Archive for the ‘Resident Evil 4’ Tag

Cover Reveal: The Whispering Death

FINAL COVER

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

It’s time to unveil the cover for my forthcoming horror novel THE WHISPERING DEATH!

This one is being released by British horror publisher Kensington Gore in the Autumn. The e-book version may, in fact, be available in a few weeks. The print version will follow in a couple of months. I am hoping to be able to launch it at FantasyCon in Nottingham in October but I am awaiting confirmation on that.

This is the scariest novel I have written in a while, and it’s not for the faint-hearted as it has rather a lot of gruesome scenes. It also has a lot of references to LARP, to D&D, to Resident Evil and is an homage to geekiness in general. Oh, and it has zombies, too.

I am very excited about the release of this book. For those of you in the UK and not going to FantasyCon, I’m endeavouring to arrange another launch, in the South of England, to offer another opportunity to attend. As always, watch this space for further info.

In the meantime, here’s a teaser in the form of a blurb for the novel.

Blurb for THE WHISPERING DEATH

Death comes to us all; life is the name of the game and everyone has a role to play.

When a group of live action role-players perform a ritual as part of a game, they unwittingly unleash an ancient evil that tears their world apart. The reanimated corpse of a long-dead magic user, corrupted by powerful dark magic, offers a promise of unlimited power, but at a terrible price. Having helped open this Pandora’s box, Mark and Elizabeth must race against time to close it again – before it’s too late.

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One Day To Sci Fi Weekender

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Tomorrow I’m off to my first convention of the year – the fifth Sci Fi Weekender, in North Wales.

It’s the third year I’ve attended this Con, and I always look forward to it.  It’s a Con to celebrate all things geeky in TV, film and books, and it actively encourages Cosplay.  Seeing all the incredible costumes is always a highlight of the Con.

This year I’m looking forward to it all the more as I am on several panels.  As it happens they are all on Saturday afternoon – at least I get them all out of the way at once.  At 2pm I am on a panel called ‘Does Crime Pay’, exploring the concept that ‘crime is the new black’.  Then I’ve got a bit of a break, but can’t go too far as at 3pm I’m moderating the ‘Blurred Lines’ panel discussing cross-genre.  And I still haven’t come up with questions for the panel yet.  So I know what I shall be doing tonight.

And following that I’m on the next panel too, which is exploring what makes science fiction – ‘from Space Opera to Dystopian Futures’, the panel description says.  I suspect it was my public declaration of love for Star Wars that got me on that one.

With only a day to go, the usual dilemma has reared its head – what to wear for a Con?  I’m not organised enough to put a costume together.  The usual fall-back Con wear is jeans and a Geek t-shirt.  However, I have recently realised that I literally have a drawer full of Geek t-shirts, reflecting an array of geeky interests – Star Wars; Buffy; Dr Who.  I’ve even got a Resident Evil 4 t-shirt.  So which ones do I pack?  My favourite Con t-shirt is the girlie pink one with the cartoon grim reaper on that says ‘Horror Writer’.  But I wore that at the last Con.  Can a self-respecting geek be seen in public wearing the same t-shirt at every Con?

If you’re going to be at the convention, do stop by and say hello.  And if you’re not – well, I’ll catch up with you when I return to normal life.

In the meantime, I’m off to go ransack my t-shirt drawer and think up intelligent questions for my panel.

 

WIP Update – March 2013

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Time for an update on current Works in Progress.

I’ve got several things going on at the moment. The most progressed WIP is the horror novel. It’s been to beta readers, I’ve had feedback, and I have recently started work on Draft 4.

This novel, in summary, is about a group of live action roleplayers who unwittingly unleash a lich on the world during a game. Said lich wields powerful dark magic, and leaves death and destruction in its wake. And it sets about raising an army of zombies, as sort of a sub-plot. Anyway, on the whole the feedback was fairly positive. All my women beta readers love my main female character – she’s a crack shot with a shot gun, she’s ace with Resident Evil, she takes out many of the real-life zombies and she saves the boy.

There are some plot holes, and some characterisation issues, and these I am working to fix in the current draft. But I’m feeling pretty confident about this one. This one will be finished before the end of this year. In fact, I’m aiming to have it out on sub before 2014 dawns.

In the meantime, there’s a second project – a collaboration with Hubby. Now, he’s not a writer. But after more than 25 years of running D&D games, he’s pretty good at plotting. And he’s a musician. This new project is a crime thriller featuring a young female bass player, against the backdrop of the music scene in the late 1960s. We start her off at the Monterey Festival in 1967, and then bring her to London. This project is at an early stage. We’ve been doing a lot of the plotting together. And I have started doing some of the writing. But there’s a long way to go yet, and since I’ve never collaborated with my life partner on a writing project before, it’s somewhat uncharted territory.

And what of Shara 2? Well, that one’s still languishing in a drawer. I got a bit discouraged after the crit session. Every time I get it out and review how much work there still is to do on it, I get depressed and put it away again. And DEATH SCENE has not exactly been flying off the cyber-shelves, so it’s not as if I have a long queue of fans impatiently waiting for the further adventures of Shara Summers.

Nevertheless, she has one or two fans. And I would rather like to get this one finished. So perhaps I’ll finish it for you. You know who you are.

This does make three WIPs on the go at once, however. And talking about them doesn’t make them any closer to being finished. It’s time to get back to the writing.

Women in Horror #2: Alice

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

My second post in my series about kick-ass horror heroines features a marvellous character from a series of films inspired by a computer game.

If you’ve been following my blog a while you’ll know I have a fondness for ‘Resident Evil 4’ (and Leon). The video game franchise became a series of films. These have been met with mixed reviews. Those that don’t like them say they are lacking plot, lacking character development, lacking logic. I’m not quite sure what people expect from a series based on a game, but I always enjoyed them. OK, so they are not exactly intellectually stimulating, but there are days when a girl wants to switch off her brain and just sit on the sofa with wine and chocolate and enjoy some mindless zombie dismemberment.

Alice

aliceFor the live action series of films (there are some CGI animated ones as well), a new character was created who apppears in all the films. Her name is Alice, and on screen she’s played by Milla Jovovich.

Rumour has it that the character was created to be a kind of reverse version of Alice in Wonderland – an Alice in Dystopia. But she is by far the best thing about the Resident Evil films, and she’s a wonderfully kick-ass character. This lady is no damsel in distress. Her weapon of choice is a gun in either hand, fired at the same time. She has incredible aim, she is fast, smart, agile and resourceful. And she pretty much leaves all the men behind.

My favourite scene with Alice comes from “Resident Evil: Afterlife”, and also features Claire Redfield, who is a character from the games series. With the world being over-run by mutating zombies, a small band of survivors (led by Claire – in herself a strong character) encounter Alice, and they are trying to get out of an abandoned building over-run by zombies. They escape through the sewers. The boys have all run away, leaving Claire and Alice to it when the big guy with the giant meat tenderiser (a monster from Resident Evil 5) comes after them. But these two ladies can take care of themselves, as you can see from the attached video. If you’re wondering what’s with all the slow-motion, the films are mimicking the style of the games, because all the cut scenes feature slow-motion action.

Alice is a fabulous action heroine, and a prime example of a female horror icon who gives back as good as she gets. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I definitely want her on my team.

Geek Excitement: Resident Evil 6

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

If you’ve been following this blog a while, you will know I have something of an obsession with playing ‘Resident Evil 4’.

We have ‘Resident Evil 5’ as well, but in my view it’s just not as good. Sure, the graphics are better – RE4 is only available on the Nintendo Wii, and it was never really designed to be a superior graphics machine. But I prefer the Wii controls to the PS3 controls. I am a hopeless shot. The Wii controls are gentler on those who are crap shots.

But the game itself just has more atmosphere than its sequel. In RE4, Leon spends a lot of time runing around alone (apart from occasional cut scene interactions with NPCs, and of course the interactions with the very annoying Ashley) in a lonely and creepy part of rural Spain, being attacked by zombies and other unnatural beasties, on a dark rainy night. RE5, set in the daytime under the baking sun of Africa, just doesn’t have the same atmosphere.

And then, of course, the game has Leon. Leon is hot. I have a solid faction of female friends who all drool over Leon. The main character in RE5 is Chris Redfield, who doesn’t have the same lust factor.

‘Resident Evil’ as a series has been around for years. Not being familiar with the game before RE4, I can’t say anything about what earlier games were like, but I gather that the same characters have been popping up periodically throughout the series – Chris and his sister Claire; Leon; Krauser; Jill Valentine; Ada Wong. Each game progresses the plot along, with points from the previous series occasionally referred to. The films follow through with this. I hear rumour there’s a new film in development – live action this time – that will feature all of the series’ characters. Including Leon. Can’t wait for that one.

Anyway, more exciting than that is the news that ‘Resident Evil 6’ is being released later this year. It’s on the PS3, not the Wii, so I will have to get a handle on the awkward controls. But the graphics will be great. And, more relevant, this game features Leon. In full PS3 CGI glory. Woohoo!

For a taster, here’s the trailer: Resident Evil 6 official trailer.

Autumn Brings Zombies?

My obsession with ‘Resident Evil 4’ has been well documented. This is a game I keep returning to, over and over again. I’m not actually very good at computer games that require target skills. I am a lousy shot and have poor manual dexterity. So I keep playing this game over and over again, firstly because I do really enjoy it, and secondly, when I play a game knowing what’s coming next, perhaps I can improve on my previous score. And you never know when the ability to take out a zombie with one shot might come in handy…

I have played this game so many times, I am intimately familiar with all the scenarios. The game begins with the main character Leon alone in a remote village somewhere in Spain. Something’s wrong with the locals – they have red eyes, they lumber about, and they keep attacking Leon. And they don’t stay dead unless they’re hit with a direct head shot.

Screen shot of RE4 from IGN.com


It’s clearly Autumn when the adventure begins. The sky is grey, the bare trees look skeletal and there are brown leaves piled up on the forest floor. Creepy looking crows caw from sign posts. I’ve always thought crows were creepy birds. They’ve got a history of being associated with horror films.

Perhaps the attached image demonstrates the autumnal feel of the game (I couldn’t find one that included the crows).

The scene outside my house at present looks very much like the opening scenes from RE4. The sky is grey, the trees are bare and skeletal looking, and brown leaves scatter the ground. We even have creepy-looking crows lurking around, emitting their ominous ‘caws’. I don’t like Autumn at the best of times. I like it even less when stepping outside my house makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a Resident Evil game. I shall be watching the neighbours very carefully over the next few weeks, alert for any sign of zombie-like behaviour.

Roll on Spring. There are never any zombie films or games set in the cheerful bloom of springtime. We shall all be safe then.

How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

I was quite amused by this article that appeared on the BBC News website recently, where Leicester City Council admitted to being “unprepared for a zombie attack”, following a letter from “a concerned citizen”.

I thnk perhaps the person that wrote the letter was being facetious, but you never know. The thing about being a geek who watches zombie films is that intellectually you know zombies don’t exist, but there’s some small part of you that keeps insisting, “but what if they do?”.

However, if zombies do attack then a geek is best person to know, because we’ve watched all the films and played all the games and we’re subsequently the best prepared for zombie attack.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about how to survive a zombie attack.

1. Zombies traditionally move slowly. Learn how to run fast, or better yet, use transport and you can out-run them. Unfortunately zombies in contemporary zombie films seem to move much quicker. So this might not necessarily be a hard and fast rule.

2. The only way to kill a zombie is to get it in the head. Preferably with a big gun. A hit to any other part of the zombie’s body will be ineffective.

3. Anyone who gets bitten by a zombie will turn into one. Don’t listen to the infected person’s desperate relatives who plead to spare them. The infected person will inevitably turn into a zombie and go rampaging through your hideout. Chuck them out into the zombie horde the minute you find out they’ve been bitten. There’s no room for sentiment when it’s a matter of survival.

4. Zombies aren’t very bright and it takes them a while to figure out how to get through locks. Make sure your hideout is well secured. Preferably several storeys up. Zombies often seem to have trouble with stairs.

5. If you’ve found yourself a nice secure hideout on the fifteenth floor, and you’ve got plenty of food and water supplies to last you, then stay there. Don’t be persuaded by the fellow survivors who turn up at your hideout and try to convince you that the best thing to do is to leave and head south/north/east/west, because they know that there are other survivors there. Whenever that happens it films, it never ends well.

6. Get yourself a weapon. Preferably a big gun (see point 2). This is more difficult in the UK than in the US, because we have stricter gun laws. But since all the shops will be abandoned, you could plan a raid on the nearest gun shop. According to Resident Evil games, shotguns are most effective. Or rocket launchers.

Of course, being able to play zombie games doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be any good in a real zombie apocalypse. When I die playing Resident Evil 4, I can restart the game and try again. I am, even playing games, a terrible shot, and it’s only through repeated practice that I can kill any zombies at all. And there’s a difference between sitting in one’s living room shooting with a games console and shooting a real gun. I have tried this, and I’m an even worse shot with the real thing.

And I feel I should point out that this is all hypothetical anyway. I don’t really believe that there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse. At least I don’t most of the time… 🙂

Geek Heaven

Further proof, if it was needed, that I am a geeky girl. I am getting very excited by this website. Hubby discovered this site when he was looking to buy me Christmas presents last year – he got me the Sunnydale High School T-shirt.

There are so many wonderfully geeky things on this website, I can’t choose my favourite. I do rather like the T-virus T-shirt. Of course, all Resident Evil fans know how quickly the T-virus spreads. You put this shirt in your drawer, and before you know it, all your T-shirts will be turning into zombies and going off on a murderous rampage…

I also like the “+20 shirt of smiting”. That would come in handy on the underground, when I can’t get a seat.

If none of this makes any sense to you, you’re not a geek. I, on the other hand, want to buy everything on the “ThinkGeek” website. And this comes after a week of wandering around clothes shops on Oxford Street looking at dresses, and failing to find anything I was inspired to buy.

Again, I repeat the mantra: Say it clear, and say it loud. I am a geek, and I am proud.

Musings on Zombies

“The Walking Dead” has been serialised on British TV since early November (no doubt it was ages ago in America – we’re a bit behind on our US TV shows), but we’ve been recording it, and only got the opportunity to watch the first episode recently.

And I have to say I am enjoying it. I do like a good old-fashioned zombie bash. “The Walking Dead” is particularly good as a zombie movie. It has well-drawn, sympathetic characters, good production, exceptional attention to detail with regard to set dressing, and most importantly, it conforms to the expectations of zombie fans. The zombies move slowly, they don’t speak, they have generous amounts of rotting flesh falling off bones, thus reminding us that zombies are, literally, walking corpses (kudos to the special effects in this regard), and they can be taken out by a bullet to the brain.

When you are an imaginative geek, you do find yourself wondering, every once in a while, what would happen if the world really was gripped by a plague that turned people in flesh-eating zombies. It’s rather like time travel – intellectually you know it’s not possible but you wonder nonetheless. At times like these, I reassure myself that all those hours wasted playing “Resident Evil 4” are actually hours well spent after all. If a zombie attack happened for real, at least I would have a fighting chance of knowing how to defeat them…

In the meantime, though, I look forward to the next episode of “The Walking Dead”. The series has started well, and I hope it continues in the same vein. But if you’ve already seen it – no spoilers, please!

Zombies in 3D

Over the weekend, hubby and I went to see “Resident Evil After Life” in 3D. It’s been a long time since we went to the cinema, and in checking the listings I was rather surprised by the number of films currently showing in 3D. Perhaps the movie industry feels the need to offer something different these days to attract people into movie theatres – after all, when you can have a 50″ flat screen TV with surround sound and HD movie channels in your living room, and the comfort of your own sofa, why would you need to trek across town and pay an exorbitant fee to see a film?

3D technology isn’t new, of course. It was around in the 1980s. For some reason it never really took off then. Now the special effects are a lot more impressive, and the 3D glasses are a big improvement (remember those cardboard things with one red lense and one blue lense? Happily now a thing of the past). It remains to be seen whether the whole 3D movie experience thing is here to stay, or whether it is once again a passing fad. One of the problems with any movie filmed specifically for 3D – as with any other movie with a huge budget for special effects – is that quite often it’s style over substance.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy “Resident Evil Afterlife”. It’s very much a ‘switch-off-brain-and-enjoy-mindless-violence’ sort of film. But I enjoy a good zombie bash as much as the next horror geek, and zombies in 3D made the experience all the better. I would say that you have to be a fan of the games to enjoy the Resident Evil movies, but as I am, I enjoyed all the “Resident Evil 4” references in the film. Some of the characters from the games – including brother and sister team Claire and Chris Redfield – made an appearance in the film. Sadly, there was no Leon. Shame. But I am not convinced any flesh-and-blood actor could be quite as tasty as the virtual character.

I did particularly enjoy a scene where the two lead female characters, Alice and Claire, take down an uber-zombie with a seriously scary weapon (an end-of-level boss monster if ever I saw one) by themselves, with no help from the boys. Yay for the kick-ass girlies!

I ended up with a killer headache later in the evening, and I suspect that sitting watching an hour and a half of 3D effects might have been a contributing factor. Apparently the old-style 3D films of the 70s and 80s were fairly notorious in giving people headaches. Perhaps that’s one reason why the whole 3D thing never took off then – along with the silly glasses.

At least the effects are better than the old-style 3D films. When Claire and Alice threw the huge battle axe directly at the camera, to take out the uber-zombie, I think I actually ducked.

I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone who wants a plot that makes sense. Or doesn’t like zombies. Or computer games. But if you’re a games fan with a penchant for a bit of zombie slaying, there are worse ways of spending an hour and a half.