Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Squirm [Movie Review]

[Some spoilers included. It's mostly opinions though.]

Squirm is a movie released in 1976. The genre here is something I have seen done many times, but not always well: swarm horror. The idea of a swarm horror is you take something that is small and normally not a problem and then have them swarm the characters of the film with such great numbers that it makes them more dangerous than they normally would be. In this case the swarm is... worms.

The problem with a lot of swarm films is that the swarm itself tends to be rather soulless and uninteresting. Say, if a small town is being terrorized by a big, angry bear, there tends to be a bit more impact behind the singular creature, even if it is just an animal. But swarms tend to be less compelling and mindless.

That problem doesn't necessarily mean that the swarm movie is going to be trash. Where a swarm lacks impact, the human characters are fully capable of picking up the slack. This was the case with Squirm. It was the humanity of the film that held my interest. and in some cases, a stark lack of humanity became the true horror of the film.

The film takes place in Fly Creek, Georgia, a fictional town that is about as rural as you can imagine. Everyone here is simple and mind their own business. The protagonist, Mick, is from the polar opposite of this place, New York City. He also comes across as the most "alive," if that makes sense.

Everyone in this town already feels dead... on the inside. They are just going from day to day, not really trying to be anything more than what they are. So when there ends up being a worm swarm crawling up from the ground beneath their feet, nobody seems to have the ability to accept or even acknowledge it. Mick seems to be the only person able to "see" what's happening and acts as a sort of lifeline to all these zombie-like people.

And the latter point is really where the horror of this movie happens. As weird as the worm situation is, there is something wrong with the inhabitants of Fly Creek! I'm not even sure if the makers of the film had that in mind. I was more interested in the people than I was in the worm swarm.

Even the sheriff was trapped within his own mind. He could not see what was happening right in front of him. He was more worried that Mick was causing trouble because of how he was acting. It was entirely reactionary. He wasn't even using any of his intelligence.

If you decide to watch Squirm, pay very close attention to the people in this film. They are what make the movie work. The swarm of worms are only made interesting by their interactions with the main character set. It was a fascinating movie about the pitiful mental condition of many humans, and I do recommend it for the horror that that portrays.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Doom Zero [Video Game Review]

You all remember I'm a Doom fan right? I recently got to play a brand new canon classic Doom episode called Doom Zero. It was released in 2019 and entirely the work of a fellow named Christopher Golden. The reason I mention that is because most classic Doom maps are made by a collective of people. These levels were only made by one person, so he can sign his name off on the entire episode and call it a day.

Doom Zero is intended to be the new third episode of Final Doom, released back in 1996. It is also considered a prequel to the new 2016 incarnation of Doom. This game works perfectly on the old engine and can even run on DOS. I personally played it using GZ-Doom, and it ran perfectly.

I had a blast. This was some of the best level design I have ever seen come out of a game this old. The tricks and traps of this game were sneaky and enjoyable all over. I think that, if I had to make a complaint, some of the maps were a bit too big and too confusing to work out. I still did it, but I had to spend a lot of time running around in areas that had no enemies (because I killed them already) trying to figure out where to go next. This didn't happen that much though.

Doom Zero also introduces a new enemy called the "Alpha Soul." They float around like the Lost Souls, however they employ more of a rapid fire attack using the big plasma balls that the Cacodemons use. They are pretty weak, but in large swarms, they can create a "bullet hell" situation. I loved them, and I wish they had been around longer.

Apparently the Alpha Souls were the original versions of the Lost Souls before they evolved into the final product. The two are different enough to make them distinct. One dashes at you, and the other has a nasty projectile attack. I think they work well together.

The way the episode ends is clever. The fact that it leads into more of a modern game was a brilliant idea. It's like going from a pixilated game into a beautiful one. Nice touch. I almost want to play the final level and then top it off with the first level of Doom 2016.

But I think the best thing I can take away from this is that I just played a canonized episode made for a nearly 30-year-old game. That is brilliant! I know of no other game that has kept its support for so long. I love how Doom has continued to survive throughout the ages. Even newcomers have joined in on the fun. Doom just won't die, and I hope it lives forever!

Doom Zero is worth your time. It is one of the highest recommendations you will ever get from me. There's no excuse not to play it. It's free. It will run on anybody's computer. (Heck, it will run on a computer from the 90's!) Load this one up and prepare to have a blast!

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Fox and Rabbit

One book that stands out in my mind is Watership Down. This book showed me how rabbits were expected to be clever in order to survive. They have to trick their predators as a means of escape or evasion. This aspect of rabbits has been represented throughout the ages.

Foxes are animals who are generally represented as being clever tricksters as well. Yet, they are cast as predators. (Because they are.) They have to use sneaky trickery in order to catch their prey. We have seen this aspect of them in, of course, many of the "Aesop's Fables."

The thing I find so fascinating about the two animals is that they are essentially the same thing but from two different sides of the arena. One is always trying to outsmart the other, and the contest will only end with one of two outcomes: The rabbit escapes... or the fox eats the rabbit.

Despite the prey status of the rabbit, they are surprisingly equally matched. This actually makes me smile because it gives the struggle more of an epic feel. It seems to make the fight more personal.

A fox sees a rabbit. A rabbit sees the fox. There's going to be a moment where the two are going to have to gage their situation and act accordingly. Both sides are going to become hyper aware of their location and the objects nearby. The rabbit is smaller. He can fit into small holes. The fox can use feints and push the rabbit into a more open area. There are all sorts of tactics that can be used on both sides.

In fairy tales, Foxes are usually shown to have large egos. This likely comes from their somewhat cat-like personality. They tend to be cocky and bold in their speech. This ego can be used against them in a battle of wits.

The rabbit tends to be more humble, knowing what his limitations are. However, there have been a number of fairy tales that have shown them to be cocky too, such as with the "Tortoise and the Hare." A rabbit can just as easily fall victim to his own ego which can cause him to make mistakes.

At the end of the day, these two will always be trying to deal with one another. It's an even match, and every battle means something, even though they are all very short-lived. Fox vs, Rabbit. A fight for survival. A fight for food.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: That Time I Ended Up a Rabbit, Part 3 [Final]

Where I come from, tea is rarely hot. It is not only cold, but filled to the brim with ice and sugar. I suppose I had heard of hot tea before, but it never really felt like something that was real. It was more something I would see people drinking on television or in books. None of my friends or family were ever seen drinking hot tea. Yet, here I was sitting before a cup of the stuff presently. I took a sip, and I must say, with all honesty, that I did not much care for it. My opinion of it was apparently showing upon my face.

"Philistine," I heard the fox mutter as he continued to sip from his own cup. I had absolutely no idea what he meant by that, and I did not ask.

And so, after suffering through a few more sips of hot tea, the conversation renewed for it final stretch:

Fox: How do you feel about me?

Me: You are very... fancy... I guess.

Fox: Is it a guess or is that what you are really feeling?

Me: You live really well... despite it being underground. You speak well. You speak better than I do. And you drink hot tea. I don't know anyone else who does that where I come from.

Fox: The warren, you mean.

Me: [I sigh miserably.] Yes. The warren.

Fox: I feel as if your perception of myself is good enough. I admit to putting on some airs, but I really do believe in proper behavior as a means to control oneself. The world tends to be a bit chaotic on its own. God, for some reason, made it that way. I have found that the best way to live here is by an act of will to remain calm and deal with what comes with a restful spirit. In general terms, it helps to understand yourself personally so that you may dispense with unwanted issues and expand on those which are a benefit. For this reason, I am very much your better.

Me: Yeah.

Fox: You can only be what you are... but you can also make the most of it. Do you know what I am?

Me: You're a fox.

Fox: And what are you?

Me: I'm a rabbit.

Fox: Are you intelligent enough to know what those two things mean as a combination?

Me: [I became flustered.] What are you trying to say?

Fox: I asked you a question. Are you going to answer it, or am I going to have to help you along like I did with the tea?

Me: Well, you don't plan to eat me, do you?

Fox: Of course, I am. Within the next fifteen to twenty minutes probably.

Me: [I was stunned into silence. In fact, I think I stopped breathing altogether.]

Fox: There's no reason we can't be civil about it. We have time to talk to one another. After all, I'm not going to just tear into you or anything. I need time to start the fire and all that. We have plenty of time to get to know one another.

Me: [I became incredulous.] You invited me in! I'm your guest!

Fox: Indeed, and it is my duty as your host to take care of you.

Me: By cooking me alive?!

Fox: You've done so well, thus far, in accepting who and what you are, but you seem to be having trouble with the finale of this story. The fox eats the rabbit. Accepting that is only the final step of your journey. Now, I am being very civil with you. I've given you tea. We've had a good talk. In fact, it's still quite good. Your emotional response to the fact that you are going to die... is normal.

Me: [I began to cry.] I don't understand what I'm doing here. This can't be real.

Fox: [He stood up to go start his fire.] The thing about death... something I have seen time and time again... It's very strange, you see. Moments before it happens, it tends to make life feel more like a dream. You begin to wonder if you are about to wake up. Or should I say, you hope that you will. And maybe you shall. That is one of the many great questions, if not the ultimate one. Here you are at the brink of existence itself. Everything is so confusing and worrisome. But twenty minute from now, you'll not being worrying about it. You, rabbit, shall be busy taking your place in the perfect cycle that is our God-given reality.

Me: You speak so much about God.

Fox: Why wouldn't I... when my meal was just sitting right at my doorstep as if it had been a special delivery?

Me: I don't want to be eaten.

Fox: There's no shame in that... but at least... you seem to know... that you are about to be eaten.

Me: Boiled alive first.

Fox: It won't take as long as you think.

Me: Please let me go home.

Fox: No.

Me: Please?

Fox: I already told you no. This is the end of the story. I am a fox, and you are my rabbit. There was always going to be one conclusion to this. You need to admit to it. You need to admit to it right now. I won't be satisfied until I hear you say it. Admit to being my food right now, and take your place as God has given it to you. Do it now, or your soul shall be forfeit.

I wasn't dreaming... but I did awake. I awoke and sat upon the floor of my room, thinking about what had just happened. In those last moments, I realized that I had given in. I gave in to the fox... and perhaps into God as well. I gave myself to who and what I was in those moments. And after I had done so... I was free to live out the rest of my life as a human... but somehow I knew that my rabbit had been eaten. He was gone and would never come back. That was the story of how I ended up a rabbit, and why I am so very happy to be a human living under God in this wonderful world of His creation.

-----

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: That Time I Ended Up a Rabbit, Part 2

As I remember it, I contemplated, once more, if I was in a dream. I did not do this because I thought the things that were happening were extraordinary. In truth, I was doing it because I was afraid. The fox had a sort of way of being frightening while also being calm. He had just suggested that the only reason he knew I had never met a talking fox was because I was still capable of breathing. The message had been delivered. I suddenly felt very small before someone who looked only slightly taller than I was.

My long ears, something that I was not yet accustomed to, were hanging aside my head. They were, it seemed, tethered hard to my emotions. They hung only because I was worried. I could not get them to right themselves until my mood was heightened. It felt both alien and natural. I was not yet accustomed to being a rabbit, yet there were certain aspect of being one that came naturally to me in the moment.

Fear was most definitely upon me. I felt that I was under threat, and I did, indeed, feel a bit stupid for accepting an invitation into the den of a fox, despite how tidy and clean it was. I began to realize what I had become and why it was a bad thing to be in the situation I was presently in. I questioned reality itself, not if reality was real, but more that I did not understand its fairness. Why did it happen? How would it end. If I died... would anything really matter?

It was as I had these thoughts and feelings that the fox, taking a break to enjoy his hot tea, continued to speak, and so our conversation continued in this way:

Fox: I do not often have guests. I am accustomed to living alone and being alone within this house of mine.

Me: I can leave if you prefer.

Fox: Oh, no. I've invited you. You can't possibly leave now. Goodness. What would be the point of inviting someone only to let them escape? Would be quite silly. [Sip.]

Me: Can I ask you a question then?

Fox: Of course. I am an open book.

Me: Did you have anything to do with me ending up here? [He only stared at me. I expanded on my question in order to be more clear.] Did you have anything to do with me becoming a rabbit in the first place?

Fox: [After much more staring, he placed down his tea cup.] Look here. I had nothing to do with what you are or how you came to be sitting here before me. This world has rules and ways. You are a rabbit because God wanted you to be a rabbit. You are in my home because you were sitting outside of it. If you had been sitting inside of your warren, this story would have been different.

Me: I don't remember anything about a warren. I am a human being, and all I did was go to bed. I fell through to here somehow... and ended up a rabbit. I'm not a rabbit. I've never been a rabbit. Can't you understand what I am trying to say?

Fox: [After a long pause.] Yes. I do understand. You're an imbecile then.

Me: [I was crestfallen.] No.

Fox: There is no shame. You can only be what you are. But let me give you a piece of advice to help you in your present situation.

Me: What's that?

Fox: Accept yourself. If you do not know or understand what that is, let me help you. You are a rabbit. You are a little rabbit that somehow ended up sitting in front of my home. It would be prudent for you to forget the nonsense you have told me and just assume, whether you believe it or not, that you have always been a rabbit. What's more, you are a guest in my home, and this home is owned by a fox. I offered you tea, and you rejected that offer. That is the present state of affairs that you now have to suffer through. That's all there is to it. Questioning everything will do you no good, and it will have the added side effect of annoying your gracious host. Now, I don't really know a better way to explain this. I've said my piece. It's all up to you now. If you're really just an imbecile, I have a swift way of dealing with that. Would you like to see how?

Me: No.

Fox: Then might I ask you as to what you are and why you are here?

Me: I'm a rabbit. I was invited to your home because I was found to be outside of it.

Fox: Mhm. No, I don't think you are an imbecile after all. I do, perhaps, think you may be stupid though. No shame in it. We are all given our intellects in the beginning and not really given much choice in its quality. I am smarter than you, rabbit. Do you deny it?

Me: I... You really want me to say that?

Fox: Ignorance and ego make dangerous bedfellows... especially in this house.

Me: [I reluctantly complied.] You are smarter than I am.

Fox: Well, consider me quite pleased to hear you say so. I don't normally have guests, as I have said. Are you sure you don't want any tea? If you wish, I can decide for you.

Me: Would you?

Fox: I'll go get you some. Besides... you should try things once in a while. How will you ever have an opinion on hot tea if you never try it?

Me: Yeah.

Fox: [Standing up.] Of course. Of course. I shall return shortly... and then we shall discuss your visit further.

Although I had been with this fox for nearly half an hour, I had never felt so alone. I really was on my own. I could not leave. I was in a body that I did not understand. Through a series of subtle threats, this fox had forced me into a state of verbal submission. I felt as if I could not say anything but what was expected of me. What was I to do? This story is not quite at an end.

-----

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: That Time I Ended Up a Rabbit, Part 1

I don't really like talking about this. It's a bit embarrassing and a tad bit creepy. But it was also rather fascinating when looked at on the whole. Half the time I barely believe it ever occurred, but there was a day in the early part of my life where I ended up a rabbit. I can't say for certain exactly how it happened. I had gone to bed, and one might simply assume that I had been dreaming, but I really don't think so. I had simply slipped somewhere underneath the covers of my bed, fallen a few feet, and ended up on a patch of grass with a puffy tail, long ears, and a twitchy sort of nose. Oh my.

Like most of you, I thought I was dreaming too. After all, I had remembered just crawling into bed. I did not know of any grassy field located through a hole somewhere under my covers. Nor could I explain, in any other way, how it was suddenly day time where I was. But then I considered the very real fact that, in thinking that I must have been in a dream, that a person dreaming would not think that. So naturally I came to the conclusion that I was, in verity, awake... and also a bunny somehow.

I was not alone. That is not to say that I was with other bunnies. There was someone there who stood with me. He was a fox and stood there with a cup of tea (probably) in his right paw. He looked down upon me in a smug sort of way and asked, "So you're just going to sit there then?"

"You can talk?" I asked with a small gasp.

He then followed up his question with another one, "You're asking me if I can talk after I clearly just did? Goodness. Bunnies must keep there brains in their arse, cause you seemed to have fallen on it quite hard."

Not knowing how to respond to this sort of rebuke, I sheepishly responded, "I'm sorry."

"Good. I accept your apology," said the fox. "Come with me. You're not to be allowed to hop away after this sort of invasion. Don't doddle. I'm not in the mood."

The fox waited for me to stand up on my strange legs and motioned for me to walk ahead of him... and so I did. He led me to a door that went underground. I was nervous about going in there, for I knew that I was a rabbit and he was a fox. But there was something about this person that worried me. He seemed calm and peaceful with his cup of tea, but there was a bit of authority in the way he spoke to me that made me feel that I should do as he said.

The home I found inside (under the ground) was much like a primitive dwelling like I have seen in fairy tale illustrations. It was tidy, however, without a speck of dust that I could see. There were no windows at all. Everything was lit by a means of which I could not figure out. We were in a kitchen that somewhat doubled as a dining room. A cooking pot that hung from a hook was just nearby, but no fire was burning underneath it.

The fox closed the door behind me and locked the door tightly with a key. This prompted me to ask him why he was locking us both in, to which he replied, "You are my guest until I say otherwise." Once more said calmly. Once more said with an assumed authority. I was clearly not leaving.

"Sit there at the table," he ordered. "Would you like some tea?"

"Hot tea?" I asked nervously as I sat down as instructed.

"Is there any other kind? I should expect even rabbits would not have their tea cold. If so, I shan't serve it to you."

"I wasn't really thirsty," said I.

The fox stared at me for a moment before sitting down across from me. It was here that a conversation began:

Fox: How are you feeling?

Me: Confused.

Fox: Confused about what? [He sipped from his cup.]

Me: I'm confused about... why I am here... why I am a bunny.

Fox: Mhm. I must say... I'm not accustomed to just walking out and seeing your sort just sitting there like an imbecile. [He paused for a short moment as he looked at me.] Are you an imbecile?

Me: What... What do you mean by imbecile?

Fox: [Touching his own head with his paw.] Your mind... rotting away. You make poor decisions because of a damaged head. That sort of thing. An injury can make one stupid. I've seen it before. [Sip.]

Me: No, I-I don't think so. I just went to bed and ended up here somehow. I don't even know where here is.

Fox: This is my home.

Me: I gathered that. I mean... out there. This whole place. I don't know where I am right now.

Fox: Sleep walking?

Me: What?

Fox: Are you prone to walking about in your slumber? Did you go to bed within your warren and end up at my front door with no memory of the travel?

Me: I... Listen...

Fox: Are you under the impression that I haven't been listening?

Me: I'm sorry. I'm just really confused. I've never met a talking fox before.

Fox: I know.

Me: You know?

Fox: Well, you're still clearly alive, aren't you?

The fox took another sip of his tea as he looked at me. I was stunned into silence. The insinuation he made cause me to cease up. A very subtle crack of a smile showed for only a brief moment upon his face... and then it was gone. There is more to this story.

-----

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Panzer Dragoon [Video Game Review]

Panzer Dragoon is a game that was resealed on the Sega Saturn in 1995. I never personally owned the system, but I did rent it along with this game a couple of times. I did enjoy it back then, but I was not very good at it. I recently reacquainted myself with the remake and now find myself perfectly capable of playing and even finishing it, and I am happy to say that it is a joy to play for what it is.

Despite the game being released in 1995, it is a fully 3D game and works something like a on-rails shooter. Star Fox is a good example of what this game is like, but instead of a space fighter, you are riding on a dragon and shooting with a hand-held firearm.

The setting of the game and its presentation, as simple as it was, was what got me. The world is in a post-apocalyptic state, but it has fallen from severely great heights. Apparently the world before the fall was hyper advanced, and the remaining people of the world are fighting for what technology is left and using it to rule the world.

These left-over bits of technology are so fantastic that the people almost see it as godlike. It's magic. There seemed to be quite a bit of active genetics utilized. Many creatures were created to be used as weapons. Much of what you are shooting down are biological in nature, but there were also ships and people shooting at you from them as well.

The main character has the name of Keil Fluge, and has heroism pressed upon him when he is forced to fight for a cause he was not even involved with. After seeing a dragon-rider lose in a fight with another dragon-rider, the fallen one tells him that the other rider needs to be stopped. Keil takes over for him and mounts up onto a large dragon called Solo Wing. From here, the chase begins from the beginning to the end of the game.

The look and feel of this game is wonderful. The music also has a mysterious aspect to it. In some ways, it reminded me a bit of Dune. Every level had a different look to it and kept throwing me these pretty landscapes that I could look around at as I played. It does let you do that. At anytime you can swing the camera around and look at everything, although you still have to hammer away at your targets.

There were many more games in the series, but this is the only one I was able to play. I've even heard that some of the games went real hardcore deep into the lore with more of an RPG gameplay style. Sadly all I have if this shooter version, but, for what it is and the story that it tells, it is totally worth it.

Panzer Dragoon: Remake is available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and Steam. Highly recommended.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!