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    “CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW COLLECTION” (Game Review)

    Most long-running game series (SUPER MARIO, FINAL FANTASY, etc) avoid the potential hazards of a strong “mythology” by keeping it simple (Mario is good, things that he can stomp on are bad) or starting from scratch every time out (save for Chocobos and guys named Cid).  Other series, such as CASTLEVANIA, haven’t had long-term goals in mind when they were designed, but kept expanding on the initial storyline, resulting in a complicated “canon” that can scare off new fans, while also decreasing the appeal for older fans who’ve grown tired of trying to make sense of its narrative (RESIDENT EVIL is an even bigger offender of this).  Some folks at Konami agreed, which is why LORDS OF SHADOW is not only a completely standalone affair in terms of CASTLEVANIA lore, but also planned to be a definitive open and shut trilogy that will wrap up with LORDS OF SHADOW 2 in 2014.

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    Inside Guillermo del Toro’s “CABINET OF CURIOSITIES,” Part Two

    Fantasy film fans looking for the ultimate coffee table should go no further than GUILLERMO DEL TORO CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: MY NOTEBOOKS, COLLECTIONS, AND OTHER OBSESSIONS (Insight Editions), the sumptuously illustrated exploration inside the films (and mind) of the master fantasist. Boasting scores of personal sketches, designs, rare photos and artwork from del Toro’s amazing body of work, home and journals, plus written contributions from James Cameron, Tom Cruise, John Landis, Ron Perlman and many others, CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is an embarrassment of riches. In part one of this exclusive two-part interview (see here), del Toro talked about the creation of his gargantuan tome. Today, the director of CRONOS, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, PAN’S LABYRINTH and the HELLBOY movies spills the beans on his exciting future projects.

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    “CINEMA DETOURS” (Book Review)

    If I may graphically illustrate, I read Mike White’s CINEMA DETOURS in the bath. In the grind of my life, the sanctity of hot water and suds is the only place my eyeballs can peacefully absorb any written word not penned by myself or a Fango freelancer, and I value this time greatly. It’s sacred. I use the visual of yours truly nude and immersed in a tub because while digging into DETOURS, I stayed in till the bitter end, until the water was a tepid stew of body broth and I was as wrinkled as one of the LIFEFORCE cadavers. I finished the damn thing in one session. I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s that good.

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    Inside Guillermo del Toro’s “CABINET OF CURIOSITIES”, Part One

    The lavishly illustrated GUILLERMO DEL TORO CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: MY NOTEBOOKS, COLLECTIONS, AND OTHER OBSESSIONS is the ultimate coffee table book for fans of the master Mexican filmmaker. Along with writer/collaborator Marc Scott Zicree, del Toro unveils drawings, production art and sketches from his private journals and filmmaking diaries, providing a running commentary on the creation of his wonderful movies CRONOS, MIMIC, BLADE II, the HELLBOY duo, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, PAN’S LABYRINTH and PACIFIC RIM. Plus we also get a photo tour of geek heaven, del Toro’s memorabilia-laden Bleak House. Also displayed: designs from his intriguing unproduced films, like the Lovecraft epic AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. In a nutshell, Del Toro leaves no stone unturned.

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    “THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE” (Comic Review)

    Few comics have left a cultural mark like SANDMAN. One of the first works to break out of the binds of “children’s entertainment,” this epic series helped re-define the possibilities of comic books. Following in the footsteps of the Alan Moore’s fantastic run on SWAMP THING, THE Sandman was released to an audience hungry for more esoteric and explorative tales of terror. Unlike earlier horror stories of schlocky monsters and ironic twists of fate, this new addition explored the darker side of humanity, delving into the depths of philosophy, magic, and madness, creating a tale that still resonates with readers almost 25 years later. To celebrate its upcoming silver anniversary in January, DC/Vertigo is giving the Sandman the reception of a lifetime, starting with a brand new, six-issue mini-series titled THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE.  

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    “DOCTOR SLEEP” (Book Review)

    In mid-career interviews, Stephen King was sometimes asked why he had never delivered a conventional sequel to any of his novels, outside of a few short stories and fleeting cross-referencing of characters and locations, like the fictional town of Castle Rock. King’s deflection at that time was to tease how he would often ponder the possibility of THE SHINING’s mini-medium Danny Torrance and FIRESTARTER sparkplug Charlie McGee growing up, getting married, and discovering just what sort of children might spring out of their union. King would then cut himself off and remark that his muse (or more properly, Fornit) was unlikely to lead him any further down that path, and so it stood for decades… until the release last month of DOCTOR SLEEP, a proper sequel to one of King’s best-loved properties, 1977’s THE SHINING.

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    Monster MAC: Rick Baker on his Halloween Makeup Collection

    When most people think of seven-time Oscar-winning special effects makeup creator Rick Baker, they envision cinematic werewolves, apes and space aliens. What doesn’t immediately come to mind is a Halloween collection designed to be applied and worn by ordinary folks at home, but that’s just what Baker has created for MAC cosmetics.

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