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Join the PAX: Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games Panel

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Have you ever wanted to learn what it takes to score music for popular video game titles such as Darksiders II, Borderlands 2, and Assassin’s Creed Revelations? Well, a new panel at PAX Prime aims to show you just that! Read on to learn more!

From the Press Release
Ever wondered what it takes to score original music for AAA video games? Learn from four of the industry’s most accomplished composers with diverse musical backgrounds as they share their experiences and discuss the craft of scoring music for some of the biggest franchises in interactive entertainment.

Featuring multiple award-winning composers Jesper Kyd (Darksiders II, Borderlands 2, Assassin’s Creed I & II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood & Revelations, Hitman 1-4); Michael McCann (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Splinter Cell: Double Agent); Inon Zur (Dragon Age I & II, Prince of Persia, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, RIFT); and Sam Hulick (Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3).

Moderated by Emily Reese, Host and Producer of Minnesota Public Radio’s “Top Score” podcast. Plus giveaways and a surprise guest! The panel will be followed by a Meet & Greet / Signing session.

When:
Kraken Theatre, Seattle
Saturday, September 1st
10.30am – 11.30am

About Jesper Kyd
Best known for composing the unique, thematic music soundtracks for multi-million selling franchises ASSASSIN’S CREED, BORDERLANDS and HITMAN, Kyd’s compelling and distinctive scores feature a diverse array of instrumentation including orchestra, choir, soloists, acoustic manipulations and electronic soundscapes, immersing audiences with emotional depthand often described by critics as ‘rousing,’ ‘surreal’ and ‘beautiful.’ Spanning from his iconic electronic and symphonic scores for the HITMAN series which won him a BAFTA for Best Original Music, to the post-apocalyptic wasteland themes of BORDERLANDS, and his evocative Middle-Eastern and Renaissance-era scores for the history-inspired ASSASSIN’S CREED series, Jesper Kyd constantly evolves his craft as a leading artist for creating memorable and inspirational original soundtracks. His latest scores include the action/adventure DARKSIDERS II and the role-playing-shooter BORDERLANDS 2.

About Michael McCann
Renowned for his ambient cinematic scores and emotionally-charged organic soundscapes, Michael McCann has established himself as an uncompromising musical force in video games, television and film. His universally acclaimed score for DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION, which fuses industrial, choral, world and ambient elements into an epic cyber-noir, tour-de-force soundtrack, earned him nominations from the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, Spike TV VGAs, Hollywood Music in Media Awards, and landed him on IGN’s list of the top 30 people working in video games in 2011. Michael’s diverse work in film, TV and games has also earned him nominations from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences for SPLINTER CELL: DOUBLE AGENT (Game), 2 Genie nominations & 2 Leo Award nominations for sound design IT’S ALL GONE PETE TONG (Film), and a second HMMA nomination for his opening theme to the syndicated sci-tech drama series REGENESIS (TV). Michael continues to evolve his diverse resume, expanding on his work done in multiple fields with companies that have included Paramount Pictures, 2K / Firaxis, Discovery Channel & Alliance Atlantis.

About Inon Zur
Inon Zur composes emotionally dynamic music for film, television, anime and video games. A graduate of the Music Academy of Tel Aviv in Israel, Inon moved to Los Angeles to study the art of film music at the Dick Grove School of Music and UCLA with such luminaries as Jack Smalley, Alan Ferguson and Henry Mancini. His scores for film and television include AU PAIR, ESCAFLOWNE, DIGIMON, POWER RANGERS, STATE OF GRACE and GHOST WHISPERER: THE OTHER SIDE. Zur’s Hollywood scoring expertise combined with his flair for powerful melodic writing is widely recognized in the world of interactive entertainment. Composing cinematic orchestral music for blockbuster franchises such as DRAGON AGE, PRINCE OF PERSIA, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, RIFT, TERA, EVERQUEST, LINEAGE, CRYSIS and FALLOUT, he has received international acclaim including award nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Spike TV as well as top honors at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Variety named Inon Zur one of the top music talents in interactive entertainment.

About Sam Hulick
Sam Hulick is a BAFTA award nominated and multiple award-winning composer, best known for creating the signature music for BioWare’s epic sci-fi franchise MASS EFFECT. Sam composed the iconic “Mass Effect Theme” as well as “Uncharted Worlds,” “From the Wreckage,” “Sovereign’s Theme,” “Victory,” “Uplink,” and many other compositions for the original MASS EFFECT. The ’80s inspired electronic score was lauded by critics as “One of the most memorable and unique soundtracks in gaming,” (Game Informer) and won Best Original Score awards from IGN, GameSpy and GameSpot. For MASS EFFECT 2, Sam was again tapped for his adept skill of inventive blending of analog synths with orchestral instrumentation. The soundtrack features a suitably darker and more cinematic musical experience to complement the sequel’s heavier subject matter. MASS EFFECT 2 received British Academy (BAFTA) and Spike TV VGA nominations for Best Original Score. The only composer to have worked on all three games in BioWare’s blockbuster sci-fi trilogy, Hulick’s compositions for MASS EFFECT 3 include “Mars”, several key emotional scenes in the game (“I Was Lost Without You”, “I’m Proud of You”) and the epic finale (“An End, Once And For All”). Hulick also recently provided the new original score for MASS EFFECT 3: Extended Cut. The DLC includes new and extended cinematics that feature more of the emotionally impactful material Hulick was responsible for in MASS EFFECT 3. Sam is currently scoring music for BALDUR’S GATE: Enhanced Edition.

You can visit the official PAX: Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games website to learn more!

Join the PAX: Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games Panel

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Satan’s Cheerleaders Blu-ray Review – Sacrifice This Snoozer At The Altar!

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Starring Jack Kruschen, John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Jacqueline Cole

Directed by Greydon Clark

Distributed by VCI


The ‘70s. Satanism. Sultry cheerleaders. Sex appeal. With these tools nearly any low-budget filmmaker should be able to turn out something that is, at the very least, entertaining. The last thing a viewer expects when tuning in to a film called Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977) is to be bored to tears. But that is exactly the reaction I had while watching director Greydon Clark’s wannabe cult comedy. Even on a visual level this film can’t be saved, and it was shot by Dean Cundey! No, unfortunately there isn’t a cinematic element in the world that can overcome a roster of bad actors and a storyline so poorly constructed it plays like it was written on the day. The only saving grace, minor as it may be, is the casting of John Ireland as Sheriff B.L. Bubb (cute), a hard-nosed shitkicker who adds all the gravitas he can muster. But a watchable feature cannot be built upon the back of a single co-star, as every grueling minute of Satan’s Cheerleaders proves.

The cheerleaders and jocks of Benedict High School rule the campus, doing what they want, when they want, with little else on their minds except for The Big Game. Their belittling attitudes rub school janitor (and stuttering dimwit) Billy (Jack Kruschen) the wrong way. What they don’t know is Billy is (somehow) the head of a local Satanic cult, and he plans to place a curse on the clothes (really) of the cheerleaders so they… suck at cheerleading? Maybe they’ll somehow cause the jocks to lose the big game? When Billy isn’t busy plotting his cursed plans, he spies on the girls in the locker room via a hidden grate in the wall. I guess he doesn’t think being a sexual “prevert” is fair trade enough; might as well damn them all, too. Billy has his own plans to kidnap the girls, for his Lord and Master Satan, and he succeeds with ease when the girls’ van breaks down on the highway; he simply offers them a ride and they all pile in. But when Ms. Johnson (Jacqueline Cole) gets hip to his plan the two tussle in the front seat and Billy winds up having a heart attack.

The squad runs off in search of help, coming across the office of Sheriff B.L. Bubb (John Ireland), who, as the name implies, may be a legit Satanist. Bubb invites the girls inside, where they meet his wife, Emmy (Yvonne De Carlo), High Priestess of their quaint little satanic chapter. While the girls get acquainted with Emmy, Bubb runs off to find Billy, who isn’t actually dead. Wait, scratch that, Bubb just killed him for… some reason. The girls figure out things aren’t so rosy here at the Bubb estate, so they hatch an escape plan and most make it to the forest. The few that are left behind just kinda hang out for the rest of the film. Very little of substance happens, and the pacing moves from “glacial” to “permafrost”, before a semi-psychedelic ending arrives way too late.

“Haphazard” is one of many damning terms I can think of when trying to make sense of this film. The poster says the film is “Funnier Than The Omen… Scarier Than Silent Movie” which, objectively, is a true statement, though this film couldn’t hope to be in the same league as any of the sequels to The Omen (1976) let alone the original. It is a terminal bore. Every attempt at humor is aimed at the lowest common denominator – and even those jokes miss by a wide berth. True horror doesn’t even exist in this universe. The best I can say is some of the sequences where Satan is supposedly present utilize a trippy color-filled psychedelic shooting style, but it isn’t anything novel enough to warrant a recommendation. Hell, it only happens, like, twice anyway. The rest of the film is spent listening to these simple-minded sideline sirens chirp away, dulling the enthusiasm of viewers with every word.

A twist ending that isn’t much of a twist at all is the final groan for this lukewarm love letter to Lucifer. None of the actors seem like they know what the hell to be doing, and who can blame them with material like this? I had hoped for some sort of fun romp with pompoms and pentagram, like Jack Hill’s Swinging Cheerleaders (1974) for the Satanic set, but Clark provides little more than workmanlike direction; even Cundey’s cinematography is nothing to want on a resume.

Viewers have the option of watching either a “Restored” or “Original Transfer” version of the 1.78:1 1080p picture. Honestly, I didn’t find a ton of difference between the two, though the edge likely goes to the restored version since the title implies work has been done to make it look better. Colors are accurate but a little bland, and definition just never rises above slightly average. Film grain starts off heavy but manages to smooth out later on. Very little about the picture is emblematic of HD but given the roots this is probably the best it could ever hope to look.

Audio comes in the form of an English LPCM 2.0 track. The soundtrack sounds like it was lifted from a porno, while other tracks are clearly library music. Dialogue never has any obvious issues and sounds clear throughout. Subtitles are available in English SDH.

There are two audio commentary tracks; one, with director Greydon Clark; two, with David De Cocteau and David Del Valle.

A photo gallery, with images in HD, is also included.

Special Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Greydon Clark
  • Audio commentary with filmmakers David De Cocteau & David Del Valle
  • Photo gallery
  • Satan's Cheerleaders
  • Special Features
1.3

Summary

Although the title is enough to reel in curious viewers, the reality is “Satan’s Cheerleaders” are a defunct bunch with little spirit and no excitement. The ’70s produced plenty of classic satanic cinema and this definitely ain’t it.

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Friday the 13th Part 3: In Memoriam Documentary Now Available For Free!

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It’s been a while since we’ve brought you guys any news of the Friday the 13th Part III documentary Friday the 13th Part 3: In Memoriam.

But no worries as today’s news couldn’t get much better. Yes, the entire 36-minute documentary is now available in its entirety online for free!

I know that as soon as I sign off for the day I’m going to be watching this doc at least twice. It seems like I’ve been looking forward to this forever now and I’m a big fan of Part 3 so I can think of no better way to spend my Monday night.

You can watch the full doc below and then make sure to let us know what you think!

Synopsis:

This is a documentary featuring the last known footage of the set of Friday the 13th part 3 prior to its destruction. The plot involves what happened that fateful night in 2006 with additional stories from the cast members of Friday the 13th part 3 telling their memories of the production that took place in 1982.

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Such Sights to Show You – 01/17/18

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Working on shedding those holidays pounds at your local gym? As you’re about to see from the latest entry of Such Sights to Show You, things may not always be what they seem, and the best of intentions can lead you straight to the old coroner’s slab!

Kevin D. Clark is a cartoonist from Scotland who grew up watching classic monster movies, cartoons and wrestling, as well as reading comics. He started drawing at an early age and hasn’t stopped since. His sense of humor is a veritable cornucopia of the wacky and weird inspired by the likes of Monty Python, Mel Brooks, “MST3K,” Rab C. Nesbitt, as well as his older brother.

Kevin was diagnosed with Aspergers and because of that, he tries to push himself to work as hard as possible. Kevin also has a self-published comic book and helps run a film club for autistic people. He has recently earned a degree in cartooning from the London Art College and he’s pretty sure that he could take an octopus in a fight.

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