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  So we can come to the consensus that horror films are meant to be scary. But what about reality? It can indeed be terrifying at times. Listed below are documentary films that, whether intended or not, are horrifying in their own particular ways.    Cropsey (DVD 11802)   Cropsey is a documentary discussing the legend of the escaped mental patient ‘Cropsey’ who would kidnap children off the streets at night. The filmmakers, Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, grew up on Staten Island and were very familiar in this legend and decided to investigate the mystery. This includes the story of Andre Rand, a local convicted child kidnapper. The legend turns into something much more real as the filmmakers delve into the disappearance of five missing children. Armadillo (DVD 13017)   A Cannes grand prize winning documentary, Janus Metz’s Armadillo follows the story of a group of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan in 2009. The story starts from their departure and goes through the progression of their six-month tour. As the days progress, horror, hope, pain, cynicism, and all the complex factors of modern warfare erupt into an on-screen reality check. Room 237 (DVD 15006)   Room 237 explores the multiple interpretations and meanings found behind Stanley Kubrick’s horror movie masterpiece, The Shining. Using interviews of fanatics and scholars and those in-between, director Rodney Ascher creates a provocative documentary combining both fact and fiction using meticulous details within the film. Titicut Follies (DVD 12693R)   Filmed at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Bridgewater, scenes of the daily life and treatment of the men are interspersed with shots from the inmates’ talent show. The cruelty and harshness involved in the inmates treatment revealed a terrifying controversy. There was political backlash against the publication or screening of this film at all, claiming it was against the privacy of the inmates. The film later influenced court cases and eventually the closing of multiple mental institutions.   The Act of Killing (DVD 15347) The Act of Killing features past Indonesian leaders whom are encouraged by the filmmakers to recreate the mass-killings they’ve done in the past, with the influence of American movie film styles. It examines the regret that these people may face looking back on their past actions now, but the film is also criticized for being more of a celebration of killing rather than bringing attention to the horror of massive killings.   The Imposter (DVD 13669)   In 1994, a thirteen-year-old boy disappeared without a trace from San Antonio, Texas. Three-and-a-half years later, he is found alive and well thousands of miles away in Europe. He tells a story of kidnap and torture when he returns. His family is of course to welcome him back home, but there is an unsettling question rising. Is this person really their long lost boy, or is he an imposter?  

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Everyone loves and knows Resident Evil, but what sets this one apart from the others is its weird episodic format. Before each chapter, you are treated to a “Previously on Resident Evil….REVELATIONS.” The story falls inline with the others. Crazy Umbrella corp doing things they probably shouldn’t have been doing and you’re stuck cleaning up the mess. It’s got some action but also some real spooky and tense moments. The Media Library has this available for Wii U and the 3DS.

Posted by & filed under Television Recommendations.

Watching this show makes me hungry. Is that weird? I mean, it does have amazing shots of food being prepared and served, but I’m pretty sure that’s all human meats. If Soylent Green looked as good as the food on this show, Charlton Heston would have no qualms eating his fellow man.

Yummy?

Aside from the food/people, the show follows FBI profiler Will Graham as he is assigned to assist on several suspected serial killings. The show is very very dark but also very very beautiful. The Media Library has seasons one and two, so be a little adventurous with your diet and try something new. You just might end up loving it.

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Now THAT’S a tagline folks.

The Alien series, or as I like to call it,The Adventures of Fuzzy the Xenomorph, has been approached differently in each of its films with a varying degree of success. The first film, simply titled Alien, is an atmospheric smoldering film directed by Ridley Scott. Although I’m sure Bilbo Baggins, aka Ian Holm, begs to differ.

“Has anybody seen Sam Lowry? “

Aliens, the second film, does what the title suggests. You get James Cameron deploying a whole mess of xenomorphs and a lot of bullets with Bill Paxton doing Bill Paxton.

Don’t try this at home

The next two, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, are kind of a mess, but are made more interesting simply because David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed these films respectively. The Media Library has all 4 films as well as the weird Ridley Scott directed Prometheus.

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Over the past few years as media technology becomes more available to the every day person, horror mockumentary has grown into a definitive style and sub-genre within horror, to connect to this new generation of technology and how we relate to it. Shaky cam, retroscripting, low budget, independent films remade across countries, all these elements make up the definition of such films. They experiment in how far they can go to make the audience feel like they are experiencing something real, raw, and ultimately more terrifying.   [rec] (DVD 9756)   This Spanish film (English subtitles) is a critically aclaimed claustraphobic and terrifying zombie horror film based in Barcelona, Spain. A reporter and her cameramen are filming a segment for a reality TV series. As they follow a local fire crew around, they find themselves stuck in an apartment building slowly unfolding into horror as they realize something much more disastrous than a routine call is occurring. The Blair Witch Project (DVD 349 c.2) 200_s   The infamous Blair Witch Project gained it’s terrifying authentic feel from “real footage” and actors whom were given no script but outlines of the story to improvise, a technique known as “retroscripting”. One of the most successful mockumentaries and independent films ever, this movie is centered around three student filmmakers who attempt to create a documentary about a legend known as the Blair Witch. As the filming progresses, the students get lost in the woods, and unseen incidents begin to unravel as something or someone taunts them every night. Paranormal activity (DVD 11903)   Paranormal Activity was initially an incredibly low budget film, shot within a 7 day period and using a home video camera for believability rather than action and gore. Director Peli says that the dialogue was “natural” because there was no real script but instead used the retroscripting technique also used in the making of The Blair Witch Project.  A young middle class couple who are engaged to be married move into a suburban ‘starter’ house in San Diego, California. Strange events influence the couple to reach out to spiritual beings, only causing more frightening experiences. As their sleep becomes a tool for the spiritual precense, the couple may never have a peaceful night again.   Cloverfield  (DVD 8752)   This mockumentary is supposedly a piece of evidence in the “Cloverfield” case file. The shaky cam used in this film was so intense it was known to evoke headaches, dizziness, and nausea among audiences.The film begins with Rob who is getting ready to leave New York and is having a goodbye party in a crowded loft, being filmed by a friend. Past tape footage of Rob’s previous relationship with a woman named Beth cuts in and out throughout the movie. As this party is occuring, New York is suddenly under attack from a monster so Rob and his friends take to the streets. Instead of running away, though, they head toward the center of destruction so that Rob can rescue Beth. Troll Hunter (DVD 13941)   A 2010 Norwegian dark fantasy film. A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter. The filmmakers tried to maintain maximum secrecy around the project. They kept both the title and cast secret until shortly before the premiere, producing teasers to create a viral effect.

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Our hero doing some shopping at his local Hollister.

Think of The Evil Within as a horror buffet. You want a little haunted mansion action? Sure thing, help yourself! How about a creepy town in the middle of nowhere with a guy who likes to chainsaw at strangers. There you go, a little on the side there. I see you’re headed to the dessert cart where you see bizarre experiments performed by a homicidal maniac. Yummy! This game, directed by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame, is a delightful hodge podge that results in the following inner monologue: “What is happening in this game right now? This makes no sense. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Experience the pop up scares on either PS4 or Xbox One.

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Gloom Boardgame 101

Gloom is a special game that caters to a special kind of folk. You see, players control a family of weirdos, and I mean that in the Addams Family and The Munsters sense of the word. However, the goal of the game is to make horrible things happen to members of your family while opposing players are trying to make good things happen to your family so you’ll lose, Not only are you meant to make horrible things happen to your family, you’re supposed to narrate their misery as it happens. Think of yourself as an evil David Attenborough. The Media Library has this as well as two other expansions (Boardgame 102 & Boardgame 103).

Posted by & filed under Board Games.

Every Tuesday, UNT Media Library highlights a title from their growing collection of tabletop games. This week, read about: Dominion box cover

Dominion, Boardgame 60

Number of Players: 2-4
For Ages: 8+
Duration of Play: 30 minutes
In Dominion, victory is within your grasp – literally. As a deck building game, your resources, victory points, and capabilities all reside in your hand of cards. Your deck is your Dominion. “It starts out a small sad collection of Estates and Coppers, but you hope by the end of the game it will be brimming with Gold, Provinces, and the inhabitants and structures of your castle and kingdom.” — (From the Dominion rule book). Each turn, players have the opportunity to improve their deck by playing action cards and buying new cards. The trick is finding the right balance between each type of card in your hand and hoping it works in your favor when the game ends. At that time, the player with the most victory points is the victor!

From the publisher:

You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, fiefdoms. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner. But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn’t be proud, but your grandparents, on your mother’s side, would be delighted.

— Rio Grande Games

Many thanks to UNT Gamers for gifting this title to the UNT Media Library! If you like Dominion, you may also enjoy these titles, also available at UNT Media Library:
Citadels box cover Race for the Galaxy box cover San Juan box cover

Citadels, Boardgame 222

Race for the Galaxy, Boardgame 209

San Juan, Boardgame 58

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Zombies are very much overdone, but when something gets it right, it’s downright satisfying. Each decision you make opens and closes a full tree of effects. The ripples of your decisions are immediately felt by the members in your party. It’s all real heavy stuff, but I swear it’s fun! Telltale Games have made their name on this brand of point and click adventuring, but this is probably their best effort thus far. The Media Library has the game on both PS4 and Xbox One.

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Camp Crystal Lake. It sounds like a pleasant enough place. Clear waters. Fresh nature air. A nice campfire with some s’mores and ghost stories. But if you’re a camp counselor, please, for the love of all things, keep an eye on the flailing kid in the water who clearly can’t swim. His mom is going to be very very very upset. This film spawned a litter of sequels, a good/bad video game for the NES that had some top notch music, and an iconic villain who loves to “Ch, Ch, Ch, Ha, Ha, Ha” before they kill you. The Media Library has the original HERE and you can find the rest of the sequels on our catalog HERE.

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