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Hi! Welcome to Vertigo's Fun House. Here, you'll find write-ups on unsolved mysteries and serial killers. Thanks for stopping by! It means a lot.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Marchopping Block 16: Ringu (Brussels Cut)

Films go through numerous cuts before the finished product is released to the public, which is the consumed by the general population for their entertainment.

However, prior to that, there are premieres for the film. Sometimes, these premieres are at festivals, like the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, where the 1998 Japanese horror film, Ringu, had its European debut (in 1999). Much like the rest of critics around the world, critics at the festival praised the film, primarily for its tense atmosphere, strong build up, and not relying on jump scares.

But the continued praise for Ringu wasn't the only thing to come out of the film festival. Along with it was the claim that the cut shown at it was a significantly more disturbing and violent one than the one shown elsewhere.

Marchopping Block 15: Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2

The Need For Speed (NFS for short) franchise has gone through many iterations. Everything from your standard street races with bright colored environments and cops chasing after you, to the late-night Fast and Furious inspired street races with car customization.

With numerous installments, a few reboots, and even a theatrical film starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, Need For Speed is one of the, if not the most, well known Racing series of all time. Perhaps one of the series most popular entries was 2005’s Need For Speed: Most Wanted, the first installment on the then shiny, new Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Marchopping Block 14: This Man

Creepypasta’s are the internet generations version of campfire stories. Scary stories that are told and then passed around from person to person. BEN Drowned, Candle Cove, No End House, and many others fall into this category, with the latter two having been brought to the small screen thanks to  Sy-Fy’s television series, Channel Zero. It’s also thanks to that show that the genre has had its chance to showcase some of its best stories to people that would otherwise wouldn't think twice about reading the actual stories.

However Creepypasta's are no stranger to a larger format of entertainment media. Marble Hornets, the series that popularized Slender Man, was an internet film series. It was thanks in part to that series that Slender Man would become something of an icon in internet culture. Years later, he'd also get his very own feature film.

What am I getting stuff here? Creepypasta's, while they're often given a bad name thanks to the array of less-than good works, aren't strangers to the behemoth that is the entertainment industry. Case in point: This Man (also known as Ever Dream This Man?), a story that began to circulate towards the end of 2009, and quickly became a Creepypasta.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Marchopping Block 13: StarCraft: Ghost


There's a certain bit of painful irony fans of Blizzard Entertainment see when they look back on StarCraft: Ghost. When the reskinned mobile game masquerading as Diablo: Immortal was revealed to the world at Blizzcon 2018, fans couldn't help but remember the cancellation of Ghost.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Marchopping Block 12: My Little Pony: The Movie




Adapting a property into a film can be difficult—especially one that to many is an enigma. There are periods when a property is ripe for an adaptation, and more often than not: that time comes and goes due to studios not taking advantage of it. After that point has passed: the potential box office revenue drops—fast. People move onto the next big thing and only the most devoted stay. Sure, some will remain an unvocal, unengaged member of the fanbase, but the deviation from the series will continue until there's no interest left in it.


Examples of this are Warcraft, which admittedly performed amazingly overseas where the series is still extremely popular. In the US and other territories, however, the series has seen people come and go like seasons. Another example is 2018’s Slender Man. The character, while he still has a fan base, isn't anywhere near as popular as he was in the early 2010s.


Arguably one of the better examples, however, is 2017’s My Little Pony: The Movie, a big screen adaptation of the fourth generation of the series: Friendship is Magic. This movie released at an odd time in the series life—coming out towards the end of it. While not a rarity for a television series, Pony (as it'll be referred to from here on out) is a toy line and like any series based off of toys: the purpose is to sell them. In the case of Pony: that goal was no different, but it had some unused ideas that make it sound more akin to a fanfiction than an actual movie.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Marchopping Block 11: Dead Island 2

California is a place known for Hollywood, sunshine, beaches, celebrities, and the Zodiac Killer. All in all, it's the ideal place to take a vacation if you can afford it.

In the eyes of Deep Silver, however, California is the perfect place to unleash hordes of zombies. Perhaps it's a metaphor for the ritzy folks living in Los Angeles and Hollywood in general. Perhaps zombies and cities go together. Regardless, in 2014 at Sony's E3 conference, Dead Island 2 was revealed and then died like any of the hundreds or thousands of zombies the player would have subsequently massacred over the course of the game.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Marchopping Block 10: Tyrannosaurus Rex

Rob Zombie is a controversial director to say the least. His films, while far from being critically praised, have a devoted audience and have all attained some sort of cult following; the soon-to-be trilogy centering on the Firefly Family being the most popular. This series consists of House of a Thousand Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and the upcoming 3 From Hell. These films—and I’ll admit that I’m making an assumption for 3 From Hell—have all received generally so-so reviews; some loving them for their warped humor and unique sense of direction and cinematography, while others find them to be nothing more than torture porn.


Regardless of one’s views, the films helped skyrocket Zombie’s career as someone who does brutal, unrelenting violence well. In 2007, he was tapped to direct a remake of John Carpenter’s legendary slasher film: Halloween. The film was considered to be less-than stellar, though there was, as always, a niche audience for it. The sequel on the other hand, not so much. This resulted in Zombie returning to his own original projects which consisted of Lords of Salem and 31.


Prior to those two however, Zombie had another film planned. One that would’ve deviated from his normal genre of violent horror. This film was called Tyrannosaurus Rex and it remains one of the most frustrating canceled films in my eyes for the simple fact that its premise remains one of the coolest and most intriguing to date.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Marchopping Block 9: L.A. Noire

 




Hey, remember in the entry for Agent how I mentioned that when Rockstar was working on a “new franchise for the PlayStation 3” that some speculated was “another certain upcoming, and extremely troubled, Rockstar game?” Yeah, the game I was hinting at there was L.A. Noire.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Marchopping Block 8: Monster Trucks

Children’s movies are often dark in some fashion or form. Sid’s room in Toy Story still haunts me to this day, Finding Nemo has its opening scene, and Cars 2 is grim to say the least. Then there’s Monster Trucks, which is dark for an entirely different reason. Or rather, was dark.

Marchopping Block 7: Brothers in Arms: Furious 4

Ah, the somber tone of World War II. Fighting against Nazi Germany: considered by many to be one of the most evil, tyrannical governments to have ever existed in human history. The systematic extermination of Jewish people under Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his “Final Solution”. In total, six million Jews were murdered in one of the worst genocides ever seen on Earth.

It's only natural such horrors would attract the entertainment industry. The idea of seeing such monsters get their just desserts would be appealing. In the case of video games, the mere idea of being able to be the one to stop them is even more appealing. Medal of Honor and Call of Duty were the two biggest stars of the World War II military shooter; the latter eventually coming out victorious and now being an annualized first-person shooter known more for its multiplayer and zombies mode that in of itself is a strong enough selling point and could feasibly be its own video game. Nobody tell Activision.

In the midst of those two franchises fighting, a smaller series emerged from Gearbox Software. Brothers in Arms was its name. The game was praised for a much more realistic tone and difficulty; delving into the horrors of the war and the more psychological effects it had, as opposed to the feel-good “we are the champions” tone that both Medal of Honor and Call of Duty sported.

With its presence established, Brothers in Arms went onto spawn sequels and spin-offs. After a while of spin-offs however, the demand for a new main entry struck at an all-time. It was then that Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 was announced. Fans were ready for a next-gen entry of the gritty, emotional, and powerful World War II series; one that would teach Call of Duty who the real alpha military shooter series was. Nobody—nobody—takes away a title from Randy Pitchford!


Oh.

Mini Mystery 11: Belle Gunness

I’m sorry to inform all of you that Belle Gunness bears absolutely relationship—inspiration or otherwise—to the Belle that was voiced by Paige O’Hara in Beauty and the Beast. However, I do have reason to believe that she inspired Emma Watson in the 2017 live action version as just like Watson’s singing, Belle is one of America’s most notorious female serial killers, and most certainly left me cringing.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Marchopping Block 6: Ślizgawka w Łazienkach

Let’s take a trip back in time to the 1890s. Movies are just being born; one of the first of these being made by controversial inventor Thomas Edison. Some credit him with the first hand-tinted film, which was made back in 1895. Before that however—if you wish to believe the estimates—there was Ślizgawka w Łazienkach, or “Ice Rink in Łazienki”.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Marchopping Block 5: Agent



One of the video game industry’s biggest names and powerhouses is without a doubt Rockstar Games. The creators of Grand Theft Auto and the Red Dead series are like very few in the industry, weaving together engaging gameplay, expansive and detailed worlds, and some of the most enrapturing stories. However, they’re also extremely secretive with their projects; seldom does anything get out about them. One of the best cases of this is with Agent.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Marchopping Block 4: Fant4stic



November of 1961 saw the creation of Marvel Comics “First Family”. Known as the Fantastic Four, the series lead to the creation of the Marvel Universe. Such a massively successful property by today’s standards should be ripe for a movie franchise given the gargantuan success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Such an assumption would be wrong in so many ways, you could write an entire book on it.


Like the X-Men, the movie license to the Fantastic Four is owned by Fox, though they were initially owned by Constantin Film. Since 1992, there have been a total of four films featuring the titular heroes. The first was made by Roger Corman and supposedly never meant to see the light of day; a low-budget fare that for a while only existed in the form of low quality bootlegs.


The second—simply titled “Fantastic Four”—was released in 2005 and directed by Tim Story. Although met with mixed to negative reception, the movie was a massive hit, grossing $330.6 million against a $100 million dollar budget. Two years later, a sequel was released entitled “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, which was to be followed up with a third film and a spin-off that would center on the titular Silver Surfer. Met with similar reviews and somewhat of a box office success (grossing $290 million against a $130 million dollar budget).


The less-than stellar box office results from Rise of the Silver Surfer led to three things: the cancelation of the planned third film, the cancelation of the spin-off, and a years-long dormancy on the Fantastic Four property. During this time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would come into existence and reshape the superhero genre forever—after which, the House of Mouse bought Marvel. Not wanting to be left out, Fox announced a reboot to the Fantastic Four, which then went silent for several more years.


During this silence, the rights to Daredevil were set to revert back to Marvel, who offered to extend their time hold onto them in exchange for the rights to use cosmic characters such as the aforementioned Silver Surfer and Galactus. Fox refused in what would become a long string of horrible decisions. Marvel on the other hand went on to make the critically acclaimed Netflix television series “Daredevil”.


As for those other horrible decisions, they tie into today’s focus: 2015’s Fant4stic; a movie whose quality can be summed up by just calling it Fant4stic.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Marchopping Block 3: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor



Regarded by some as the worst expansion in the then ten year history of World of Warcraft history, Warlords of Draenor had a development that saw an incredible amount of content get scrapped due to story rewrites, time constraints, fan backlash, and a lack of direction the likes of which the game wouldn't see until the 2018 expansion, Battle For Azeroth.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Marchopping Block 2: Newt



Considered by many to be the greatest animation studio to ever exist, Pixar has a monopoly in the way of successes. Of their twenty films, only one—The Good Dinosaur—has flopped, and only one has received a “rotten” score on Rottentomatoes. The studio has also won a staggering fifteen Academy Awards, nine Golden Globes, and eleven Grammys. Indeed, Pixar’s reputation exceeds itself; having been founded by Edwin Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith and eventually being bought by the House of Mouse itself: Disney.


The story of Pixar’s acquisition by Disney is in of itself a story; a very difficult one that resulted in Disney threatening to make sequels to Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo. Of those three, the third Toy Story was the closest to being made while the Finding Nemo sequel has absolutely nothing on it. Perhaps we’ll cover that another time. For now, we’re here to talk about one of the very few Pixar films to have never been made: Newt.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Marchopping Block Bonus Entry: Sad Satan


The internet is a really big place to put it mildly, with 4.5 billion websites indexed across the various search engines. Because of this, you can find nearly anything on it if you look hard enough. If you want to take into account the Deep Web, which is said to be 400 to 500 billion times larger than the “surface web”. It’s there that you’ll find things ranging from websites simply not indexed by search engines like Google and Yahoo. To access these sites, one must use the Tor search engine. Popular lore states that the deep web is the home to “Red Rooms”—live streams where you pay to have people brutally tortured for the pleasure of yourself and others, a la Hostel. Whether or not they exist can only be proven should you be ballsy enough to seek one out.

However, not everything on the Deep Web has murderous intent. There's the infamous “Silk Road”, which was a popular place for drug users to find their fix, your average conspiracy websites that will tell you how the government is hiding aliens and other terrible secrets, and other amateurish websites that people make because they’re bored. There's also the now famous Sad Satan, which is nothing like those other websites and has horribly illegal content involved.

Marchopping Block 1: The Lost Symbol

Renowned nobody Vertigo stumbled into his kitchen to post this blog for dying from Dan Brown Syndrome. Nonetheless, he presents Marchopping Block.



Well hello there, dear reader. Today is the first of March—or at least at the time this is being posted. Anyways, that means it's time for a new daily blog series, and it's one I've wanted to do for about a year now. You see, I started this blog because I'm writing a book. This is still true, it just so happens life's very wonky right now. But to amend for the lost time when it comes to writing it, I figured I'd write some of the entries as blogs. 15 film's and 15 video games, plus one bonus entry. Will it be a game or movie? You'll find out later today.

Anyways, before we dive into the first entry, I want to lay down one very, very important detail. This series is not representative of the book's quality—whenever it's released. As these are blogs, I'm going to have a bit of fun with these entries; a bit more snark than I think I could get away with in a book.

With that said, let's talk about. Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series, which stands as one of the best selling mystery series of all time. Our focus, however, is The Lost Symbol. Living up to its name, the film adaptation is lost in development limbo.