had swept over, leaving a path of charred debris and twisted metal in its wake.

They were all dead. All of them. My CO. My platoon. My friends.

My family.

It was overwhelming. There was just too much to process. My soul just couldn't handle it. I felt something inside of me fade and die, like an ember consuming its last meal. Smoky debris lay all around me, in front of me, beneath my feet -- inside me. The world tasted like ashes. I looked up. The cruisers had departed -- presumably moving on to other locations, other targets. The sky was clear. The stars twinkled between streamers of acrid smoke. Stars that brought death upon the world this night. Throughout my life there were always choices to be made, paths to take. You pick the one you think will lead you to where you want to be. Sometimes it's the right path, others, not. Now it seemed as though every path I had taken, every path that lay before me, all merged into one. One path. One choice.

I walked back to my fighter, oddly serene in the face of such shocking tragedy. I didn't need the instrumentation of my craft to plot my course. It was already set. My actions now were predetermined. There was no going back -- there was nothing to go back to. There was only now, and the hope of a future. It was mad, of course. To think that I stood any chance at all was absurdity of the highest order. It didn't matter. None of it mattered anymore. I was all that was left. The decision was never mine to make. The path was clear.

I would kill every last one of them. 

Alien Menace (Atari 2600)

ALIEN MENACE for the Atari 2600

You pilot a Star Fighter over what is left of your Home-world. The attack came so fast that you are the only fighter that was able to get airborne, no one else survived!!!

It's just you and them. Wipe out the ALIEN MENACE and take your revenge!!

Alien Menace is a hack of River Raid. Shoot everything for points. Shoot the U.F.O's that have landed for an additional bonus. Watch your fuel. Re-fuel by passing over the fuel towers.

 I walked back to my fighter, oddly serene in the face of such shocking tragedy. I didn't need the instrumentation of my craft to plot my course. It was already set. My actions now were predetermined. There was no going back -- there was nothing to go back to. There was only now, and the hope of a future. It was mad, of course. To think that I stood any chance at all was absurdity of the highest order. It didn't matter. None of it mattered anymore. I was all that was left. The decision was never mine to make. The path was clear. I would kill every last one of them.

A special contest version of Alien Menace was used at Digital Press Videogames for a meeting of N.A.V.A..

The Contest Cartridge rules were a little different from the normal game:
-Disable Game Select so only the first game can be played.
-Disable A-B switches.
-Player only gets one ship and no extra lives are awarded.

                                     Video of the Alien Menace Contest Cartridge in action.

A Special label was made for the three Contest Cartridges that were made.

Actual Contest Cartridges

Friday, April 22, 2011

Army of Darkness (Atari 2600)

Autograph Edition Label

Army Of Darkness (Atari 2600)

My name is Ash. Close as I can figure it the year is 1300 AD. It wasn't always like this... I had a real life, once. 
I had a wonderful girlfriend, Linda. Together we drove to a small cabin in the mountains.  It seems an archaeologist had come to this remote place to translate and study his latest find: Necronomicon ex Mortis, the Book of the Dead. Bound in human flesh and inked in blood, this ancient Sumarrian text contained bizarre burial rites, funerary incantations and demon resurrection passages.  It was never meant for the world of the living.  The book awoke something dark in the woods.  It took Linda, and then it came, for me.  It got into my hand and it went bad, so I lopped it off at the wrist.  But that didn't stop it.  It came back. Big time.
For God's sake!  How do you stop it?!


They're coming!  The Deadites approach!

There's so damn many of them.  Maybe... just maybe my boys can stop them from gettin' the book.  Yeah, maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot.

Army of Darkness is a new Atari 2600 game based on the Army of Darkness (Evil Dead 3) movie starring Bruce Campbell. You are Ash (Bruce Campbell) sent back in time to protect the Necronomicon and keep it from falling into the hands of the Deadite Army. In a Castle under siege by Deadites you are the last line of defense. The castle gates have fallen and you must keep the Deadites from crossing the drawbridge and entering the keep. Let one Deadites get by and it's Game Over, For Everyone!

Army of Darkness is a shooting game. Blast away at the Deadites as they cross the drawbridge. The Deadites will attack in different formations and speeds. Levels are broken up by Bosses who take multiple hits so watch out for Evil Ash and a Giant Skeleton.

Game features DIGITIZED VOICE! At the beginning of each game Bruce Campbell says,  
" Hail to the King Baby ".

Army of Darkness was made to be signed by Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Timothy Quill at the Spooky Empire Event May 27-29, 2011 in Orlando, Florida USA. The label was designed with black space to allow the autographs to be clear. This is an original game designed for the Atari 2600 and will play just like one of the original games for the system.

More information soon...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Hidden House (Paranormal)

(NEW INFO ADDED 04-28-2013)

The Riddle House
Many of you have heard of the Riddle House located in the Yesteryear Village in West Palm Beach, Florida. Also known as The Painted Lady. The Riddle House was featured in an episode of the first season of Ghost Adventures. But few know of the second haunted location in the Village known as the Civil War Captains House. The Captains House was mentioned very briefly in the same episode of Ghost Adventures. 
It was said that the two houses seemed to feed off of each other and that activity escalated when the Riddle House was moved to the Village. Workers would unlock the buildings in the morning and items in both houses would be moved or broken and tossed around the rooms. Here are two pictures of the Captains House as presented in the Ghost Adventures episode.
Captains House as seen on Ghost Adventures
Originally The Captains House was set up as a Civil War Confederate Captains House. It featured Civil War items and had a large Confederate flag on the back wall. This type of house is one big room with a front door and a back door. When it was featured on Ghost Adventures it was set up as a Veterans House showcasing World War I and II items.

So why the change? The Civil War House was run by an elderly man named Rose. He would tell people that would listen that the house was haunted. I have talked to someone that worked at another house that knew Rose well and they told me of an experience that they had one night in the house in the company of Rose.

Captains House as seen on Ghost Adventures
It seems that Rose kept a bottle of whiskey hidden in the house and each night toasted the brave soldiers of the Confederacy before locking up for the night. Rose poured two shots of whiskey handed one to the guest and said, "Watch This".  He toasted the soldiers and pointed to the flag on the wall. The flag began to ripple as if being blown in the wind, But all the windows and both doors were closed.

O.K., So what happened to the original Captains House? Rose was not seeing eye to eye with the management in the Village and one day could not take it anymore. After an argument he walked out of the Village for good and his last words were, "When I die I am going to haunt this place!". Unfortunately for Rose that would be less then thirty days after he walked out.

The house was soon set up as it was shown on the Ghost Adventures episode. It was now the Veterans House. It didn't take long for the problems to begin and this is what was referred to on the Riddle House episode. When the house was unlocked in the morning the American Flag would be knocked down or turned over. Items would be broken and guns would be taking down and lined up on the floor. Eventually no one wanted to deal with it and the house was shut down.

The Captains House as it appears today
Why is it called the Hidden House? The house has been moved to the other side of the property in a location that is out of the flow of guest and as far away as possible from the Riddle House. The house has had all signs and posters removed and has been repainted. The identifying plate that named the house and gave basic information has been removed. And last the house is locked and not open to the public.

Was the house abandoned and locked due to a haunting? Is it the same haunt that Rose mentioned? Or has Rose returned to make good on his threat?

The Captains House as it appears today

If you visit the Yesteryear Village to see the Riddle House don't forget to check out the Captains House. The house is located just East of the main Village entrance. You will have to walk around other buildings to reach it.

 Be sure to say Hi to Rose and if so inclined salute the brave soldiers of the Civil War.
****NEW INFORMATION 04-28-2013****

Inside The Captains House. The Pineapple Museum
The Captains House has now been reopened as a museum to the once thriving Pineapple Industry in Florida. And strange things have already happened.

A young man came in and started talking to the guy in the chair at the back of the room, Except the chair was empty. Also a man has been seen walking inside the building after it has been locked up. Could this be the previous caretaker Rose? Or is it one of the Confederate Soldiers shot and killed while hiding in this building?

Blood stains from Civil War Soldiers?
There are several spots along the floor at the back of the room. It is claimed that these are blood stains from the Confederate Soldiers that were killed in this building? Are they really blood stains?

This building was used as workers quarters when it was originally built. Supposedly the younger children of the workers would be locked in this building during the day. There were several deaths of children but the causes are unknown.

The volunteers who run the Pineapple Museum are more then happy to discuss the haunting going on in the Captains House (Unlike the neighboring Riddle House), And like me you will also get to learn about a Florida Industry that I never knew existed. Commercial growing of Pineapples. Be sure to visit the Captains House when you go to Yesteryear Village. It is still tucked away in the corner. Take a chance and sit in the chair and see if anything happens.