Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter – #MovieReview

Slick Dungeon here to review the very last of the Friday the 13th franchise. Yes, it’s the last one. Definitely no more after this one because it says it right there in the title. This is the final chapter. The only possible way they could make more of these is if they had A New Beginning. Wait, what? There is? It seems for some reason people who made these movies liked money and decided to keep making these even after they promised this one would be the last one. I guess you have more of my reviews to look forward to then don’t you?

Fair warning to readers I am going to spoil this all over the place in the same way that Jason splatters blood everywhere (metaphorically though, I don’t condone actual violence) so if you don’t want to know about a plucky Corey Feldman, the exotic and amazing dance moves of Crispen Glover or where the wine corkscrew actually is, watch the movie first.

Did you watch it? Actually, never mind I don’t care if you watched it, I only care if you enjoy my review. I did warn you though.

This one starts off with what you might consider a three minute best of Jason killing people recap, just so that everyone can quickly get up to speed on how many dead people they didn’t see if they haven’t watched the first three films. This time they do use the campfire story to frame it, but they just use the one from part 2 instead of, you know making it new and original at all.

We finally, finally, see some cops come in to actually clean up the bodies of the dead from the last movie. You know what we don’t see? Anyone even bothering to check for a pulse on anyone. Guess who isn’t gonna be dead? Can you guess? Can you? No, but really can you?

Jason is loaded into an ambulance taken to a hospital and sent to the morgue there where they do stuff like, talk about how hot the dead women are and, put a sandwich on Jason’s feet and then make out with each other. I think I am starting to see why Jason may not like people so much.

As you would expect, Jason gets up after having suffered more wounds than I can count, including an ax to the face. I think it’s safe to say he is essentially immortal at this point in the series.

I’m a little torn between part 2 and this one as being the best of the sequels. On the one hand I think part 2 was more true to the origins and intentions of the first film. On the other hand, this is a much more craftily developed film. It takes enough time for us to get to know a few characters and even gives one of them a good reason to be up in the woods looking for Jason. As if that weren’t enough, we get to see an ever plucky Corey Feldman, not only obsessed with making cool masks but also getting to be the one to end Jason at the finish of the film. If there is one thing that might make this one my favorite of all of the films in the series it is this. Crispn Glover dancing like a maniac. And this was before he was buffing out blind spots for Biff Tanner.

Even if you don’t like this series, part IV belongs in cinematic history for that clip right there.

This film also does a few things more intelligently than the other films. For one, when Jason decides to go on his killing spree, he really does pick them off one by one until the last person in the house starts finding the bodies. And at that point he has strung up the dead bodies so that exiting is much more difficult. I’m starting to think I see where Neegan from The Walking Dead got his ideas. They have a guy who has a sister who was killed by Jason and he is out for revenge. The dude is smart enough to realize that Jason isn’t dead when his body is reported missing and two people from the morgue have disappeared.

However, this film is far from perfect and I still had a few thoughts.

  1. I miss the scene where someone warns those kids away from the place. The just showed the people from the earlier films do that. I need my old man warning me away from stuff scene! Also, any casting agents needing a townie to warn people away in their film, hit me up, I am available.
  2. There is one part where a hitch hiker is killed after standing by Pamela Voorhess’ grave. First off, why is the gravestone that close to the road? It didn’t seem to be a cemetery or anything plus she died at the camp in the lake so if you want to bury her where she died, that wouldn’t be it. Second, why would you stand there to put your thumb out? I mean respect the dead a little. Although she was a psychotic killing machine so maybe she doesn’t deserve so much respect.
  3. Oh look, the kid is getting out of a car to fix it because there is car trouble. That makes four out of four films where cars have some kind of mechanical issue. Learn to maintain your vehicles because you never know when you will need to flee from a psychotic, nearly immortal, knife wielding killer! Also, you should have a full tank in case of any emergency. Note to self: after getting role as townie warning people away, get on that whole opening an auto repair shop near Crystal Lake.
  4. Hey Crispin Glover is looking for the wine corkscrew. I bet that’s gonna end up in his skull. Oh look, he’s still hollering about it. Any second now… Hey, Crispin Glover, bad news, you have a sharp object sticking out of your head. Hey, Crispin Glover, good news, you found the wine corkscrew.
  5. Why does the guy who is plotting revenge on Jason camp so far away from Camp Crystal Lake? I mean does he not know that a bunch of dead people showed up at the cabins, not just out in the woods despite the fact that he has a whole bunch of news articles to refer to?
  6. Woah, the car that didn’t start earlier never actually became an issue at a critical moment in this movie.
  7. I get that Corey Feldman is shaving his head to fool Jason but this doesn’t make much sense to me. Is he supposed to be Jason when he is younger? Why would that stop Jason? It made more sense to me in part 2 where they figure out to impersonate his mother to throw him off but this part just doesn’t work for me.
  8. Okay so Corey Feldman’s older sister in this has realized they are in danger, gone to the house next door to see what is going on, knows Jason is there and has killed people. Then the guy who is out for revenge finds Jason and she sees it. As the guy is literally yelling that Jason is killing him and that she should run, she freaking stares and screams. Why would you not run?! This makes zero sense to me. Just run.
  9. Okay Jason looks pretty dead now and that hockey mask is destroyed. Can this be the end of the series?
  10. Oh, well if Corey Feldman who actually killed Jason is looking into the camera like that at the end, it’s definitely not over. Why call this the final chapter? You know you are gonna make more.
  11. I know his character is dead and all but could we get more of Crispin Glover dancing?
  12. Think anyone will actually make sure Jason is dead this time? Yeah me neither.
  13. Can’t they just shut down the whole Crystal Lake area at this point? Also, no one mentioned it but did this actually take place on Friday the 13th? I feel like we should see a calendar or something so we know for sure.

All in all, this was one of the most enjoyable of the series and is worth watching whether or not you have seen the rest.

Dancingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Want to see Crispin Glover dancing for yourself? Click below!

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Friday the 13th Part 3 – #MovieReview

Jason Found a Hockey Mask

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! Wait, what’s that you say? It’s not Friday the 13th? This month doesn’t even have a Friday the 13th? Well, who can tell anymore. I’ve been in my dungeon so long I have no idea what the day is anymore let alone the date, so I’m just going to go with it’s Friday the 13th okay?

The movie series Friday the 13th is an absolute juggernaut of horror. Jason has been picking off camp counselors since 1980 and it might surprise you to know that he doesn’t even get his iconic hockey mask until the third film. It didn’t surprise me because I have seen all these movies before but that fact surprises a lot of people who are not horror fans.

Fair warning before I go into the review. There will be spoilers so if you haven’t watched this yet, go do it and then come back for the review. Spoiler: Jason kills people. Did you really watch it? Ah, who cares, just read my review. I put a lot of effort into these because… I have nothing else to do…

Anyway, the third film finds another group of people dumb enough to go up near Camp Crystal Lake to spend some time running away from a deranged killer. The film opens a lot like part two did, with a bit of a recap from the previous film. I guess in case anyone forgot what happened the last time. And so that you know that Jason is the killer in this one. In case you weren’t sure. Next he goes on to kill a couple of people who must live sort of near Jason but it’s not really explained who they are or why Jason offs them.

In fact, most of the killing Jason does in this one seems to be more for sport than to follow any plot development from the last two films. This time, the people going up there seem to just be spending a weekend or something up near the camp. They don’t even say they are camp counselors. Still, Jason offs them anyway cause I guess he want to? He then seems to live there or near there until these new people show up to camp for the weekend.

There is actually a little bit of character development in this film. We get the character of Chris Higgins who is a woman who survived an encounter with Jason a couple of years ago. She wasn’t in the previous films or anything, just a random encounter with Jason. Turns out that the actress who survives at the end of the second film didn’t want to come back for the third film so we get what kind of feels like a tacked on extra attack scene. But still, Chris surviving the attack and then coming back and having a second round with Jason is kind of the point. Well, the horror, gore and jumping out of nowhere to try to scare us is the point but you know what I mean.

The plot runs mostly as you would expect. People camp, they walk off without a buddy (take a buddy with you!) then they get killed by Jason. Later other people find those bodies, turn around and get killed by Jason. Then later other people find those bodies, run away from Jason, almost get killed by Jason, don’t get killed by Jason, kill Jason, Jason doesn’t seem to stay dead, he kills some more people, then they kill Jason again and maybe he’s dead?

I had a few thoughts while watching this.

  1. Why is Jason killing these people? They’re not camp counselors. They don’t even say they are. I know this is silly but I want Jason to have a reason to kill these people, since at least in the first two there was one.
  2. Who in their right mind decides to go anywhere near this place anymore? There have been at least five nights of tragic death and terror at this lake. I would think that’s bad enough press that you wouldn’t go camping there any more.
  3. The character who starts off with the hockey mask is a huge jerk. They make this big deal over and over about “what happened to Chris up there” in the years past. Yet this dude fakes his own death to get a laugh and scares everyone as if he was a killer as a prank. Considering the history of this place that is beyond bad taste. Jason, why are you trying to be like this guy?!
  4. That dude is not the only jerky guy in this. As a laugh, Chris’ sort of boyfriend jumps out of nowhere, grabs her by the throat then starts kissing her. Then he has the nerve to ask her what is wrong. Really dude? Really? Wow, out of touch much?
  5. Oh good Jason got rid of the jerks.
  6. There are these motorcycle gang characters in this. All of them end up killed by Jason of course but man oh man, it’s hilarious to see what eighties movies thought tough guys looked like.
  7. The cops in this area are so, so bad. They don’t warn people away, they don’t seem to notice that there is a killer up by this lake, and in three films, we have had three different local cops up there but only after everything happens.
  8. This still has the dude warns everyone away scene but this time, the guy is holding an eyeball. Okay, if I am ever warned away from a place by a guy holding an eyeball, I am not going to dismiss that. In that situation you need to report this to the police and hope they can find out who used to own that eyeball. But nope, these character just keep driving cause, weekend plans. And also the cops suck anyway so why bother?
  9. Note to self: get a job as a guy who warns people away in horror films. Bring eyeball.
  10. I gotta say that Jason really improved his look in this one. The hockey mask is working for him. He should go with that for sure. It’s been a while since I saw the other ones so now I am wondering if he wears the same mask in all the others or does he like need to pick up fresh ones?
  11. Jason took an ax to the face but he’s still walking? Really? Okay, I guess it’s time to totally suspend disbelief now. I can do that. But if there isn’t an ax whole in that hockey mask in the next movie, Jason definitely got a new one.
  12. In three out of three films there is car trouble at a crucial moment. This time it’s because the motorcycle gang stole gas out of the van instead of just battery trouble. Still, these people are terrible at car maintenance. And like, checking if you have gas before driving away.
  13. Note to self: Open auto repair shop near Crystal Lake.

I think I am gonna stop there with 13. See what I did there? Can you blame me? It’s Friday after all. Isn’t it?

Anyway, the next one is called Friday the 14th Part IV: The Final Chapter. That means it’s the last one right? Right?!

Datedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS: Want to see Jason pick up his iconic mask? Click below and enjoy!

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Edge of Darkness – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click HERE.

Cyberpunk fans and fans of far future fiction will enjoy reading this book.

SYNOPSIS

In 2065, corporate sponsored governments jockey for supremacy in the biotechnical arena. Bullets and missiles take a back seat to cyber-enhanced soldiers and pulse weapons. In this extreme environment, only the most hardened body and mind can survive.

Calder McKenna was a failed experiment in the military’s push for power. Now a special agent for the metro task force, he lives day by day trying to forget the ones that were lost… the ones that he could have saved.

When technology and humanity collide, Calder is forced to make desperate decisions, but how do you destroy the monster without becoming one yourself?

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

Calder Mckenna is an ex-soldier working as a cop who is still haunted by the actions of his past. His life gets a whole lot more complicated when a mysterious package shows up at his door. While what is in the package might unlock hidden potential inside him, it might also make him into a monster. This story is about his struggle to maintain his humanity while still protecting his partner and those around him.

The book starts off strong and is full of action. The integration of technology and humanity is a consistent theme throughout the book. Calder also starts out as a rather interesting character to me. I found myself wanting to know more about him and why he was the way he was. For most of the book I was excited about it and enjoyed the story. There was at least one relationship that I found a little less believable than others but I won’t go into detail about it to avoid spoilers but otherwise I was intrigued.

I was reminded of things like Altered Carbon or Phillip K. Dick novels as I was reading this. While this is not quite as realized as those worlds, this was still an entertaining read. I liked how these mega corporations are controlling everything from behind the scenes but I never got a great sense of what exactly they were doing or why. It was clear that they were not above board and needed to be stopped, but I feel like that is part of the book that could have been strengthened.

The action is fast and continuously interesting and I found myself rooting for Calder to succeed. There is a lot of action and for this kind of story, I find that a great plus. I enjoy a little bit of philosophy about the way things are but then I am ready to get back to the fight. Edge of Darkness provides a constant stream of intense action with real, high stakes.

For me this just narrowly missed being a four star book, mostly because I felt like some of the scenery and background could have been delved into a little more, and like I said one relationship never quite worked for me.

If you like far future fiction, this is a good one to go with and I will be checking out the sequels.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Friday the 13th Part 2 – #MovieReview

Use the Buddy System People!

Do you need a reason not to go outside and get into a crowd? Here’s one. There could be a deranged killer at that camp you were going to so you’re probably better of staying at home anyway. That’s the lesson of Friday the 13th Part 2. If you ask my opinion, they should have called this Saturday the 14th but no one asked my opinion so too bad I guess.

Fair warning that I am going to spoil some of this movie so if you haven’t watched it yet, get Shudder (you can actually get it free for 30 days right now with the code SHUTIN) and watch up before you read on!

Okay now that you are back I am going to give you a very brief summary of the plot and then I am giving you Slick Dungeon’s camping tips for when we can finally all go camping again.

The film starts off with Alice from the first movie dreaming about her horrible experience. But it might as well have started off with a narrator saying, “Previously on Friday the 13th!” because it’s just a mish-mash of scenes from the first movie. I guess the film makers just couldn’t trust that people hadn’t seen the first one and thought it would be very important to kill a few minutes showing that so that we all could know what happened before. Because see we were so invested in these intriguing characters from the last film that of course we need that update. Can you tell this part annoyed me?

Anyway, pretty soon Alice is dead because the killer shoves a pointy object through her skull, but not before leaving a decapitated head in her fridge. Alice sees the head, realizes it is the head she decapitated in the last film and then bye bye Alice.

We fast forward five years or so and a new group of teens is coming up to the lake to be camp counselors. This time they aren’t counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, just a camp right near that camp, but on the same lake. It’s not the same okay?! If you thought this movie was practically identical to the first one, then why would the camp where all the killing happens be a whole short hike away?!?! Totally new material here I promise.

There is a part where the dude leading the camp tells a scary ghost story about Jason and his mother. If I was making the movie I would have just used that instead of the beginning part that felt tacked on and pointless here. Anyway, the same kind of thing from the first movie happens where a killer, who we mostly know is about to kill because the camera turns to a first person point of view shot, finds and picks off camp counselors one night right before the camp is supposed to open.

I’m not really going to go in how each character dies because that’s the only possible reason to watch these. I will say that the whole decapitated head thing is kind of creepy but they hit a lot of standard horror tropes in this movie. There is the guy warns kids away scene. The guy who warned kids away gets killed scene. The cops come to check stuff out and almost catch the killer but get killed scene. There is the car won’t start early in the movie to set up the fact that it won’t start later at a crucial moment in the movie scene. And like I said in my last post, there is the no one believes the victim scene, which I hate.

I will give away one death here. There is a dude in a wheel chair in this who is clearly the strongest guy there. He crushes everyone at camp at arm wrestling but he dies in a very disappointing way to me. He doesn’t even really get to fight Jason, he just takes a machete to the face. I wanted him to at least arm wrestle the guy. Why not do that since the movie spends so long having the character arm wrestle? Wasted opportunity there.

The night goes on, Jason does more killing, the one character who sort of believes the whole story about Jason is the one to survive but no one is going to believe her. I had some questions though. If it has been five years since that first bloody night, those cops did a terrible job of crime scene clean up if Jason can get that head. Why do these cops suck so much? Also, why is Jason a ghost story here? I would think he would be more of a news story if anything and people should just be like, man these cops suck, let’s investigate why the cops suck so much at their jobs before we open another camp up there where the cops couldn’t protect anyone.

On the whole this movie is still entertaining as a horror exercise and while I suspect it’s the best of the sequels, it’s nowhere near as good as the first one. Why? It’s much less original since it’s just the same story only with the killer being Jason instead of his mother.

On to my tips for camping.

Slick Dungeon’s rules for camping

  1. When you are out camping in the woods, please for the love of God, do not wear teeny tiny shorts from the 1980’s. Do you know how much poison oak and how many tick bites you are going to have to deal with? If someone on the set of these movies didn’t end up with lyme disease I would be shocked.
  2. When you and your buddy go off to look at the creepy camp nearby, tell someone where the heck you are going. I mean, I know it’s forbidden and all but at least tell the other counselors who wouldn’t care so that when you do get killed they don’t have to take forever out in the hot sun searching for your remains on the Saturday after okay?
  3. This one I cannot stress enough. If you go skinny dipping in the middle of the night, take a buddy with you. Yes, you might be embarrassed about being naked in front of someone else but you will be less murdered.
  4. Also, when you ignore my advice and go skinny dipping anyway and one of the jerky guys in camp steals your clothes and you get all mad and demand your shirt back, maybe you should realize that barely counted as a shirt and we didn’t have much left to the imagination in the first place.
  5. Also, when you announce to everyone before you go skinny dipping that you are going for a walk, tell them where you are walking to. AND TAKE A BUDDY.
  6. I mean your buddy is probably going to get killed too once he gets caught in a bear trap but you can leave him there as bait so that you can get away.
  7. But seriously if you go camping at all, like ever, bring a buddy.
  8. If you are the person in charge of one of these places, don’t leave the camp okay? I mean you have been prepping this place for months without all these teenagers and the minute they get here you go into town and leave the camp open for everyone to do whatever they want there and next thing you know you have dead bodies all over your camp. That’s going to drop your summer camp rates from like $1000 per week not including food to $500 per week including food. I mean, you aren’t going to close for good because goodness knows you can’t find a camp cheaper than that and parents are gonna risk it because every other camp is full or more expensive this summer but still. Think about your return on investment! Oh and not getting killed when you finally do come back to the camp.
  9. I saw almost no one drinking water in their hikes, swims, campfires, running for no reason or other physical activity. It gets hot out there and you are at a higher elevation so hydrate or die-drate people! I mean it, if you go camping, bring a freaking water bottle. It’s no fun having to go home early in an ambulance getting pumped full of fluids when you could be up there with your friends trying to survive a deranged murderer instead.
  10. Finally, if you are the townspeople who know that this camp is nicknamed camp blood because it is drenched in the blood of teenage camp counselors, do everyone a favor and make sure to warn people better. Maybe have a sign out there that says murderer danger high/medium/low today so campers can plan well.

Happy Campingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS want to watch this rehashed sequel click below.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Friday the 13th – #MovieReview

When Kevin Bacon Can’t Make it Through His Fourth Film We Are All In Trouble

It’s half way to Halloween and I’m not sure if the idea of taking candy from strangers, or getting breathed on by a stranger is more dangerous. What I do know is that on Shudder right now, all the Friday the 13th movies are available. I thought now might be as good a time as any to see if they are worth a re-watch.

I remember liking this series a lot as a kid. I used to go over to my friends houses and have sleep overs where we would watch whatever the latest one was and then shiver under the blankets for the rest of the night. Now that I am a grown Slick Dungeon, I thought it would be fun to see if it has the same sense of fun that it used to. I am guessing not, or not entirely but there are a lot of these so I just started with the first one.

This is a film that has been made, re-made, rebooted, sequel-ed, re-imagined, and outright stolen from and copycatted more times than maybe anything else in horror. When you think about how often this has been done and re-done, you start to think that maybe there is a good reason for that. I’m here to argue that there is.

While I suspect this one is the best of the series, that doesn’t mean it’s the best ever movie, I just think it did what it set out to do. For those of you who have never sat through a Friday the 13th film, and know nothing about the horror genre and have somehow been divorced from pop culture since 1980, fair warning: spoilers follow.

This starts out in Camp Crystal Lake, an idyllic yet remote campground in 1958. A couple of camp counselors go off to ahem.. get to know each other better. While they are in the middle of that, the camera shifts to a first person point of view shot and seconds later one of the camp counselors is drenched in blood, knife sticking out of him, without us knowing why this is happening. The next shot is basically the whole point of the film and eventually the series. The female counselor screams into the camera and it freezes on her frame. I know that everyone says the hockey mask is the icon of this film series, but in this movie at least, I say it’s that shot. The whole point of the film is to have the audience screaming and reacting just like her. I also think the film makers played it smart by not giving us a clue in the beginning as to why there is a killer. The use of the first person camera angle is smart because it’s a really easy way to hide the monster. This is not the first movie to use those ideas but it did put those elements together well in this case.

We next get the warning scene that you see in nearly one hundred percent of horror films. A new camp counselor is just outside of Crystal Lake Campground basically at the town where it’s the point of no return. If you go up to Crystal Lake, you are likely not coming back. In the little diner there, the counselor asks for directions and the old, “crazy guy” in town tells everyone they should stay away from that place. Note to self: when I retire, make sure to find jobs in horror films being the old crazy guy who warns everyone they should stay away from that place.

The reaction of the townsfolk to the warning is what you would expect. This dude is kinda nuts. But on the other hand, bad stuff has happened at this camp over the years so maybe you should stay away. No one ever seems to ask for more information in these cases which would save a lot of lives. Note to self: if you are ever warned away from someplace, just collect my stuff and leave.

We spend virtually no time getting to know any characters and there is absolutely zero character growth or change in this film so it doesn’t matter too much to us who gets picked off and killed or why. But there are enough moments of surprise and shock to keep you interested to find out what happens. The night progresses and everyone is essentially picked off one by one, with the exception of Alice who finds out who the killer is, why the killer does what they do, survives the surprise end and will be the only one who really knows what actually happened that night.

There were a few things that I wondered throughout this though.

  1. In the beginning, the killer is smart and just picks off the counselors one by one and hides the bodies in ways that you might not find them. Why does that change two thirds into the film?
  2. This film is the first in the series so it’s nice to see that they can be stopped with normal human methods, not like supernatural powers or whatever.
  3. I swear if all small towns were like the ones in horror movies, no local police should ever be allowed to be police because they never do their jobs.
  4. How has this killer roamed free since 1958 up to 1980? I mean the police never even say like, that person was never caught or anything here so what are the cops doing?
  5. Don’t hitch hike but if you do, when the guy says you should quit and leave, quit and leave.
  6. Fair warning I am going to give the killer away in the next bullet so if you don’t want to know don’t read further.
  7. I mean it, I am going to say who it is.
  8. Seriously, you have been warned.
  9. Mrs. Voorhees comes out of nowhere to go after Alice but she goes on this long speech about how her kid died in the lake and that she is killing everyone because of that. Why does she only share with Alice? Or better question, why wouldn’t she just keep her mouth shut and off Alice the way she did everyone else, as a surprise that they probably couldn’t get away from?
  10. Also, if you are in a Scream movie you better know that it was Pamela Voorhees not Jason Voorhees killing everyone. Jason only gets to be a voice in the distance and in her head and then some kind of zombie-ish thing to scare Alice at the end.
  11. Kevin Bacon is in this? Checks notes. Yes, that’s Kevin Bacon.
  12. Isn’t Kevin Bacon the great hero who got the sticks out of everyone’s butts according to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2?
  13. Isn’t Kevin Bacon the guy who warned us about Six Degrees of Separation way before a pandemic happened?
  14. Okay to be fair that was Will Smith, but about Kevin Bacon.
  15. Isn’t Kevin Bacon the guy who was in Flatliners, Tremors, Footloose and Apollo 13?
  16. Kevin Bacon can survive anything right? Including, giant worms, dancing, being adrift in space and being talked about by Will Smith.
  17. Come on Kevin Bacon, make it through this movie.
  18. Is that Kevin Bacon with an arrow through his throat?
  19. Oh man, Kevin Bacon, say it ain’t so!
  20. Yeah Kevin Bacon died in this.
  21. I am calling it now, after this one, this series is dead because they killed Kevin Bacon!
  22. Don’t mess with the Kevin Bacon okay?
  23. Sorry did I just go off on a Kevin Bacon tangent?
  24. Can you blame me though?
  25. Anyway this ends up with the obligatory no one believes the survivor scene. If there was one type of scene I would get rid of in all Hollywood films, it’s this one. Why wouldn’t people believe Alice? She is the only one to survive a huge massacre so like, maybe she knows what she is talking about?

For this one, I definitely think this is worth a re-watch. I will let you know what I think of the others as I continue with the series. I know they can’t be as good because it won’t have Kevin Bacon. But then again maybe they will be better because they can’t kill Kevin Bacon?

Frighteningly Yours,

Slick Dungeon





This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

I’m Geeking Out Over the Comic and RPG Goodness Available Today

DriveThruRPG.com

Hi everyone, Slick Dungeon here and I just saw a bunch of awesome comic and RPG stuff that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and wanted to share these with you. I’ve listed the deals below in no particular order.

Bloodshot: Definitive Edition

Hardcore comic book fans will be well aware of this but if you don’t know, the Valiant comics universe is one of the most underrated comics universes out there. They have a huge wealth of characters and stories to choose from. One of the most beloved is Bloodshot. Today you can get the Definitive edition, which is the first 14 issues for just $12.49. It’s a great deal and if you haven’t read this, I am envious because you’re in for a great ride. It’s intended for readers 12 and up. No matter whether you think Vin Diesel is the right guy to play him, the Bloodshot comic is well worth a read.

Valiant Universe RPG: Transcendent’s Edge

Once you have read up on the Valiant Universe you might do like I do a lot of times, find yourself itching to play a game set in that universe. Well, good news! If you have $9.99 (discounted today but I’m not sure for how much longer) you can get in on the action. This book is a campaign setting for the Valiant Universe RPG. The summary of it below has me itching to play this. This is a campaign book so it won’t give you the full set of rules BUT it does give some expanded rules and characters to play around with. If you want the rules, though I have good news. It won’t cost you a penny: Valiant Universe RPG Rules

From DriveThruComics – Hidden beneath Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary is a massive, secret Project Rising Spirit facility. Powered by unknown energies, it can morph and transform itself at will to keep horrific villians, creatures, and alien entities trapped within, while allowing endless experimentation. But rumors of the facility’s existence and its most prized possession have leaked, and the Valiant Universe’s most powerful organizations—the Harbinger Foundation, the Sect, the Abettors, and many more—are taking an interest. And the world may never be the same…

Dark Astral: Chapbook for Zweihander RPG

If you play Dungeons & Dragons you may be familiar with Zweihander’s Grim & Perilous adventures. It’s still a fantasy setting but it encourages more… morally ambiguous actions than D&D tends too. It’s a really fun setting and I enjoy it as a more sophisticated game when playing with adults. This chapbook is only $9.99 (again discounted today but I am not sure for how long) and is perfect for fans of things like Dune. This is another one I am itching to play and since my buddies and I have extra time on our hands, I’ll be doing it soon. Check out their blurb below. If you need the core rule book this will run you a little more but it’s hours and hours of fun. Check it out here if you need it: Grim & Perilous Core Rule Book

From DrivethruRPG – DARK ASTRAL casts the familiar trappings of ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG through the lens of Biblically-inspired science fantasy. Steeped in superstition and living in the wake of an apocalypse, Characters struggle against the dangers of unknown Eden. Humanity ekes out existence within the crashed flotilla-megalopolis of Outremer. Inspired by Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unrealized take on Dune, mixed with a healthy influence of Xenogears and gritty science fantasy, this chapbook expands your ZWEIHÄNDER game into a whole new world of grim terror. Inside, you’ll find six unique Professions, a host of technological trappings and all-new weapons, gear and mods.

Elder Scrolls Call to Arms

I think I may have saved the best for last here. If you love Skyrim or Oblivion or any of the other Elder Scrolls video games, why not expand that into tabletop war gaming with your friends? Right now for $5 you can get The Elder Scrolls Call to Arms Quests. That’s less than a latte would cost you, and you probably can’t go get a latte at the moment anyway so why not use the money for hours of fun? But, even if you don’t want to spend the money on the quests, you can still get right into this RPG for pretty much no money. You can still get the following parts of the game for absolutely nothing: Elder Scrolls Call to Arms Core Rulebook, The Elder Scrolls Call to Arms Escape from Helgen, and Elder Scrolls Call to Arms Dice Set Print N Play. The core rulebook has all the rules you need to play, Escape from Helgen is a good beginners guide and gives you some scenarios to get familiar with how to play the tabletop game and the dice set is cool if you just have regular dice to mess around with but want to fancy them up a bit.

In case you want to know more here’s the blurb from DrivethruRPG – The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms is a tabletop wargame set against the epic, sprawling backdrop of Tamriel. From the teeming cities of Cyrodiil to the towering mountains of Skyrim, across the ash-plains of Morrowind, and through the steaming swamps of Black Marsh, you must lead your Party of bold warriors on the path to glory. In this game, you must select a mighty champion to lead your Party, surrounding them with heroes and staunch followers. Players can take on quests, unearth magical artifacts, and fight roaming monsters as they do battle against their opponent, using a combination of strength, stealth and magic to win the day. Call to Arms is a simple game to learn, but a challenge to master; your Party can be assembled in an almost endless variety of ways, each unlocking new tactics and abilities with which to test your skill as a commander and challenge your enemies.

Honestly, I don’t usually find this much awesome stuff at once for cheap so I just had to share it with all of you. I hope you found this post helpful and found something to pass the time!

Excitedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS: Need some dice? You can get them here: Dice Envy

DriveThruRPG.com

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Tusk – #MovieReview

I Am The Walrus? I Guess?

Slick Dungeon here, back to review the second movie on Buzzfeed’s most disturbing movies to watch list – Tusk. You know how there are movies that bring us together and make us think that the world is a better place because artists have a creative outlet and audiences can connect on a human level and the world seems a little better because of it? This is the exact opposite of that. This is the kind of movie that makes you think maybe the whole idea of letting anyone who has the resources put something on film and share it with the world is perhaps a very bad idea.

I write this review as someone who has enjoyed Kevin Smith movies in the past. And this sort of had potential until it dove into the complete weirdness of it. I’ll try to sum this up below.

An arrogant podcaster named Wallace goes to Canada to interview a kid who went viral on an embarrassing video that also caused him to lose a limb. The podcaster apparently used to be a nice guy according to a few flashbacks, prior to the podcast but now is a total jerkwad. So he goes to interview this kid but it turns out that the kid killed himself and Wallace (who will become, yes, a walrus) needs to find a new person to interview. He finds a hand written ad in a bar bathroom and it sounds interesting so he grabs a big gulp and drives two hours to a dude’s house, without telling anyone where he is going or why. Good call? Actually, no it isn’t.

The dude is a psycho obsessed with walruses and tends to make people into a human version of a walrus. Yeah, I am not kidding, that’s the hook here. There’s a good amount of body horror here but it looks so stupid and fake that it’s just weird and it never worked for me at all. While this is all going on, we get to see how Wallace has changed into a jerky person, that his best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend and a seriously bizarre performance from Johnny Depp.

Here are the few bright spots in this film.

  1. Haley Joel Osment acting again
  2. A slight bit of humor in a convenience store (that ultimately leads into a terrible spin-off called Yoga Hosers)
  3. Michael Parks has a great turn as a villain although what he is doing is completely idiotic and nowhere near as frightening as he was in Red State. If you want to watch a decent Kevin Smith horror film, that one is excellent.
  4. The beyond weird performance given by Johnny Depp. I still can’t decide how I feel about it exactly but it was a decidedly unique performance.

And… yeah that’s about it. But I guess if you always wanted to see what a human body stitched together to look like the form of a walrus is, this is really your only choice. I wouldn’t call this film especially disturbing although it tended to be gross with a lot of body horror. But the disturbing thing to me is really how they wasted the potential here. This is pretty much the plot of Misery although the protagonist is not a famous author and the antagonist is obsessed with walruses instead of literature. It could have been so, so, so much better. I feel like Michael Parks is wasted in the ridiculousness of the whole film. He plays it nice and creepy and is able to keep the audience on edge and then he starts talking about walruses reproductive organs and it’s just like, whyyyyyyyyy?!

About a third of this movie is worth watching and the rest is just garbage. I know a lot of people love this movie but I just don’t see it. It’s not bad enough to be good and it’s not even close to good enough to be good. It’s just stupid. Sorry Kevin.

I am not sure what I’ll be reviewing next but man it’s got to be better than this pile of drivel.

Seafaringly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Cold Hell – #MovieReview

A First Rate Thriller That Never Lets Up

Slick Dungeon here, streaming to you live from inside of a dull, dusty, dungeon. I know that everyone is saying that The Invisible Man is a fantastic and frightening thriller. I am sure I will get around to seeing it at some point but I watched a truly gripping thriller on Shudder last night and no one had to become invisible in that movie for it to be terrifying.

Cold Hell is a movie about a serial killer in Vienna, Austria. He is targeting Muslim women who have become prostitutes. I’m not going to give away much more of the plot here because I seriously think everyone should just watch this, it’s that good. There is some blood and the violence is brutal and vicious and realistic. But, it’s not overly gore drenched because it simply doesn’t need to be.

If you watch this, here are some things you can look forward to.

  1. A protagonist who is a total bad ass and not someone who just seems like a victim.
  2. The most intense killer in the back seat car chase I have ever seen in my life.
  3. Police who do their jobs and are not stupid, heartless or foolish in the film.
  4. Great acting.
  5. A lot of subtitles to read, but it’s worth it.
  6. An extremely believable reason as to why the serial killer has gone free so long.
  7. Non-stop intensity. That’s not to say that all scenes are action scenes, far from it, but in every frame of this film you feel the weight of it.
  8. A satisfying conclusion to the action. I won’t say if it ends well or not for the heroine but the end was perfect.
  9. A film of reasonable length that still wallops a mean punch. This is only about 90 minutes long so you probably have time to see it.
  10. A reason to keep streaming movies while you are bored at home.

Cold Hell caught me off guard because a lot of what is on Shudder is kind of silly or the third rate trash bin flicks I usually tend to watch. I love those and I am definitely going to keep reviewing them but this one is for anyone who just likes a good thriller. This is riveting and I loved every second of it. Do me a favor and give it a try. If you can stand a little blood, this is totally worth the time.

Praisingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

PS: Need shudder? You can get it at the link below:

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Satanic Panic – #MovieReview

The First Day at Work Suuuucks

There’s a good chance that if you are reading this you are stuck inside. Maybe you have exhausted all of your Netflix options and need something new to watch. Well if you like horror comedy, Satanic Panic should be right up your alley. It will inject a little laughter and a good amount of blood splatter into your otherwise dull day.

Spoilers follow so be forewarned.

Sam has just been hired to be a pizza delivery girl and is having a rough time on her first day. She’s delayed by people asking weird and ridiculous things of her, like helping move a huge box, and uhh… peeing on someone’s face. The first one she does, the second she wisely refuses to do. Her night gets worse from there.

She gets the chance to go deliver to a wealthy neighborhood and is hoping for some major tips when she gets to the huge house. The dude inside stiffs her and she gets back on her Vespa to go and return to work. Unfortunately she has run out of gas so she can’t start the thing. She tries to go back and ask jerky rich dude for a tip so she can just get home and it seems like she has interrupted some kind of self help meeting. Turns out it was a satanic coven trying to enact a ritual to bring forth a demon and creating chaos in the world. So you know, pretty similar to a self help meeting.

Sam spends the rest of the time running around trying not to, you know, get murdered and stuff. The usual thing happens where she doesn’t believe stuff, then sees people die and starts to believe it and then makes a friend and then they are in this together but the odds are stacked against them and, yeah more people get killed and so on.

I had a few thoughts about this movie.

  • Sam goes into the house she delivers pizza to beg for a tip. But see, she’s already out of gas. Why didn’t she just head towards the gas station, since she would have to walk anyway, and ask people for change along the way? It’s pretty clear that these rich people are non-tipping jerkwads so, maybe don’t expect help from that department.
  • There’s a serious amount of body horror in this but I found it utterly hilarious how the head of the coven, Danica, played by Rebecca Romijn, orders her subordinates around with baking instructions for satanic needs.
  • The premise of this movie seems to be that rich jerky people who are in power stay in power because they are willing to sacrifice their children and harness satanic powers. Checks notes: yep that makes a lot of sense.
  • This coven seems to need Sam because she is a virgin but they all assume that she is, before she confirms it later in the movie. Why wouldn’t she lie to them once it was apparent everyone wants her for a hell ritual?
  • I think Sam goes without actually killing a single person in this movie, even when it would be called for in self defense (there’s one where she was willing to but couldn’t because, er, magic so she’s not unwilling to defend herself). Where can I get some of that plot armor?
  • This movie is surprisingly well acted for such a silly premise. Can we get more like this please?
  • Demon spawn fuzzy bunnies. I am not going to give this away, but yes, demon spawn fuzzy bunnies exist in this movie.
  • Also, if a pizza delivery girl is trying to sell you a rabbit, say no.
  • I love how they keep insulting Sam’s wardrobe in this because she has, “A Wal-Mart bra”. That sounds so much like something a rich jerk would say, it’s kind of awesome.
  • Also, apparently if you are in a rich neighborhood and a babysitter offers you a Coke, say no.
  • If there is anything I have learned from recent horror movies, it’s this: stay out of wealthy, suburban communities. Those people are twisted.
  • Why is it that in every horror movie when someone runs out of gas at the beginning but then has the opportunity to start the vehicle in the end, it always ends up starting that second time? Like, if my car ran out of gas and I waited long enough, as long as someone tried to kill me, is that an automatic fill up? Or is that maybe just some special rewards program at a particular gas station?

Honestly, I kind of enjoyed this movie. It’s no Titanic but it’ll keep you relatively entertained for about ninety minutes and in the world we live in right now, that’s about all I am asking for.

Hope you enjoyed that review. I’ll be back with more later this week.

Tippingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a comission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Want to see for yourself? Click below!

Kids Kill Monsters – How to Prepare to play Dungeons & Dragons with Kids Part 2

It’s your friendly DM Slick Dungeon, back again with a few tips for preparing to play Dungeons & Dragons with kids. In my last posts I talked about whether you should play D&D with kids, why playing D&D was healthy for kids, I showed you who does what at the table, gave you a tour of the dice and told you to read through the simple rules.

Haven’t read the rules yet? No problem, we are going to start at the beginning of the rules and talk about the Introduction which includes Worlds of Adventure, a little bit about How to Play and Adventures. I’m going to pull out the key ingredients from those sections that will make gaming with kids fun and easy.

Introduction

The first sentence of the rules says, “The Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game is about storytelling in worlds of swords and sorcery.” Notice how they say it’s about storytelling? That’s the emphasis here. A lot of kids will absolutely love sword and sorcery worlds. But not all kids. We’ll get more into this later but if your kids love robots and can’t stand knights of the round table stuff, this game can still be for them. My recommendation here is that whatever your kid is most into, that’s what you want to set your world in. It’s fine if rather than barbarians running around, you have a bunch of ponies making friends with each other. (They do have a different game for that if you want but we’re not talking about that one here) The point is to have fun and tell a story. What stories do your kids love? Those are the stories they will be into. It can be a show they watch, a book they read, or something completely original that you make up based on thoughts in your own head.

The next part of the intro goes into a long description of the surroundings followed by comments made by players about what they want their characters to do. For teens and adults it’s a great description and works well to demonstrate how DM’s and players can go about playing. For kids, it’s way too much description.

Unless you have kids who are really into fine details, describing the location should be relatively brief. You want to point out any important points, especially things where their characters might do something. The clue in this is the player comments. One player wants to look at the gargoyles. The other one is trying to check out the drawbridge. As a dungeon master you probably already know the gargoyles could be more than statues waiting to attack, or whether or not the drawbridge is a trap. If you run D&D with kids and you want to describe a castle that has gargoyles and a bridge that their characters should check out, I would do it like this. “You come up on a big castle. It has a rickety old drawbridge and some creepy looking statues that look like gargoyles. What do you want to do?” That’s going to keep from overloading them with unnecessary detail while also highlighting the things they might have their characters do. And for kids, sometimes they will need more of an A or B option than the open ended what do you do? In this case you might even suggest that some things they could do are, get a closer look at the statues or the bridge. When you start out, I would go with minimalist descriptions. but if your kids get into it, you can definitely make it more as time goes by. Just test it out a bit and see what works for them.

The next part of the intro has the player characters making checks with the dice. Do give your kids the chance to role the dice often. They will likely enjoy the feel and action of rolling, but don’t make it the main focus of the game. The point is the story, so if it’s something that their character can even reasonably do, just let it work. We’ll get more into when and when not to roll dice later in this series of blog posts but my rule of thumb is, if the kid is getting kind of fidgety and could use the distraction of a dice roll, call for one. If not, keep the story going as much as possible, as long as they are contributing.

The next part of the intro talks about the difference between a player and a Dungeon Master. Other than the cool title, the main thing to know is that the DM is the describer of the situation and the decider of the rules. And that’s pretty much it. The players get to be the heroes, you get to provide the world in which they are heroes.

They go on to describe a campaign. I think the easiest comparison is in a television series. An episode of a television series would be a session of game play. That is, it’s a short bit of the story. The campaign is the entire season. And just like some shows can have more than one season, some campaigns can go on longer than others. For now. you don’t need to have a full campaign figured out. What you’ll need most in the coming weeks is a good amount of material for a session. But not yet. For right now, you just need to know the difference between the campaign and the session. So again, one session is an episode and a campaign is a season.

The next thing I want to highlight in this section is vitally important to having a good understanding of the game. “There’s no winning and losing in the Dungeons & Dragons game– at least not the way those terms are usually understood.” Okay so a few things here. Kids can get really black and white and will want to know if they, “won” almost every session. If they had fun, they won. If you had fun, and they had fun, everyone won. Yes, they can win a combat or defeat the big boss of the campaign and they might think of that as winning. If they do, that’s fine. But it’s not like Monopoly. This is cooperative storytelling, not a winner takes all game. If they lose a combat, they can also take that poorly. In that instance you will want to remind the kids that there is no real, “winning” or “losing”. You can even point them to the rule book and show them that is exactly what is printed on the page. This is one of my absolute favorite things about this game. It’s not about beating someone else, it’s about imagining yourself doing incredible things, along with a bunch of other people also imagining themselves do incredible things.

One note I have here about the section on winning and losing. It says that some characters might come to a grisly end and that maybe the rest of the adventurers can revive that character or the player can change to a new one. With kids? Don’t do that. Don’t kill their characters. If they want to change characters, that is totally fine, just figure out a way to incorporate the new character but if you take nothing else from this post, just never, ever, kill a kid’s character. It’s devastating to them. Just don’t tell them that you will never kill their character.

Worlds of Adventure

This section is cool to read but there is really only one key ingredient you need to pull out of it when playing with kids. “The worlds of the Dungeons & Dragons game exist within a vast cosmos called the multiverse… Within this multiverse are an endless variety of worlds.” Did you catch that? You can literally set your D&D world anywhere. Want it to be a fictional place where there is a weakling prince who rides a big cat and transforms himself into a powerful warrior by saying some magic words? You got it. Want your world to take place where there are glittery vampires who are obsessed with one average high school student because of the way she smells? No problem. (I might not recommend that one for kids but whatever floats your boat) Want to set your world where it’s the future and there is a robotic boy hero that flies around a modern city, helping citizens? There is plenty of room for you to do that. Now, you might need to change some of the “monsters” that are available in the simple rules, but you are completely allowed to do that. This really is why I think D&D is an awesome game for kids. There’s not a lot of limitation imposed on it.

Now if you are overwhelmed and you feel like, there is no way you can make all these adjustments and come up with your own world, don’t worry. Also, if you are thinking, but I love the classic D&D stuff, I want my kid to fight a dragon and go in a dungeon, also don’t worry. There are modules put out by Wizards of the Coast that you can use that make it pretty easy to have a story to tell with your kids. You might still need to make some adjustments but you don’t have to start from scratch.

The next part of this section just tells you how to use the rule book so I am not going to go over that. We’ll go through section by section until we have made it through all of them.

How to Play

This section has a lot of good information in it and sums things up nicely. However, it can be a little daunting for someone who has never played before, kids included. I’m going to pull out what I think is important here.

The first part that is really useful is the description of the pattern that is used in game play.

They list it like this.

  1. The DM describes the environment
  2. The players describe what they want to do
  3. The DM narrates the results of the adventurers’ actions

They don’t add lather, rinse, repeat but they might as well have. That’s actually a really good summary of how games should go. Tell the kids where they are. Let them tell you what they want to do. Decide if they can do it. If it’s a maybe, have them roll dice. Decide if the dice rolled high enough for it to happen or not. Narrate what happens. Do it over again.

I don’t have a lot to add here because they pretty much nailed it on the first try, whether you play with kids, adults or someone in between.

They next go over the dice. I did that before so I am just going to say, if you need some dice, check out Dice Envy. They make really good dice.

Next they talk about rolling dice and adding modifiers. This may or may not work for your kid. I’ll get into how I do it later on, but if your kid can’t do addition and subtraction, can’t count past 10 or are very math averse, adding up bonuses, modifiers and penalties can be a real chore and feel like homework. This is a section you may want to minimize as much as possible, and you can still make the game work without a lot of that stuff. As you kid learns more math and understands more of the game, you can add this stuff in.

Here is their description in brief.

  1. Roll the die and add a modifier
  2. Apply circumstantial bonuses and penalties
  3. Compare the results to a target number

In terms of younger kids, you are going to roll the dice, not worry about modifiers, apply bonuses and penalties but as a DM you should be doing that, and compare the results to a target number. That target number is generally going to be what tells you if the player fails or succeeds.

The whole point is to figure out if the player does the thing they are trying to do. So, I feel like the third step here is what is really important, and why we can get away with fewer modifiers.

They then get into Difficulty Class and Armor Class but we’ll talk about those further along the rules. It’s just a way to figure out how tough something to do is.

Advantage and Disadvantage are the next topics. I think this system is great, and really good for kids. Basically, there are some situations where you will have the players roll twice instead of once. If they have advantage, they get to pick the higher number. If they have disadvantage, they have to choose the lower number. It’s also a great way to reinforce counting. This calls for doing it with a D20 but if your kid can only count to 10, I have a really easy solution. Use a D10 instead. They still have the 50/50 shot of succeeding most of the time, although I know, the D20 changes the probability mathematically (depending on the situation), but we’re talking about younger kids here. They just need to know if what they tried to do worked or failed.

The rest of this section leaves you with two rules that you really should know, even if they don’t make total sense right now. Firstly, specific rules beat general rules. I can give you an example here. Generally, players cannot fly. Specifically, if a player has a magic spell that says they can fly, that character can fly, even though others can’t.

The last rule in this section is Round Down. This is pretty straight forward but it comes up more often than you might think. If at any time, you are dividing a number and you come up with a fraction, round down, even if the fraction is greater than one half. It takes some getting used to but if you see a fraction, just round down.

Adventures

This section starts off by talking more about the whole idea of heroes adventuring in a shared story, like those in a television series as mentioned above. They talk about longer and shorter adventures. One rule I have for kids is this, the adventures are short, the heroes are long. That is you can use the same characters as many times as the kids want but keep your session short. Less is more.

Then they talk about the three pillars of adventure.

  1. Exploration
  2. Social Interaction
  3. Combat

Exploration can be really fun for kids but it can get tedious because it sometimes takes a lot of time and description. Like I said above, keep the descriptions brief and expand as needed.

Social Interaction can be really fun. It’s where you get to act as the characters that the kids are talking to. If you are able to ham it up, and be goofy, your kids will loooove this. If you don’t feel like you can do this and it’s embarrassing , that’s okay, every Dungeon Master has felt that way at one time, Matt Mercer included. It’s not strictly necessary for you to ham it up and be silly, but try it and you might find yourself getting really into it.

Combat can be tricky. You need to know what your kid is comfortable with. Some kids are just going to want smash, slash and destroy stuff. If you and your kid are okay with that, no problem go for it. If you need to tone it down, that’s something you will have to work on. There are tricks for this and I’ll get into it when we get to the combat section of the rules. But for now, just know that if you are pretty sure that your kid (or anyone who might be listening in on your session while you are playing) would be horrified to hear that he just chopped off a creature’s head and threw it’s agonized body down a well, don’t describe that. You can always make it more later as they get older.

Combat also has the most rules around it (maybe with the exception of magic) so it’s something you probably are going to need to simplify both for kids and to make yourself a little more sane.

The next section talks about Magic. This is a subject that’s a little too broad to get into here but suffice to say, there are special rules for magic and as the Dungeon Master, what you are going to need to know is what the spell should do. Most of the time the name of the spell gives a clue but not always, so we’ll go over in more depth later. And yes, your magic might actually be, the arc reactor blast that comes out of a super suited chest plate instead of what is written in the rules, but you can still use the same idea of the spells.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post and found something or other of value out of it. I’m really excited about the next post I am going to be doing because we are going to make some characters and this is finally, finally, a step where the kids can participate!

Introductorily yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a comission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

DriveThruRPG.com

Midsommar – #MovieReview

Don’t Drink the Mushroom Tea

I don’t know about you but I have had some extra time on my hands to watch movies. I read a Buzzfeed article that had 25 of the most disturbing movies you could watch and thought, yeah that’s a great way to stay entertained so here is my review of film number 1.

Midsommar is one that I meant to get around to but didn’t watch until today. I kept hearing really good things about it and wanted to check it out. It’s pretty much every bit as creepy as I heard. Spoilers are below, you have been warned

The movie starts off very dark. I mean that literally and figuratively. The first scenes show a darkened house with lights out in the dead of night. The tone doesn’t really lighten up either. The story revolves around Dani who starts off anxious and worried about her sister who has bipolar disorder. Dani calls her frat bro boyfriend worried and he dismisses her fears in a way that I frankly thought was disgusting. When people are anxious and worried, they should be listened to, not dismissed, especially when there’s evidence that shows the thing they are worried about might have happened. Turns out, Dani was right to worry and her jerk boyfriend Christian wasn’t helping things either. Dani’s sister killed herself and her parents in that dark house I was talking about.

That’s just as devastating a tragedy as I can think of and I don’t think Christian is helpful in the situation either. He’s not a total jerk but he really doesn’t want to be in the relationship with Dani and basically hangs around because it seems like an even more jerk move to break up with her.

Anyway, while Dani is starting to get over her grief, she goes to a party with Christian and he drops this bomb on her when he tells his friends he is planning on going to Sweden with them. Dani is upset, jealous and a bit angry. But she is also very apologetic to Christian about feeling that way. Dani decides not to break up with the guy but to go to Sweden with everyone. Bad call Dani.

The lighting of the film changes dramatically from there. It’s pretty much bright day from there on out. This is not the most gore-filled movie you’ll ever see and there’s not a bunch of quick jump cuts to scare you but the tone of this movie will stay with you if you watch it.

You get the sense right away when Dani is offered some drugs in the form of mushroom tea and she is uncomfortable with it, what with, you know, grieving and all that there is something wrong here. For a while it seems like maybe only the bad things are in Dani’s head but the rituals that are going on in this quiet Swedish town take a dark turn quickly. For the first half of the movie it’s a slow churning build up to what might happen and it just grips you right to the end.

The action really starts going when during a part of this festival two people literally jump to their deaths intentionally as part of it. All of the Americans and Londoners watching recoil in abject horror at what happens. From there, the non-Swedish characters are killed off in different ways one by one. I am not going to give any of that away, but it was devastating to watch. By the end you will find yourself both sympathizing and horrified with Dani and her actions. It’s a wild ride, done in super bright daylight and yet it still never loses the edge of horror that you want in a scary movie.

If you like horror and can stand a little gore, this one is well worth checking out.

Brightly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Horror Fans: Get a 500+ Page RPG Book for Free today 3/20!

Slick Dungeon here. I just wanted to let you guys know about a really good deal on DriveThruRPG.com. Just a note though, this one is not for kids so if you have been reading my posts about playing role playing games with kids, this one is not for them. It’s too good of a deal for me not to tell you about though.

Wraith is a horror RPG where you start off as a ghost or undead who cannot rest. There is no heaven or hell for these creatures, just the Underworld where you start, the Oblivion below and Transcendence above. It sounds like a really cool game and perfect for anyone looking for something a little darker to play. While I haven’t played this edition personally, the publisher Onyx Path Publishing is responsible for the excellent and always evolving Vampire: The Masquerade which I have played and always have a good time with. You can get the 571 page PDF for nothing right now. It’s normally $29.99 and looks like it is full of rich, moody art that is absolutely perfect for any horror fan out there.

Wraith is free today 3/20 only. If you haven’t grabbed a copy and you need something to do once you have screened everything you can on Shudder, pick this up, find a few friends to video chat with and whip up some ghostly, ghouls and otherwise undead and unleash the adventure in the Underworld. I know what I’ll be doing tonight.

Eerily yours,

Slick Dungeon

P.S. Need a full set of awesome gaming dice? Check out Skull Splitter!

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a comission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

To Be Taught If Fortunate – #BookReview

Hello out there in cyberspace. Slick Dungeon here and I just read a book about outer space that I want to share with you. I enjoyed this one a lot and I will be doing a little review. There will be some spoilers but I will not give away the whole plot here. You’ve been warned if you want everything in the book to be a surprise.

To Be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers is a hard science fiction novella that had me interested cover to cover. It follows the adventures of four astronauts in the far future who have been sent from Earth to explore a few planets and their ecosystems in the interests of science and humanity. Ariadne, Chikondi, Elena and Jack have all been tasked to take scientific recordings, samples, etc. and sent back to Earth for study.

The book is full of beautiful descriptions of new species, the harsh realities of space exploration and the breakdown of difficult scientific ideas into understandable concepts. The characters are very well developed for such a short book. I was pretty gripped throughout, whether it was the personal struggles of the space explorers or the underlying question of the book; should we seek knowledge just for the sake of curiosity?

Those of you out there who are space nerds will probably know that the title is taken from a small snippet of a quote on the golden record on the Voyager space craft. This book takes the idea that we ought to be curious, that we need to find more out about the universe around us seriously. That can be said for a lot of science fiction and especially hard science fiction books. Where I think this one is different is that it also asks if our curiosity does harm. Are we hurting foreign species we might encounter in space? Are we able to minimize that? And if we can minimize it, is that really enough? Should humanity care about space exploration if there are problems on the ground right here on Earth?

What I love about this book is that it does not provide hard and fast answers to those questions. We follow along as the astronauts go to different environments, with different challenges both for the astronauts and the species (or lack of species) on each planet they touch down on. It isn’t a silly novel where there are a ton of bipedal humanoid species. No, the species they encounter might be microscopic or look somewhat like rats but have truly nothing in common with the earthbound creatures we think of. And it’s very well described.

Maybe the one thing I would change about the book is the ending. I feel like it could have been more conclusive. On the other hand, that may have been the whole point. The book doesn’t give us answers to a lot of important questions, but it dares to ask them. So maybe the end is made that way too. So that we have to form our own opinions and ideas of not only what the right thing to do is when it comes to science, but also how our heroes end up in the long run.

If you’re looking for an entertaining, deep, yet short read, and you have any interest in space exploration at all, I highly recommend To Be Taught If Fortunate.

If you’ve read this, let me know what you thought about it in the comments.

Space-ily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Leprechaun 3 – #MovieReview

Stay Out of Nevada

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I know, we were all hoping to go out to pubs, restaurants and parades but this year, it’s not a great plan. You know what else wasn’t well planned? Leprechaun 3.

Since you are likely stuck at home anyway, why not take advantage and watch some silly horror movies? A Leprechaun marathon might be the way to go. I’ve reviewed a couple of the others of these and I will keep going through the franchise but today, I am going to tell you about the third film in the series.

Okay, so follow me here because this plot is uh… weird. So remember the first two Leprechaun movies? Yeah, forget those because this one is all different. This champion of a film has a whopping 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s what a work of cinematic genius this is. It’s nearly impossible to be that low rated and be a movie that was actually made, so that’s one thing they can brag about. To be fair I think it was only released on video but it still earns that 0% rating for sure.

This time our story revolves around Scott and Tammy. Tammy is an assistant magician in Las Vegas who works for Fazio, the least impressive magician ever. Scott is some young dude who sees Tammy’s car broken down on the street and fixes it. For this reason they will go through a bunch of trauma and fall in love by the end of the movie.

Oh hey, spoilers by the way.

Anyway, for no reason that I can figure out, this guy shows up in a pawn shop with the Leprechaun from the previous two films. Only this time, the Leprechaun is stone and has a medallion around his neck. The guy who pawns the statue says it is a good luck charm and not to touch the medallion. Pawn shop owner then immediately touches the medallion. Good job horror film fodder!

The Leprechaun awakens and wreaks some havoc but we learn that he can be stopped by the medallion and that if you get the Leprechaun’s gold you get one wish for every one of his hundred shillings. Also, that the Leprechaun’s weakness is his gold. I mean, in the first movie it was a four leaf clover and in the second movie it was iron, but we are forgetting those okay? Those never happened.

Meanwhile Scott gives Tammy a ride to Vegas where she works at a casino called The Lucky Shamrock. See what the film makers did there? Yep, they snuck in a reference to something related to the Leprechaun. Checks notes: yep, very clever of them. Very clever.

Anyway apparently Scott is not old enough to gamble and Tammy tells him not to gamble and then he says he really wants to see the casino and then she is like okay, just don’t gamble. He goes and immediately gambles. And loses everything he had. Way to go horror movie hero!

Scott then needs to go pawn his watch to stay in the game. The game by the way was rigged by the casino worker there so Scott had no chance either way. Scott finds the very murdered body of the pawn shop owner, calls the cop and flees the scene but not before he picks up… you guessed it, a gold shilling. He wishes that he was winning at the casino and boom, there he goes off an running.

The movie ensues with the Leprechaun hunting down and getting all murdery on a bunch of people in various ways, some of whom totally deserve it, including the casino owner, Fazio and the casino worker rigging the game.

I won’t give away how the Leprechaun does the deed on those people but, I had a few thoughts about this movie.

  • Why do they keep changing this guy’s powers and weaknesses. Okay, okay I know some people will tell me, the actual Leprechaun in this movie is different from the Leprechaun in some of the other Leprechaun movies, despite the fact that he is played by the same actor. Nope, that doesn’t fly because in the last movie the Leprechaun was allergic to wrought iron but that isn’t even thought of in this one, so nope. Also, why are we wasting time arguing about a fictional Leprechaun in a bad horror comedy franchise again?
  • Even if the powers and weaknesses had been consistent between movies, they sure are not in this movie. The most awesomely weird part of this film can be summarized in one ridiculous word. Were-leprechaun! Yep, that’s right, Scott is literally bitten by the Leprechaun and starts to turn into one himself. On the one hand this is bad because, you know, he has to be a Leprechaun now, but on the other hand it is good because Scott can very conveniently find the pot of gold that can destroy the leprechaun but on the third hand (?) it’s bad because now Scott, really, really wants that gold. But the Leprechaun literally bites like three other people in this movie and even more in previous movies so why is Scott the only one who starts to turn into a Leprechaun? This movie about a fictional creature who randomly murders people for stealing his gold is totally unbelievable now…
  • This has happened both in the first and third movies of this series but, is it realistic that the lead couple will meet for the first time, spend a horrible night running away from a killer Leprechaun and fall in love by the end of the movie? I mean, I get that shared traumatic experiences bring people together but… from a killer Leprechaun? Also, how are these people not institutionalized for telling their meet cute story to anyone, ever?
  • Note to self, if stuck in Leprechaun movie, make sure to be one half of the lead couple as so far they have a 100% not getting dead rate in this franchise.
  • There are a couple of thug characters in this movie who do some silly dialogue with each other that I think is supposed to be comic relief. Uh, did the film makers think we needed a break from the serious drama that they had unfolding before us? Because if so, they were mistaken.
  • The Leprechaun uses some hypnotic powers on people and why doesn’t he do that all the time? I mean really, every time he does that he kills the person. So, Leprechaun my dude, just keep doing that.
  • This is the third film in the franchise but I still haven’t figure out, is the Leprechaun required to speak in limericks or does he just really like to? I mean he does say things that aren’t limericks but a lot of times he does. Is that a compulsion or something? Also, why has no one challenged this guy to a rhyme off?
  • Speaking of things that make no sense, why was this located in Las Vegas? I mean I get that there are people there gambling and there would be gold involved but a Leprechaun still just doesn’t make a lot of sense there.
  • Also, what’s the deal with the guy who brought the Leprechaun to the pawn shop? How did he get the Leprechaun and why? And then who thinks, I have a cemented deadly Leprechaun frozen by a medallion, you know what I am going to pawn it? That’s pretty far down the list of good ideas here.
  • But still the Leprechaun is a little murder machine and it’s kind of entertaining to watch so, I’ll go with it.

These movies are getting a little exhausting so I might take a break and review something else in between but I promise in the long run to review every single one of these suckers. I think I may have to forget about the previous ones each time I watch a new one though, if the trend continues.

Still, if you need some humor and you are a horror fan, you might as well watch these movies, it’s something to do while you are stuck inside anyway.

Luckily yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a comission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

P.S. Want to stream this immediately? Click below.

6 Role Playing Games for Kids You Can Get Right Now for Under 10 Bucks

Hi everyone. Right now there a lot of families stuck at home looking for something to do. You can play Monopoly for the millionth time, you can watch television, you can read but it’s all getting rather routine. So what’s something you can do instead? It’s an excellent time to try some kid appropriate Role Playing Games. I have listed below several that I think are great fun and great for kids.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a comission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Hero Kids Fantasy RPG

This is a fantasy based RPG that only uses two 6 sided dice. It has simple mechanics and has heroes for both boys and girls to play. It only takes about 30-60 minutes to play so kids are not too likely to get bored. The ages are for 4-10 year olds so if you have young kids, this is a great way to get them introduced to fantasy role playing. And this includes a pre-written adventure called Basement O Rats (I love that title) to get you started right away.

All you need is the PDF version and a set of six sided dice to play. For the PDF it’s $5.99 but if you want to get the whole thing, PDF, Soft cover and Black and White book it’s discounted right now at $11.99. It’s a great investment if you have young kids.

Amazing Tales, Complete Kid’s RPG

The neat thing about this game is that if you purchase it, it comes with four sample settings to place your games in. This doesn’t come with a complete pre-written adventure though, so although it has a lot of great stuff in it, you will have to make up a story for it to work. It’s easy to learn, but requires a little bit of pre-planning before you jump right into it with your kids, so read through first. They give you story seeds to get the idea going and you can just take it from there. It’s pretty imaginative so young kids tend to like this one a lot.

Again for this all you need is one 6 sided die and the PDF. However, they do recommend using a set with one 6 sided die, one 8 sided die, one 10 sided die and one 12 sided die for the best play. You can get the PDF for $5.95. The full set is a bit more expensive at $26.45 so I would recommend getting the PDF first and see how your kids like it before you go all out on the full set.

Maze Rats

I almost want to say this one is more for parents than kids, but kids will like this too. It’s a little more complicated than the above options though, so I would say in the 9 or older range. It’s basically a condensed version of an older set of D&D rules but very easy to read through and follow along, with a bunch of great tables to roll on for characters, magic etc. This is just the rule set though, so it does not contain an adventure to play. You will need to use the rules here to make one up or buy one of the adventures for it.

This only comes in PDF from and is priced at $2.99, so buying and adventure to go with it is not too much of a blow to the wallet.

The Alchemist’s Repose

I couldn’t leave you hanging on Maze Rats when there is a really good, easy to use one page dungeon you can get to go along with it. Plus it has fungal elves, programmable robotic guardians and alchemy gone awry. Kids love that kind of stuff. (And so do I). It’s really accessible and quick to figure out, although there are lots of problems to solve and you don’t necessarily have to just do endless combat. Although that’s fun too!

This one only runs you $1.50 so definitely worth the price of admission.

Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures

The great part of this one is that you basically roll on tables to create the characters and to make up the scenario of the adventure, so there is virtually no prep work. Although, like with any game system, I definitely recommend reading it before playing with your kids. There’s a ton of supplemental stuff you can get for this game if it turns out you love it but you just need the basics and a set of gaming dice to get going on this one. Again, this is probably for kids who are at least 9 or so since there is a bit of reading required here. It’s good for older kids and adults too though, so it will last you a good long time.

This one is on the pricier side of this list but totally worth it at $7.99 This one is a zip file rather than just one PDF though, so make sure you have a way to open it before spending the money.

Deadball: Baseball with Dice

My Grandfather used to call any time with no sports on, “the void”. He was a huge baseball fan. Deadball is going to be great for any kids who love baseball and are totally bummed out by the fact that there is no spring training going on right now. Obviously, you need to know a few things about baseball for this to be any fun. If you understand basic stats like batting average and ERA. If you are a baseball fan, that’s no problem but even if you are not, you can still play this game by reading through the rules. And the rules allow you to be any team in history, made up of any players you want. Or you can roll for your own team to make this work. It does require a set of RPG dice and it has basic and more advanced rules, depending on how you want to play.

The suggested price for this is $10.00 but it is a pay what you want so you can get it for less or more. Personally, I think it’s worth the $10 but only if you are a baseball fan.

If you want to get any of these, just click on the images above. or if you want to search for your own, click on the banner below.

If you try any of these games out, I’d love to know how they went. Have any other favorites I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

Gamely yours,

Slick Dungeon

Superheroes - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

A Pizza to Die For – #BookReview

Take the Pizza Leave the Mystery

Have you been stuck inside for days with nothing to do but read or watch movies? Me too. Although, I live alone in a dungeon so it makes sense. Slick Dungeon here with a cozy mystery book review for you in your time of boredom.

A Pizza to Die For by Chris Cavendar is one in a series of cozy mysteries that take place in or around a pizza shop in Timber Ridge, North Carolina. It’s about a pair of sisters, Eleanor and Maddy who run the place called, A Slice of Delight. I’m going to give you a little plot summary but then I had some issues with the whole thing so I am going to rant about that for a while.

If you just want a nice, tidy, mystery, there are definitely worse you could read out there. If you want a nice, tidy, mystery that constantly makes you wish you were eating pizza because they say the word every other sentence, this is absolutely the book for you. I think I gained weight just by reading it to be honest.

The story goes like this. A new pizza place is about to open. The restaurant is called Italia’s and not only will it have a fancy, dancy, high-falutin, wood fire oven, there’s a chef there that will toss the pizza dough in the air right in front your very own face. Maddy and Eleanor are none too pleased with this and so she and her crew go to see the dude opening it up. His name is Judson Sizemore and they basically threaten him to, you know, not open the place, but after he was a jerk to them, so apparently that’s all okay behavior.

I bet you see this coming. Judson ends up dead. Eleanor and Maddy are suspects of course, so they attempt to clear their names by solving the mystery. In case you actually want to read this, I am not going to give away who does it but there are spoilers that follow so you have been warned.

Here are some thoughts I had along the way.

  • At one point this book has the required “get off my lawn” scene where they go to try to talk to one of the suspects and he pulls out a shotgun and says he will shoot Maddy and Eleanor if they don’t leave. So many mysteries have this but this one to me was exceedingly ridiculous. The guy threatens to shoot them for, you know, walking up to his door, but then how is he talked down? Eleanor tells him she also has a house that is a bungalow house, like the one he owns. Oh. Okay. Yeah I was willing to blow your face off two seconds ago but IF you happen to own a home LIKE mine, then that’s all good, no problem, let’s be best friends. Give me a break (so I can grab a slice of pizza).
  • I know this book was written a while ago and takes place far away from Chicago but these people in this town seem to feel like you have to have some kind of magical ability to make Chicago style pizza. They go on about this for pages. Pages I tell you. And you know what? Now I need me some deep dish!
  • So Eleanor and Maddy think what they have to do is figure out who did the killing at Italia’s the night Judson dies. Guess who they never talk to even once? Yeah, everyone that was working there. Nope, none of them could possibly be suspects despite the fact that Judson in his few scenes where he is alive seems like a total jerk. Great detective work.
  • Speaking of detective work. This town has a Chief of Police who warns Eleanor away from doing her own little investigation and other than that pretty much shows up on occasion to order pizza or do some dishes in the back with Eleanor. The Chief, Kevin, has history with Eleanor because they went to the same high school. But he does no real investigating of this whole situation other than to basically ask Eleanor where she was on the night of the murder. I swear I have never read a cozy mystery where the police department ever does a good job. How are the tax payers okay with paying you Kevin? Huh? Come on, man, the Timber Ridge residents deserve better from you!
  • Also, I have made this statement in other reviews about mysteries but how is a pair of civilians going around and bullying people into confessing to them, not to the police in any way, going to help in court? I am pretty sure a lawyer who is worth a dime is going to get that case tossed in seconds flat.
  • Speaking of crappy lawyers. There is a lawyer in this who is dating Maddy, named Bob Lemon. Well, Bob Lemon does the smart thing exactly once. He tells Maddy that she should not go investigating other people for a murder she might be a suspect for. She jumps all over him for it and pretty much puts him in the doghouse for it for a good chunk of the book. And he apologizes for it! I mean, the dude is a lawyer and the first rule of good lawyering is to get your dumb client who is going around looking very suspicious to you know, shut up. If I was Bob Lemon I would not have apologized. I would have demanded my hourly rate of $100 an hour for that one bit of advice and left Maddy to make her own dang mess.
  • The suspects in this book never looked like they had that much guilt or motive or even opportunity to do this crime but why would they confess anything to Eleanor and Maddy? They do have a friend that seems to intimidate people because he must be into some criminal stuff but that doesn’t seem like enough for someone who committed murder to just be like, oh yeah, I am gonna confess every dark secret of mine to you.
  • Also, as I said I won’t give away who did it but like in every one of these stories, why would the killer actually confess in the last part of the book? They had every opportunity to you know, shut up and just kill the people confronting them. All I can think is that person must also be dating and ignoring a lawyer who gave good advice and then apologized for it.
  • This book even has the prerequisite relationship with a criminal and the protaganist (in this case a pizza maker) that makes no sense at all. I mean, this may have come about in previous books but how many small shop pizza owners are like, yeah let me hang out with a mobster? I could almost buy it if the protagonist were crooked or, like in law enforcement but just a pizza shop owner? Really?
  • Speaking of crimes. In several sections of the book they mention that the local health inspector is away on a honeymoon. Well, it’s a good thing because the kitchen in A Slice of Delight seems to be like Grand Central Station. (Well Grand Central Station a few weeks ago). Everyone shows up there to ask Eleanor stuff, tell Eleanor stuff, and do this dishes with Eleanor. I mean, are there no rules about this sort of thing? She doesn’t even tell anyone to put on a hair net or gloves or anything. It made me want pizza less and that is nearly impossible.
  • There is one thing that I can say for this series though. Their pun game is strong. This one is A Pizza to Die for but they have a bunch of other books with titles like, A Slice of Murder and Rest in Pizza. I wholeheartedly approve. I am gonna murder that slice of pizza to die for and go rest in the remains of it now.

Man that book and review made me really want pizza. Think anyone will deliver to a monster filled dungeon out in the middle of nowhere in thirty minutes or less?

Hungrily yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

P.S. Hungry for more murder pizza? Check out this series here!

Kids Kill Monsters – How to Prepare to play Dungeons & Dragons with Kids Part 1

Hello again, it’s me your friendly Dungeon Master, Slick Dungeon. Today I want to talk to you about how to prepare yourself to DM with kids. Don’t know what a Dungeon Master is? No idea how to play this with kids? Not to worry, I have some tips and advice for you.

A couple things before we get started. These posts will be for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. If you are new to the game that might not mean much to you but it’s important to know that there are different editions and that they have different rule sets. Fifth edition is especially flexible for kids because you can be a total beginner and pick it up pretty quickly. Most of the emphasis is on the narrative rather than number crunching so it’s better for kids in my opinion. Also, it’s the current edition that is out everywhere and is super popular with the masses right now.

First. let me start by saying that if you already know how to play Dungeons & Dragons and have been DMing for years, bear with me, this is going to look pretty familiar. However, I may have some tips for doing this with kids that you haven’t considered so it might be worth a read anyway. I am going to give you a few steps on how to prepare yourself. This will take some effort on your part but you can do it.

Know what Dungeons & Dragons is and is not

Dungeons & Dragons, aka DnD is a tabletop role playing game. It’s a shared narrative story where one person, the Dungeon Master, narrates the circumstances and referees how the game plays out based on a set of rules. It’s not a video game. It’s not story time (it’s a shared story where everyone participates). It’s not something every kid is going to want to do either. My first and most important bit of advice is this, never make a kid play Dungeons & Dragons if they don’t want to.

There are some adults out there who love role playing, or just want their kids to get in on this fad that all their other friends are playing. While I think most kids will love this game, given the opportunity to play it, if they are forced to when they don’t want to, they are going to walk away in frustration and no one is happy. And this is important, this includes in the middle of a session.

Nothing will frustrate a kid more than when they get bored with something and an adult forces them to carry on anyway. By that point you have lost them. And then you, as the adult are also frustrated and want to give the whole thing up, thinking that this kid is never going to be into this. That might be true. But you might just need to wait a few years after you blow it to try again. My advice? Less is more with kids. Leave them wanting a little more if you can, but don’t get upset if they decide they are done for now. Don’t take it personally and just give it some time.

Most of us who play Role Playing games understand what is called, “The Social Contract.” This is basically an agreement that everyone who is at the table to play is there because they want to be there. And that they will participate and, you know, not be jerks while playing. This is pretty easy for teens and adults to understand and if someone violates the social contract, everyone at the table knows it. With kids, especially young kids, this is different. I’ll go over how to set a social contract with kids in a later post but for now, remember this, if it doesn’t go great the first time, or the kid gets bored and leaves, you still have a good shot at bringing them back for more. If you force a kid to stay when they are over it, you are done and good luck getting that kid to come back again.

Know who does what at the table

Experienced Dungeon Masters, you know how this goes. For all you noobs out there, the people at the table are pretty straight forward. The Dungeon Master leads the game, knows the basic outline of the story and makes judgement calls based on what the characters are doing. The DM also controls the Non-player Characters (NPCs). Basically anyone the players meet that are not each other.

The rest of the people at the table are Player Characters. They get to invent and pretend to be the heroes of the story. Most kids are going to enjoy this role waaaay more than being a Dungeon Master. That’s not to say that there are not great kid DM’s out there, it’s just that most kids want to be in the action, doing the thing, rather than be the one looking up rules.

If a kid really wants to be the Dungeon Master, you might consider doing a short session with them where you basically DM together. Let them roll the dice, let them make some decisions but you are the one driving the story. If they love doing that and want to take over more from there, just help them along the way, depending on the age of the kid. The older the kid, the more likely they can handle actually being the Dungeon Master. Personally, I would say for the most part until kids are around 12, let them be the players.

Know the dice

Okay, really experienced game players are going to think this one is silly but we all had to learn this at some point. I am going to go over the dice, pictures and all just so you know what they are. You may or may not use all these dice depending on two things. 1. The age of the kid and how high they can count. and 2. What their characters are. You as the DM will probably use most of the dice at some point but there’s a couple that really are more important than others. I am going to show you the dice, lowest to highest. Basically, in the rules you will read that a situation calls for something like 2D6 + 2. What that means is that they want you to take two six sided dice, (you know like in Monopoly) and roll them. Then take the total and add 2 to it. But, kids don’t necessarily know which die is which. So here it is in pictures. Also, just a tip so pro-gamers don’t jump down your throat, the singular of dice is die. So if you are rolling 1D4, you are rolling a die, not a dice. People will call you out if you say it wrong, so teach your kids early.

D4

Top Read D4
Bottom Read D4

The above are D4’s. They are four sided dice shaped like pyramids. The tricky part about these is you can have either top read or bottom read D4’s. I gave you an example of each. Do you need to know which is which? Not really. Here’s what you need to know, can you read the number as it would be printed on a page? If so, that’s your result. This die is usually used to determine damage for the smallest weapons in the game.

D6

The D6 hardly needs an introduction. You’ve used this kind of die before in almost any normal board game that uses dice. This one is used for determining damage done by spells and weapons.

D8

The D8 can be read by seeing what number lies flat on the top. Kids will mistake this sometimes for the D4 or the D10. This die is used for determining damage, depending on the kind of weapon or spell involved.

D10

Again you read this die by seeing what number lands flat on the top. Depending on how good your kid is at counting, this might be your big die to use most often. Experienced gamers will use the D20 as the most commonly rolled die BUT if you kid can’t count that high, stop here. I’ll show you how to adjust your game to use nothing higher than a D10 in a future post. In most games this will determine damage done from specific weapons. But if your kid still needs to learn to do some counting, this is also going to operate along the lines of what the D20 die does.

D12

The D12 is mostly used for battle damage. Any barbarian in the game will LOVE this die because they use it all the time. Like the others you read it by seeing which number lands flat face up.

D20

The D20 is any table top role players favorite and most hated die. Why? Everything good or bad in the game comes down to how well this sucker rolls. Again you know what the result is by seeing the number that is flat on the top. This determines everything from who goes first in combat, if you can succeed dodging a falling rock, to dealing damage to a sworn foe. It can sometimes be used in mundane situations too, like finding out how many potions a merchant has on stock to buy. It’s the essential die in the game and it does help if your kid can count to 20. If not, we can still use the D10 for that but it’s going to take some adjustment.

Percentile Dice

Percentile dice are sometimes called for in the rules. You don’t have to have ones like the ones pictured above. In the ones above there is one, the one that has two digit figures on it that you use for the tens spot and one that only has single digits that you use for the ones spot. You can use two D10s instead as long as you know which one is going to be for the tens spot and which one for the ones spot, and don’t change them. Most often, I see these rolled on a table in preparation for the game rather than during a game but some instances can come up where you need them. To roll a 100 on these, all the numbers need to show up as 0. So if you have the kind like pictured above, it would read 00, 0 and if you use two D10s it will show 0, 0.

Know the rules

I’ve told you my first rule, don’t force a kid to play when they don’t want to. I’ve told you who is who at the table. I’ve shown you what the dice are. Now it’s time for you to do some work. You are going to have to learn some rules. But wait, those books are big! And expensive! I don’t know if I want to invest in all that before I play with my kids. To that I say, you are right, and no problem, you don’t have to buy the books. There are free online resources you can use. I am going to link them for you right here in this post. We’ll be starting with the simple rules, rather than the three core books. If you want the three core books, Dungeon Master’s Guide, The Player Handbook and The Monster Manual, more power to you. I love those books but if you are starting play with kids, simpler is better.

I expect that after you see the simplified rules you are still going to say, but Slick, that is a lot of reading! Well, yes it is. You are not wrong about that. My plan for this blog is to go through the simple rules with you to help pull out the key elements to allow you to play Dungeons & Dragons with kids. Not everything in these rules is necessary for kids (or even adults) and they can be adjusted. The rules are more of a framework or guideline for how to play rather than everything being set in stone.

When you go to the link to look at the simple rules, if you look around you will see some information about how the game is structured, how you create a character and how to run an adventure. Read as much of that as you can, even if it doesn’t make sense right now or if you think you can’t get a younger kid to understand it. For right now, we are in the prepping stages so the best thing you can do is to inform yourself but don’t tell a kid you are going to start playing tomorrow unless you are really ready to do that. Give yourself some time to absorb the information. Also, not to self promote too hard here but come back to my blog and like I said we will go through the basic rules. I’ll give tips on character creation for kids, how to adapt things so they are more simplified and even point you to some cool stuff that might make your kids more interested in playing.

Come on, Slick enough talk, give us the rules already!

Here you go! Simple Rules for Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Read those and come back to my next post where we will talk about some good guidelines about setting up a D&D world for kids.

Critically yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

P.S. Just gotta have the core books? You can get them here.

Dungeon Master’s Guide

Player’s Handbook

Monster Manual

Blood Hunters Rise of the Hybrids – #MovieReview

The action Goes Boom!

Slick Dungeon here, coming at you hard and fast with a martial arts action film review. DarkCoast pictures reached out to me with a screener copy of Blood Hunters Rise of the Hybrids in exchange for an honest opinion about the film. I’ll give you a bit of the plot summary and then tell you about the good, the bad and the kicks in the face.

Blood Hunters Rise of the Hybrids is a low budget, independent martial arts film by Vincent Soberano who also stars in the movie as the character Bolo. The movie also stars Sarah Chang as Gabriela and Mayling Ng as Maya.

I think at this point in the world, a lot of us are trying to make the most out of video streaming because no one wants to go out into a crowd anymore and some people are not allowed to. So what do you do to keep busy? Watch movies. Lots of movies and shows. You’ve watched The Witcher, you caught up on The Boys, and you have watched The Baby Yoda show on loop for the last ten days and it’s time to look for something else. Maybe something you haven’t seen before.

Well, like it or hate it, I can tell you, you haven’t seen Blood Hunters Rise of the Hybrids before. Personally, I am in favor of any film these days that can claim to be independent. If there’s a good story and plenty of entertainment to be had, so much the better. This movie gets some of that right but not all of it.

The story goes like this. There’s a race of alien creatures called the Aswang. They are sort of a cross between vampires and werewolves but they pretty much look human. They are extremely fast and very strong. The really cool thing about them is that they are based on Filipino folklore that Soberano grew up with. I love the idea of monsters that don’t get enough exposure getting some air time.

Anyway, these Aswang are trying to dominate the human race. There was a human trying to stop them named Naga. When he gets the chance to stop the queen of the Aswang, Maya, he instead injects himself with her blood and becomes one of these creatures. Meanwhile there is a group of humans who are basically mercenaries trying to stop Naga and Maya. These people also inject themselves with the Aswang blood to give themselves strength and power but they are on the side of humanity. Confused yet? I was a bit too. I think one thing the movie suffers from is not giving enough time for the origins of the Aswang to play out, instead opting for exposition on their background.

The film also cuts back and forth between what seems to have happened before and the action going on now. It’s not always clear who is doing what or why.

There’s really cool artwork that the film uses to transition scenes with. Sort of like Sin City did. While I love the artwork, which if I understand correctly, Soberano also made, the transitions can get a bit distracting here. It wasn’t completely off putting and it certainly doesn’t ruin the film but it does seem like it happens just a little too often.

The story centers on Gabriela who has a husband and child that were seemingly murdered by Naga. She’s out on a quest for vengeance and she kicks serious butt.

She goes after the creatures as hard as she can. We even learn that her family was basically the first victims of these attacks. Other than that, her motivations are not always real clear.

The film does the wise thing by not overdoing the blood and gore factor. We mostly see dead bodies covered in blood after the fact, but there’s no silly decapitations or anything like that. I feel like that makes the violence the creatures do more impactful.

I would go on with summarizing the story but it’s a little disjointed. The main thing to know is that there are bad, strong monsters that want to kill humans. And there is a group of humans that want to kill the monsters. That’s enough for me though. You know why?

The freaking action scenes are phenomenal.

This movie reminded me of some of the Kung Fu movies I grew up watching on late night television or early morning Sundays. The point is the fighting above all else. That being said, there are still some things I found a little silly.

  • At one point Gabriela fires a slingshot into a stack of boxes near a car. The whole thing blows up. I’m all for unnecessary explosions but, uh one sling shot? Really? And later she uses the same thing to sling shot a dart at someone so, uh did the whole thing actually blow up with one single dart? I mean cool explosion though…
  • There’s one character who basically has fake fangs in his mouth. It made it pretty hard to understand his dialogue and even after watching more than once, I am still not sure what that guy was saying. Still, his martial arts game is strong so all good.
  • These creatures can’t be killed by anything other than a special type of blade. The “Slayers” as they are called, the mercenary group that want to stop the Aswang, sneak up on the enemy base and eliminate a bunch of the guards around them, using guns. Why wouldn’t these creatures post guards that were Aswang instead?! Also, after they are in the building, and about to go after Maya and Naga and the big bads, one of the Slayers says, “blades out, this is the Aswang lair.” Maybe you should have mentioned that outside bro? I mean cause, you are already inside so, good thing there was no one in that hallway I guess?

All that aside, the best part of this movie happens from when the dude says to get the blades out.

The sword battles and one on one match ups are phenomenal. Personally, I am kind of sick of martial arts action that relies on wires and shaky camera editing to make things look cool, rather than just letting the camera stay back and allowing us to see human skill. This movie absolutely does not make that mistake. The fighting is great, the action is framed well for the most part and there are cool moves from both good and bad guys. There’s a little touch of special effects given to the Aswang to make them seem other than human but it in no way takes away from the fight scenes. And from my point of view, since most of the movie is an extended fight scene, that makes this movie worth a watch.

The match up between Gabriela and Maya was particularly enjoyable to me. You can tell how carefully these fight scenes were choreographed and that the actors are skilled martial artists in their own right.

The end gets a little messy again with a surprise betrayal and some characters that we weren’t all that attached to losing fights and it becomes a bit confusing. The very end leaves us on a cliff hanger setting up for a sequel. For my part I hope that Soberano and crew do more films together. I just hope that next time he keeps the action fast but slows down on the set up. I would like to see less exposition and more character growth. But the same amount of kicks in the face. Actually, more kicks in the face. I can always use more kicks in the face. Wait, that sounded wrong. Anyway, yeah Soberano is talented and should make more independent films and I hope he will. I’ll be there for the action, just maybe not entirely for the story.

Blood Hunters Rise of the Hybrids will be streaming on March 17th (Amazon, Vimeo on Demand, FlixFling, Vudu, FANDANGO)

Face Kickingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Slick Dungeon’s Outbreak PSA

Hello out there all you wonderful people, this is Slick Dungeon. Normally on my blog I post about movies, books and role playing games. Today I just want to take a minute to do my part to stop the spread of an epidemic.

All the major health organizations recommend two things to keep us healthy. One is wash your hands and two is not touching your face. I don’t have much to help with the second one but for the first let me do you all a service. We’re supposed to wash for at least 20 seconds which is the lyrics to Happy Birthday twice. Well, if I keep singing that I am going to be approximately four thousand years old in the next half hour. Instead, let’s get this song stuck in your head again. Wash your hands while you sing it and you will be so lost in belting it out, you won’t realize you have spent well over 20 seconds doing it.

Personally I am partial to the Metal version but any version will do.

Lyrics:

When a humble bard
Graced a ride along
With Geralt of Rivia
Along came this song

From when the White Wolf fought
A silver-tongued devil
His army of elves
At his hooves did they revel

They came after me
With masterful deceit
Broke down my lute
And they kicked in my teeth
While the devil’s horns
Minced our tender meat
And so cried the Witcher
He can’t be bleat

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
Toss a coin to Your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty

At the edge of the world
Fight the mighty horde
That bashes and breaks you
And brings you the morn’

He thrust every elf
Far back on the shelf
High up on the mountain
From whence it came

He wiped out your pest
Got kicked in his chest
He’s a friend of humanity
So give him the rest

That’s my epic tale
A champion prevailed
Defeated the villain
Now pour him some ale

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
Toss a coin to your Witcher
And friend of humanity

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
And friend of humanity

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
Toss a coin to your Witcher
A friend of humanity

There, now it’s stuck in your head again. Go wash your hands!

(Also someone please remind me not to rewatch Contagion)

Sanitarily yours,

Slick Dungeon

Kids Kill Monsters – Why Kids Should Role Play

In my last post about Role Playing, I argued that parents should play Dungeons & Dragons with their kids. Today I am going to lay out why kids should role play. The posts after that will begin to show you how I role play with kids and some good strategies for preparing yourself to play with them.

What exactly is a Tabletop Role Playing Game?

In case you don’t know, a tabletop role playing game is usually played over a table. There is a Game Master or Dungeon Master who leads the narrative of a story. The rest of the players at the table create and play characters that act within that story. There are different rule sets for different games. Some are definitely easier than others to learn and play. For the purposes of these posts, the game I am going to focus the most on is Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the most popular and commonly known of all of the RPG’s and is extremely flexible, making it perfect for kids of almost any age to play.

Should kids play Dungeons & Dragons (or other tabletop RPGs)?

You can probably guess that my answer to this question is a resounding yes. But don’t worry. I am going to give you some reasons why kids should play this game.

Imagination

Let me start with the obvious. Kids have huge imaginations. If you don’t believe me, ask any kid who is eight or under to tell you a story, any story. They can go on for hours about their favorite TV show characters, things they did on the playground, reasons their little sisters stink, or tell you all about some new species of butterfly they dreamed up. Role playing games let that imagination out.

When you play Dungeons & Dragons the whole point is to tell a story and it’s structured in such a way that kids can just roam free in a massive world in their own heads. They get to be the heroes of the story and feel good about the things they make up. It encourages dreamers and in point of fact, there are not enough dreamers in the world. We need kids to keep their imagination healthy. Dungeons & Dragons is a good, safe way to do this.

Socialization

The next reason kids should play this game has less to do with imagination and more to do with a vital life skill. Socialization. Kids playing this game learn how to socialize with others. That’s true whether they are playing with other kids, adults, or a combination of the two. Unlike a simple game of pretend, there are some rules about when you can do something. This helps kids to learn how to talk to others about what they are doing and be aware of what others are doing. It helps them learn to play cooperatively with other members of their group. And that can still be true, even if you are playing one on one. The Dungeon Master will almost always have at least some characters that the kid playing will need to get along with in order to accomplish a goal. While a game of pretend is extremely healthy for a kids imagination, a game of Dungeons & Dragons is healthy for their imagination and their empathy. That’s another thing we can always use more of in this world.

Problem Solving

Dungeons & Dragons also helps with problem solving skills. The game is set up so that there is almost always more than one way to solve a problem. There might be ten different ways to approach a nasty looking Ogre, from trying to attack it to offering it the hand of friendship in order to get the magic item the kids are looking for. That’s not to mention all the ways in between those extremes. Dungeons & Dragons constantly puts problems in front of kids and says to them, “What do you want to do?” The kids can experiment to see what works. They’ll quickly learn that one way of solving a problem doesn’t work for all problems.

Reading

If your child is of the age where they are starting to read or learning to read, Dungeons & Dragons can be an awesome tool to encourage that. You can have kids who are not able to read or don’t like to read still play Dungeons & Dragons (I’ll talk about how in a future post). But for kids who are able to read at least something, if you can get them invested in your Dungeons & Dragons world, they will want to know more about it. What’s a great way to learn more? Yep. Reading. And there is a vast wealth of reading materials for Dungeons & Dragons. I know you are all probably picturing the huge hardback books with pictures of monsters on the covers. Sure, there are those to read but those books do take a bit of good comprehension to really understand. Thankfully, there are books about Dungeons & Dragons geared toward younger kids. And even if you don’t want to have them read those, you can always give them a simple story about something in the Dungeons & Dragons world you created that they can read. I will go over how to approach some of the reading challenges that come up in later posts but just know that playing D&D absolutely makes kids want to read more. And any time you can do that, it’s a win for everyone.

Math

Okay, here is where a lot of parents get tripped up. They think that Dungeons & Dragons might take pre-calculus level math in order to play well. Why else would there be so many rules, so many oddly shaped dice and so many mentions of numbers any time you see someone playing Dungeons & Dragons? While it’s true that there are numbers involved and there is no way of completely getting around this, if your kid can count to 10, or even better 20, she has enough math skills to play this. And guess what? They will learn a little bit of basic addition and subtraction if they don’t already know it. But what about all those rules and things? How can they play if they don’t know all those? They don’t have to. You need to know some of them for sure, but the kids just need to know how to tell when something good or bad happens in the story. As long as they can count to 10, we can make sure they know.

Fun

To me, this is the most obvious reason to do anything with kids. It’s fun. It’s really fun. Did I mention that this game is fun? Don’t believe me? Give it a try and get back to me. I will admit that not everyone is as nerdy as I can be. Some people are just never, ever going to think it’s cool to pretend to be a wizard who is trying to stop an evil dragon from taking over the world. That’s fine. I’m sure there are other things you find fun. But check with your kids if they want to play this. Give it a shot. You might be highly surprised by the fact that once you start, not only is your kid having fun but so are you. What do you have to lose?

You convinced me, what’s next?

There’s probably a lot of you out there thinking, “But I have no idea what to do to play this game.” Not to worry, your pal Slick has you covered. My next post will be about how to prepare yourself for playing Dungeons & Dragons with kids. I’ll be honest, there is going to be some work involved on your part. You’ll need to put in some effort, but probably not as much as you think. I will point you to some great resources and I have a whole lot of tricks up my sleeve to make your life easier when you play this game with your kids. The point really is to have fun, not make it a headache. For a lot of the stuff I am going to write about, I’ve already had the headaches but I think I can keep you from experiencing the same. See you next time!

Enthusiastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Leprechaun 2 – #MovieReview

Dude Still Wants His Gold

Remember Leprechaun? Remember how at the end the Leprechaun died when a four leaf clover was launched into him and he was tricked into swallowing it and then melted away? Yeah, see we are going to forget all that. I mean, completely, forget it ever happened. Why? We need a sequel!

Somehow after making Leprechaun, someone somewhere decided that what the world needed was more of this story. And pretty much almost the same story, but set in Hollywood instead because, you know, film costs and all. I know what you are thinking, “but wait, why would anyone do that?” It’s a good question. The answer? Money. The first movie made some money and the second one should reasonably do the same so let’s just pretend there was not a first one and we won’t cast Jennifer Aniston now, nor follow up on any of the characters from that movie because we are forgetting about that ok?

Here’s a quick rundown of the plot for this one. Spoilers abound below.

The Leprechaun has a birthday every 1000 years on St. Patrick’s Day. What does the birthday boy want? Not gold. No, for his birthday this guy gets to choose a bride. How does he do that? He finds a woman he wants to marry and makes her sneeze three times. If no one says, “God bless you,” the woman is now a leprechaun bride and I guess that is that. I assume his wedding cake will look like this:

In the beginning of this one, the Leprechaun has a slave who wants to get his freedom. Tricks on him though because all he has to do is let the Leprechaun take his bride. Who does the Leprechaun want for a bride? That guy’s daughter. Dude figures he’d rather be dead than give up his daughter so he prevents the Leprechaun from having his wedding day. Conveniently that moves the story forward because the Leprechaun swears he will get his revenge by tracking down the fairest of his heirs a thousand years later and making her his bride.

This brings us to Bridget, Cody and Morty, our resident victims for the night. It’s a thousand years later and we know that Bridget is the one in trouble cause we totally saw a close up of a hand drawn map with some female profiles sketched on it, so yeah, that’s her. For some reason there is a tree in the middle of Hollywood that may or may not have something to do with Houdini that is where the Leprechaun makes his magical home. He comes out of the tree, sees a homeless man with a gold tooth and tears it out. Note to self: when crazy drunk starts talking about Leprechaun taking his gold tooth on St. Patrick’s Day, believe him.

Bridget is a teenager who has a boyfriend named Cody. Cody has a job convincing suckers to take a lame tour that is supposed to be a creepy ghost tour. Morty is the host of said tours and a con artist. Also a drunk.

All Bridget wants is to go Go-Kart driving ok? But dumb Cody has to you know, work and do this tour because Morty sucks and driving a hearse drunk is probably a bad call. So Cody does the responsible thing and leads the tour while Bridget whines about not going Go-Karting.

After they finally get to the Go-Kart place, Ian who is also interested in Bridget, hits on her in a creepy way. Cody isn’t real happy with the fact that she goes off with Ian instead of him. Meanwhile the Leprechaun has started creepy stalking Bridget from the background. Ian drops Bridget off at her place and turns into a real jerk in about ten seconds wanting make out favors in exchange for the chili dogs he bought her. Well, the Leprechaun puts that dude in his place by making him think he is about to kiss Bridget but instead he is kissing some insane circular saw device that rips the dude’s face off. And we get our first real kill of the movie.

Cody comes over trying to make it up to Bridget but the Leprechaun makes her sneeze three times and Cody only says gesundheit. Way to go Cody, now you have to spend the night hoping not to die. Good job.

The rest of the movie is pretty much what you would expect. Lots of running around and trying to convince people there is a Leprechaun. Lots of people not believing it and then getting killed for their trouble. One scene of the Leprechaun losing a drinking contest, and of course the Leprechaun driving a murder Go-Kart!

It’s pretty weird horror fun from there. Still, I had a few questions.

  • Why exactly does the Leprechaun live in a tree? I mean, wouldn’t an actual cave make more sense?
  • Who came up with the three sneeze rule? Is that an Irish thing?
  • Did you know this is the only Leprechaun movie in the series that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day. Seems like an annual opportunity to me but whatever.
  • In this movie, the Leprechaun can get hurt by wrought iron. There’s all kinds of bars and bits of wrought iron everywhere in this movie. That is super convenient but why was it never mentioned in the first one?
  • We’re forgetting the first one okay?
  • Cody ends up with one of the Leprechaun’s coins and because of that the Leprechaun is distracted and has to prioritize getting it back over, you know, consummating the marriage with Bridget. Why is that? Surely it’s more convenient for the Leprechaun to get the coin back later because he only gets a wedding night once every thousand years but he could pretty much murder people to get money back whenever he wants to.
  • Morty plays three card monte with Cody and successfully tricks the Leprechaun into losing a drinking contest. Why the hell doesn’t Morty bet the Leprechaun then and there that he will give the coin back in exchange for Bridget if he can win three card monte? I bet you anything that was going to be in the movie but was cut for some reason. Like, we already had ninety minutes of a murder Leprechaun and doing the game would give us a few more than that.
  • Speaking of Morty, he turns into a real idiot. He is able to figure out a way to trap the Leprechaun and the dude is stuck in a wrought iron safe. The Leprechaun can’t get out so Morty demands three wishes. What kind of an idiot just says,”I want your gold.” for a wish? You know the little guy is going to mess you up right? In the most hilarious part of the whole movie (maybe the series, I dunno) the Leprechaun puts the gold into Morty’s stomach. How does he not die from that instantly? His belly becomes gold pot shaped so Morty wishes the Leprechaun out and then is dumb enough to wish the pot out of his stomach. We all know where this is going right? I mean yeah, stomach gets cut open. Way to go Morty, you’re a dead idiot now.
  • Cody figures out that the Leprechaun can’t kill him as long as he has that gold coin. He’s able to trick the Leprechaun with a chocolate gold coin later in the movie. Why doesn’t everyone freaking do that? You know. put a freshly plucked four leaf clover in it, get him to eat it and walk away with the gold. Oh wait, we are forgetting about the four leaf clover aren’t we? But it worked in the first movie.
  • We are forgetting about that movie!
  • Okay but even if we are forgetting about that first movie, I have spotted a plot hole here. Why can the Leprechaun murder Morty to get his pot of gold back but can’t murder Cody to get a single coin back?! Come on people, be consistent with your murder Leprechaun rules. The world doesn’t need more confusion!
  • Cody is able to effectively get away from the Leprechaun but along the way it basically looks like he did all the murdering that night. So why don’t the police arrest Cody?! I mean again, not just for the time he sped along a highway with five people in a hearse. That dude is going to have a LOT of explaining to do. Still, if I am going to want to survive this movie series, so far I am hanging out with Cody and Bridget. And you know, not gonna be an idiot about asking for stupid things.

I could give the rest away but that would ruin the fun in case you want to watch this on your own. (Link below if you are interested)

Forgetfully yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Out of my comfort zone ~ book tag

I have never done one of these book tags before but this one seemed fun so here’s mine.

  • A book that is an exception when it comes to genres or elements you don’t typically like

The Color Purple is a book that is written through letters and notes and I usually can’t stand that kind of thing. But in this book, it’s done beautifully and I wouldn’t change a word. I’m glad I gave it a try and found something excellent to read.

  • A book you enjoyed from a genre you previously held some stigma against

Lonesome Dove is basically a western and I almost never read westerns. I’m too much of a city person to relate usually but this one kept my interest the whole time and it was worth the effort, teaching me that, yes, there are westerns worth reading.

  • A book you didn’t know was out of your comfort zone until you started reading it

I have a pretty strong stomach and I like to give myself a good scare now and again but honestly, nothing could have prepared me for just how uncomfortable The Hot Zone made me. It seems even more relevant now and I don’t think you could pay me to re-read that one now. I barely finished it as it was and I did not get a lot of sleep those nights.

  • Pick a friend who motivates you to pick up books you might not normally be interested in –is there a book they convinced you to give a try?

I am not going to name any names here but I do have a friend that convinced me to read Outlander. I thought I was going to just end up wanting to make fun of it, I mean a time traveling nurse who meets her love in Highland Scotland? That’s the plot of a lot of bad romance books but you know what? Outlander is incredible and I can’t give it high enough praise.

  • A book that is out of your comfort zone but you would like to read

I’m not one for historical fiction but with all the buzz going around, I really kind of want to give the Wolf Hall series a go. My problem is usually that with historical fiction you know the end before you pick up the book but I just keep hearing good things about these and I am really tempted.

  • A book or genre so outside of your comfort zone that you’ll probably never give it a chance

To me, this is the hardest question on this tag to answer. I have pretty eclectic reading tastes and I am happy to read almost anything. But, I guess if I have to pick one type of book I am not going to get into, it’s those non-fiction books about tank warfare and things like that. I don’t think I can get into those at all.

I did this post because I read the tag in Flowersinthebrain’s post and thought it was a great tag. Go check out that blog and like that did, I am going to tag anyone who reads this post. Have fun!

Uncomfortably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Whatcha gonna do if the Leprechaun comes for you?

I want me gold coins!

I’m getting ready to watch Leprechaun 2 and I am wondering why people in these movies don’t just give the guy his money back. What do you think? Would you give up the goods or do you think you could survive the nasty guy trying to kill you all night? Let me know in the comments!

Inquisitively yours,

Slick Dungeon

Kids Kill Monsters – Role Playing Games with Children

Hi out there internet people, Slick Dungeon here. This post is going to be a little off topic from the usual for my blog but I promise I will get back to my review of terrible movies and books nearly no one is reading in the upcoming posts. I just had a thought and wanted to share it with all of you lovely people out there.

When I was a kid, there was a game that a few of us quirkier kids played called Dungeons and Dragons. My bet is that you have most definitely heard of this game. This was back when I was in elementary school and people basically knew only two things about it. One, it was for nerds. And two, there was a lot of math involved and maybe some Satan worship, depending on who you were talking to. Now, with constant streaming of content like Critical Role or Acquisitions Inc, the newfound inclusivity of the game, and celebrities talking about it at the drop of a hat, this thing couldn’t be more popular. In addition, you definitely don’t have to be a nerd or a math whiz to play it.

As much as I love Critical Role, Acquisitions Inc, the D&D references on Stranger Things and the celebrity endorsements, one thing has been bugging the heck out of me about all this for a while. Almost every one of those things is made for adults. Sure, kids of a certain age can watch Stranger Things and depending on how you want to raise your kids you might be perfectly fine with letting your eight year old watch Critical Role, f-bombs included. No judgement from me if that’s your parenting style.

When I was a kid, my dad had no problem with me watching R-rated films and reading plenty of Stephen King novels, but for Dungeons and Dragons I had to do that at someone else’s house. Why? Basically at that time adults didn’t really understand the game. They seemed to think it was either the work of the devil or just some incomprehensible fad that kids were into.

As an adult, I wanted to get to share my love of Role Playing games with my son. I have played countless sessions with him and his friends for years. It’s easy to get lost in the game and have a true bonding experience with your children through Dungeons and Dragons or other RPGs like it. But, when he asked me if there were podcasts or YouTube streams where he could watch, there was a lot of content that made me straight up uncomfortable with allowing him to view it.

It’s almost as if the whole idea of this game being one for kids that adults don’t understand has completely turned around into an adults only arena.

Well, I am here to tell you that it’s not just for adults and that if you are a parent, you should absolutely learn to play an RPG for an awesome day of family fun.

Sure, you can have a great time with your buddies, maybe with some adult beverages and snacks on hand, and come up with awesome adventures but do me a favor and at least try to get your kids in on this with you.

I’ve had a lot of parents tell me that they have a kid who really, really wants to play D&D but they just can’t get their friends into it. To which I reply, “Why don’t you play it with them?” The answers usually come in one of two varieties. It’s either, “I don’t have the patience to learn that.” Or, “My kid wouldn’t want to play that with me but I remember enjoying it in college.” My replies to that are, yes you do and, your kid does too want you to play this with you, and it will be even more fun than when you did this in college.

As far as patience goes, if you have ever in your life finished one complete game of Monopoly, you have the patience for Dungeons and Dragons. Sure, there’s some reading involved for you to understand how the mechanics of the game work, but you can also change and simplify those rules if you want to. It says so right in the rule book itself!

To the second point, if your kid is actively telling you that they want to play Dungeons and Dragons but they don’t have someone to play it with, here is what they are really saying, “Please play this with me and teach me how to play it.”

I guarantee you that whatever wild adventures you thought you came up with in your adults only group are not even half as creative as what your kid can come up with. I honestly thought I had seen it all until my son, playing a Halfling Rogue, proposed marriage to a Hobgoblin as a distraction and then attempted to sell cheese to a Hill Giant in order to avoid an attack. This stuff blows my mind every single time we play. Your kids are going to come up with insanely creative things too.

A more rare comment I get is, well is Dungeons and Dragons really worth all that time? I mean my kids are busy with sports, school and then they just want to play MarioKart all night. I can relate to all of that. MarioKart is awesome and who would want to put that down? But you know what? Role playing games are really, really healthy for a kid’s social interaction skills. Letting kids play a role of being someone that they are not helps them to accept themselves for exactly who they are. I don’t think there is a better gift a parent can give than that.

The next argument against playing this with kids is the fact that right on the starter set it says this is for kids 12 and up. Well, kids 12 and up enjoy it, sure, but you know what? Much younger kids can play this too. In fact, I can tell you how to make this work for a kid who doesn’t like to read, hates doing math, and would rather shove a pound of broccoli down their throat than put down a video game controller. I know, because I have done it.

That’s not to mention the fact that there are now books, games and other cool things being made for kids under 12 to let them in on the whole RPG fad. D&D can (depending on the kid) be good for kids even as young as 4. It’s more about how you play with them than what their age is.

I hope that in the near future we get more of this kind of content because I would seriously love to see more (for lack of a better term) family friendly or kid appropriate content. I know that a lot of people don’t want kids involved in this game and do want to just see the Matt Mercers of the world DM epic campaigns that have tons of innuendo and profanity. I have no gripe with anyone wanting that. What I do have a problem with is cutting kids (or anyone else really) out of this game.

So, for my part what I want to do is a series of posts about why and how you should play tabletop RPGs with kids. Or at least enable your kids to play them on their own. And heck, while you are at it, maybe you’ll make a YouTube stream that my kid can watch once you give it a try.

I have a whole system I developed that I can share with you for ways to play Dungeons & Dragons with kids, what the benefits of that are, and how to overcome some of the mistakes I made at first. But before I do that, I want to know if this something people out there would be interested in.

There might be a big portion of people out there who just want me to stay in my lane and write about cult cinema and do book reviews. You know what? I am perfectly fine doing that and I will keep doing that either way. There also might be a good chunk of people thinking, hey don’t you review a lot of horror films and stuff that my kid probably shouldn’t see? Yes, yes I do. But I also play a LOT of Dungeons & Dragons with kids and never once did I have to resort to horror film reviewing tactics to make it fun for them.

So, what do you think? Let me know in the comments if you would like me to post more about Dungeons & Dragons, Role Playing games and how to make it work for you and your kids. Just keep it family friendly, whether you are a Half-Orc Barbarian or a Gnome Paladin. I can honestly talk about this stuff for days on end but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to hear what I have to say. Just let me know either way.

Imaginatively yours,

Slick Dungeon

Leprechaun – #MovieReview

I want Me Gold Coins!

Here in the United States of America, every March 17th a really annoying thing happens. Everyone who you have ever met will suddenly tell you that they are Irish or part Irish or, you know, are pretty sure that they came from the same country as Mel Gibson somewhere in their background so of course they are Irish. To them I reply, surely you have seen the cult masterpiece film that is Leprechaun then right?

The answer is usually no. I would say as cult classic/trash cinema goes the whole Leprechaun series is a must have. I’m not saying they are good, far from it, but there is nothing like them in cinema, I can guarantee you that. I am going to review all of these films right here on my blog, starting with the first and basically only kind of decent one, Leprechaun.

This film stars Warwick Davis as the eponymous Leprechaun and a very young Jennifer Aniston. That’s right, Brad Pitt’s future ex was a lead in Leprechaun in 1992. Take that Friends!

I am going to review this and give away some of the plot here so if you want to be surprised by the schlock-fest that is Leprechaun, you have been forewarned.

The movie starts off with a little Leprechaun descending some stairs and counting coins in his pot of gold. He says a deadly rhyme about how he will straight up murder anyone who takes his gold. This dude keeps his promises too.

Some guy arrives home in North Dakota (we never get a more specific location than that) from Ireland after his mother’s funeral. He asks his wife if the package has arrived from the funeral parlor. Funny thing though, this dude has randomly shown up in a limo and is talking about how he is rich now. I think we can all guess that he stole some Leprechaun gold and is in big trouble.

Moments later the Leprechaun shows up, knocks his wife down some stairs and we have victim number one dead on the spot. The man, O’Grady by name, is more prepared than his poor wife though. He has a freshly plucked four leaf clover that seems to hurt the Leprechaun. He forces the magical creature into a crate, leaves the clover on top of it, and goes on his merry way, I assume to live the good life while he can.

Fast forward ten years and we get Tory arriving with her father to take up residence in the same house the Leprechaun struck ten years ago. It’s dusty and creepy and Tory doesn’t want to stay but is convinced to because she gets a good look at Nathan, a beefy dude who is there to paint the old house. Nathan has along with him Alex, a young kid who seems to know more about how things work than anyone else in this movie, and Ozzie, a grown man who is several times referred to as a kid but is also sometimes referred to as an adult. It’s clear that he is developmentally slower than other adults but the dude does not look a day younger than forty, probably because the actor was born in 1958 and this was released in 1992 so, yeah he was older. I am guessing that character was a kid in the original script and they decided not to have two kid actors and just went, yeah it’s fine, leave the dialogue.

Once all our characters are assembled, I think you can guess how this goes. They spend an uncomfortable night trying to keep their lives while being pursued by a ruthless, magical Leprechaun who just wants his money back, ok? Alex and Ozzie early on actually do find the gold and try to hide it but that doesn’t work out too well. To add to the trouble, one of the gold coins has been swallowed by Ozzie so they have to find out how to kill, or at least stop, the Leprechaun before they are all killed to death.

It’s kind of a silly romp of gore and weird jokes from there. I don’t want to spoil everything for you here so I am just going to tell you some thoughts I had while watching this.

  • In the beginning, O’Grady captures the Leprechaun to steal the gold but they never show how he did it. Maybe he should have written this down because I think it would have been good to have in the future wouldn’t it?
  • When the Leprechaun is trapped in a crate for ten years it is because a fresh four leaf clover was placed on top. Wouldn’t that biodegrade in a decade? Also, what is considered fresh here because it seems to me that a decade is definitely no longer fresh for most things (Paul Rudd excepted).
  • Speaking of which, why would you leave that crate in the exact same spot in the basement for ten whole years? I mean, the dude is rich with ill gotten gains, surely he could cement the place over right?
  • Also, why would you go opening a single crate like that? In the movie it’s because Tory spills a drink on it (which is 100% Nathan’s fault and Nathan is no good for Tory, I tell you) but who thinks, yeah I will go to all the effort of opening some crate that has been in an old house for a decade because it might get a juice stain?!
  • Tory takes one look at the house, and says she doesn’t want to spend the summer in New Mexico, at which point she is corrected that this is North Dakota. They clearly drove there or flew in and rented a car, so uh, is she just so illiterate that she couldn’t read any of the signs around here when they traveled or what?
  • Nathan shows up with an open BUCKET that is apparently filled with paint thinner. How do I know it is filled with paint thinner? Because Tory bumps him, knocks the bucket over, and he exclaims, “You knocked over my CAN of paint thinner!” There’s a few issues to unpack here and I am going to take this bucket incident as seriously as an in depth analysis of a democratic debate. 1. How does this guy not know he was carrying a BUCKET not a CAN, especially if he is a professional painter?! 2. Who in the world fills a bucket with paint thinner then carries it one handed and waltzes it right past a front door without looking to see if anyone is coming out?! I mean, this dude doesn’t even lay out plastic or a tarp underneath the house where he is painting and then gets mad that someone knocks over his bucket/can. I say that is 100% on him. Tory is innocent in this whole interaction, yet Nathan acts as if she is the scum of the earth because she is from Los Angeles and can’t identify what state she is in. Get over yourself Nathan!
  • Alex shows up and tells Tory that she can’t help them paint because liability insurance says only they can handle the tools. Then two minutes later, Tory is helping Nathan paint. Listen to the smart kid whenever you are in a horror film. Trust me on this. They are so getting sued for that paint incident.
  • If you watch this movie one of the things I want you to seriously consider is what the heck kind of a paint job were they even trying to do here? They have blue and red paint in no pattern that makes any sense, and no house painter worth their can of paint thinner would paint like that. So, why does Tory listen to everything Nathan tells her to do in this film? Seriously, Tory, you can do better than this.
  • Pretty early on the dad is bitten by the Leprechaun. Basically Tory is there grabbing stuff from Nathan’s truck and she thinks Nathan is under the truck feeling her leg. The Leprechaun scratches her and she screams. Nathan and Tory’s father come to check it out and Tory says that she thought Nathan was the one feeling her leg and insists that a man was essentially groping her. Nathan’s response to this? “And you let me?” with a wide grin on his face as he says it. Again, Tory, you can do BETTER! This guy is a creep. So, dad tries to catch the Leprechaun but then gets bitten. At this point they are not 100% sure what is attacking them although Alex and Ozzie probably have a pretty good idea. Anyway this leads me to the next point.
  • Tory’s dad is in the hospital and they go with him. Nathan and Tory have dinner while Ozzie and Alex try to find out how much their gold is worth. Point is, there is a bit of a town that they could stay in overnight but they go back to the O’Grady house. While they were gone someone (bet you can guess who) destroys the kitchen but shines every shoe in the house and leaves them on the kitchen table. So obviously something weird is going on but they don’t call the police or do the most sensible thing in the world at this point which is, INVITE TORY TO STAY WHEREVER NATHAN LIVES! Do that and the movie and night of horror is completely over.
  • If you want to have a chest shaped like a barrel and arms like tree trunks, do push ups ever time the Leprechaun mentions gold or coins. It’s incessant. So uh, maybe they should just give the dude his stuff back yeah? Just what I would do in this extremely likely scenario.
  • I don’t want to give all this movie away but the deaths are hilariously gruesome at times and honestly kind of creative. But one thing I never understood is why the Leprechaun doesn’t make better use of his voice mimicking power. I mean just fake like the voice of Nathan and Tory will do whatever that dude says, cause apparently he is an expert at not only painting, but knowing the difference between buckets and cans, and hoping that women think it is okay for him to grope their legs from under a truck.
  • Also, exactly how do the Leprechaun’s powers work? They seem to be fueled by gold but he essentially can’t be killed except by a four leaf clover, and that only seems to slow him down. I think his powers are more based, “that’s what we need the Leprechaun to do right now, so he’ll do it!”. Plot powered magic maybe? If there was a plot here that is…

I am sure the next movie is going to leave me with more questions so I am gonna stop there for now. Next I will be reviewing Leprechaun 2. The Leprechaun from the first one is definitely dead right? So that means we get 2 Leprechauns don’t we?

Magically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Want to see all the murdery-magical gore for yourself? Check it out here.

6 Underground – #MovieReview

Hello out there denizens of the internet, it is I, Slick Dungeon, here once again to tell you about a terrible movie I have watched so that you don’t have to.

I think out of all the filmmakers in existence right now, the one I would least regret suddenly disappearing forever, along with all their work, is Michael Bay. On the surface of things I should like his movies. They usually have big name stars, with decent acting credentials, are full of action, with an everything is on the line kind of plot. There are even exciting action sequences, big explosions, cool stunts and most of the things that you would want to see in a big action film. That’s on the surface of it. While watching 6 Underground it finally hit me. That’s all there is to a Michael Bay movie – surface. There is no depth here and all the cool shots, slick dialogue, lens flare shots and explosions will never, ever fix that.

6 Underground is about a group of 6 people who have faked their deaths so that they can be free to go and shape world events by killing off bad people even when governments don’t want that to happen for political reasons. This team of people is led by Ryan Reynolds who calls himself Number 1. Why does he want to fund this operation? Reasons, I guess? He is rich and he can, and one time he was doing a charity thing and there were some chemical attacks so he thought his best course of action was to fake his own death and find some people to make a special ops team to “take out the real bad guys”. I mean I guess that can be a plot but there is nothing more to this than that.

While watching this movie I noticed that the editing cuts are so fast that on almost every shot you can’t count past 2 before they cut to another shot. I found that super distracting. But not as distracting as just the whole movie itself. I am going to summarize below so, watch out for spoilers if you actually want to waste your time watching this thing.

The beginning of this thing shows Ryan Reynolds faking his own death in a plane crash, then being alive in a super crazy car chase in Italy. In the car chase, we meet the other characters who are basically just plot fodder at best. There’s a woman operating in the back of a car during a high speed chase. The woman being operated on is an assassin. There is some dude hopping over rooftops for, uh I guess to look cool? There’s the driver who is just freaking out during the whole chase but don’t worry, he doesn’t last long, and then there is a dude shooting at the rest of the people shooting at them. They all have respective numbers but good luck remembering which number is what.

The chase scene at the beginning is so bad. It’s basically the answer to the question, what if Michael Bay could do all his crazy actions stuff AND HAVE IT BE BLOODY? Sorry for the caps there but the movie basically screams at you anyway. Cars turn over and explode at the slightest brush. The men get all sweaty and the camera picks up the scenery with lens flares everywhere, except for when it takes time to ogle a woman so creepily you will feel dirty for just watching the movie.

The driver dies and Number 1 needs a new guy. But for no apparent reason Number 1 decides to replace him with a soldier not, you know, a driver. Then they go on this big mission to try to kill some dictator and install his democracy loving brother instead. I had a few questions about this whole movie.

  • Ok sure these people are dead so they don’t exist on paper but when you like, destroy buildings, aren’t the authorities going to figure out who you were pretty quick?
  • Why replace the driver with a soldier sharp shooter? That’s not even close to the same job description.
  • While the whole thing with Ryan Reynolds holding an eye to unlock a phone was kind of funny, why the hell would he try to do that in a moving car?
  • Ditto for things like, I dunno, SURGERY! I mean come on, I can suspend my disbelief pretty well but surgery in a chase that is going over 120 mph, I don’t freaking think so.
  • Why should these guys get to decide who the “bad guys” are? I mean isn’t that why we have democratic systems of government. so that we can decide as a collective group who should be punished for what?
  • Does Michael Bay have severe ADHD? Either way, he must have given it to his editor by now. Don’t be ashamed of it Michael, just trust that your audience can look at a thing for more than two actual seconds.
  • When they get the new soldier guy to replace the driver guy they make him be number 7 instead of just calling him number 6. So first of all, this should have been called 7 underground but really only 1 actually underground instead.
  • Now I know that there are other films out there that seriously objectify women but man, in these Michael Bay films, he is capable of making the camera linger in such a way that you feel dirty for just watching this. I think slasher films that really show nudity make me less uncomfortable than the way this dude lingers on a woman on a moped. Did he learn that in film school or what? Just leave the shot until it’s weird and then have a guy comment on how hot a woman is, Michael, you get an A+!
  • Do we really need that many lens flares? You’re giving J.J. Abrams a run for his money on this.
  • Why is everyone so sweaty all the time in your movies?
  • Can Ryan Reynolds just please make more Deadpool now?
  • The big reveal at the end is that Number 1 has a kid. Is that supposed to mean something to the audience at this point?
  • The dictator that they overthrow has a huge army of well armed soldiers but they seriously cannot stop 6 people? 6?! I mean sure for a single mission objective, going in covertly to say rescue a hostage, I could see that working. But seriously these people destroy most of the country while they are there and not a single bad guy has good enough aim to kill one of them?
  • Did we have to do that whole thing on the yacht? Oh wait, Michael Bay probably just wanted to get to hang out on a huge cool yacht.
  • At one point, Number 1, who is an expert in magnets says that he turned a whole yacht into, “the world’s biggest magnet.” Hello? The world’s biggest magnet is the world itself with a liquid magnetic core. That yacht is big but it ain’t that big. Also, that’s not even how magnets work and the movie also seems to forget that if the thing were actually that strong the natural bits of iron and metal in our own bloodstream would make even the main characters who are using only plastic stick to it. Plus, he didn’t even check to see if his team had any metal like pacemakers or anything in them before switching it on. Pretty stupid.
  • Why does Michael Bay continue to get paid to do this?
  • Can he stop now?
  • I’m going to have to watch more Transformer movies because of him, aren’t I?

That feels like a good place to stop. Since this is March and St. Patrick’s day is coming I am going to be reviewing the entire Leprechaun horror movie series on this blog. I’ll let you know which one is the worst one. (My bet is it will be a tie between Leprechaun 4: In Space and Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood)

Distractedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes – #BookReview

They Date Valets instead

Happy leap day everyone! For most of us it’s an extra day to make the most out of life. For me it’s an extra day to slog through a silly romance book. To each their own I suppose. Today I am going to review Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes.

The last time I read a romance book that had a duke in it, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was halfway decent. I won’t say this book was as good as that one. I had some thoughts as I read through it which I will share below.

If you are just looking for a mindless, fun, romance book, this one is not bad at all. If you are like me and sometimes have difficulty entirely suspending your disbelief, you may not want to pick this one up. I am going to give a quick plot summary so if you don’t want spoilers, because you just love to read books that involve time warping mirrors, emptying chamber pots while wondering about latex gloves and mention Star Wars more than once, you have been forewarned.

So here’s the deal. This book is about Leah. She has a huuuuuge jerk of an ex-boyfriend. This dude (Kevin) not only breaks up with her for a different woman, he literally asks her to the wedding to be a bridesmaid for this other woman, but only so that Leah can be in the picture and then photoshopped out for the woman’s actual friend. Dude, come on Kevin, you are making all men of this time period look bad. So bad that apparently there needs to be a magical mirror where woman can go to Regency period England just to land a man.

Leah who apparently has a few interests including going to Renaissance fairs, playing The Legend of Zelda and weeping over seeing Mr, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett get married, has this friend who went back in time and found an Earl to marry. Leah gets the chance to house-sit for this friend and seems to think it’s a good idea to dive through this mirror to find a Duke to marry because she totally misinterprets what the woman who does the mirror magic says to her. The mirror magic woman, Mrs. Knightsbridge, tells Leah she will find her true love at the Duke of Granville’s manor. Yeah, so we all know that means not the Duke right? I mean we’ve read enough books that we know that right? Yeah, it wasn’t the Duke because it turns out he is a lot older than her. But that doesn’t stop him from being the third wheel in the book.

Turns out that when Lean crawls through that mirror she basically crash lands into the arms of Avery, the Duke’s valet. He is the first person she meets in this time period but it’s clear that they are destined to be together because he is hunky, and kind of rude to her, although I would say if you saw someone suddenly crawl out of a mirror, politeness might not be at the top of your mind either. We also know this is the right man for her because he sticks up for her and does chores for her when she should do them. Leah through some serious good luck is able to fake that she is a maid for the Duke in the hopes of catching him for a husband. This ruse just leads to Avery falling for her and vice versa. For her part, Leah absolutely hates doing the normal stuff that maids would have done back then and can’t wait to get out of doing it.

After a couple of days of this, Leah goes to this party and meets a woman who knows about the magic mirror and happens to want to help her. I got the impression she is maybe from one of the earlier books in this series but I haven’t read those so I don’t know for sure. Anyway, Lady Chesterfield takes Leah in so doing chores is no longer required. Never content to be happy though, Leah gets really tired of doing exactly what she hoped to do, going to balls in Regency period dresses and trying to hook up with the Duke.

Avery is not only a Valet but also a boxer and he’s on the hook for some money to some bad dudes. This results in a side plot where Leah gets kidnapped and Avery has to beat a few dudes up, etc. Then the magic mirror breaks and Leah can’t go back. But she wants to go back because her Pawpaw, is in the hospital. She wants to take Avery with her but a. he’s apparently too big to fit in the repaired mirror and b. they have had a few misunderstandings that a five minute conversation might have sorted out but they never have time for that because, you know, all the kissing going on.

As you might imagine, everything works out in the end and all is well that ends well. I noticed some things in this book I would like to bring attention to though.

  • Leah seems smart and she is all into Ren fairs and whatnot, so why was she so surprised at the lack of sanitation in the Regency period? She wonders both if they had bleach and latex gloves. Yeah, cause in all those Colin Firth movies, the staff is always putting Clorox everywhere right?
  • Also, I get that you can like more than one time period but she seems to think she is kind of prepared for this because she goes to Ren fairs. That is a huuuuge time difference! But whatever.
  • At one point in the book Avery touches Leah’s arm and she gets… let’s say excited. And she thinks in her mind that, “her arm graduated to an erogenous zone.” I wondered if there was a degree involved in that. I mean does your arm at least get an online certificate that it can hang on the wall or what?
  • Let me get this straight, Leah has read all the Jane Austen, she has seen the movies, she knows her friend found someone when she was least expecting it but she never thinks that the guy who might be right for her is not the dude who is old enough to be her father? Seriously?
  • At one point Leah thinks to herself that the staff probably realized she played more Legend of Zelda than she had scrubbed floors. Man, that game is a lot older than I realized.
  • Leah also totally freaks out because she has to move a chamber pot with no gloves. While I understand the concern for sanitation, what did she freaking think she would be doing as a maid in a huge house? Didn’t she see like any BBC period mini-series ever? Oh wait, she watched Pride and Prejudice so uh….
  • She totally assumes Avery is just going to go to the future with her. I think there might be a bit of shock and quite the learning curve there for him. Just wait til he sees indoor plumbing! Although, I guess if she did get him to this time period, anyone will stay once you feed them a single Oreo so, maybe that was her plan?
  • Kudos to this book for mentioning Star Wars in appropriate context more than once. Not sure that is enough to qualify a person as being a geek but at least it’s in there.
  • Okay so, let’s say you are planning to go back in time and maybe find the love of your life. Lucky for you, you live in the 21st century and you can bring some stuff with you. Leah brings aspirin (good call), a picture of her grandfather (can’t blame her there), but she does not bring any form of birth control. Uh, I mean I know he is the right guy for you and all but maybe get to know him before you might have a kid with him? Just saying.
  • Okay last thing for me about this book is this one question about this whole thing. What about the whole time travel thing? I mean, could she cause a Marty McFly situation? She’s a geek so she has probably seen that right? What about the butterfly effect and all that? But she wastes exactly zero time thinking about that. Like not even once does she think about how her being in that time period might have brought back some sort of plague and then when she goes back home it’s nothing but zombies and she needs The Doctor to show up in the TARDIS to fix everything because of one magic mirror (that is probably actually alien in origin). But why does no one in this book think about that? Best I can tell is because the mirror is full of “time magic and love magic”. I love science.

I’ll be honest, I have read a lot worse romance books than this one and I didn’t hate it as much as I expected but it’s also no Outlander. If you have a few hours to kill and want a bit of time travel, a bit of steaminess and a whole lot of wondering why people don’t wait five minutes to talk to each other to sort everything out, this book is for you.

Leapingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Want to find out what happens for yourself? Get the book here: Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes

Fantasy Island – #MovieReview

Hello out there internet. This is Slick Dungeon and I know it has been a while since I did a full film review. I was in my dungeon quietly minding my own business, fending off a horde of zombies with my +1 magic sword (like ya do), when I heard that there was a film out in theaters that was a complete dumpster fire and I just had to go find out if it was true. Through daring-do and amazing feats of strength and dexterity I made my way out into the world, away from my dungeon to see what all the hubub was about.

I gotta be honest here. I shoulda stayed in the dungeon.

Raise your hand if you ever saw that old show Fantasy Island and thought, you know what would make this better? 100% more murder!

Okay me too but it turns out that isn’t all that fun. I vaguely remember this show from when I was a kid. All I know is that it took place on an island where people fulfilled fantasies and that when the character Tattoo came out and said, “The plane! The plane!” that was my cue to go to bed.

As an adult I may have seen a handful of episodes and from what I recall usually they turned out to be more or less harmless fantasies where people on the show went through some sort of character growth and learned a little from their experience. That and Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize look freaking fantastic in white suits.

I warn you now, if you are going to pay your hard earned cash to view this in theaters and marvel at this project gone so, so wrong — SPOILERS ARE BELOW.

Usually I don’t care about saying that early on in my reviews but this one is actually still in theaters and if you want to, uhh… enjoy this film, don’t say I did not warn you.

The basic plot is this. There is a group of people who think they won a contest to come and have their fantasies fulfilled on some tropical island. And again, last warning spoilers. It turns out that a murderous woman lured these people here to get revenge on them because in an accidental apartment fire, they couldn’t save this guy that she had gone on one date with. Yeah, that’s the whole ball game. Throw in Ant-man’s friend, Michael Pena and non-blue Yondu, Michael Rooker plus that one guy who looks kinda familiar and you realize is that dude from Sons of Anarchy as soon as he holds a gun, and you have yourself a horror film desperately hoping to be a franchise. Please, please don’t let that happen. Because if it does, I am gonna have to review it…

So here are some things to warn anyone about if they ever “win the Valentine’s day contest” on the internet to go to an island that promises it can make anything happen.

First, dude, don’t enter a contest like that, do you know how much spam you’ll get? Both before and after you are murdered by the mystical waters of the sentient island. Also, what are the odds that all of the people this girl wants revenge on enter the contest in the first place? Did they all send money to a Nigerian prince too? Cause I am betting they did.

Second, when you are walking around the hotel and you see blood and or, some kinda, I dunno black goo dripping from the ceilings, just like don’t get in the elevator okay?

Third, even if this whole thing is some kinda fantasy, when the dude tells you that fantasies don’t turn out like you think they will and that they will not end until they reach their, “natural conclusion,” just get your money back. Oh wait, you entered a contest. Get your private data back.

Also, all these people on this island are waaaay too attractive to have randomly won a contest. The hotel staff all look like orderlies that would make perfect sense on a season of American Horror Story so, my fourth rule is, when everyone but the staff look like models, just run.

In the end the twist is supposed to be that the girl who is hesitant to torture someone in real life, is actually psycho enough to not only want to torture someone who was mean to her but murder at least six people who just didn’t die in a fire along with her date. The fifth rule is for Michael Pena (aka Mr. Roarke). Don’t grant fantasies to people who have the fantasy to murder a bunch of people. Let them earn that on their own.

For uh, reasons I guess, people who are killed on the island come back as zombies. How do you know they are zombies? Well their eyes are black and it looks like they have an extremely bad mascara run. And yeah, that’s, that’s about it. So here is a rule for you. When you see those things? Run, dude, run! Why are you standing there, crying and running your mascara? Now we all think you are a zombie too. So maybe run? Rule six, always, always run away from people with black eyes and runny mascara, especially if shooting them does zero good.

Those are my general rules. Now here is my advice for the people who actually had the fantasies and what they should have done in their fantasies.

You will notice that I have used no character names because other than Mr, Roarke and his wife Julia, I don’t remember a single one. Why not? Because I could not care less about these characters.

For the lady who first had the regret that she didn’t marry someone and had the nearly perfect life but then went back and re-did her fantasy to be so that she could save someone from a fire that she accidentally caused; seriously what are you thinking here? She decides she could go back one more time and rescue the person who dies in the fire. But it turns out that the dude died because the woman had left her tea kettle on accidentally and caused the fire. Err… wait. You decided to go back and try to save someone but you didn’t think to go back and NOT LEAVE THE KETTLE ON?!?!?!? Think before you change the past woman, Think! The moment to regret was leaving the kettle on. Period.

For the two dudes who, “wanted it all” and that apparently means a big house with models (women for the straight character and men for the gay character) I have a bit of advice for you. First, if your fantasy is almost completely a Tom Cruise movie knock off, be less materialistic. It’s cool that you are high-fiving bros and that the older brother accepts the younger gay brother for who he is and all but maybe, stop watching nothing but Tom Cruise movies. Also, I guess it’s good that there is some non-hetero representation in this film but it is pretty darn minimal and kind of an aside when the hetero brother gets to hang around like fifty women and there are like four guys for the non-hetero character. If these two guys could have been more like, I fantasize about having a good life, instead of a party weekend, they’d be less likely to be on the murder list I think. And when you see a huge house on loan to you for basically nothing, just go ahead and assume it was owned by drug dealers, especially when you see all the guns in the house. Maybe keep those with you and be ready to like, shoot the guys who try to shoot you instead of having to go get them later?

For the guy who wants to be a soldier but truly in his heart wants to die a hero, you were already a cop, do you not get shot at enough? I mean, I understand that you have regret that you didn’t go back into the burning building to rescue someone, but guess what? That won’t change if you become a soldier. And like, why did your dad end up in your fantasy? It was a stretch to say the least, but I guess they needed to fill time? So, next time, instead of wanting to be a soldier instead because you regret not saving someone as a cop, uh… fantasize about saving someone as a cop. Then you won’t be a dead dude who jumps on a grenade just like dear old dad.

For the woman who planned the whole elaborate fantasy to bring all these people together and then first, act like your fantasy was to get revenge on your high school bully, but then really you reveal toward the end that the whole fantasy is your doing and you want to straight up murder everyone, there was a much easier solution to your whole damn problem. You could have fantasized that the guy you dated one time, had left his apartment fifteen minutes earlier to go on your date. Or, if you knew that the one woman left the kettle on and started the fire, you could have fantasized that she, uh, didn’t leave the kettle on. I mean seriously, one kettle caused me to sit through an hour and forty-nine minutes of this garbage. ONE KETTLE. Also, in your whole twist thing there is a plot hole so big a convoy of semi trucks could drive through it. We watch this woman act as if she is horrified that it turns out the island got your actual high school bully and then you rescue her just to fake her out and then fake out everyone else. But, uh, no one else knew she was on the island so why didn’t you just straight up kill her? Why go through all that running around with Michael Rooker? You totally had a knife and stuff. Be a smarter killer, please. Go watch some Saw movies or something because using a mystical island for all this is just lazy and pointless.

For the woman who was the high school bully who was literally kidnapped and then tortured and then ended up getting a fantasy because you hadn’t drunk the water yet, what were you thinking? You fantasize that the murdery woman could be with her one date boyfriend forever so that the zombie version of that guy kills her. But by this time everyone knew that the reason for the fire was that another lady left the kettle on. I can’t emphasize this enough here FANTASIZE THAT SHE NEVER LEFT THE KETTLE ON INSTEAD!

To Mr. Roarke, who has a name I remember because everyone is asking for him all the time, you had the fantasy to have your wife back just as you first met her, forever? I mean really, have you never read The Monkey’s Paw or I dunno seen Aladdin? Bringing people back from the dead never works out for anyone. You probably should have just not gone to the island because then I would not have had to watch this movie.

And for Michael Rooker, uh, what exactly was the point of your character at all? I mean he kinda helped some women run around the island for a bit and said that Mr. Roarke was bad, and then he got killed. I don’t really see the point of that. Could you just go do some more Marvel or Walking Dead stuff instead? Thanks.

And finally, for the whole movie here. So it turns out that everyone on that island involved in this fantasy was at this apartment fire in one way or another, except for the woman who wanted to murder everyone. And one woman who regrets that day the most goes back to that day (although not to turn the kettle off because that wouldn’t make any sense) sees a bunch of these people. So you are telling me this woman did not recognize her neighbors or the cop who refused to help the person who died in the fire? You don’t remember the people from your most traumatizing day at all? I mean I know humans have shaky memories but this is a movie not reality so I had a seriously hard time believing that no one on that plane recognized anyone else on that plane.

Also, the reveal at the end that the one guy who stayed on the island had a tattoo of the word tattoo to justify him inevitably being in the sequel as the character tattoo? Dumbest franchise set up ever.

This movie annoyed me so much that I fantasized about being anywhere else and, yep, here I am back in my good ol’ dungeon with a pile of bad books and movies left to get through.

Until next time, make sure you turn your kettle off before you leave the building okay?

Nest time, I am going to review the Michael Bay opus, 6 Underground. It stars Ryan Reynolds, what could possibly go wrong? He never makes bad movies.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

I Remember – #BookReview

I Remember When You could Write a book That didn’t Only start Sentences With I Remember…

Hello fellow book nerds and freaks out there in the world. I read a lot of books and sometimes what I look for in a book is… shortness. I love epic reads and long books but on occasion I want a short, easy palate cleanser of a book to give me a brief fresh outlook on things. One that will revitalize me and energize me to read more books.

Well, I saw I Remember on my shelf and realized that it is only 167 pages and quite thin so I thought it might be a great match. Err…. noooooope. The entire book is made up of sentences by Joe Brainard that begin “I remember…”. Okay, sure, maybe you could make something interesting out of this. I feel like a lot of great stories might have begun with an author remembering something, I’m sure this applies to both fiction and non-fiction. Joe Brainard’s book is non-fiction and it is one of the dumbest reads I have ever read. While there are a few poignant passages that delve into love or sex or deep emotions there is a much larger amount of totally random bizarre thoughts that seem more at home on my blog than in a book.

Here’s a few actual quotes from the book.

  • I remember pink dress shirts. And bola ties.
  • I remember cherry Cokes.
  • I remember cold turkey sandwiches.
  • I remember that germs are everywhere!
  • I remember sometimes blue underwear.

You know what? Everyone else remembers those things too! (Except for the blue underwear, in my experience underwear is either blue or it is not.) It gets weirder though.

  • I remember that woman who was always opening refrigerators.
  • I remember eating airplane glue off my fingers. (Yum-yum.)
  • I remember never using shoehorns.
  • I remember “Uranium”.
  • I remember, in art movies, two nuns walking by.

Ok sure dude. I think you should have just written an interesting story about a woman who opens refrigerators looking for Uranium while you eat airplane glue off your fingers because you lost a shoehorn due to being distracted by two art-ish looking nuns walking by. That’s the kind of a story I can get behind.

But wait! This gets weirder. I’m not going to post the things that Joe Brainard remembered that were essentially racist or overtly sexual but those were definitely in the book. I am just gonna list more of the weird stuff.

  • I remember when a kid told me that those sour clover-like leaves we used to eat (with little yellow flowers) tasted so sour because dogs peed on them. I remember that didn’t stop me from eating them.
  • I remember Dorothy Collins’ teeth.
  • I remember the clock from three to three-thirty.
  • I remember (ugh) hound drops.
  • I remember “7” and “14” and “13” and “21” and “69”

I admit I have no idea what a hound drop is, or why someone would eat leaves that dogs peed on or why one person’s teeth are so particularly memorable but I will say that you forgot most of the clock and how to count in order with all the numbers. I’m thinking you may want to have that checked out if that’s all you remember dude.

But I can’t end this post without my absolute favorite, weird line from this book. This is the only I remember worth it in the whole thing and it comes last.

  • I remember a dream of meeting a man made out of a very soft yellow cheese and when I went to shake his hand I just pulled his whole arm off.

Me too, Joe Brainard, me too.

So, to summarize the whole entire book I must remember that famous quote from the classically bad film, Ghostbusters II. “Very good Louis. Short but pointless.” — Egon.

Forgetfully yours,

Slick Dungeon

Slick Dungeon’s Thirty Second Guide to the Oscars

Hello out there internet people. I know a lot of you are going to be watching the Oscars tonight so I thought I would give you my take on all the Best Picture nominees. How did a guy stuck in a dungeon get to see these movies? Don’t ask. All I can tell you is that it took slaying a lot of swarms of rats for me to get there and then I still ended up back in my dungeon. I also hear you say, but Slick, I thought you only review bad movies. True! But you know what? There are a lot of bad Oscar movies and intend to inform people of that. There are some good ones on the list below but I’m calling out the stinkers.

1917

War is hell. This should win all the awards. Yes all of them. Even that one.

Ford v Ferari

Vroom Vroom Vroomy Vroom Vroom, crash. This is a movie that completely celebrates corporate mediocrity. Although the life of Ken Miller is interesting, this movie sucks.

Joker

Sad clown licks a makeup brush, dances on stairs. Becomes a newspaper headline.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Gorgeous, famous rich people act like poor famous people in revisionist history. Plus all the violence. All of it.

Parasite

Rich people suck.

The Irishman

Martin Scorcese doesn’t like long, repetitive comic book movies because they never show any “character development.” He also likes to make the exact same long movies about gangsters over and over again, starring the same actors, playing characters like the ones they have played before over and over again.

Little Women

The modern take on the classic novel. What’s the modern take? Mostly putting it in a different chronological order than the book. Also Timothee Chalamet’s hair blowing in the wind. A lot.

Jojo Rabbit

Nazis are fun and quirky. Hey, Taiki Waititi, I love you man, but in our current political time, can we maybe have a reminder of how freaking dangerous Nazis were? Thanks.

Marriage Story

Kylo Ren and Black widow should have thought harder about whether or not to get married. They also should have thought harder about getting divorced. Long story short, Kylo Ren might not be marriage material.

Award winningly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Saving Christmas – #MovieReview

12 Days of Terrible Christmas – Day 1

Welcome friends and Merry Christmas! It’s Slick Dungeon here and I am on a quest to watch twelve of the worst ever Christmas movies made and review them for you so you never have to see them.

You have watched Home Alone obsessively for thirty years or more. You crack up at Will Ferrell’s antics in Elf. You swoon over all the love actually going around in Love Actually. Yet, isn’t there something more? Something new? Something to get that Christmas spice a little more stirred up in your eggnog? Nope. Trust me, just watch Die Hard again.

For the next twelve days I am going to be reviewing one film per day. Since it is Christmas I wanted to start with one that has the word Christmas in the title. This one does. Saving Christmas is Kirk Cameron’s love letter to Christmas.

Before I get too far in the review for this one, I just want to make a few things clear. If you love to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Festivus, or the fact that Baby Yoda exists in the world, I think you should be absolutely free to do so. Enjoy it all you want. I am not here to denigrate anyone’s religion in any way. I think as long as we are kind to each other that is all that matters.

But no matter your system of faith, or lack thereof, I think we can all agree, bad film making is bad. Saving Christmas is, and I cannot state this enough, a masterclass in bad film making.

How do I know this? Let me count the ways

  1. This starts with a voice over of Kirk Cameron before we go to a shot of… Kirk Cameron… but by a tree.
  2. Ol’ Kirk mugs it up for the camera by telling us how it matters how we come into this story and sips some hot chocolate. Kirk, reminder, you’re the film maker, you are deciding how we come into the story. I know, I know, he meant what attitude you have about the bible but that is just not made clear with that wonky voice over at all.
  3. Kirk tells us that Santa might be “on the team”. Here’s the team Santa is involved with, His team of reindeer. It’s really okay for people to believe or not believe in Santa as they choose. You don’t have to be Christian to believe in Santa and it’s okay to believe in Santa if you are a Christian. Let’s just not get up in each others faces about it.
  4. Kirk wants to make it clear that it is okay to love Christmas. You know, with the tree and the presents and the hot chocolate and the increased charity donations and whatnot. He tells us that as if someone is trying to stop people from having Christmas. While that might be true in some limited parts of the world it is, and I can’t really make this point enough, NOT true in the good ol’ US of A. No one is trying to take away your Christmas. Some people might want you to acknowledge that they don’t celebrate Christmas but I have never, ever, ever seen anyone be like, “How dare he wish me Merry Christmas,” It does not happen. Anywhoo…
  5. When we get done with the way too long narration about how, you better love all this stuff, we finally get to the movie itself. Okay, Kirk, you got me excited enough to be on board to see what you have to say, despite it being, well you just talking by a huge tree and sipping chocolate. This has to be about something right?
  6. Yeah, so it’s about a Christmas party. First Kirk goes in to say hello to his sister and then asks where his brother in law is. He is told that this year, Christian is just not that into Christmas. So now we know, Kirk is gonna save it. Totally save it I am sure. But first he offers to do bodily harm to his brother in law if he is, “acting out of line.” This is supposed to be a good-natured joke and all and I am sure Kirk didn’t mean anything by it but casual violence rises during the holiday season and can we please just not joke all the time about this stuff? There are real people who do go out and just beat on people and I don’t think that is exceptionally Christian.
  7. The bulk of this movie is a conversation that takes place… in a car in a driveway. Yep, that’s the big exciting locale for this.
  8. In the car Kirk convinces Christian that all this stuff that he sees around him, the trees, the gifts, Santa Claus, and what have you are all truly symbols for things that happen in the bible. I don’t know if he does or doesn’t really make that argument well but he certainly convinces his brother in law. After like ninety minutes of picking apart how, you know, having a tree isn’t idolatry or something. He also makes sure that we know that the historical Saint Nicholas beat someone up real good. So now Santa is cool even for adults okay? Sensing a little trend with Kirk enjoying some violence here…
  9. There is, well not a side plot because there would have to be a plot for there to be a side plot, but a part of the movie where these guys talk for like five minutes with their cocoa in front of their faces so no one can read their lips. It is one of the most dull sequences in a film I have ever seen.
  10. Did I mention most of this movie takes place in a car? It has little flash backs to biblical stories to give us a break from that but seriously, mostly car,
  11. Kirk wants us to think of Santa in Lord of the Rings terms. I think he should have gone for Narnia instead, it’s a much better fit.
  12. So the whole premise of this film is that this guy is not enjoying his own Christmas party because basically it is too materialistic and not biblical enough. He hides out in a car but then Kirk comes to get him out of the car. Now, I have never hid out at a party because I thought something was too materialistic but as an introvert, if I need to be hiding out in a car during a big loud party, seriously leave me there please. It’s too much with your actor self coming to talk to me when I purposely went somewhere no one will talk to me. Extroverts will never understand this.
  13. The climax of the movie is Christian going back into the party with new eyes. He sees that it isn’t just the nativity snow glob that represents baby Jesus. There’s also trees, you know made by God, there are nutcrackers to represent Herod’s soldiers and uh… somehow the presents under the tree are supposed to represent the city skyline that Jesus might have seen. If you weren’t sure if Kirk was okay with a lot of material goods around him, there is the proof. But when Christian comes in he like slides on the floor to the nativity ornament, apologizes to his wife for being a jerk and generally acts like a crazy man but with none of the fun of that. He’s not Chevy Chase trying to get Cousin Eddie to chill or anything. It’s just super weird. Also whatever house they shot this in is super huge and it’s very clear these people think having a lot of money is what God wants for them.
  14. I should mention the acting is… Well can I call it acting? I mean it’s just people having a conversation. I get the feeling they had this conversation and went, we should make a movie about this conversation! How should we film it? Let’s film the conversation mostly and throw in a couple of images… but while we have the conversation just in case anyone forgets we are having a conversation.
  15. The last, and most awkward part of this movie, I kid you not, has an evangelical rap group perform while the mostly (by which I mean 95%) white people try to break dance. Like eighties break dancing with pop and lock and stuff. It’s the kind where the people dancing have so little rhythm they literally have to slow mo it so it looks at all decent. As a white guy I can say, I think it is the whitest thing I have ever seen in all my life, this side of a mayo sandwich on wonder bread.

If you are wondering if I recommend this movie, you may have guessed I don’t. But seriously it is not because it comes at Christmas from a religious perspective. I don’t take issue with that. However, I can recommend a far, far better film as an antidote to this one. It gets at the true meaning of Christmas, it even takes someone who is not that enthusiastic about Christmas and changes his mind. It’s in all ways a nearly perfect Christmas movie and it achieves the same goal as Saving Christmas in about 30 minutes. Yes, I am talking about A Charlie Brown Christmas. It acknowledges the secular, it injects humor, and it asks people to remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. All of this without weird voice overs, Santa beating people up, and most especially without two dudes just sitting in a driveway for almost an hour.

I’ll be back with another Christmas doozy tomorrow. You get twelve days of this so buckle up! Merry whatever you celebrate, up to and including Festivus or even, baby Yoda.

Merrily yours,

Slick Dungeon

Doggie Day Care Murder – #BookReview

Killers Confess to rAndom Strangers all the Time Though

Have you ever met someone who took one look at you and pretty much decided that they would tell you their whole life story and just straight up confess to murder despite you not being a cop or anyone of any authority who could reasonably do something about a murder confession? Me neither. But that’s pretty much what happens in Doggie Day Care Murder by Laurien Bereson

If you love cozy little mysteries and well trained dogs who get displayed in dog shows, Doggie Day Care Murder is perfectly fine and would make a nice short little read for a plane or on a beach or whatever. If you have a brain that tends to pick things apart and wonder why any of this would even be a possibility, then stay away from this book.

Here’s a summary. Melanie Travers is a mother to two children, one of them still a pretty new infant, and an owner of five standard poodles. Apparently these are the “big kind” of poodles. I know this because that fact was mentioned about three hundred times. Melanie’s friend Alice also has a dog named, Berkeley. Alice is going back to work at a law firm that her husband seems to be a partner in. Alice needs Melanie to check out this doggie day care center that she might put Berkeley in because, Alice, “doesn’t know about dog stuff”, despite, well, having a dog and a reasonable mind. Melanie agrees to go check the place out. Then she drags Alice to the place (even though Melanie is supposed to be the one doing the checking out of the place) at which point one of the owners is discovered to have been shot and is lying dead in his office. For no rational reason that I can discern, Alice now wants Melanie to investigate this murder and promises the co-owner/sister of the murdered man that Melanie will solve this crime. A lot of running around, lying, talking, being terrible at jobs, and dog shows occur. Melanie solves the murder, is almost murdered, and then gets to see her kid come in second place in a dog show. Err… the dog comes in second? I dunno the kid gets a ribbon or whatever. Yay!

I had a few thoughts.

  • At the beginning of the book Melanie checks out this Doggie Day Care. Literally everyone she tells about this rolls their eyes at a place calling itself a doggie day care. Yet all these people are dog owners and not a freaking one of them has heard of this? Ok boomer.
  • Likewise when it is revealed that a dog is named Joyjoy, all the “real” dog people in the book are flabbergasted. It’s a freaking dog. There are plenty of weird names people can give their dogs, come on, get less judgmental for a minute here.
  • As soon as Melanie strolls into the day care center with no appointment and clearly having done zero research about the place at all, demands an appointment with the co-owner. Melanie is utterly disgusted with the attitude of the teenage clerk behind the counter. You know what? I think the girl behind the counter was reasonably wondering why this lady is judging her so harshly. Also, the teenager is probably not getting paid much here so back off lady. Yet Melanie is like, why can’t some people be polite? Good question Melanie, good question. Ask it of yourself.
  • Melanie tours this place, realizes they care about the dogs and is pretty much gonna recommend it to Alice but still drags Alice over to check it out. You know, just in case Melanie simply caught them on a good day. Fair enough, you don’t want some scumbag abusing your dog so I get that. But it sounded to me really like Melanie was too damn lazy to decide if she was going to give a good opinion to her friend.
  • Next thing, Steve, the co-owner of the place is murdered and Melanie and Alice are there when his body is found. The police talk to the two women to see what they were doing there and why. Melanie gets all defensive about it and is like, why would you suspect us? So, here’s the the thing, Melanie, if that is your real name, you show up a day ago, demand to see an owner, disappear and the next day you show up, the dude is freaking dead. That seems suspicious to me. And that is not to mention the fact that Melanie in previous books has “solved murders”. So now, she’s showing up around a lot of dead bodies, And dogs apparently.
  • The sister/co-owner of the place then agrees to let Melanie snoop into the murder because, umm… she likes dogs? And hey, yeah suspicious lady that I only met a day ago and showed up after my brother turned up dead, you are likely the best person to figure this out.
  • Once Melanie decides to take up the case, she goes around talking to all kinds of people. Her plan is to pretend that she was hired by Candy to redesign the website for the doggie day care. That would make sense if she a. had any experience designing websites, b. ever took a picture or did anything that might remotely seem like she was designing a website or c. turned on the computer and uh… looked at the old website a single time. Nope, she never does any of that. She is pretty much like, hey I am here to redo the website can I talk to you for a minute, and then people say yeah sure, and her next question is, who do you think killed Steve? My response to that would have been, is there going to be a who killed Steve section of the website? Do you know javascript? I googled you, you know and you show up in a lot of murder cases. But nope, people are just like oh cool, new website, yeah Steve sucked or Steve was great or whatever they thought. I feel like the author was like, what kind of job sounds vague enough for people to buy that they would talk to Melanie? Website design! Let me make sure Melanie never does any.
  • There is a side plot about Melanie’s kid Davey who is learning how to compete in a dog show. Melanie frequently rolls her eyes at all these people who are richer than her, like the guy who drives a hummer and doesn’t seem to realize that most people who are in the “competitive dog show world” must have a fair amount of disposable income to you know, be in, “the competitive dog show world”. I assume it is not a cheap hobby.
  • Also, I am just gonna give this away so if you want to read the book and be surprised don’t read this but… the guy who is the murderer? Not good at training his dog. Because, if you can’t train your dog well, according to this book, you are a horrible, horrible, horrible person who probably named a dog the wrong name.
  • The police show up exactly twice in this book. Once, when the body is found and once when Melanie is almost killed by the murderer. What in the blasted blue blazes do the tax dollars of people in Stamford, Connecticut pay for anyway, huh?
  • I assume that the whole thing with there being no police was so the author didn’t have to really explain the conflict that Melanie would have with them. But here are a few of the things Melanie does. Let me know if any of them would seem weird enough to have police get called on her. 1. She goes to a neighbor who hated Steve and falsely gives the impression that she is on the city board. 2. She keeps showing up at this doggie day care, asking a whole freaking lot of questions about the murder victim. 3. She basically stalks a guy outside his neighborhood just so she can find out if he was a co-owner of the day care. 4. She goes into a clothing store and threatens to sit there all day until one of the workers will talk to her about Steve’s death. The woman she wants to talk to I remind you, is working, and has sued Steve in the past and is threatening to again. Yet the woman talks to her rather than saying, I do not have to talk to you and lawyer or not I can call the cops for you harassing me. 5. She goes to a pet store, berates the store for encouraging her to breed her standard poodle, demands to see a delivery guy there and then interrogates him. 6. She gets Candy to give her the password to Steve’s computer so she can see what his business files have. I utterly guarantee you that any evidence found a result of Melanie’s efforts is not going to be accepted in a court case. You know, unless it’s the case where they throw the book at Melanie.
  • Finally, the last point I want to make is that the whodunit here wasn’t that hard to figure out based on behavior towards dogs. Why make it a mystery if it is going to be that obvious? Just call it, Melanie tries to do a job at a doggie day care place but would rather talk about murder.

My next review will be for Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes. Oh don’t they know? I kind of think the title is lying to me.

Doggedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax – #MovieReview

Soundtrack Choices are Important

Hello out there internet people. Slick Dungeon here to tell you about why a made for television movie is not worth watching. Bet you never would have guessed that right?

Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done she gave her father forty-one.

We’ve all probably heard that rhyme a few times in our lives. Likely while someone was skipping rope. And if the film version starring Christina Ricci had its way, that would pretty much sum up the whole story. Except for the fact that there were eleven axe wounds inflicted on the father and around 17 on the mother. Pretty much the rest of the film just wants to scream guilty at Lizzie.

Ricci’s portrayal is almost downright maniacal and I don’t see how any jury would have found her not guilty acting the way she was in the film. In reality I am sure it was a lot more of a gray area.

The film goes into gory detail pretty quickly but doesn’t cast much doubt as to who murdered Lizzie’s parents. Lizzie has an older sister who in the movie lies to protect her, even though that made no sense at all. The acting is not good in this and the story is so black and white it feels like it is cut out of a newspaper from the time period. But all of that said, you know what freaking kills this movie to death? THE SOUNDTRACK!!

They stupidly decided to go with modern popish music with depressing and disorienting undertones that in no way work. As annoyed as I was by forcing my eyes to view this, it’s my ears that were truly offended.

There is no way to concentrate on the images and drama happening in this movie while listening to the soundtrack.

This is a story that has been told over and over in a variety of formats. I don’t know if Lizzie is guilty or not and I doubt anyone will ever know for sure but this movie doesn’t add anything to the story in any way.

So what were the film makers thinking? I think I have their thought process below.

  • Hey what’s that song my kid is singing, is that real?
  • It is, I should look it up on wikepedia.
  • Holy moly, it’s a real murder.
  • I bet I can make a movie about a famous murder.
  • I’m gonna write it right now, but you know pretty much as the papers had it.
  • Now I am going to cast it. I bet I can get a big star, Christina Ricci is available right?
  • Okay, watching the dailies.
  • Wait, will the audience understand that this murder-y acting character is a murderer? Not sure, let me add some more obvious information. And let’s make sure to show her holding an ax. A lot.
  • Hey I wonder if there are any other possible explanations for this murder? Possibly, according to the papers of the time. I am going to make sure to just gloss over those. Wouldn’t want to make it not obvious because the audience would be too dumb to grasp it.
  • You know, I don’t think Lizzie looks guilty enough, let’s have her look like a crazy evil person at the camera. Maybe they will get it now?
  • Okay, almost done, time to add a soundtrack that will give the proper mood, make some mystery and turn this into a great film. Wait, let’s just add pop music.
  • This is gonna be huge, We’re going to release this to theaters and take our bags of money based on the gory details of this famous murder!
  • Oh, made for TV movie instead? Sure, why not.

The moral of the story here is, if you want to make a movie about a rhyme that relates to a murder, you still need to make a good movie. The rhyme can’t do it all.

My next film reviews will be in Christmas mode, so get ready for some festive joy when I count down the 12 days of terrible Christmas movies.

Guiltily yours,

Slick Dungeon

Mulberry Moon – #BookReview

Snickers Satisfies But this Book doesn’t

It’s late at night and you want to curl up with a good book that will give you lots of warm and fuzzy feelings about love. Here’s my advice for that situation. Under no circumstances should you read Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson. Re-read Outlander instead. Trust me.

The story centers around Sissy who is a restaurant owner and a woman who keeps walls around her heart and the guy who is destined to be with her, the stetson wearing, manly hunk of manly goodness, Ben. Ben is in love with Sissy, but she is tough to win. They go back and forth for ridiculous reasons about not being together and of course in the end they wind up married like we all knew they would.

Overall, I would mostly call this book just dull. It has a couple moments that could have been cute and funny but just really read flat for me. However, I noticed some things in this book that made me, uh, wonder some things. The premise is fine and I think that this book is supposed to be in a series where like everyone in Mystic Creek (the setting) is supposed to come under some kind of love spell eventually but I am just going to talk about what popped out to me.

  • “With the taste of tacos lingering in his mouth, Ben Sterling opened the door to leave Taco Joe’s on West Main and hollered good-bye to Joe Paisley, the owner.” That is the first sentence of the book. A.) nothing says romance like talking about the taste of tacos in someone’s mouth. B.) I vote this for worst opening line of a book, ever. And I have read some bad openings my friends.
  • A good portion of the book has Ben complaining to himself about the women he dated in the past who couldn’t get along with the animals at his ranch. Example: “He needed a down-to-earth person who didn’t run in terror from his free-range chickens or pick dog hair off her fancy clothes. ” I have a few thoughts here. First, where is this guy finding these women? He lives in this tiny Colorado town where no one visits. Is it just somehow full of super rich women? Second, even if that is the case, why would he be interested in them? I think he’s a pretty casual guy so why would he be like, I gotta date me a woman who wears fancy clothes!! And finally, what exactly is a woman with fancy clothes supposed to do with dog hair on them? I think taking the dog hair off might just be them trying to you know, not ruin their clothes.
  • When Ben and Sissy, well not first meet because they seem to have met before the book starts, but when they have their first meaningful interaction, Sissy acts very standoffish even though Ben is just trying to help her round up loose chickens. Ben thinks to himself how women always respond better to jerks and then thinks, “I need lessons in how to be a convincing jerk” Mmmmm…. nope, you don’t. Assuming a woman is not a nice person just because she doesn’t want to talk to you while she is trying to gather all her chickens on the street makes you a jerk already bro.
  • Another window into Ben’s mind: “If a woman could turn him on now, when his nuts still ached, he guessed he really was going to be fine.” Let me check, do my nuts ache? Yes. Can a woman turn me on while my nuts ache? Yes. Okay, life must be good then! You got this life thing figured out Ben!
  • Sissy has her own problems. She can’t get close to a man because she had a terrible father who abused her (which is a perfectly valid reason to have emotional issues). But she has a soft spot for animals so she ends up connecting to Ben through his dog. She is supposed to, you know, not like Ben at first because that is how romance books work but she looks at Ben’s dog and thinks this. “It wasn’t Finn’s fault that his master embodied everything that she most distrusted in a man. Ben Sterling was suave, charming, and successful.” Yeah, suave, charming and successful. No one could possibly like those qualities…
  • This is what Sissy really thinks of Ben: “Sans Stetson his bangs and sideburns gleamed like a horseshoe-shaped halo around his head.” Er… what? I don’t even know how to picture that in my head. I guess he is angelic but like in a hairy way?
  • There is a little side plot at the beginning about what Sissy thinks is a ghost haunting her but turns out to be a literal pack rat. Why does she think she has a ghost? Well, she hears noises at night. Okay sure. But more importantly, in Sissy’s candy bowl she has fun sized Snickers bars but they keep disappearing. She knows that the candy is disappearing because she is very strict with herself and just eats two per night. She eats the candy because… she isn’t having sex with anyone at the time. Err… seriously. But this whole thing leads to dialogue like this, “I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea of a nonphysical being that steals Snickers bars.” Me neither, Ben. Me neither.
  • More of Ben’s head, “But I’m tired of hooking up with fussy women who reject my world and want me to wear chinos with polished loafers.” Okay, Ben, here’s a thought – Don’t date those kinds of women then!
  • Sissy finds herself attracted to Ben but doesn’t want to show it. This is what she does while working along side him fixing up a chicken coop. “She just made sure she didn’t look at him from his belt buckle up. Or from there down for that matter.” Uh, okay so you are going to just not look at a dude while you are working right along side him. Yeah… that makes sense…
  • More of the whole Snickers equals sex thing in Sissy’s head, “And looking at him did maker her want a Snickers bar.” So yeah, if a woman wants to eat a Snickers bar because she is looking at you, she’s waaaay into you. Take note!
  • There is this weird thing in romance books where characters seem to think that it would be romantic to go to jail and that they would get to do jail time with their romantic partner somehow. In part of the book Sissy and Ben decided to steal a kitten with no front paws from the vet office because it will be put down if they don’t. Sissy says to Ben, “I want you to know that there’s nobody on earth I’d rather do time with.” Seriously that might be the most romantic line in this whole book.
  • At one point Ben looks at Sissy who is just wearing a little bit of makeup and a somewhat nice sweater. Not like fancy clothes like he hated those other women wearing and he thinks how good she looks. But then his next thought is, “Ben wished he could dress her, starting with undies and bras from Victoria’s Secret, with her modeling everything for his appreciation.” Make up your freaking mind Ben. Do you want fancy clothed women or not?!
  • More of Ben’s romantic thoughts: “Why did the idea of a tie-down strap ruffle her feathers? He had one in the bed of his truck that would work.” In this part of the book Sissy had broken her leg and rather than just wait for it to heal, Ben thinks to freaking tie her leg down so she wouldn’t buck when they… well you know. I gotta say dude, you are not lacking in confidence there about your charms, skillful use of bondage equipment, and physical abilities.
  • Remember above when I quoted Ben wanting to put Sissy in Victoria’s Secret underwear for his pleasure? Here is what he tells her, “You don’t need sexy lingerie.” Seriously man, make up your mind!
  • Next time you want to get steamy with your romantic partner say this, “Watch another romantic movie, sweetheart, and remember during all the love scenes that I am going to outclass every Snickers bar you’ve ever eaten when I come back upstairs tonight.” Snickers – 0 Ben – Outclassed them all. No candy is safe.
  • Ben reassuring Sissy, “Your breasts are the perfect size for your build. And you do have some. Trust me, I notice things like that.” Very observant of you Ben.
  • Also Ben, “Maybe I should rent you some porn.” To each their own I guess?
  • Also Ben, “You’re so beautiful I couldn’t spit if you yelled, ‘Fire.'” I still haven’t figured out what this is supposed to mean.
  • Also Ben, “I need to know, before we take our relationship to that level, that you’ll be my forever lady.” Smooth Ben, smooth.
  • There is a really disturbing scene in this book where Sissy’s father tries to out and out rape her. This is not a particular criticism of this book or anything but I swear like eighty percent of romance books have a rape scene in them. I don’t know why this is the case. These scenes are always awful to read and I get the feeling sometimes that they are put there just to show that the guy who gets the girl is not like that. I just have to think there is a much better way to demonstrate that without placing in rape scenes that might get fetishized by certain sick individuals. Okay, stepping off of my soap box now.
  • Now I will remind you again that Sissy was almost raped by her own father in a very violent and brutal way. After that she is sort of shell shocked and doesn’t want to speak with Ben, or really anyone. This is Ben’s thought, “He loved her too much to take no for an answer.” WHAT?! That is the absolute most awful thing you could think in that moment dude. Ben, when you thought you should take jerk lessons earlier, you really were wrong. Get your money back because you are a jerk.
  • Sissy basically goes back to hiding her feelings from Ben but then he basically gives her an ultimatum of how she has to win him back. She is worried that mental illness runs in her family and that their kids will be less than perfect and that wouldn’t be fair to Ben. He offers that they could adopt and all kinds of other things that would make it okay for them to get married. You know what I didn’t see from Ben? Him asking if Sissy was okay after attempted rape. And now she has to ask him to marry her if she wants to keep the relationship. What an A-class jerk.
  • Here is Sissy’s proposal, “Ben Sterling, will you please become my husband? For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. For better or worse, whether or not we’re genetically flawed, crazier than loons, or predisposed to have any kind of cancer?” You know, I think Ben might have said no but then you threw in the cancer and I am pretty sure that sealed the deal.
  • Ben’s answer, “If I say yes, will you have unprotected sex with me tonight and risk getting pregnant?” Wow. That feels like a good place to stop.

Again, I cannot recommend not reading this book enough. I hope you enjoyed reading my review more than I enjoyed reading Mulberry Moon. Next week I will be reviewing another destined to become classic literature book – Doggie Day Care Murder. Why did the doggies murder the day care? I have no idea.

Satisfyingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

A Note About Book Reviews, Library Cards and Secret Pit Traps

Slick Dungeon here and if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s falling into a pit trap doing major damage to my hit points and losing my library card. I know it has been a while since I have done a book review. One is coming later this week. Due to the fact that I lost my library card I have not been able to check out books online very easily so it has been a bit. But I battled a swarm of rats and got it back. I will try to get back to my regular cadence of one per week starting this Friday.

Stay safe out there!

Defensively yours,

Slick Dungeon

#realityhigh – #MovieReview

This Film is Netflix Famous

#What’sup everyone? Slick Dungeon here with yet another movie review of a movie that you should definitely avoid watching.

You know how people go around annoyingly posting their life on instagram all the time? You know how every teen comedy/romance/drama ever is about a nerdy girl (who is clearly attractive but just wearing glasses and braces) who becomes pretty (by wearing a dress and doing her hair and makeup) and then gets ogled by her classmates for changing her look (yet no one ever mentions how overtly horrible these guys looking are) and then gets noticed by her hot crush (who is typically a jerk but not always) and then ignores her true friends (who obviously don’t want to be stuck in the friend zone for all time) and then has to go back to being the “nerdy” girl (but still is able to dress up when she wants to for say prom or something) and then everything works out so that the girl either gets the hot guy (if he is nice) or the friend gets the formerly nerdy girl (if the hot guy is a jerk) and the movie wraps up with a life lesson where you now know that what it takes in life is to be true to yourself (but apparently wearing make up and ditching the glasses is a plus)? Yeah, that’s this movie. Also, you know how the Fyre festival was super hyped up to be full of amazing influential people who are super wealthy and attractive and the party was going to be amazing but then turned out to just suck? That’s also this movie.

Look, any movie title with a hashtag at the beginning was doomed to be crappy. Then putting it in a high school was also just asking for garbage here. It’s kind of hard to summarize what is exactly wrong with this film but there is plenty to dissect. Let me start by summarizing the plot.

Dani is our main character. She starts the film at a camp where her friend tells her that a boy she likes wants to make out with her. We all see this coming right? When she gets there and tries to kiss the boy, it turns out to be a prank where they get her to almost kiss a pig. Then she gets stuck with all kinds of nicknames like pigs breath etc. We can all feel for Dani even though it also feels like we have seen this exact same scene one hundred thousand times before.

Fast forward to high school. Dani isn’t any more popular than she was before. She’s gone from wearing braces to a retainer and she seems a bit awkward but overall she’s doing fine. At school though, she is still made fun of, and the boy she likes is dating this instagram/youtube model who is extremely shallow and mean. This is Alexa and it’s obvious this will be Dani’s rival for the whole film. And obviously she is the same person who set up the stunt at the camp years ago.

We get to see Dani do things like be nice to dogs at the clinic she volunteers at, get into arguments with her sister who trends way more online than Dani herself and hang out with her friend Freddie who is an aspiring DJ.

Dani has an interview for a scholarship and decides to get dressed up fancy and go to school. Everyone notices. Also, around this time, the hot guy that Dani likes breaks up with Alexa. Everyone notices that too. Cameron, the aforementioned hot guy is now available and interested in Dani. The rest of the film is Dani making bad choices like going to parties when she shouldn’t, letting her friend Freddie down and saying things she shouldn’t in front of her boyfriend. Then, you know, making it all right again.

Watching all of that is just like watching… every teen movie ever.

There are a couple of twists and turns that are changed up just slightly enough to make this not exactly the same as all these movies but close. The hot guy who Dani has been in love with forever turns out to actually be a really nice guy and to have had a crush on Dani since prior to her getting dressed up. The guy stuck in the friend zone acts as outraged as he should for being screwed over by Dani but doesn’t go ahead and lay the bomb of being in love with her this whole time. Most of the characters are portrayed as being at least somewhat smart and caring, with the exception of Alexa and even she fakes it for a little bit (albeit to get what she wants). The parents in the film are caring and only kind of out of touch, not completely ignorant of their kids troubles. And finally, the whole thing looks like it was an attempt at being an instagram story in and of itself.

A few things definitely stuck out to me here though. I have a list.

  • As far as pranks go, the whole pig kissing thing seems pretty mild and I think that it would have been forgotten more or less before these people got to high school
  • The Alexa character literally walks into school with her dog, a bunch of cameras, and a group of friends. The principal reasonably stops her to ask what the dog is doing there to which Alexa claims it is a service dog and that the principal must hate dogs, or people who need them, and she could just tell her nine million followers about it. Yet the principal doesn’t ask for any proof it is a service dog! Sorry, but schools actually have rules about these things and if the principal had let that go like that in real life, he would have said goodbye to his job. I know, it’s dumb to complain about a fictional film being unrealistic in something like this but when it is that obvious to me, it feels like the film makers are just being lazy.
  • Freddie is desperate to be a DJ. He needs Dani to give him a ride but ends up two hours late because she flakes on him. He ends up getting a Lyft over there and is still two hours late. Dude, when you know you will be a little late, get your butt where you are supposed to be!!!
  • Dani is a smart person but is very easily swept up into the whole internet famous world and goes from a non-drinker to showing up drunk at Cameron’s important television interview. That seemed like a huge shift in character waaaaay too fast.
  • A disturbingly large amount of this film involves Bob’s Big Boy.
  • After Alexa betrayed Dani once, why would she trust her again? This makes no sense.
  • Speaking of Alexa, she seems like a horrible, horrible, horrible person. Why does she have friends again?
  • The acting in this is not bad but there are zero stand out performances and honestly after watching this, I can’t think of a single line of dialogue that sticks out to me at all.
  • At one point Dani runs her dad’s credit card for a $400 shoe purchase. Later her dad calmly tells her she still owes him the money. The level of parental rage portrayed over that was far, far, far below what should be reasonable expected in this situation.
  • This film definitely gives good reason to just quit social media but no one does it.

Basically if you have seen a movie with teenagers in it, you’ve seen this. Don’t bother wasting your time watching it. Just watch Mean Girls again instead. Also, just as a side note, Netflix could have put more money into Stranger Things or something like that but nope, they wanted to go with this garbage.

Next week I will be back with another review of what was originally a made for TV drama, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax. I don’t know where she took it to though…

#Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Yoga Hosers – #MovieReview

I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today!

It’s November and around here at Slick Dungeon’s Dusty Tomes and Terrible Films that means turkey. And boy do I have a turkey of a movie for you.

Kevin Smith is a witty and gifted film director. He has made some brilliant films that touch upon and reflect current attitudes among working people, that say important things about relationships, and usually at their heart are about friends overcoming adversity, even if that adversity is as simple as struggling through a typical work day in a boring job. Yoga Hosers accomplishes none of that.

Yoga Hosers is a spin off of the Kevin Smith project Tusk. Full disclosure I have not watched Tusk so I can’t really evaluate how this fits with that. I can tell you that Yoga Hosers is a terrible, terrible film. It lacks any charm and although there is some humor there, most of it veers off into the insanely inept.

Now, I actually like a lot of Kevin Smith films, especially his work from the nineties, including Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy. While all of those had their issues, not one of them came even close to being as much of a waste of time as Yoga Hosers.

I am going to attempt to summarize Yoga Hosers but it’s difficult to make this make sense.

There are two fifteen year old girls, both named Colleen. They work at a convenience store called the Eh-to-Zed in Canada. They are both in high school. That’s about where the plot stops making sense. These girls spend a day rocking out at their store, after which a customer is mysteriously killed. The only thing we know is that whatever killed that customer is small and crawled up his, er, you know, where the sun don’t shine.

The Colleens are unaware of this and go on their day to school, doing some yoga at a strip mall yoga place called Yogi Bayer’s, and generally doing a bunch of instagram posting or whatever.

The Colleens are asked to a party by a couple of High School Seniors. This is thrilling but the Colleens get stuck having to work and are unable to attend. So one of the Colleens calls the boy she likes and suggests they bring the party to the convenience store. Problem solved.

Only there are more problems and here’s where it gets weird. First, the two boys who come over to the convenience store try to kill the Colleen’s because they are “Really into Satan.” The Colleens are able to defend themselves with Yoga poses they learned from Yogi Bayer. Then those two boys die because more, uh, small things (I promise I will reveal what they are and you are going to think it is stupid) crawl up their respective rear ends. The Colleens are safe but now are arrested for murder. But before that happens, the Colleens are attacked by what I can only describe as, bratwurst dressed as Canadian mounties yelling in German. Yeah, you read that right.

Earlier in the film, when the Colleens (aka the Yoga Hosers) were in school they learned about a Canadian Nazi who wanted to control Canda by sending people to the Hudson river.

Also earlier in the school day this dude who wrote some book that I think must relate to something that happened in Tusk came in and interviewed the Colleens. He’s seen something supernatural before so when these bratwurst attack he has no problem believing the Colleens and springing them out of jail. But they don’t have their phones.

They go back to the convenience store in order to get changed and they discover a secret passageway. The passageway leads to this huge room which is where the Canadian Nazis were doing experiments including cryogenic freezing and cloning. So, remember those small things that were killing people? Yeah it was the bratwurst. For the rest of the film they are called Bratzis. Turns out that one of the Canadian Nazis was frozen and then made bratwurst clones to do his bidding. He spent a lot of time on Netflix to acclimate himself to current culture and now, he doesn’t exactly want to be a Nazi but more of an artist. He’s created a sculpture out of, uh, human flesh and a hockey mask. This thing can be piloted by the Bratzis. The Nazi guy wants the Colleens to take a picture of him so he can be in Them magazine and be famous. They can’t because they don’t have their phones. So instead, the Nazi orders this weird sculpture to kill all the art critics in Canada. The Colleens are able to defend themselves and stop the thing once again using Yoga. The Bratzis are stopped, the Nazi dies, the book author gets to write a new book and the Colleens are still stuck in their boring old jobs and still in High School. But they do get to sing a rendition of O Canada to take us into the credits. Also at the very end of the credits we hear the sound clip of Kevin Smith on his podcast where he first heard the term yoga hosers.

That may or may not be the weirdest film summary I have ever written but it’s right up there with one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. There are a very few funny things in this film and I am going to point them out.

  • Justin Long plays an awesome militant yogi and I found myself wanting to see him in way more scenes.
  • Jason Mewes has a cameo because, well of course he does.
  • Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin’s daughter) yelling I’m not even supposed to be here today was a great modern nod to Clerks and I am totally here for that.

And that’s everything good in this, period. Honestly, there was a lot in this that I straight up couldn’t figure out and it was pretty jarring. It was random and weird but not in a good way. At least Kevin has a lot of other good films going for him and those I can get on board with.

Next week I will be watching #realityhigh I bet it #reallysucks.

Candianly (but not really) yours,

Slick Dungeon

Barely Lethal – #MovieReview

Wait, Is this a Marvel Movie?

Hello out there on the surface world! Slick Dungeon here. I hope everyone had a great Halloween last week and no one got their faces melted by a mask with a shamrock on it. Now that the glorious month of horror is over, I am back to watching any bad movie and reading any bad book out there. For my movie review this week, I watched Barely Lethal.

I kept hearing about this movie, people telling me how bad it was and that I definitely needed to watch it. I stayed away from it for a long because, well, that title just kind of grosses me out. Worst pun for a film ever. Seriously. Title aside though, was this a terrible film?

Yup.

I’m sure you could have guessed this film was stupid. What I was not aware of was that it starred Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba and Sophie Turner.

Before I get into the plot of this dud, Let’s think about those stars for a minute. That means Nick Fury, Sue Storm and Jean Grey all teamed up to be in a film about girls being raised to be lethally effective assassins for the government. How is this not the Black Widow movie? Really, I don’t get it.

You know what else I don’t get? Why this movie exists.

The idea of the plot is not actually that bad. A young orphan girl is trained by a government agency to be a killer but what she really wants is to have a normal life and experience high school. Sure, okay, given the right writing and acting I could buy into this.

Instead we get a montage of little kids fighting and Sam Jackson just yelling at them. They do stuff like knife skills, car chases and sparring. For the car chase a kid gets out of the car and there is literally no way she could have seen over the dash so I have no idea how she was driving.

Samuel L. Jackson spends the movie pretty much being Nick Fury but without the eye patch. He wants to hunt down Jessica Alba’s character because, uh, bad guy I guess? And Sophie Turner spends her portion of the movie as a jealous and angry rival for Megan.

During a mission to capture Jessica Alba, Megan fakes her own death and goes to live with a family as a high school exchange student. Megan did her research by watching all the nineties teen movies and seems to think that is extensive research, despite the fact that there is YouTube, Twitter and plain old Google that would give her a more modern take.

This movie then spends the next third trying to flip the old high school movie tropes on their heads. The cheerleaders are actually nice. The popular guy does like Megan right away. Of course the one they don’t change is the sort of nerdy guy in the friend zone being the right match for Megan.

Inevitably Nick Fury gets wind of where Megan is and tells her that she has to wrap up loose ends and come back to the secret compound. Megan is not cool with that because – homecoming. Yeah, it’s always a prom or a homecoming dance in these teen romances. I will say that the homecoming dance part was improved with a kung-fu fight between Megan and Sophie Turner. Also, as a side note, if you are wondering why the only character I am referring to as their character name is Megan, it’s because none of the rest of the characters were worth remembering.

The film goes on, Megan bonds with her family, she defeats her enemy, captures the bad guy, goes to homecoming, loses her date, gets her date and is allowed to live a normal life. Yay!

There are a few things that stood out to me in this film.

  • Dan Fogler plays a seriously disturbingly lecherous teacher towards the popular kid, Cash in this film. It was as cringe-worthy as the title and I can’t stop thinking of how gross it was because, Dan Fogler is not a minor and the popular kid, was a minor. Really gross man. Please just stick to The Walking Dead, okay Dan?
  • To be honest there are a few good lines in this movie but the rest was so bad, I can’t even remember them anymore.
  • The kid who plays the little brother in the exchange student family, was kind of awesome playing around with all of Megan’s deadly toys.
  • I also liked the turn around of the drunk goofus named Gooch who turns out to be a kind and sensitive guy by the end of the film.
  • There was a stinger at the end of the film that would imply there could be sequels to this.
  • Please God no.
  • If you want maybe the worst every double feature of people poorly portraying lethal agents, pair this one with Undercover Grandpa. They are both on Netflix so if you need to Netflix and chill, emphasis on chill, it’s a great match up.

Next week I am going to take on one of my favorite directors who just happens to have made a really bad film. Yoga Hosers watch out!

Lethally yours,

Slick Dungeon

Halloween III: Season of the Witch – #MovieReview

I guess Michael MYers was Busy This year?

You’ve made two smash hit horror thrillers for dirt cheap money and made a fortune. These films feature an extremely relentless killer that infuses true horror on the screen. Also, these films feature a scream queen who sells the horror with every reaction she makes. What on earth should you do next? Should you make another film with those two characters? You know the ones everyone wants to see more of? Naaaaaaaaah. Who wants to do that? Instead make a film where the villains are, oddly silent androids, Stonehenge, a digital pumpkin and Halloween masks with shamrocks on them. Sold!

Happy Halloween everyone! I will say it’s just as dark here in my dungeon on Halloween as it is on any other day. Slick Dungeon back with a doozy of a bad film for ya.

I love Halloween and the Halloween film franchise is one of my favorites to dive into on this day. But you know what? They have a few stinkers in this series. For my money though, the worst of them is the one that has the least to do with the rest of them. Halloween III was almost never made because John Carpenter and Deborah Hill were tired of the films after making two of them. The only thing that really sold them on it was that this film would not star the original characters and they would be producing without too much more involvement than that.

The idea was to make this franchise into a sort of anthology series always centered around the day of Halloween. This might have made sense if they had made this film before making Halloween II but it was a bit weird for audiences to go expecting to see horror and watching this sort of science fiction, witchcraft mashup that had nothing to do with the first two films.

I think no one really went back to the idea of a good ol’ horror anthology series until the television show American Horror Story came around and pretty much did it brilliantly (not counting the season with the witches – coincidence?)

Anyway, this film stars a random doctor named Dan Challis who is disturbed by a death he witnesses outside of the hospital he works at. See there are these seriously not scary looking guys, wearing suits, who seem to be strong enough to rip heads off people’s bodies, jab their fingers deep into eye sockets and just generally look kind of menacing. Although, I guess a lot of the time, there is nothing more menacing than some old white guy in a suit, tbh. But not in fiction.

Dr. Dan, is divorced and has a couple of kids and all they want is these masks made by a particular mask company. The Shamrock novelty company masks have become all the rage, despite not looking like Mike Myers at all.

Strange things are happening though as at least one dude has been murdered while holding one of these masks. Then the guy who did the murdering went out of the hospital, sat in a car, poured gasoline all over himself and lit a match. Dr. Dan was troubled by that, especially because, the guy holding the mask told him that, “They’re gonna kill us all.”

Well, Dr. Dan being a single guy in search of a sexual harassment lawsuit, flirts around with the nurses a bit and with one of the assistants at the morgue. So naturally when the daughter of the guy who had the mask in his hand when he died shows up, Dr. Dan is all in for trying to figure out what is going on.

Ellie, the daughter, and Dan go to a small town called Santa Mira. Yes, Saint Look for anyone who is translating. So this town is famous for producing toys and novelties. The Shamrock novelty company runs the place and they have their biggest success yet with these Halloween masks. Why? They’ve been airing a relentlessly annoying but admittedly catchy Halloween commercial to try to get kids to buy these suckers. And it has worked big time. For some reason, this year, all the kids in California want one of only three masks, a pumpkin, a skeleton or a witch. No other Halloween creativity allowed! No princesses or vampires or pair of twins dressed as Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee or anything. Kids only want 3 masks and no other costumes for Halloween, this is proven scientific research!

Anyway, Ellie and Dan are there because basically a series of clues tells them that Ellie’s father was last spotted in this town. Not only that but he has sold some of these masks and should have had a supply in his car but his car seems to be missing.

Right away after the good Doc and Ellie get to town, the owner of the Shamrock Novelty company shows up and acts seriously suspicious. I mean we all know he’s the bad guy right? Spoiler he is.

Most of the folks in Santa Mira (St. Look) are employed by this guy, enamored of him, or deathly afraid of him. At night a bum who spoke with Dan for a few minutes gets his head straight up ripped off his neck because he said bad things about ol’ Mr. Cochran.

There’s another family visiting who sold a bunch of these masks and is super excited to see this factory. Well, Dan and Ellie don’t want to look suspicious so they say that they are married. This gives them a great excuse to hook up in the hotel room later. Despite being warned that people are watching and listening everywhere, Dan makes a phone call to the morgue worker from earlier and finds out that in the car fire, there have been no human remains found which is pretty odd.

This Cochran guy gives everyone a tour of his creepy factory, which is waaaaay less creepy than the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory tour and incidentally has fewer deaths than ol’ Willie served up.

Still, Cochran captures Dan as well as Ellie, but I guess Cochran is kinda sexist because he takes Ellie away and gives Dan the grand tour. Dan gets to see a big room with, uh, Stonehenge? (Checks notes: yes Stonehenge.) Stonehenge in it. Plus a whole bunch of computers. Dan is in for a demonstration! Lucky guy. He watches as the kid from that overly excited family puts on his mask, watches another of those annoying commercials and then the kid’s face melts and he turns into snakes, spiders and other creepy crawly things. Yeah, I don’t know how that works either.

That whole family gets toasted but Cochran is not the kind of guy to follow through with stuff, so he lets Dan live for, reasons. After he explains that he imported Stonehenge (Checks notes: yes still Stonehenge) to a small town in California without anyone noticing and that he is going to kill all the kids because, “The planets are in alignment.” Yeah, good a reason as any I guess?

Of course, Dan gets free, gets Ellie, breaks out of this factory after messing up a bunch of the computers that do, uh stuff. Oh, and figures out that those dudes in suits are robots. (Checks notes: yes robots) Robots that are definitely not programmed with the three laws of robotics. Dan puts it together that he has got to stop this commercial from airing or there’s gonna be a lot less kids and a lot more spiders and stuff because, Cochran is doing, uh, witchcraft. I guess that’s why this is the “season of the witch”?

But we’re all waiting for the twist here because ever since Dan got Ellie back she has not said a word. Instead she waits until he is driving and then tries to kill him. She’s a robot now! Or there is a robot that looks like her now? Or there is a witchcraft powered robot of her now? Err, Ellie is bad now, but not smart enough to kill Dan before he got in the car when he could cause a crash and stop her.

Dan does manage to get to a phone (see how useful cell phones can be?) and dials the networks to try to get them to stop this commercial from airing. If they get to the last screen of the digital pumpkin, we are all doomed because, uh, Stonehenge, robots, witchcraft, computers, and digital pumpkins. (Checks notes: yes, Stonehenge, robots witchcraft, computers, and digital pumpkins) For the first two channels, the commercials go off the air but the third station (imagine only three freaking television stations! What would we all do with our time?!) is slow to act and we see the last bit of the digital pumpkin…

I assume all kids in California are snakes and spiders now. Or maybe Stonehenge witchcraft robots. Whatever, this Halloween some jerk will probably just put a full sized candy bar on top of their inflatable Minions costume anyway so it’s all the same right?

A couple things baffle me about this film that I want to point out.

  • Why would this guy need to freaking move Stonehenge for his stuff to work? Also, if the planets are aligning for this, doesn’t Stonehenge need to be in the right place for it to work?
  • Like I said before, why would kids only want 3 kinds of masks for Halloween. No chance man. Kids are much more creative than that.
  • These androids have been going around killing people for months and no one has noticed until a week before Halloween? Really?
  • Dr. Dan seems to be a terrible husband, doctor, and father. Do we have to like this guy? I guess so because he doesn’t want all the dead kids and a bunch of other people are cool with that.
  • In this movie there are some indications that Halloween is fiction. We see a commercial for it, and there’s a mask in the background. So uh, what exact place is this? Is this real? Let me check and see if Stonehenge is still there or not.
  • It’s still there, we’re good.
  • Also, and I cannot stress this enough, bring back Michael Myers and Laurie Strode!!!!!
  • Oh, wait, okay, Halloween III: Season of the Witch did poorly at the box office and John Carpenter and Debra Hill want more money? Phew, we’re good.

In conclusion, Happy Halloween everyone. Stay safe out there. Avoid all masks with Shamrock logos on them, all old white guys in suits who seem like androids, all old guy factory owners who talk about,”Planets in alignment”, and all annoying commercials ending with digital pumpkins.

Next week I will be back with another bad movie review that has nothing to do with horror at all. Barely Lethal here I come!

Halloweenishly yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 31

I thought long and hard about what kind of horrors to drop on you on Halloween. There was so much to choose from, I decide to give you everything but the kitchen sink horror!

Visitors to the new Creepshow maze will be guided by The Creep, the skeletal namesake of the comic book. (Courtesy of Universal)
Jack Nicholson walking through snowy maze in lobby card for the film ‘The Shining’, 1980. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 30

Only one more day until Halloween! Our month of horror will soon come to a close. But not yet!

Who is the monster that stays dead for centuries but awakens to terrify the population as soon as you mess with his stuff? The Mummy of course!

Today you get, bandage wrapped undead horror!

What could I possibly have in store for you tomorrow? On the day of Halloween? Well, all I can say is there will be plenty of horror for you!

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 29

What’s hairy, growls, bites and only comes out in the moonlight? The wolf man! There are so many iterations of werewolves but I think my all time favorite will be the original film classic.

Today you get werewolf horror!

What horror awaits you tomorrow? Let’s just say we’re going to need a lot of bandages.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 28

It’s the month of creepies and crawlies. And here on my blog we are celebrating all of what horror has to offer.

Today I present to you one of the most common phobias anywhere in the world. Today you get arachnophobia horror!

Who didn’t love John Goodman decimating these little suckers?

We’re getting really close to Halloween now.

Side note for those of you who follow my blog, I usually post a movie review on Mondays but since this week I am reviewing a Halloween movie, that review will come out on Halloween.

What horrors do I have for you tomorrow? It’s hairy, it’s fangy, and it’s hungry!

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 26

Got a tired kid? Ready to read them a story? That’ll put them right to sleep. Just hope that the requested story is not Mr. Babadook.

That one is going to haunt everyone’s dreams. Today you get story book horror!

What horrors await you tomorrow? Not sure, but I think I just felt the ground tremble.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 25

Well met travelers. Say, what do you do when you have made away with a stack of cash and are on the run before anyone notices?

I know, stay at a quaint little hotel with a very polite young man who enjoys taxidermy. Just cross your fingers that you don’t run into his mother.

Norman!

Today you get, Bates Motel horror!

What horrors are waiting for you on the last weekend before Halloween? Not going to tell you but, I hope that you are ready for story time.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 24

So you’ve tried everything to get away from all the horrors around you. Heck, you’ve seen ghosts, ghouls and psychopaths coming after you. Surely, the one place you will be safe is way out in space.

Hardly. In space no one can hear you scream.

Today you get alien horror!

What horrors await you tomorrow? Well, I am pretty sure there is a vacancy there.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 23

It’s late October and the horror is heating up. You know what’s good to do when it gets hot out? Go camping. But be careful because if you stay at the wrong campsite, you may not survive the weekend.

When the locals tell you it’s an evil place, just go ahead and turn around and save yourself the trouble.

Today you get camping horror!

What horrors will I have for you tomorrow? If I told you it might make you scream. Too bad no one will hear you

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon