Tag Archives: Evil Dead

Lollipop Chainsaw: Part II

Lollipop-Chainsaw

Suda 51’s Lollipop Chainsaw

Skulls, Zombies and Multicoloured Love Hearts Work Hand in Hand

In the previous post, I mentioned the outlandish visual aesthetics, the style and the absurd narrative in Lollipop Chainsaw, however I have discovered additional elements that do compliment the overall gaming experience including the soundtrack, the pop culture references as well as the constant use of skulls.

Soundtrack

The musical compositions do provide a very unique aspect to the game and the player is able to customise the overall soundtrack. To be honest, I didn’t even know this was possible until I watched a review on Youtube from Angry Joe; this is a useful feature that allows the player to adjust the order or the sequence of the music. According to IGN, the musical compositions were conducted by Akira Yamoaka, an influential video game producer who is renowned for the ‘sound direction’ in Silent Hill.

Lollipop Chainsaw features a mixture of rock and roll as well as 80’s pop music including Hey Mickey by Toni Basil and Lollipop by the Chordettes. The music provides a humorous element to the overall game and how could I forgot to mention Juliet’s sparkle hunting? This unusual power allows the character to kill multiple zombies in one hit along with Hey Mickey playing in the background.

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Juliet’s Sparkle Hunting

When Juliet’s Sparkle hunting is activated, the player is bombarded with multicoloured sparkles, love hearts and rainbows; both the visual and the audio effects compliment the character’s outgoing personality. The soundtrack is catchy and I couldn’t stop signing the lines to Hey Mickey for a couple of weeks, while I’m not a huge fan of rock and roll, I thoroughly enjoyed the 80’s pop music.

The enemies appear to be inspired by musical genres including punk, goth, heavy metal, electronica, 80’s pop as well as rock and roll. It’s hard to forget the very last boss, a gigantic Elvis Presley look-alike with pink laser eyes who attempts to kill Juliet with an army of explosive zombies or abandoned vehicles. All these different genres / influences are blended together in order to create a unique, dynamic and interactive experience for the player.

The Depiction of the Skull

The skull frequently appears throughout Lollipop Chainsaw in all different shapes and sizes; they’re incorporated into the enemies clothing or instruments, they’re displayed within the background, they’re displayed on the very top of Juliet’s Lollipops, there are skulls everywhere!

The game heavily refers to contemporary music, design and popular culture; the skull in particular does have a strong connection to these genres or styles and it would be absolutely absurd to disregard such a prolific symbol. It’s interesting to see the combination of skulls, zombies and multicoloured love hearts, these particular styles are merged into one in order to deliver something random, surreal and artistic.

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The five dark purveyors / bosses 

I began to wonder whether video games change our perceptions of the skull? From a personal opinion, I view the skull as a visual style or a popular symbol that adds substance and context to a video game. The connection between the skull and immortality is something I wouldn’t even consider while I’m playing a game on the Playstation. As a matter of fact, this is a really interesting question that I will revise in the next few weeks.

I have discovered another interesting fact about Suda 51 and his previous occupations that did surprise me. In an interview with Matt Casamassina, Suda explains that he previously worked as an undertaker before he pursued a career within the video game industry and I have often wondered whether these experiences inspired Suda’s recent creations including Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned.

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Juliet with Skull Logo

Pop Culture References

Well there are plenty of influences or references in Lollipop Chainsaw that I am yet to mention, where do I even begin? In the third level the game appropriates some classic arcade games including Pac man and space invaders, this was one of my favourite aspects of the game!

When I played Lollipop Chainsaw for the first time, the game reminded me of Sailor Moon and Dawn of the Dead, quite an unusual combination right? Well this is the most interesting part, the school is named San Romero High and the director for Dawn of the Dead is named George Romero, I didn’t even notice this particular element until the very end of the game. I wondered whether the name was intentional and Game Font mentions that the George Romero has inspired Lollipop Chainsaw.

Throughout the game, the high school students mention Bruce Campbell’s name, the main protagonist from Evil Dead who replaces his infected hand with a chainsaw; there appears to be parallel between Ash and Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw. According to Esperino, the player is able to unlock a costume that is influenced by Ash from Evil Dead, however this is a ‘exclusive bonus’ from EB games in Australia. Here is another interesting fact, I bought a pre-owned copy of Lollipop Chainsaw from EB games, I’m tempted to play the game again to see if I am able to unlock the costume.

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Ash Costume in Lollipop Chainsaw

These are the most recognisable pop culture references, however there are plenty of others that I properly haven’t mentioned or discussed. Angry Joe for instance compares Lollipop Chainsaw to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scott Pilgrim, to be honest I would need to write a list with all of the references / influences within the game. It’s hard to recognise the references all at once, you properly need to play the entire game in order to notice all of them.

These particular elements successfully engages the viewer and the references invites the player to pay attention to every minor detail. It’s quite impressive to see how these ideas are applied or executed within Lollipop Chainsaw; the overall concept is clever, imaginative and seriously addictive! While the gameplay is often slow and unresponsive, Lollipop Chainsaw successfully invites the viewer into a gory, multicoloured universe filled with stylised visual effects, catchy tunes and an absurd narrative.

If you are interested in popular culture and you enjoy a decent soundtrack, I would recommend Lollipop Chainsaw for sure! Check out the first review for Lollipop Chainsaw for additional information or you can browse through the Black Calavera Facebook Page.

https://skullsproject.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/lollipop-chainsaw-part-i-violent-outrageous-and-hysterical/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackCalavera22

References

IGN Entertainment Inc, “Lollipop Chainsaw: Official Soundtrack,” http://au.ign.com/wikis/lollipop-chainsaw/Official_Soundtrack

Angry Joe Show, “Lollipop Chainsaw Angry Review,” Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e6XQMCeXqY

Matt Casamassina, “Interview: Suda 51 on No More Heroes,” IGN Entertainment Inc 2014, http://au.ign.com/articles/2007/02/17/interview-suda-51-on-no-more-heroes

Hang Veng Ly, “Lollipop Chainsaw EB Games Preorder Bonus Costume, DLC and Keychain,” Esperino, 2014, http://www.esperino.com/lollipop-chainsaw-eb-games-preorder-bonus-costume-dlc-keychain

“Lollipop Chainsaw,” 2012, Playstation 3, Warner Brothers, Interactive Entertainment & Kadokawa.

http://lollipopchainsaw.com/

Image References 

http://psnprofiles.com/forums/topic/5696-what-to-play-when-youre-depressed/page-2

http://lokjip.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/lollipop-chainsaw.html

http://lollipopchainsaw.wikia.com/wiki/The_Dark_Purveyors

http://www.gamefreaks.co.nz/2012/04/20/lollipop-chainsaw-meet-starling-sisters/

http://www.destructoid.com/products_detail.phtml?p=Lollipop+Chainsaw&c=news


The Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi

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The other night I decided to watch the original Evil Dead that was directed by Sam Raimi in 1981, for such an old film it was far better than what I was expecting. The special effects were rather impressive for a film that was produced in the early 80’s, Evil Dead also features some claymation towards the end that also adds a humorous twist to the overall film.

So what is Evil Dead and why do I like this film so much? Well the very first Evil Dead did scare me believe it or not, although there were particular sections of the film that were just hilarious! The claymation actually provided a very interesting effect to the film, the stylised violence features a unique aesthetic that is quite imaginative for a 1980’s horror flick.

So if you haven’t watched Evil Dead I would definitely recommend visiting your local DVD store, especially if you enjoy cheesy horror films! In fact, the violence and the claymation is rather cheesy, although the visual effects are throughly entertaining. So Evil Dead features four young adults who decide to travel to a deserted cabin within the middle of woods where they discover ‘The Book of the Dead’ that welcomes evil spirits to the living world.

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The film explains that “the Book of the Dead was written in blood and bound in human flesh”, I must admit the book does feature highly detailed drawings of skulls, skeletons and other supernatural beings; whoever designed the book in the first place has impressive drawing skills thats for sure. So what really happens in Evil Dead? Well the main protagonist, Ash discovers ‘The Book of the Dead’ along with a tape recorder within the bottom of the basement, Ash’s friend Scott decides to take these new items back to the cabin where the entire group begins to listen to the unusual recordings from the tape player.

As the group continue to listen to an old man speaking in Latin, the words suddenly conjure something evil within the woods. As a result, each person is possessed by a demon that was summoned by the Book of the Dead, meanwhile Ash tries to find a way to escape from the haunted cabin that becomes rather difficult when his possessed girlfriend tries to kill him. One thing leads to another and everything turns completely pear shaped, as the holiday retreat gradually turns into a disastrous blood bath.

So I do find the visual effects rather impressive especially for a film with such a low budget, what  I do find rather unsettling are the camera angles. The film provides the perspective of the demon, evil spirits that lurk around the cabin and the fast paced motion does create a level of suspense and anticipation. Bruce Campbell does play an excellent role as Ash Williams, the main protagonist who finds himself trapped within the deserted cabin with his girlfriend, sister and best friend that are all possessed by some kind of Demon.

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According to Kate Egan, The Evil Dead is an American cult classic that was produced by a group of university students including Sam Raimi and Robert Talbert during the late 1970’s, early 80’s. Raimi throughly studied other recognisable horror films, such as The Last House of the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, although the actual production of Evil Dead proved to be rather difficult due to financial circumstances.

I personally believe that Sam Raimi has produced a very successful horror film with a low budget and a very small production team, which is quite remarkable really. There were some aspects of the film that did cause me to jump, although the acting and the visual effects do provide a level of humour, that do cause me to laugh uncontrollably.

I have also noticed that the original Evil Dead has inspired the contemporary horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods for instance does feature a strong reference to Raimi’s 1980’s production. The narrative does feature a parallel to the Evil Dead, as four young college students travel to an isolate Cabin within the woods, although the director, Josh Whedon does provide a very unusual twist that would take anyone by surprise.

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So I have also realised that the skull continually reappears within Raimi’s Evil Dead, in fact I have noticed that the skull has become a very popular symbol within the horror genre. I’m not to sure why, although I would assume that the skull is used as a symbol of death, mortality, even danger. I have also noticed that the skull does appear when something dangerous or violent is about to occur, as soon as Ash opens ‘The Book of the Dead’, the cabin turns into complete chaos.

So the other day I have realised that The Evil Dead is an actual trilogy, there’s Evil Dead 2 and Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness, which are two fantastic films produced by Sam Raimi. So Evil Dead 2 is basically a parody of the original Evil Dead that is one of the most entertaining horror films I have ever watched in my life. The violence is exaggerated to the extent where it’s almost impossible not to laugh, there are amputated limbs and laughing clocks flying left right and centre, that’s right laughing clocks along with laughing lamps and a possessed dear’s head that seem to haunt Ash’s Williams who cannot find a way to escape the cabin.

The skull constantly reappears throughout Evil Dead 2, Ash finds his girlfriend’s necklace on the floor which forms the shape of the skull, in a way the skull is used as some kind of subliminal message. Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness on the other hand makes a rapid transition from a comedy horror to an action adventure, Ash somehow travels back in time in order to defeat the ‘undead’ that form an army of skeletons.

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So Ash decides to steal ‘The Book of the Dead’ from the graveyard that suddenly resurrects the dead, all of a sudden there are hundreds even thousands of skulls and skeletons that begin to attack the castle in order to retrieve the book. As ridiculous as it sounds, the film is extremely entertaining, the visual effects do add a level of humour, parody and satire.

So if you are looking for something to watch then I would recommend watching The Evil Dead Trilogy, you can even watch the original Evil Dead and the Army of Darkness on Youtube! The DVD cover for Evil Dead 2 does feature some impressive advertising / marketing, the very front of the cover features a skull that significantly contrasts with the dark background, the advertisement definitely summaries the nature of the film.

It would be interesting to compare the original Evil Dead within the 2013 remake that was released a couple of months ago, due to censorship I haven’t been able to watch the film at my local cinema but it will be interesting to see how Fede Alvarez appropriates this 1980’s classic.

References:

Egan, Kate in ‘The Evil Dead’ (Columbia: Wallflower Flower, 2011), http://books.google.com.au/books?id=DuiJoSKHOdUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+evil+dead&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7
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The Evil Dead, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: Renaissance Pictures, 1981), DVD

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group & Renaissance Pictures, 1987), DVD

Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Renaissance Pictures & Universal Pictures, 1992) DVD

Cabin in the Woods, directed by Josh Whedon (USA: Lionsgate, 2012) DVD

Image URL Links:

1. http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/columns/the-bloodstained-balcony/evil-dead/

2. http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2013/sam-raimi-plans-to-write-evil-dead-4-this-summer/

3. http://goregirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/the-evil-dead-1981-evil-dead-2-dead-by-dawn-1987-the-dungeon-review/

4. http://drnorth.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/the-evil-dead-randomised/

5. http://stcatharines.cityguide.ca/army-of-darkness-is-back-on-029584.php

YouTube Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odtcORs7VwM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW38E98fdBw