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LET’S PLAY Alien Isolation

Twisted Tales Presents:

Let’s Play Alien Isolation

It is a new month and that means a it’s time for a new Let’s Play. I have been a fan of the Alien franchise ever since I was far too young to be allowed to watch them. When I found the game Alien Isolation at the store a couple of weeks ago I knew that this game would be the perfect fit for my channel.

For the first two episodes of Let’s Play Alien Isolation visit my Youtube Channel!

alien-isolation

For those of you who are not familiar with this game, Alien Isolation is a survival horror video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It is playable on PC, Xbox and Playstation platforms.

As the name would suggest, Alien Isolation is set in the world of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and it’s subsequent sequels. The story of this game occurs between Alien and Aliens; approximately fifteen years after the end of the original movie.

The main protagonist is Amanda Ripley, henceforth known in my Let’s Play as Little Ripley, who is the daughter of movie protagonist Ellen Ripley. Determined to find closure on the disappearance of her motherLittle Ripley is approached by a representative from the Wayland-Yutani Corporation when the flight recorder from the Nostromo is discovered. Little Ripley travels to Sevastopol station to investigate only to find the station damaged and no sign of the crew. The few scattered survivors claim there is a monster on board killing the crew. If that were not bad enough, the stations androids, a force of Working Joe’s, have also turned on the crew.

Can Little Ripley make it safely back to her ship the Torrens and discover what really happened to the crew of the Nostromo?

Alien Isolation focuses mainly on the survival horror aspect of the original series. The alien is the perfect hunter, and Little Ripley is definitely not a Colonial Marine. Huge emphasis is put on hiding or running away because if that monster finds out where you are … well let’s just say it does not end well for Little Ripley.

A feature of the alien enemy worth noting, as I will likely fall prey to it a few hundred times, is the AI. This game has gained some notoriety for the fact that there are no pre-scripted paths for the alien. The most terrifying enemy in the game travels the environment in a randomized pattern. Crossing paths with it in one place does not mean a repeat performance when the game reloads. Now that is terrifying.

Another exciting addition to this game is the use of the Kinect peripheral. Linking the tracking of the Kinect allows the player to peak around corners and turn the camera while hiding from enemies. The microphone will also tip off the aliens if they player makes too much noise. Unfortunately, for the purposes of my let’s play I will not be using the Kinect because A) I do not own a Xbox One version of the Kinect and B) I need to be able to talk during a let’s play. If I happen to get my hands on an Xbox One Kinect I might do a separate mini-series with this function on. In that event I will give my two cents on this feature.

Stay tuned on a post-game review once I have played this game beginning to end.

For the official Alien Isolation website click HERE.

Cheers,

Starchip13

 

Fungi Study 2 – The Last of Us Cordyceps

Fungi Study: The Last of Us

Basis in Reality

As teased in the last post, I have been continuing my fungi study, and this time I am actually tying it back to something nerdy … and totally creepy. Today we are looking at cordyceps.

Imagine breathing in spores and having something has taken root in your nervous system. Soon your body is no longer your own. You begin to act erratically and experiences convulsions. Your nervous system is hijacked, and you go where the parasite wants you to go in order to find optimal growing conditions. You as the host will probably die in this location of natural causes such as dehydration. Meanwhile, the parasitic fungus grows within your brain and will begin to sprout from your head as it matures. It is in this stage the fungus begins to release its spores in order to infect more individuals, and the cycle begins again.

cordy

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is a species of cordyceps that specifically affects ants in rainforest and subtropical climates, and is one of the more well-known varieties. There are over 300 other varieties of cordyceps which are also parasitic. Each type affects its own niche species of insects and other invertebrates, such as shellfish, and some even feed off other species of fungi.

Cordyceps are also widely used in traditional Chinese remedies, and even a few modern medicines. Some varieties are useful for treating coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory issues. Some people also believe that cordyceps supplements will increase vitality, improve performance in high intensity sports, and help increase virility in men.

The Game

The-Last-of-Us1

By now we are all familiar with the hit game from Naughty Dog, The Last of Us. For those of you who have not played the game … go do it right now. I am serious, step away from the computer, go buy the game, and play. Then, come back and continue to read this post. I will wait …

Done? Cool. This article won’t have any major plot spoilers, but The Last of Us is a game everyone should play at least once. Plus, I wouldn’t want to spoil the joy of discovering how unfortunate it is when you have to clear a room full of clickers.

In a world where the media is now so saturated with zombie TV shows, movies and games, it is hard to think of a new or original spin on the concept. Each franchise has its own version of the zombie virus and its origins, but as far as I know The Last of Us is the only zombie story featuring parasitic fungus.

This game is A) amazingly animated and B) heavily story driven in a way that is second only to giants like Bioware. All of that aside, today we are just here to talk about the morphology of the zombies.

The universe of The Last of Us a new species of cordyceps has entered the field, and its host of choice is the human brain. This variety of cordyceps transmits via both the traditional zombie bite, as well as by spores in the advanced stages. The introduction of spores by itself makes this new species of zombie incredibly dangerous because the disease has the potential to be airborne. Depending on the placement of the corpse, a single cordycep infested zombie could potentially infect dozens more humans at the end of its life cycle than when it was moving around trying to feed.

last-of-us-01

Within a few short days after infection a victim of the fungal spores will begin to exhibit the same symptoms as the ants mentioned above. Twitching, convulsions and erratic behavior are signature of a cordycep infection. It is also highly likely that, in humans, a drastic spike in body temperature would occur as the body tries to fight off the foreign invader. High fevers may contribute to the unpredictable behavior and screaming, especially in the early stages when they are classified as “runners”.

Clicker

According to the Last of Us Wiki, it takes between 1-2 weeks for the fungal infection to go into the next stage of development.  Since the human skull is a little tougher to break through than the exoskeleton of an insect, the stocks of the fungi begin to grow out of the eyes. Eventually the host loses all vision and must use a form of echo location in order to move around its environment. At this stage they are called “clickers” or “the bane of my existence”.

It is stated that in this advanced stage of infection clickers possess higher strength, speed and durability than the earlier stages. This is potentially a nod to the real life cordycep use in old Chinese medicine to increase stamina and virility.

Bloater

In insects, the late stages of infection include the stroma (the stalks/tops) of the fungus growing out through the head, and other points of weakness such as the joints. Human bodies are far more … malleable, which results in the final stage called “bloaters”. As the fungus matures the body expands and the fungus begins to produce mycotoxin. Mycotoxin is a natural defense mechanism specific to fungi, and is toxic if ingested by humans. While mycotoxin is not necessarily found in cordyceps, points to the creators for keeping it in the fungi family.

After looking through the stages of development, and observing the different types of stroma, the fungal infection of this universe appears to be a combination of at least two or more real-world species. The fungi ability to produce toxins also suggests traits from other fungi families. Mycotoxin is commonly found in mold which grows on foods such as corn, which is in line with the game’s suggestion that the infection started out growing in crops.

All in all, what we have here in the world of The Last of Us is a near perfect parasite. Just think about the scope if this infection. It is a fungus that feeds on the human brain, rendering all forms of logic and higher cognitive function inactive, and a single infected individual can infect an entire crowd of people once it begins to produce spores. In its infancy, this species of cordyceps can survive and thrive on crops such as corn and wheat, which increases the rate of infection exponentially. Could this new deadly species of fungus have been manufactured as a biological weapon…? Given the evidence and the sheer efficiency of infection it seems to be a likely scenario. Maybe I will revisit that thought in a later article, or maybe I will leave that to the Game Theorists.

For a completely fictionalized species of corcyceps, the game developers did their research, and the result is a completely unique take on zombies in a time where the trope has grown tired. If it is not clear by this point, I 100% recommend this game, not only for the zombies … ok maybe mostly for the zombies … but for the real tug it will give your heart strings as well.

Well, now that I have finally finished I definitely need to go play Last of Us now. Survival mode anyone?

All my information for the game and medical research references are listed in the links below!

LINKS:
Cordyceps Wiki Page - LINK
Web MD - LINK
Last of Us/Naughty Dog - LINK
Last of Us WIKI - LINK

Cheers,

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Needles – Twisted Stitches

Raiding the Stash

I have been putting a lot of emphasis on my Youtube channel and Let’s Play series this week, but fear not I have been working on some crafty things in the background. My artistic projects take a little more time to complete well, so these posts will probably be once a week or so.

Continuing with this month’s theme of stabbing things with needles, I came across my old embroidery hoops while cleaning my room. I have been on a mission to use up some of the crafting supplies I already own, so I decided to pull out my embroidery thread and see exactly how rusty I have become.

I love embroidery for the fact that with a few basic tricks and stitches you can make some pretty stunning compositions. Whether it is a pattern or more illustrative the entire picture is made up of a series of chain or cross stitches.

Wretched Resources

Gone are the days of your Gran’s “Home Sweet Home” framed cross stitches and heirloom embroidered table cloths. This should go without saying, but if you can draw or download a simple image from the internet you can turn pretty much anything into needlework.

Cross stitch makes this particularly easy because as long as you can line up an image to grid paper you can translate it into a sewing pattern. Same goes for embroidery, for which I play fast and loose and do much of my work free hand. I guess I am just a rebel like that…

For everything else there are literally endless resources for patterns on the internet or in books. Take for example my favourite: Twisted Stitches: 30 Corrupt Cross Stitch and Embroidery Designs.twisted-stitches As the title might suggest, this book does not contain any traditional cross stitch designs. Unless you think traditional cross stitch would have been better served with bunny roadkill imagery, in which case I would wholeheartedly agree.

This book is a nice combination of cross stitch pattern, sewing pattern and how-to book. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for completing 30 projects from start to finish. That way you don’t end up like me as a kid with a million useless patches of fabric that aren’t actually sewed into anything, but damn don’t they just look pretty. I still sometimes refer to this book when I need a refresher on certain types of finishes or stitches.

I got my copy on Amazon.ca but my friends in the states can also find it on Amazon.com. If graphic is not your thing Subversive Cross Stitch is another go-to of mine when I’m feeling particularly sassy.

What are your favourite unconventional stitching resources?

What I’ve Been Messing With

Over this past holiday Monday my friends and I had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned stitch-and-bitch party. Each of of brought our respective projects and sat around drinking ungodly amounts of caffeine and sugar.

As mentioned in the beginning, I decided to give embroidery another go. Lacking any patterns (I had not been able to dig out my copy of Twisted Stitches before I left the house) I did everything entirely freehand, which explains the horrid lettering in my first attempt. Oh well, at least the ventricles in my anatomical heart look pretty.

 

My second attempt yielded much more attractive results. They aren’t creepy exactly, but they are darn cute, and it also falls under the category of geeky. If it is not obvious I have Unravel on the brain. Unravel is a new platforming game out just this past week for xbox one and ps4. The main character being made of yarn lends itself well to being embroidered.

IMG_0380

It’s nowhere near finished yet, I am currently working on adding a background to match the style of the game. I aim to have it finished before the end of my Let’s Play. There may even be a speed-embroidery video in the coming weeks…

Starchip13

LET’S PLAY – Alan Wake

An isolated mountain town, an mystery author with writer’s block, and an unspeakable evil darkness infecting the forest. Sounds like a recipe for a fun Friday night.

So i decided to put my money where my mouth is and actually record myself playing video games before I review them. For my first video I am starting with a game I bought around the time it was released, but never got around to finishing.

After about a week of trying to fix technical difficulties at every turn, here it is! My first ever posted let’s play! There were still a few hiccups such as my facecam cutting out at a couple points, but I think I fixed the problem now, so it should not be a problem in future videos.

Let me know what you guys think, and any pointers you might have. I am very new at this and I know I need to work on being a bit more vocal, but overall I am happy with this first attempt.

I will have part 2 out soon hopefully now that I know how to set up my workflow for these projects.

Starchip13

Its a Very Scary Christmas: Krampus

Krampus (2015)

I will be the first to admit that I am more of a Halloween kind of girl than a Christmas enthusiast. I could even go so far as to say the only Christmas-ee movie I actually like is The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that is a 50/50 split on holidays at best. I have to say though, I like the lineup of new Christmas movies this year.

I’m sure by now everyone has seen the trailer for Krampus, which as of this post is coming out tomorrow (December 4th, 2015), and you bet I am going to be first in line to see it. This is the kind of Christmas spirit I can really get behind.

I mean, with a murderous Christmas demon how can this be anything but amazing? Sure, whether or not it will be a good movie over all is unknown, but I expect I will be thoroughly entertained.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the lore behind the Krampus the story goes a little like this:

Often considered the counterpart to Santa Claus … the Anti-Claus if you will *ahem* … the Krampus is a German tale about a demonic creature who dispensed coal to naughty children on the night of December 5th. Some stories even tell of Krampus leaving sticks or canes for the parents to use on their misbehaving children.

The Krampus is also referred to as the yule goat for obvious reasons. Most often he is depicted as a large hairy creature with horns, a tail and the hind legs of a goat.

Naturally, I am particularly interested in seeing the creature design for Krampus in this movie. From the trailer it looks as though he is going to be mainly practical effects, which is a nice break from the CG fest most movies have become. Give me a flesh and latex goat-demon for Christmas anytime!

But wait … there is more. 

The new Krampus movie had me all nostalgic for the Christmas horror movies of old. As I was scouring youtube for trailers from Black Christmas and Santa Slays I came across a movie called A Christmas Horror Story which actually also just came out this year.

Oh my word is it ever glorious.

Wow, Santa really came through for me this year. Not one Krampus themed horror movies, but two? I guess Christmas wishes really do come true.

Reasons why I need to find this movie and watch it:

  1. Krampus looks bad-ass
  2. Santa looks bad-ass
  3. Zombie elves
  4. William Schatner
  5. Promise of an epic one-on-one battle between Santa and Krampus

This film had a limited theatrical release around Halloween and is actually already available on DVD. It also has a 75% on rotten tomatoes, which is surprising for a holiday themed horror movie. The only major complaint I am seeing is the use of four separate story lines to form the narrative, which I can live with so long as it is tied together in a creative way.

At least now I have something interesting to watch while I scramble to finish my last minute Christmas gifts like a mad woman. I think the next order of business is to find as many Krampus themed alcoholic cocktail recipes as humanly possible.

Starchip13

January 2015 Featured Artist: Curious Cephalopods (Kirstie Williams)

Featured Artist: Curious Cephalopods

Deviantart Account: Deeed
Etsy Shop: CuriousCephalopods

I am glad to be back with this month’s round of featured artists for January 2015! This year we are starting with Curious Cephalopods, a curious nautical artist from Deviantart. Let’s get this year started on a good note.

Whilst clicking around on the internet for new and interesting things these cute little hair accessories caught my eye and I just had to share them. I see these pieces being ideal for fans of steampunk or anyone who wants to feel a little Lovecraftian. Need a hairpiece to spice up a wig or something to wear to a masquerade at a con? Or perhaps something interesting to wear any old day as an interesting conversation piece? Look no further.

I have always been a huge fan of process and new mediums, and these hairpieces make me feel inspired. Each piece is made with a ridged foam base with hair layered over top and styled with hairspray and paint. I give two thumbs up for this level of creativity. I have not come across anything like this before!

I highly recommend anyone looking to add some flare to a steampunk or fantasy cosplay to come to this shop. Just imagine one of these hair pieces putting the figurative bow on the top of a steampunk mermaid. Go ahead, I will wait.

These pieces can be purchased at the Curiouscephalopods etsy. The shop is looking a little empty at the moment, but the artist assures me that she is in the process of posting more pieces. If anyone is interested in purchasing a hairpiece in a particular colour, she does take requests. Simply send your request through the etsy shop or deviantart account.

If anyone has any suggestions for future featured artists please leave their name/shop in the comments. In the meantime I will continue to search the internet for curious, cute and creepy things!

Cheers,

Starchip13

Comic Book Review: Porcelain, A Gothic Fairy Tale

Comic Book Review: Porcelain – A Gothic Fairy Tale

Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale
Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale

To take a break from the long winded series I have been reading lately, I had a friend recommend me something new. Sometimes you just need a solid stand-alone graphic novel in your life. My friends must know my taste very well because Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale suits me well.

Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale is a single volume graphic novel by Benjamin Read and Chis Wildgoose; published by Improper Books.

This is the story of a young urchin girl who climbs sneaks onto the property of the Porcelain Maker; a “wizard” who can bring porcelain figures to life. When she ends up living with the reclusive wizard all seems too good to be true at first. She later learns the secrets behind how these beautiful porcelain creatures are brought to life are darker than she could ever have imagined.

For those out there who enjoy classic fairy tales, not the Disney versions but the real Brother’s Grimm style stories of harsh life lessons, then this book comes highly recommended. This is not a happy ended sort of fairy tale. The third act gets seriously grim, no pun intended. I will try to keep this review spoiler free, so if you want to find out exact what I am talking about then you are just going to have to read it for yourself.

I also just have to give two thumbs up for the art style. There is a high level of detail and attention paid to the backgrounds. When a book claims to be a “Gothic” fairy tale I expect some Gothic style art, and in that aspect this book is spot on. The designs of the porcelain figures are wonderful. It makes me tempted to see if I could cast some miniature versions of my own.

Do I recommend this book? Most definitely. Go read it. Now.

Up next on Comic Book Reviews: Colder by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Game Review: Outlast

Game Review: Outlast

Outlast clip
Outlast clip

 

Outlast is a new survival horror video game published by Canadian game company Red Barrel Studios.

The overall plot of the game centers on Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who receives an anonymous tip of illegal activity and abuse of patients at Mount Massive Asylum. Upon arriving at the asylum Miles discovers the staff are missing and the building in near shambles. The patients are left to wander around to their own devices, and some of them react violently to outsiders.

The object of the game is to investigate the atrocities of Mount Massive armed with nothing but a video camera and a reporter’s note pad. Miles is not a cop or marine, although even if he was the player quickly discovers that the SWAT team who arrived before did not fare well even with their guns. Your only options are to hide and use your camera’s night vision functions to navigate past hostile patients and crazed cult members.

Overall, this game as received positive reviews across the board, and its reputation is well earned. There are many elements of horror which Outlast does perfectly. Now, I played Outlast almost immediately after playing The Evil Within and it made me realize the fundamental difference between a horror survival game, and a game with gore and elements of horror survival included.

First off, atmosphere of the sprawling Mount Massive Asylum is terrifying, and large portions of the building are out of power. The range of the camera’s night vision is limited, which means an enemy could be hiding around any corner. Sometimes the best thing a game can do is let the player scare themselves because whatever we conjure up in our own imaginations is probably worse than they could ever hope of achieve.

But not all the inhabitants of the asylum are inherently hostile. Some of them sit in their drug induced stupors or wander around babbling nonsense. Some of them will only turn violent if Miles happens to walk too close and triggers the most horrifying jump scares in the game. Then there are the small handful who are plain and clearly out to get you, and they are a consistent threat throughout most of the game. If enemies happen to catch Miles there is little margin for error. It does not take much to trigger one of this game’s brutal dead cut scenes. Have you ever imagined seeing through the eyes of a man as his head ripped from his body by the bare hands of a psychopath? I’ve seen it … and it sticks with you.

Above all, what players of this game are going to find most terrifying is simply the fact that they are completely and utterly helpless. In my mind, this game is clearly a call back to games like Fatal Frame where the protagonist is an unassuming person with no combat skills. In both games the player is armed with nothing but a camera, but the main difference is that in Fatal Frame the camera also functions as a weapon, and encourages the player to let the enemies to get close in order to deal more damage. Miles does not even have that advantage. In fact, I highly recommend that players do not let the patients of the asylum get that close, or you will die.

There are a few flaws of course, some of which are caused directly by Outlast’s core gameplay mechanic. Towards the end of the game objective can begin to feel tedious as very few new elements are added along the way. Outlast lacks the excitement of unlocking new weapons, abilities and mechanics. In an effort to have Miles remain a passive observer and “witness” the joy of discovery runs dry quickly.

The same three main antagonists persistently dog Miles on his journey through the asylum, which can begin to make Outlast feel like a never ending game of cat and mouse. The game does shake things up later in the game when Miles loses the camera, and therefore the ability to properly navigate his surroundings, but it is briefly and also towards the tail end of the game.

The ending is also a point where I feel many fans will be divided. I will not spoil the game for anyone, but know that it is somewhat bittersweet.

Overall, the virtues of Outlast far outweigh its downfalls. It was the first game in years that had me feeling genuinely terrified even when there was not one jump scare in sight.  For the full immersive experience, pick up a pair of surround sound gaming headphones, turn out the lights, and let the magic happen. There elements here for every fan of survival horror to enjoy.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Comic Book Review: Morning Glories

Comic Book Review: Morning Glories

Morning Glories Cover
Morning Glories Cover

This week’s Comic Book Review is Morning Glories by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma, and published by Image Comics.

This comic series wins the award for most misleading cover art ever. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the clean white background and illustrations of students in prep school uniforms. This is not a high school drama series … unless your high school drama’s happen to involve being held against your will in said school and seemingly senseless murder.

When I decided to purchase this series I asked a number of my friends what this series was actually about, but none of them could give me an accurate summary of the premise.

“You just have to read it for yourself,” was the constant frustrating answer I would always get from anyone who read the series. Even though nobody could give me an accurate description of the premise everyone who has read the books seemed to be hooked, so I thought why not give it a try.

Thus far, I have made it through the first two volumes of the series, and I have to say that it was actually an accurate description. I honestly still cannot accurately describe what is happening in the series so far. It guards its secrets well.

Here is what I have gleaned from Morning Glories so Far:

This series follows six students of Morning Glories academy: Casey, Zoe, Hunter, Ike, Jun, and Jade. They are all exceptional and troubled students who share a common birthday. They all receive invitations to attend the prestigious school and soon discover that they will never be allowed to leave.

The school has many secrets which include but are not limited to: ghosts, human experimentation, murdered students, murdered parents, kidnapping, arson, time travel, etc.

In the first couple of books the number of elements introduced is a mixed bag, and can be hard to follow at times. Some of the main characters’ motives are also questionable at best, and at worst I found myself wishing them harm (I’m looking at you Ike).

Despite – or maybe because – of these things I find myself wanting to read more and find out what the heck is going on. Why are these students important? What is the school’s end game? Does the mystery of the school have a scientific explanation or is it purely supernatural? Both volumes I have read so far leave a lot of cliff hangers and unanswered questions. Two books in I could not even begin to predict how Morning Glories will end.

As frustrating as this answer is to hear, this is a series that is difficult to summarize without giving major spoilers. You really do have to read the books for yourself to decide whether or not this is your cup of tea. The only thing I can say about recommending Morning Glories is that if you like supernatural, horror or thriller series you will probably like this graphic novel. There is some gore and other mature themes, so if that bothers you then I would avoid this series.

What I can say about this series is that is is crazy suspenseful, and the art style is fantastic. I guess if I had to make a recommendation I would say that if you got hooked by Lost (before it sucked) then this series will also catch your interest,

Thank you for reading. My next book review will be Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Comic Book Review: Hack/Slash

Comic Book Review: Hack/Slash

In keeping with my theme of curious, cute and creepy things I bring another (comic) book review. This week I have been binge reading a comic series called Hack/Slash, published through Image Comics. This is a (literal) slasher comic series that all lovers of old school slasher flicks will enjoy.

Hack/slash omnibus cover
Hack/slash omnibus cover

So far I have worked my way through the first two omnibus volumes, and I am pretty much hooked. I am a big fan of old school slasher flicks and creature features like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Alien, etc. If you like those types of movies then you will probably like Hack/Slash.

The basic breakdown of this plot is this: Cassie Hack and her sidekick Vlad are Slasher Hunters. Slashers are evil murderous creatures born when a murder dies and decides he isn’t quite done killing just yet. Slashers come back from the graves as twisted versions of their former selves. To make matters worse they usually come back with some sort of supernatural power, which explains many of the classic baddies returning for a never ending strng of sequels. It is Cassie and Vlad’s jobs to kill them … and make sure they stay dead. There are of course back stories and such, but I don’t want to give too much away.

download

This series definitely follows the old horror tropes right down to the tad-too-frequent nudity. Ya, even excluding the gore, this is not a safe for work read folks. Main squeeze, Cassie Hack, ends up with her clothes torn off in every issue more or less, and if it is not Cassie it is one of the victims-to-be. Blatant male pandering aside, Hack/Slash does not take itself too seriously, and there are some genuinely funny moments. This is particularly enjoyable for those of us who enjoy a little gallows humor every once in a while. The more lighthearted moments are an excellent tool for balancing out the … well … hacking and slashing.

The main characters of Hack/Slash are solid. Cassie has her moments when you wonder why the heck she keeps walking into obvious traps (and her choice in clothing), but as a whole she is capable of defending herself. When Cassie drops the ball there is always her partner Vlad, who is an obvious nod to big-baddies like Jason and Leatherface. This book makes me genuinely think these two characters are friends that would put their lives on the line for each other.

A nice little bonus of this series are the celebrity cameos that pop up from time to time. Again, I do not want to give too much away, but a certain possessed Good Guy doll may or may not be a featured slasher in this series. Read and find out!

If anyone is looking for good Halloween Season reading I would take a look at this series. Both hilariously self-aware and gut wrenchingly gruesome, I highly recommend these to horror fans.

I will be doing more Halloween reading in the next few weeks! Next up will be Fables and Morning Glories … in no particular order.