Culture Consumption: June 2020

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, games, and podcasts.

Books

My reading has been rather slow of late — to the extent that I didn’t complete a single book last month. However, I have been reading The Good House by Tananarive Du — an absolutely phenomenal horror novel (at least thus far). The book is on the longer side (a good thing) and I’ve been pacing myself because, as I said, my reading has been slow. I’ll likely finish it this month.

Total Books for the Year: 22

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: The Good House by Tananarive Due, The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel, From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes: Adapted Poems by B.C. Edwards and Children of Lovecraft edited by Ellen Datlow

Movies

If you’re going to make a zombie musical, you need three things — great music, fun zombie gore, and characters you can get behind. Anna and the Apocalypse manages to have all three.

Anna and the Apocalypse

The plot of Anna and the Apocalypse is simple. A teen in a small town dreams of getting out and traveling the world, only to have those hopes dashed by the onset of a zombie apocalypse. The straightforward plot provided a solid background for the musical numbers and horror set pieces, making for a fun flick.

Definitely one of my biggest concerns was whether or not the movie could pull of the musical scenes. I’ve watched one to many musicals in which the music itself was so terrible it made me want to crawl out of my skin. However, the music here is fun and poppy, making me want to sing along at some moments and providing enough humor in others to make me giggle. Watching Anna stroll through her neighborhood singing, while being oblivious to the violent going on around her (headphones) harkens back to one of the best moments in Sean of the Dead. While not wholly original, it provided it’s own charming spin.

Likewise, the movie offered up characters who were mostly fun to hang with, each with their own kind of quirky charm — making their deaths mean something. Furthermore, the gore was just shy of over the top, with exploding heads and other delights, making for a blend of the gross and comedic. All good fun.

New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
2. Artemis Fowl (2020)
3. Onward (2020)

Television

Spirits of the Stanley is a short-run series available on YouTube, which focuses on paranormal investigations of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. It’s a site well known for having paranormal activity, as well as for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shinning. It’s quick and interesting watch, particularly their work in developing new methods of investigation. Check out my full review at Once Upon the Weird.

Spirits of the Stanley - paranormal investigation

Games

I never would have considered playing the Sims, if Playstation hadn’t offered up a free base-game copy of Sims 4 as part of their Playstation Plus program. Looking for something a little more light hearted, I downloaded the game and started playing — finding myself suddenly lost in the game for numerous hours at a time.

Sims 4

It is blatantly obvious that Sims is designed for PC and not for console systems. Trying to select through all the various options — from character design to home building to day-to-day tasks — with a controller is an incredibly frustrating experience. I eventually learned to get by with the wonky controls, my interest in the characters I created overshadowing my frustrations. Even so, I’ve watched videos of other folks play and there are clearly things you can do that I haven’t figured out yet.

My first character was a young, goth artist (who’s name I can’t remember for some reason). She was destined to become a famous painter — only to be struck down in her prime due to an odd mistake on my part. Essentially, the characters age up in the game, and you celebrate their birthdays by having them blow out candles on a birthday cake. In my character’s transition from young adult to adult, I forgot to give her a cake and she was sad . . . , so I made her a cake a day late and had her blow out her candles — rocketing her straight into being an elder. She died of old age not terribly long after, long before she was able to achieve her dreams.

My second character was a punk-styled comedian who wanted nothing more than true lover. She fell for a hip, rock-n-roll styled lady and they wooed each other into a lovely marriage. Unfortunately, her wife aged more quickly than she did and has since passed, leaving my character in a state of immense grief. I have a plan that, once my character gets over her grief, she’ll decide to have kids to fill the hole in her heart — but I’ve taken a break from the game for now.


That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?


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