Finally Watched It – Challenge Edition: “The Horseman” (2008)

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So, I found me a source for fucked up movies and I’m basically looking for something that fills that description. This was one of the offerings. 

A divorced dad loses his daughter to what seems like a drug overdose. But he receives a mysterious videotape the mail showing the snuff film that lead to her demise so he embarks on a journey of brutal revenge.

This? This movie was amazing. I had a blast watching this. Our main character Christian, finds out his daughter has been horribly used, assaulted, and left for dead; then enacts his bloody vengeance. And this isn’t something like Taken where the protagonist is some super soldier, Christian is just a guy who is pissed the fuck off and wants the people who hurt his kid to pay. There’s even a touching story with a runaway he befriends!

I have to give props to the fights in this movie. There are times where I legit felt like I was watching two dudes just duking it out with no training and taking actual damage. It was visceral and really cool! 

It wasn’t super graphic, the rape is off screen, everything is as gory as it needs to be to get the point across. I was rooting for Christian the whole time and I actually recommend this if you don’t expect a completely happy ending. This is an Australian movie; where Wolf Creek hails from. In fact, I think the fact the ending didn’t give me the answers I wanted pissed me off a little… But not enough to ruin the overall experience.

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Finally Watched It – Challenge Edition: “August Underground” (2001)

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This movie, filmed in found footage style, shows the daily life and brutal murder spree of two sadistic serial killers.

Either I was way overhyped for this movie or I’m developing a tolerance because while this movie was graphic and pissed me off because our main characters are horrible human beings but… I still didn’t feel so repulsed that I was raging or I wanted to turn it off. In fact, there were several parts where I was thinking “Ok, I get it. You guys are disgusting assholes. Can we move forward?” I wonder if I was just overwhelmed by all the input that my brain just went numb and none of it was impressive or disturbing anymore.

I think what bothered me the most is this movie shows taping brutal torture and murder is the same as taping a mosh pit, farm animals, or going to the store. Goes to show where their morals and priorities are. It absolutely gives you the feeling that you are watching something terrible that you should not be seeing… And that shouldn’t be happening. But it wasn’t an easy watch, to be sure. I winced or had to take a break. But I got through it! It took me a bit to deprogram from it, but I got through. If you like found footage horror and can stomach the gore (and grossness) then this is… A thing you can watch. But if poop and rape, and a general disregard for human life make you squirm? Stay away.

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Lenni Reviews: “Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows “by Nathan Carson, Algernon Blackwood & Sam Ford

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Despite the warnings of the locals, two friends embark on a canoe trip down the Danube River only to find unfathomable creatures.

Not only does the art remind me of Junji Ito but the story – a short story by Algernon Blackwood (that I will read at some point) – has some major Lovecraftian themes with the unknowable, incomprehensible evil that is ancient beyond measure and cannot be defeated. I love how the art accentuates how otherworldly everything is and the disturbing events taking place.

I can’s speak to the accuracy to the original story but I liked this. A short and to the point horror story. 4 out of 5. 

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Lenni Reviews: “Fangirl” Vol 1, by Rainbow Rowell

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*This book has been given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Embarking on her freshman year of college, reserved and shy Cath would rather stay neck deep in her fanfiction of Simon Snow than indulge in the typical freshman experience like her twin sister, Wren. But despite her most sincere wishes to be left alone, her audacious roommate and her boyfriend open her eyes to something more than solitary fandom.

I found this unbearably adorable. I thought Cath would have this super catty roommate that bullied her and her roommate’s boyfriend would have ill intentions but this is amazingly pure and I adore it. It’s almost too pure since I remember college and while I was a good girl and went to class (yes… I was that lame) I saw some shit. It’s sweet that Cath has some decent people around her having her back; even her twin, Wren. Wren wants her own life but it’s not like she just tosses her sister to the wolves. Although, this ends on a cliffhanger so we’ll see how that holds up. 

I haven’t read the original novel this is based on, (but I will) so I can’t speak to accuracy but I liked this. Got me all nostalgic and everything! 4 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy” Vol. 1, by Mirka Andolfo

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and recommended for mature readers.

Due to a horrific mining accident in the small town of Woodsburgh, Lady Swanson is haunted by the tragic event, leaving her with debilitating flashbacks and visions. But when Lady Hellaine and Mr. Goodwill arrive in the town, Swanson’s fears of the creatures in the mine are once again brought to life.

If you liked The Thing, you’ll enjoy this Victorian era equivalent. In fact, from what I’ve read of the comic follow ups to that movie, this may be a better option if you’re looking for that type of story. It’s really cool with fun twists and turns, great characters, and some great detail in the art to really sell the strangeness of these creatures. If there’s a volume 2, I am totally down. I give it a solid 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Old Geezers” Volume 1 by Wilfrid Lupano & Paul Cauuet

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Antoine, Emile, and Pierrot reunite for a funeral and reflect on how their lives have unfolded in such different ways after their revolutionary days are over; leading them to wonder how they make a difference now.

I really enjoyed this! The art is perfect for the story, giving enough detail to the older faces without going overboard. I love seeing how people in their 70’s refuse to give up the fight for justice in whatever way they can. Everyone has such personality that the few points were the story dragged didn’t feel long. Worth checking out! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ice Cream Man: Hopscotch Melange” Vol 3 by W. Maxwell Prince, Martín Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran

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This volume gives us some background to where The Ice Cream Man came from before we get into the more vignette style the pervious volumes had. One story is set in Mexico on The Day of the Dead and is completely in Spanish with a translation later in the volume; which was interesting. Even having to bounce between the translation and the story, I was still eft with a more authentic feeling than if they just used carrots or asterisks to visually tell us it’s another language.

But the big deal here is getting some info on our demonic Rick and why Caleb is hunting him. They’re really going off the wall with this one and I’m interested to see where it goes. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Aggretsuko: Metal to the Max” by Daniel Barnes, Brenda Hickey; Jarrett Williams, D.J. Kirkland, CJ Cannon, Sarah Stern

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

This is a collection of three stories:

  1. Down With the Sickness – in which everyone comes down with a cold in the office.
  2. Mall Madness – where Retsuko is forced to go shopping with Tsunoda
  3. The Visitor – when Karen from Canada comes to the office to evaluate the team.

To address something I see people saying as a criticism of the first story being tactless due to COVID, I have to disagree with those people. The title is a play on Disturbed’s song, the story has a zombie theme, so naming the virus in the story the C-Virus seems to me like a play from Resident Evil (called Biohazard in Japan) where the first virus used to make the zombies was called the T-virus. It’s very likely the name was picked without knowing about COVID and it became too late to change it but, sorry. Can’t jump on that bandwagon, guys. I believe this is an unfortunate coincidence. And coming from a person who works in an office setting where people get sick and refuse to stay home (or can’t stay home), I get how it feels to watch a cold/flu go around the staff.

That being said, this is a cute volume that is likely useless to anyone not familiar with the original show. The second story had a massive upgrade in art and the third had the most depth story wise. If I were to rate them in order, it would be 3, 2, then 1. The third story gives Retsuko an ally that I feel she really needed. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Caste Heaven” by Chise Ogawa

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

My usual disclaimer is only partly correct since it only applies to the one galley I got. I ended up blowing right passed it to review the whole series.

The premise of this is these kids in high school have a caste system enforced by the students themselves. The ranking is determined by playing cards; a King, Queen, Jack, etc. You can’t just refuse to participate without becoming a target to everyone else. So, of course this system is rife for abuse with students using their rank to exploit those below them. As this is rated 18+ and yaoi, there’s tons of sexual exploitation.

The plot tries to save itself with “Well, deep down, they have feelings” but it doesn’t take away from how non-consensual a lot of these encounters are – making it doubly uncomfortable for me considering these are high school kids. I do enjoy the couples that form and try to use the system to their advantage but this overall comes off as a bleak read. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed reading it, more like I was compelled to move forward. If you can take how rapey this is and you’re craving some dramatic yaoi, give it a shot. 2.7 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “Killadelphia Vol. 1: Sins of the Father” by Rodney Barnes, Jason Shawn Alexander, Luis Nct

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Detective James Stangster goes back home to bury his father, who had been murdered. While dealing with his hatred for his father, James stumbles upon a nest of vampires hold up in his old neighborhood.

I like the dark and gritty art, I like the idea of who the leader of the vampires was (avoiding spoilers), it feels like it should be really cool and interesting but it all stalled out for me. I found it hard to keep focused on the meat of the plot and felt myself drawn to the character designs and perfect color palate for the dramatic violence. An ok book. 3 out of 5.

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