Saturday, November 30, 2019

Book Review: Castle in the Stars Vol. 3 by Alex Alice

Castle in the Stars Volume 3: The Knights of Mars by Alex Alice

After a successful trip to the moon (except for losing King Ludwig, who may have been transported to Mars), our heroes (Seraphin, Hans, and Sophie) return to Earth. Their next plan is to fix up the ship and have Seraphin's father, Professor Dulac, form an International Society of Aether. The society will establish peaceful exploration and settling of the other planets without nationalistic claims bringing war into space. It's a great ambition but the meeting is sabotaged. Dulac disappears and the Prussians put a lot of effort into finding his ship. The kids have the ship on an island off the coast of Brittany. When the Prussians show up, they are forced to leave for Mars in the professor's ship. The Prussians have already sent a warship to Mars. A warship that hasn't reported back and is long overdue....Maybe Mars already has some locals itching for a fight?

The story is interesting and the art is delightful. I can't wait for the next issue.

Highly recommended.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Movie Review: The Mummy (1932)

The Mummy (1932) directed by Karl Freund

A 1921 British Museum archeological dig uncovers the mummy of Imhotep and another mysterious box buried with him. This particular mummy wasn't in a pyramid or a special tomb, it was off by itself. An Egyptian occult expert (Edward Van Sloan) deciphers the writing on the box which says that anyone who opens it will be cursed. He and the head of the dig, Sir Joseph Whimple (Arthur Byron), go off to discuss what to do while they leave the novice archeologist to catalog stuff. The novice can't resist opening the box. Inside he discovers an ancient papyrus (The Scroll of Thoth) which he starts reading. It's an incantation to raise the dead which has the predictable effect on the mummy behind him. Off screen, the mummy stalks forward. He takes the papyrus from the novice who bursts into hysterics. The mummy leaves.

The story jumps forward ten years when Whimple's son Frank (David Manners) is conducting a fruitless dig in Egypt. As they are wrapping up, a slightly wrinkled Egyptian man who calls himself Ardath Bey (Boris Karloff) shows them a new spot to dig. They find the sealed tomb of a princess. Sir Joseph comes back to Egypt to help open the tomb and identify the items inside. They have to give everything to the Cairo Museum. Ardath Bey shows up at the museum interested in the find, especially the female mummy. He is, of course, Imhotep raised from the dead. He was a temple priest 3700 years earlier who fell in love with the Pharaoh's daughter. She died young and he tried using the Scroll to bring her back. The Pharaoh was naturally upset and had Imhotep buried alive with the Scroll so no one else could use it. As the modern-day mummy tries to revive his girlfriend, the ceremony casts a sort of spell over a young woman (Zita Johann) who becomes possessed by the princess's spirit. He obsessively stalks her as the archeologists try to unravel the mystery of what is going on and stop Imhotep's plan.

The movie has a good amount of complications as Karloff's character comes into conflict with the modern people. I was surprised to see him in modern dress and not all wrapped up in bandages as is the standard for mummies in movies. Karloff has an ominous presence that he uses quite well. The flashback is harrowing, especially the part where Karloff is wrapped up in bandages against his will. Being buried alive is a horrible fate regardless of what he did to deserve it. The enthralled maiden gives a good performance switching back and forth between the princess and the modern woman.

This is a good horror movie, but not as good as the other classic Universal monster movies. It doesn't have the visual style of Frankenstein or Dracula or the amazing special effects in The Invisible Man. The plot feels slow, even though the film is a trim 75 minutes long. The other films packed a lot more into their running times.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Movie Review: Hellboy (2019)

Hellboy (2019) directed by Neil Marshall

Hellboy (David Harbour), after a bad time in Mexico, goes to England to help the Osiris Club deal with three giants. The Club really wants to kill Hellboy but that doesn't work out. While in England, Hellboy meets an old friend, Alice (Sasha Lane). They wind up at the British version of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) and find out about a plot to restore Nimue (Milla Jovovich), the Blood Queen. Nimue was defeated in 517 by King Arthur. Since she is unkillable, Arthur chopped her into pieces and had the bits taken to the farthest reaches of the kingdom. Someone has been collecting her parts and putting her back together, surely a bad sign for all involved. Hellboy, Alice, and Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), a British agent, fight the bad guys.

The movie had a lot of potential, almost all of it squandered. A whole bunch of stories were written about Hellboy in Mexico and could have made a great movie on their own. The filmmakers took the best story but rushed through it to get to the main story. Ben Daimio's backstory is also very interesting but given a quick recap just to explain why he has supernatural powers. Another popular character in the Hellboy books, Baba Yaga, shows up a couple of times in the movie. Her interesting and complicated relationship with Hellboy is hinted at without any real understanding or explanation. The post-credits scene gives her a role for a potential sequel. Seeing her house walking around on chicken legs (which is from the Russian folklore about Baba Yaga) was cool. Lobster Johnson, a World War II-era pulp action hero, also has two cameos that work fairly well. Again, he's a character that could have his own story or movie. The storytelling is a bit choppy and unsatisfying.

The movie also fails in the special effects department. A lot of the visual effects shots look cheap and rushed. The gore level is very high in the film, with lots of eyes poked out, heads decapitated, and limbs torn or cut off, with showers of blood in each situation. The gore is unconvincing and unnecessary. The Hellboy comics have a lot of horror in them with the horror based on atmosphere and storytelling, not organs and bodily fluids going everywhere. Harbour's makeup is okay though it is surprising that it doesn't look better than Ron Perlman's from the films over a decade ago. A couple of the CG characters have lip-syncing problems that also make the film look slapdash. Again, if they had stuck to one of the story lines mentioned above, they could have concentrated their creativity and budget.

The movie is disappointing just as a movie. If you are a Hellboy fan, the movie is even worse, because you know all of the potential that was wasted.

Not Recommended, especially for Hellboy fans.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Game Review: Horrified by Prospero Hall

Horrified designed by Prospero Hall and published by Ravensburger

Horrified pits one to five players against the movie monsters from Universal's classic horror films--Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Bride, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The monsters all have different ways to be defeated and luckily for the players, only two to four of the monsters will be in play in any given game (though possibly the number of monsters can go to five since Frankenstein's Monster and the Bride always go together).

The game is played on a board representing the village beset by the monsters. Various locations are connected by lighted paths along which the players and the monsters can move. Some of the paths are water paths and can only be used by the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Players need to move around the board, collect resources from various locations, and use those resources to defeat the monsters before they terrorize the locals too much--there's a terror track than can max out, giving the victory to the monsters, not the players.

The board without any pieces on it

Each round has a player phase and a monster phase. One player performs actions including moving, gathering resources, fighting the monsters, and helping the villagers. The players each have individual characters who have special abilities, like moving other characters or adding value to the items collected. Planning ahead is very important because the game is cooperative and players need to coordinate their actions.

The Professor and the Mayor (who gets an extra action since she has no special action)

When an individual player finishes their actions, then the monster phase starts. A monster card is drawn. The card has three parts.

Monster cards

At the top is a number, which is how many items are drawn randomly from the resource bag. The items are placed in specific locations on the board (the locations are written on the items). The items also have a color (yellow for spiritual, blue for intellectual, and red for physical) and a number indicating their strength (a set value from one to six). Each item has a strength number at the top. Adding more resources to the board is essential for players to win the game, so it's always a bummer when a card with a zero is drawn.

Typical items

In the middle of the monster card is a special text. That text either adds a new villager to the board (who needs to move from their start location to a predetermined end location in order to be safe) or one of the monsters takes an action. For the monster actions, if the particular monster is not in this game, then the action doesn't happen. If the monster is in the game, then something pretty bad happens.

On the bottom of the card is the Monster Strike section. The monsters whose icons are listed move and/or attack a villager or a player character. Often the monsters on the Monster Strike are different from the special activation, but not always. Also, one monster is the "frenzy" monster and its movement is indicated by a flame appearing on the card. If the frenzy monster also has its icon earlier on the card, then that monster may activate twice during the monster phase.

No frenzy monster here, just the Creature, the Wolfman, and the Invisible Man

The monster only attacks if it is on the same space as a villager or player. The active player roles dice (the number is determined by the card). Any stars on the dice mean a successful attack. An attacked villager is killed and the terror track advances; an attacked player can discard items, one per star, to avoid being injured. If the player decides not to discard (or has nothing to discard), the player token is moved to their player card and the terror track advances. On that player's next turn, their character is placed at the hospital and their turn starts from there.

Three die faces

After the Monster Strike part of the card is resolved, play moves to the next player clockwise. Play continues until all the monsters are defeated (which is victory for the players) or the terror track goes to seven (players lose because wide-spread panic envelops the village) or the monster deck runs out (the players took too long to get rid of the monsters and wide-spread panic envelops the village).

Defeating monsters requires two steps, though those two steps are different for each monster. For Dracula, the players must first destroy four coffins hidden throughout the village by using red items (physical damage) that added up to six (thus the item's number is important in addition to its color). Once all coffins are destroyed, the players can defeat Dracula by using yellow items (spiritual weapons). For the Invisible Man, players must gather items from different locations as evidence that he exists, then use red items to trap him. The variety of monsters and of ways to defeat them make each game different, especially with different hero powers.

Dracula's card

On my first solo play, I was the explorer. She has the handicap of only three actions but her special action allows her to move to any non-water space on the board. That's a huge advantage as she's able to move quickly around the board, picking up items or delivering villagers to their safe locations. Even so, my terror track was on the brink of failure when I succeeded. The experience was fun but it felt a little too easy. Other solo games with different characters were more challenging/nail-biting.

With multiple players, planning moves is very important. Gathering resources and using them wisely is important because the monsters always go after the nearest hero or villager. If a player's turn does not come around for a while, a monster may have multiple opportunities to hurt an individual player. Players can share resources if they are on the same place but that uses up actions. Communicating with each other is important and rewarding.

The components in the game are very good. The monsters are little plastic pieces shaped like the classic monsters. The players are standees with colored bases that match the character card. The villagers have clear bases. A lot of the details in the game relate to the movies--one of the villagers is called Maria and she looks just like the child that Frankenstein's Monster tossed into the lake. Even Abbott and Costello's characters from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein are part of the game! The items are all familiar and thematic (garlic and torches and scientific equipment and on and on) as are the locations (a dungeon, a tower, an abbey, a graveyard, a barn, a crypt, etc.).

Bride and camera-shy Frankenstein's monster

Dracula guards his coffin!

The villagers

The game is not very complicated but is a lot of fun, especially for those familiar with the Universal horror movies.

Recommended, highly for fans of the films.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Book Review: After The Fall by Kasey S. Pipes

After The Fall: The Remarkable Comeback of Richard Nixon by Kasey S. Pipes

When people think of Richard Nixon, most automatically think of Watergate. A lot of people stop thinking at that point and stay locked into the idea that Nixon is a soulless, immoral monster who got away with it. The fact is Richard Nixon was a human being and had a lot of life and experiences after he resigned from office in 1974. This book chronicles that time and Nixon's efforts to find redemption and relevance after disgrace.

The book begins with Nixon's departure from the White House. He went back to California as an exile. His health deteriorated and he nearly died from an embolism. In desperate need for money, he made a book deal for his memoirs and agreed to be interviewed by David Frost. Both actions were more than just a chance to pay his bills, he also wanted to reform his public image. He put his efforts into foreign policy, the area he had been most successful in during his presidency. He'd ended the war in Vietnam, opened relations with China, and began the brief era of detente with the Soviet Union. Nixon stayed in touch with people in Washington and slowly became an advisor to presidents (including Clinton) and a public pundit especially on Cold War issues. He traveled to the Soviet Union and to China as an elder statesman and attended many foreign state funerals. He died in 1994 and was eulogized by Senator Bob Dole and President Bill Clinton.

Pipes is the first researcher given access to the Nixon family's records, so he reveals a lot of inside information and opinions. The pro-Nixon attitude is understandable as the reader sees the ex-president fight back against his failure (he came to see himself as morally guilty if not legally guilty of the Watergate disaster). Nixon elaborated three principles which helped him through the dark years after his resignation:
"1. Put the past behind you. Analyze & understand the reasons for your defeat, but do not become obsessed with what was lost. Think instead about what is left to do.
2. Don't let your critics get to you. Remember that they win only if they divert you into fighting them rather than driving toward your goals.
3. Devote your time to a goal larger than yourself. Avoid the temptation of living simply for pleasure or striving only to leave a larger estate." [p. 217]
Nixon moved on and found a new purpose in his life by writing books about foreign policy and traveling internationally to assess and smooth over relations when he could (like in China after Tiananmen Square). He helped Reagan, Bush, and Clinton behind the scenes.

Before reading this book, I'd thought of Nixon as an unredeemed failure of a president. Learning more about his life after his presidency was eye-opening for me. I heard about this book at the History Unplugged podcast, which I highly recommend.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Book Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 18 by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18 by Hiromu Arakawa

Winry Rockbell is brought to Fort Briggs in the north to fix up Edward's auto-mail arm and leg (again). But she's really a pawn in King Bradley's plan to force Edward into creating another Philosopher's Stone. The king's agent, Mr. Kimblee, tells Edward he needs to start the ritual and hunt down the fugitive Scar. Edward reluctantly agrees, demanding to hunt Scar first. The hunt turns into an opportunity to doublecross the Homunculus conspiracy in a thrilling showdown with Scar. Meanwhile, Lt. Hawkeye makes an unsettling discovery at the capital.

The story is exciting as it ramps up the conflict between the humans and the homunculi. Arakawa does a great job balancing action and drama as the plot naturally draws out both from its the story's progression.

Highly recommended.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Movie Review: The Predator (2018)

The Predator (2018) co-written and directed by Shane Black

A Predator ship fleeing from another Predator ship crash lands on Earth. The fugitive Predator bails out and loses some of his armor in a Latin American jungle to an American sniper (Boyd Holbrook). The sniper knows that no one will believe he met an alien, so he mails the helmet and bracer to his P. O. Box stateside. The box winds up with his estranged wife (Yvonne Strahovski) and autistic son (Jacob Tremblay). The son naturally figures out how to use the equipment and accidentally sends a signal to the Predators. They know where to find the fugitive. Meanwhile, the sniper winds up on a bus filled with other military nutballs, because nobody believes his "space alien" story. Well, almost nobody. The secret agency that recovers the Predator's body and what's left of his armor summon him. The bus (still with the whole set of nutters) goes to the secret base just as the Predator wakes up and escapes. The nutballs chase it and have fights with it and with the eleven-foot tall Predator that's come to "take care" of the fugitive. Tall Predator wants whatever was on the first ship, so another chase ensues as the humans try to outrun and outfight a warrior from an advanced race of space travelers. If Schwarzenegger could do it in the 1980s, why not a rag-tag bunch of misfits in the 2010s?

The plot is a bit rambling and random, as if they were making it up as they were shooting the film. Another character is a female biologist (Olivia Munn) brought in to study the Predator. Her character's ongoing involvement doesn't make any sense other than checking off a box on the diversity checklist. The story makes up new things about the Predator culture throughout the movie that don't make much sense. Black is a reasonably good action writer (the original Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, among others), so the mediocrity of the script is surprising.

The special effects are impressive and the fights are exciting even when they don't make much sense. The actors do the best with what they have. None of them have the star power of Schwarzenegger or even of Danny Glover in the second film, a factor that moved those films to a higher level. Probably neither Schwarzenegger nor Glover could have saved this film.

Not recommended.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Game Review: Deep Sea Adventure

Deep Sea Adventure designed by Jun Sasaki and Goro Saaki and published by Oink Games, Inc.

In Deep Sea Adventure, one to six players are explorers in search of valuable treasure. They have a rickety submarine with little air for their excursions. Players push their luck, trying to dive deeper for the better artifacts. Whoever brings the most loot back wins the game.

The game contains a submarine board and thirty-two artifact chips. These chips are divided into four categories, with the later groups of eight worth more. The chips are laid out in a path below the ship.

The initial set up

The game plays over three rounds. In each round, the players take turns rolling dice to see how far they can move. The two dice have one, two, or three pips, so the biggest rolled number is six. At the start of the round, the players move and decide if they want to collect the artifact on which they land. If they do collect (but the early stuff is only worth zero to three points, so not too valuable), they replace the artifact chip with a round blank chip. On the players' second turns in the round, they have to subtract air from the submarine (one air per artifact that player has) before rolling the dice. Also before rolling, they have to decide if they will turn around and go back to the ship. Whether they go on or go back, they roll the dice and subtract the number of artifacts from their dice roll (the artifact weighs you down) and move that number of chips. So carrying a chip depletes the sub's oxygen and slows down the explorer.

Middle of the first turn

The ship running out of air

If a player is worried about running out of time, when they are on a blank chip, they can choose to return an artifact to the track to make them move faster. Giving up an artifact lessens the amount of treasure they have but speeds up their return to the ship. Once the oxygen runs out, the round ends. Anyone who made it back to the sub can look at the value of their chips. Those players who didn't make it back return their artifacts to the end of the line in stacks of three chips. All the blank chips in the line are taken out and the line is shortened. So the second and third rounds give even better opportunities to score big.

Second round

The game plays from two to six players with more players generating more tension. Early in the round, it's tempting to travel as far as possible along the path. Coming back to the ship is a lot harder than going out. In addition to the individual players moving slower, the rate of oxygen depletion gets faster. I've had a lot of games where I only scored points in the final round because I was too greedy and never made it back to the sub the first two rounds. Still, the game is exciting and plays rather quickly, so the fact that your character may drown a few times isn't so catastrophic. The game plays in less than half an hour and is a lot of fun for our family.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Saint Anthony Shrine Geocaches

We've visited the Shrine of Saint Anthony in Ellicott City many times.

The Shrine

Only recently I discovered that someone has placed geocaches on the grounds! The shrine has lots of trails with many interesting little spots. The first cache I went after was the easiest to find. I didn't even have to go into the woods.

A paved path

A small shelter for...

St. Maximilian Kolbe

The cache's name is Prisoner 16670. Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894. At nine, he had a vision of the Virgin Mary who offered him the choice of two crowns--a red for martyrdom or a white for purity. He chose both. Later, he became a Franciscan priest. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, they arrested Maximilian. He was sent to Auschwitz and given the number 16670. In July 1941, a prisoner escaped camp. The camp commander had all the prisoners line up and said that because of one man's escape, ten random men would die. One of the selected men, Francis Gajowniczek, begged to be released since he hoped to be reunited with his wife and children. Maximilian volunteered to take the man's place. The Nazis put him and the nine other men naked into a hole without food or water for two weeks. Maximilian had them praying and singing hymns. When all sound ceased inside the room, the Nazis came back in. Three men were still alive, one of them Maximilian. They were executed by lethal injection. He was declared a saint in 1982 by John Paul II.

The cache is near to the small shrine and only had space to swap small items. I traded my Where's Waldo pin for a peach pin.

Swag swap

The other caches are along the walking trails through the woods around the Shrine.

Entrance to adventure

The next cache I found was Tree House, which is indeed by a tree house in the middle of the woods. Why would Franciscan monks build a tree house? A nearby sign explains that Saint Anthony (who was a Franciscan) spent his last days in a room built in the branches of a walnut tree. He called it his sanctuary and was able to preach to the faithful who came to listen to him. This tree house is built in honor of Saint Anthony's last abode!

Tree house

View from the house

In the cache, someone had left some loose change. I traded my guardian angel coin (which seemed appropriate) for a quarter.

Swag swap #2

The course to the next cache, Great Commandment, took me past a small grotto with a statue of Saint Joseph.

Another area for meditation

The statue

I became a little bit turned around and wound up bushwhacking through some of the woods. Since it was late fall, the thorns and other obstacles weren't too bad. I did come on a small clearing that had lots of character. I imagine deer gathering there.

A clearing

Further on, I spotted a bench. The bench faces a tree with a cross on it. The cross represents the two great commandments Jesus gave in Matthew 22: 35-40, Mark 12:28-34, and Luke 10:27--first, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind; second, love your neighbor as yourself.

The bench

The cross

I tried to drop off a CD that we'd had for a long time but the lid of the container would not go back on. So I swapped a bunny and an eraser for a car.

Fits length and width but not height

Swag swap #3

Walking along I saw a dramatically fallen tree.


The final cache is called 9-11 Memorial. It's another grove in the woods, this one with a cross made of rubble from the New York September 11 attack. Behind it are the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

9-11 Memorial

The cross

The Agony in the Garden

The Scourging at the Pillar

The Crowning of Thorns

The Carrying of the Cross

The Crucifixion

The cache was nearby. I was there on Veterans Day, so I took the toy soldier (which seemed appropriate) and left a plastic cake. The cache also had some candy wrappers in it, which I took and threw out later.

Final swag swap

Geocaching at the shrine was a fun adventure and took about an hour, so it wasn't hard at all. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Book Review: My Hero Academia Vol. 10 by Kohei Horikoshi

My Hero Academia Volume 10 by Kohei Horikoshi

The attack on summer camp ends with the kidnapping of student Bakugo. The League of Villains wants to recruit him, but Bakugo's stubbornness and egotism in class is only amplified by his situation. Meanwhile, the U.A. has to face public scrutiny since their students were in jeopardy yet again. As the teachers plan an offensive to get Bakugo back, the students make their own plans to rescue their classmate even though they have been forbidden to fight.

The story telling is still top-notch, with interesting discussions about the issues and creative twists popping up. The author says at the beginning of this volume that the television version of the story was beginning, adding some extra pressure on him.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Book Review: Psychology and Religion By C. G. Jung

Psychology and Religion By Carl Gustav Jung

Famed psychologist Carl Jung delivered a short series of lectures at Yale in 1937 concerning the relationship between psychology and religion. Sticking strictly to his expertise, Jung discusses religion as a psychological phenomenon, i.e. as humans experience it. He draws on the history of human thought in both Western and Eastern traditions. He's read the popular philosophers and theologians. He's also read various ancient and medieval gnostic, alchemical, and occultist texts. He discovered various images and themes that recur throughout the history of thought. These themes and images also show up in his therapeutic work. He's had patients that describe symbols and images from their dreams that seem to be taken from ancient Egyptian mystical writings or medieval alchemical manuals. But his patients clearly haven't read those texts. Often, they have no historical or educational connection from which to draw the images. In this book, Jung describes one patient who is a thoroughly modern man and has no time for religion. And yet religious imagery from a wide variety of sources shows up in his dreams (the patient wrote down descriptions of about four hundred dreams). In Jung's analysis, humans must have some store from which they draw. He is unsure of what causes the presence of these recurrent images (which he calls "archetypes") but their ubiquity makes them impossible to ignore. The personal experience is real and needs to be dealt with in order for therapy to be successful.

The book is fairly technical about psychology, discussing neuroses and various dream images. Jung delves into certain symbols, like threes and fours as they relate to religious symbols (e.g. the Christian Trinity and gnostic attempts to create a quaternity, a group of four). He also has plenty of references to the history of philosophy. Jung adds a good number of quotes in French, Latin, and Greek without always giving translations, making the book more challenging for casual readers.

I found the content fascinating and occasionally over my head. I appreciate being challenged but wish I understood it better than I do. I thought his discussion of religious experience as only a personal experience may be too limiting. Jung as a psychologist takes no stand on the existence of God, though he clearly believes there is some transcendent reality that touches all people throughout history. I'll probably hunt around for some more accessible text by Jung.

Slightly recommended--this text is not so much for lay readers but does provide a lot of interesting content to mull over.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Movie Review: H. P. Lovecraft's Re-animator (1985)

H. P. Lovecraft's Re-animator (1985) co-written and directed by Stuart Gordon

Medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) leaves his Switzerland school when his professor dies under mysterious and gory circumstances. He joins Miskatonic University's medical school in Massachusetts. He has the ambition and arrogance to start up his European experiments in reviving dead tissue with a reagent (glowing green goo) that he developed with the Swiss professor. West rooms with Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) who is dating the daughter of the medical school dean. Cain finds out about West's experiments when the house cat dies and West brings it back to life. They are noticed by Doctor Carl Hill (David Gale), who wants to claim the reagent as his own invention. He has plenty of other nefarious ambitions. Things spiral out of control as they experiment on recently deceased human at the school morgue.

While the movie is based on a Lovecraft story, the execution is much more like the standard 1980s low-budget horror films that avoided getting an MPAA rating so they could max out the gore (like Dawn of the Dead or The Evil Dead). The gore is extreme, with many dead bodies (some naked) running around with parts burnt or hanging out. One major character is decapitated. Both the severed head and the headless body are revived and keep on going to the end of the movie. The story holds the scenes together but it goes only for gross outs rather than the moody Lovecraftian atmosphere and insanity. There's a bit of gratuitous female nudity and sexual abuse too. These cons aren't balanced out by intriguing or creative ideas or a humorous tone to take the edge off.

I found the movie very unenjoyable, though obviously others did and two sequels were made. I will not be watching them.

Not recommended.