December 2021 was obviously another good month for collecting various books, movies, and other media.
To be honest, I don’t even know what’s going on with the non-existent Retrogamer and EDGE subscriptions and single issue orders, as I haven’t had the time to check. Instead I’ll just keep my Excel files up to date to investigate the issue later.
This Bitmap Books publication was a Christmas present and with its 600+ pages, it’s a tome I’m still reading at the moment. There will probably be a review, but so far it’s a comprehensive overview of JRPGs. The biggest problem, though, is that the gold lettering has almost become illegible, which is a real disappointment, as now one can’t even see what book it is.
More gaming-related books: The Art of Ace Attorney doesn’t have much background information, but some lovely pictures to look at. I won’t start reading the God of War novelization before actually finishing the title it’s based on, which might take a while. There are also books covering the first two titles I have to get, as I loved playing those.
Steve Ince is not only a very nice guy to talk to (although it’s been years since I met him in person during gamescom), so it’s no surprise that his latest books are a joy to read. These are very different titles and they might receive their own reviews in the future, probably. Suffice it to say that one is great for interactive fiction and the other for getting in the mood for Christmas.
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 was the one that got lost in the mail, so I only came around reading it a bit later. While the stories are not as memorable and good as the Omnibus series (see New additions to the media collection in November 2021), they’re still fun. Let’s see how The Witcher turns out in the comic book format… at least the cover artwork is done by Mike Mignola.
The Injustice: Gods Among Us comics are fun to read, although I thought with the last year the storyline would finally be over, but as it ended with a cliffhanger, probably picked up from in the Year Zero collection, I’ll have to wait for the conclusion.
I’ve always wanted to delve into the Spawn mythology and thought the Compendium would be a good way to start. Unfortunately I didn’t know that pre-ordering the second part on Amazon was a bad idea, because the company’s problems with in/out of stock items haven’t been solved. But that’s a story for another month.
After having watched the fun Tales From the Crypt TV show, it was a no-brainer to finally get my hands on the comic books. Too bad that it seems to take years to have them complete with these collections. But with a foreword by John Carpenter (and Robert Englund for The Haunt of Fear), this should all be worth it.
Yes, this one has a foreword by Steven Spielberg, so despite being pulp fiction, it’s obvious how influential all these old comics were.
I thought I’d never have a favorite manga artist or story writer, but Junji Ito’s work is definitely the most memorable and disturbing in the horror genre, so he might do for a while with these strange tales.
Ah, the good old He-Man toys times. I still have some of them from my childhood, and while I won’t start collecting them again, the massive The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe tome will evoke some nostalgic feelings for sure. Of course I couldn’t stop there and had to buy some more He-Man stuff, including the animated series (with She-Ra), too.
Before watching the whole TV show True Blood (see the later photos), reading the books might be a good idea.
However, as one can see, the cardboard box didn’t survive the Amazon delivery service… and what’s even more aggravating: I would have to send them back and re-order them, as no refund or partly reduction are possible with the Amazon Germany customer service because of it being sold and sent by Amazon UK (which doesn’t do it, either, because it’s in the hands of Amazon Germany… What a mess the Global Store idea has turned out).
As the books themselves aren’t damaged, I’ll simply keep them. Who knows what the next delivery will do to the new ones?
The collection wouldn’t be complete without the short stories.
Maybe I’m becoming a comic fan, who knows?
My love for Star Wars might have waned over the years (and Disney hasn’t rekindled it, actually more like the opposite), but this Christmas present from my wife still brings back memories.
More Christmas presents with the Star Wars licence, but they’re pretty cool: a notebook that can breathe and one with some wise Yoda words.
It’s definitely Christmas time.
Next to Luigi and Kirby, these are probably my favorite Nintendo characters, and in plush form, they’re obviously cute.
Oh my, the Penny supermarket did it again with another depressed animal, this time a whale… compared to which the angry bat from another plush toy label looks almost happy.
Another unexpected Christmas present: Borderlands 3, a title much hyped during gamescom 2020, but I’ve always wanted to play.
Starting with new movies, the action flick McBain certainly delivered some explosive if nonsensical fun.
Two very different comedy movies, although they share some silly storylines and weird situations. Still a lot of fun.
Oh well, this was supposed to be a hilarious superhero/comics movie, but despite a few cool scenes, it dragged on far too long, probably because of the uninteresting main character.
You can’t beat over-the-top creature feature horror movies, and it can’t get any sillier than the third Shark Attack which is unbelievably bad and so much fun.
The alternative cover for the second Shark Attack shows how forgettable it is, although I’ve seen worse shark movies.
Yes, I already got Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? in November 2021, but as the disc was unplayable, this was a replacement that worked. Witchboard isn’t a particularly good movie, but its 80ies atmosphere and memorably bonkers medium made it worthwhile.
Last Hurray fo Chivalry
Hand of Death
Terror Train is one of those slasher movies that has a great premise, but doesn’t really go anywhere (like waiting for the train to leave). It’s not bad, but also not very good, with the only reasons to watch it being magician David Copperfield playing a magician and Jamie Lee Curtis once again screaming her guts out as the survivor girl.
Phase IV is another 70ies “classics” that turns out to be quite boring. It’s telling that the bonus disc featuring the director’s short films is much more enjoyable and often incredibly intelligent, making the main feature even less interesting.
William Castle movies are an acquired taste, as they’re not particularly good. However, this first Volume that has been out of print for a while and that I fortunately got from an Amazon UK seller (without paying import fees) is an interesting collection.
One should know that these movies are meant to be experienced in cinemas due to the gimmicks the director used. On their own, they are full of flaws and not very memorable.
The screening of The Tingler had the audience literally jump up from their seats, because they were wired; 13 Ghosts had the Spectral Viewers (red/green glasses) that made ghosts appear and disappear; Homicidal left spectators the choice to leave the cinema before the climax; and Mr. Sardonicus gave them the opportunity to see the villain punished or not.
Volume 2 of William Castle at Columbia is still available and it’s easy to see why: The selection is simply too forgettable, especially without the cinema gimmicks.
Except for Strait Jacket which is a psychological drama with a high body count, these are mostly comedies, and not very good ones. Zotz! and 13 Frightened Girls are probably the unfunniest of them all, while The Old Dark House at least has some strange characters. But all in all, it’s not really a collection to get excited about, despite all the special features and nice packaging.
Night of the Running Man is a cool, supenseful and surprisingly violent thriller that has a memorably evil hitman, making The Mandalorian look even more childish in comparison.
As the 3D version of Godzilla vs. Kong was only released in very few countries (and the US version is sold out), this French release was the way to go, including the 4K disc as well. A great birthday present, to be sure.
The movie itself isn’t anything to write home about (especially with that terrible Stranger Things actress), but the 3D visuals make the silliness more entertaining than it should be.
I wanted to have the original Addams Family in TV form during the Halloween season, but it was a bit too pricey. So this might do for 2022.
Last but not least, the complete box set of True Blood is something I’ve been looking for for quite a while. It’s been over a decade since I got the first two seasons (one from the US and one from the UK), and with this collection featuring a lovely box and individual cases, it was a no-brainer to buy.
As expected, December 2022 had plenty of new additions thanks to Christmas, and the only thing I regret is that I haven’t been able to write more about the individual books/comics. Reading takes time, and maybe the next articles will be individual reviews.