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‘Mass Effect Andromeda’s Writing is Not Acceptable

While the game isn’t terrible it’s unremarkable in just about every way, and that’s not Mass Effect.

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Blind-fire mode is a lighthearted (and occasionally serious) column on games and the industry at large; trying to have fun while everything collapses around us. This time tackling Mass Effect Andromeda 


Mass Effect Andromeda’s reception has been mildly divisive, criticisms of its technical problems and it’s now famous animations are among the most criticized but it’s biggest problem is the most damaging: it’s writing. Here we detail some of the biggest narrative failures we’ve encountered so far on the run up to our review. We have not witnessed the ending so thoughts on that will come later. Spoilers for the game’s introduction and minor characters exist within, so take caution. Also contents include some bitterness and additives: salt.

The Introduction

If you were to judge Mass Effect Andromeda from its opening hours then you might be staring in abject horror at the game box and scrutinize whether those words really do spell out Mass Effect, and are we sure that’s really Bioware’s name down there underneath? The opening is an utter mess of narrative design and characterization, the game throws you into interpersonal relationships and family squabbles before even giving you a reason to care about anything or anyone. It’s not long after that the game pulls an emotional turn in a heavy handed and self congratulatory way, again you might find yourself glancing back over to the box while asking who any of these characters are. Early game spoilers ahead.

Alec Ryder, the ‘Pathfinder’ and father to the main protagonist is killed in what we’re supposed to feel is in a very heroic way, problem is we’ve spent about 5 minutes interacting with his character. The game proceeds to imply daddy issues which made me question if I had missed whole scenes or not, is there a reason we should have cared about him? Hold on, we are now the chosen one, who’d of thunk it, a Bioware game where we play as the sole person who can save the galaxy. Innovation! Even after the ‘prologue’ the story continues to stumble, upon learning of our fathers death the main character seemingly shrugs it off and gets right back to work, why should we care when the main character doesn’t expend any emotion himself.

You’re set about exploring the Nexus where a lady exclaims that her face is tired while she stands rigidly before you, following it by wryly asserting that ‘you’re not a Pathfinder until you’ve Pathfound something’ right…. well that’s us told then, you badly written, stiltedly acted ‘character’. But wait, surely some emotional wrought-ness can be gleamed from everyone else, finding out the person in charge died. ‘Where’s the pathfinder?’ One of the directors questions after a long pause staring at the camera, ‘you’re not Alec Ryder’ he astutely points out. ‘He’s dead’ we reply, ‘Dead?’ Tired face women interjects. There’s a long pause where the characters awkwardly stare dead-eyed at each other before face-tired women turns and says ‘the entire initiative is at risk’. Apparently they cared as much about him as we did, or maybe their faces were too tired to convey emotion. Thankfully things markedly improve after leaving the Nexus and obtaining the tempest (your ship) but how did the opening get released in the state it’s currently in (along with the amount of technical problems), did it get rewritten a dozen time?

The worlds can look beautiful, the characters on the other hand…

The solution? Don’t talk about relationships that already exist without showing them, you can’t tell an audience to care just for narrative ease, you have to give them a reason to be invested. Don’t front load a story with swathes of exposition delivered at a breakneck speed, ease players into the world and build upon lore throughout. The introduction could have worked with more screen time given to the characters that matter like Alec Ryder, with more personal and emotive acting and writing. Other games have managed to achieve emotional responses in short periods of time such as The Last of Us or Horizon Zero Dawn, the introduction to a game acts as a first impression and that needs to be a good one because thats the only one you get.

Romances

If you’re playing a Bioware game then there’s a good chance that sex or hanky-panky is gonna exist somewhere in the forefront of your mind. The game and the developers have played up romances heavily, unfortunately in some ways – too much so. The main issue is that, upon meeting your crew, you can, for all intents and purposes, start flirting right off the bat, even if it doesn’t quite seem appropriate. It comes across as rather stilted, especially with certain characters where it doesn’t quite fit with who they are – that they would be interested in you so quickly after barely being introduced.

Cora, who appears to be the most ‘canon’ of the relationships in terms of how much running time her relationship scenes get and the explicitness of the dirty deed, she starts with a chip on her shoulder about you becoming the Pathfinder. It’s a story thread that barely leads to anything but even then after she laments the passing of her mentor and how she misses him (yes I was asking ‘who are we talking about again’ too) you get the opportunity to flirt and tell her that ‘I wont leave you’. Urgh. Urgh. Nearly every companion can be flirted with alongside each other, there was a humorous 15 minutes where I walked from character to character and gave them ‘the sign’…. Liam was not interested.

If I’m going to be called a SJW I might as well go all the way.

Elsewhere certain romances have been left at bottom rung, Bioware once again throws in a token gay character that lacks substance and makes Cortez from Mass Effect 3 appear godlike by comparison. His character model isn’t even a unique one – sharing the same hair as my Ryder. The ratio of M/F, F/M, F/F and lastly M\M is worrying for a studio that prides itself on being progressive. It’s no longer just ‘good enough’ to throw in LGBT characters, if you put them in your game they’re up for criticism. The bisexual male character fares much better, perhaps because the scenes are the same for female Ryder but in both M/M scenarios Bioware comes across as fearful to show anything more than kissing with a fade to black. Dragon Age Inquisition this is not. Despite these problems though, this is one of the areas where the writing evens out and gets glimpses to shine, including charming and charismatic scenes depending on who takes your fancy.

Characters

Uh oh indeed. Often cited as the strongest element of a Bioware game, characterization plays a big role in the Mass Effect series. That’s no different here, unfortunately in an effort to populate their empty worlds Bioware has created an inordinate amount of throwaway characters with barely a thread of personality or purpose – apart from that of giving you a side quest to scan a dozen items. Dull is the word of the day. They’ve taken the oft mistaken philosophy of quantity over quality, yes there are thousands of characters but when most of them are about as interesting as talking to a delusional gamer about how politics are ruining the games industry then maybe they have no reason to exist. You have a side NPC who is trans just so Bioware can give them a barely thought out reason why they joined the initiative because that’s the only backstory they can think of for these inconsequential characters. Nearly every minor character can be asked the question of why they joined and none of them have anything interesting to say as to why they left their whole life behind, ‘I kinda live it, do it’ professes Gil, the ships engineer. I see. Don’t take this the wrong way Gil but you’re a moron.

‘This looks awfully similar to that other desert planet.’

Traveling back to the trans character because this is something that needs addressing. So you meet this character for the first time and about a minute later she laments about how she left her old life behind because she didn’t like to be called by her dead name (biological gender given name) and traveled to another galaxy to get away from that. A deadname she actively gives to you. Gives to you after just meeting her. Gives to you after explaining that was the main reason she LEFT a GALAXY behind. Did no one see a problem there? I understand that the writer might be a cis male but if you plan to write a trans character, you consult actual trans people. It’s like the character exists just so the writer can pat themselves on the back for a job well done concerning diversity.

Going from character to character is like jumping between writing styles, clearly the game has an army of writers but there’s no coherence between them. One NPC could have well written dialogue and the next one you encounter may be totally incoherent. It’s a game with too many fingers in the pie, designed by committee. The biggest character blunder is the introduction to a new alien species. That scene speaks for itself and no further comments need to be made over how deep my head was in my hands. The more prominent issue with the character writing exists mainly within side quests and one note appearances, fortunately the main cast are given ample time to develop, despite some extremely questionable lines here and there. But for a game that asks you to spend so much time listening to dialogue tied to the side missions, they have no right to be as poorly handled as they are. Quality over quantity, the game could have had half as much content and it would be a better game for it.

Tone

Tone is an extremely subjective topic, therefore the tone of Mass Effect Andromeda has the chance to both infuriate and entertain. From the off it’s apparent that there’s been a huge tonal shift with this new entry, to an almost entirely lighthearted and, one could say, juvenile tone. I’m sure some people will claim it’s ‘millennial’ targeted, any chance to blame us darn millennials is one taken but I’d rather just call it rubbish, which might be the same thing to be fair. At points the game turns into a comedy, sorry ‘comedy’ because frankly about 90% of the jokes fall absolutely flat, to such an extreme that fanfiction comes to mind far too often while playing. Some corkers include a scene where the crew of the tempest have a meeting which ends with everyone leaving, Ryder whines ‘I didn’t say meeting adjourned… meeting adjourned’, in theory it’s a joke that could work but in execution it’s just cringe-worthy. As is shouting ‘speedbump’ when running over things in the Mako, and don’t get me started on the ambient battle dialogue. What often constitutes a joke in the game regularly boils down to a casual line read like it’s a punchline, a punchline to nothing. It’s like they had ‘joke setups’ written down on a to-do list and never got around to it.

I have no problem with the game being more lighthearted, Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC proved how effective that can work…..when you have good writing. Comedy is also hugely subjective so maybe others will get kicks out of it, Liam’s loyalty quest sure has some of the most genuinely well thought out jokes that provs how it could work, but to me it honestly feels very childish for huge portions of the game.

Space, the final frontier. ‘But not the FINAL frontier, right hah hah’ – Liam

I could continue, we didn’t even cover the wild inconsistency of the writing and how disjointed a lot of scenes feel. However it’s worth noting that the game has qualities elsewhere….. perhaps not the music, but the gameplay has never been better and the visuals look outstanding at times. Is that good enough in a month of Zelda, Horizon and Nier? That’s up to you. It gives me no pleasure to have to write this piece, I’ve never been quite so disheartened playing a sequel and while the game isn’t terrible it’s unremarkable in just about every way, and that’s not Mass Effect. Yes it really does say that on the box.

One day it struck Oliver what his true calling in life was; to become a millionaire celebrity while doing nothing. Unfortunately YouTube has enough of those, so until then Oliver will have to deal with writing about games. He has experience writing for several games sites, talking nonsense and working on a novel when sanity can gain traction. Currently dancing through life until the impending death of the sun consumes us all. Likes sandwiches.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Miyakutsune

    May 26, 2019 at 10:49 am

    I loved everything about the game and disagre with you entirely. Ithink its the most beautiful and amazing game i have ever played, i am shock at how stunning the game is and am also shocked that anyone could dislike such an amazing beautiful game.

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‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Ramps Up Its Roster With The Kombat Pack

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Our favourite brutal and bloody fighting game series Mortal Kombat is back with a new announcement surrounding brand new characters that will be joining the fight in the latest instalment of the franchise, Mortal Kombat 11.

During Gamescom 2019, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios introduced the Kombat Pack via an official reveal trailer. The Kombat Pack will feature six new fighters who will be introduced to the game over the next six months. Shang Tsung and Nightwolf are the latest additions who have already been released but the trailer also shows off four new and exciting additions to the world of Mortal Kombat.

The first up will be the Terminator T-800 who will be released on October 8th 2019 to coincide with the October release of the next Terminator film, Terminator: Dark Fate.  The trailer shows that the character model features the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than just going for the Terminator style metallic endoskeleton. This is an interesting choice that leads to an incredibly impressive character model of Arnie. I’m really hoping that he will start to decay into his metal form as he is beaten down in the game but only time will tell.

The next release will be well known Mortal Kombat character Sindel, whose appearance fans have been waiting for after she was confirmed to be coming to the game in late May. Sindel will join the fight on November 26th, 2019.

The next character is another interesting one: DC comics top villain Joker. Joker is a pop culture icon who is no stranger to fighting games so his inclusion isn’t that much of a surprise. His physical appearance is somewhat unexpected however. He seems quite young and dashing, not what is typically expected when one thinks of the Joker. It is always fun to see unique interpretations of well known characters so hopefully the Joker will not disappoint when he becomes playable. This won’t be for a while though as he isn’t slated for release until January 28th, 2020.

The final character from the Kombat Pack will be Spawn from Todd McFarlane’s comic book of the same name. McFarlane already suggested that Spawn would be joining the game way back in December 2018 before Mortal Kombat 11 was even released, so this one isn’t much of surprise. The release date for Spawn is the furthest, coming to the game on March 17th,2020.

One fighter not mentioned is Ash from the Evil Dead, who has been being teased for sometime.His lack of inclusion here doesn’t rule him out of the game just yet. Here’s hoping that on top of the Kombat Pack, we will also get a few extra fighters here and there over the next few months.

The Kombat Pack will be $39.99 (those who purchased the premium edition of the game for $99.99 will have access to this content once it becomes available) to get all six fighters, one-week early access and various skins and gear sets. The DLC fighters as well as the skins and gear will all be available for anyone to purchase following the one –week period of early access.

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Limited Edition ‘Twin Peaks’ Box Set Includes a Whopping 21-Discs

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Next year marks 30 years since David Lynch and Mark Frost changed television forever with their groundbreaking series Twin Peaks and to celebrate they are releasing a new, exhaustive box set which collects all of the pieces of Lynch’s quintessential mystery thriller and packs it into a whopping 21 disks.

The set, available only on Blu-ray, includes all three television seasons and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me, as well as the film’s deleted scenes (The Missing Pieces). It also includes new interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, unedited versions of several musical performances, and so much more!

If that’s not enough, there will also be a special 4K UHD disc included in the set, containing a new ultra-high def transfer overseen by David Lynch of both the American and international versions of the 1990 Twin Peaks pilot, as well as “Part 8” of A Limited Event Series, titled “Gotta Light?” The set will also include all existing special features from the previous releases of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery and Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series.

If you’re not salivating yet, it should also be mentioned that Lynch has confirmed the addition of 20 hours of additional features for die-hard Lynch fans to delve into.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set

Last but not least, the collection comes in a beautiful box which the official press release says, once opened, a depiction of the infamous Red Room is revealed with its brown and crème chevron floor and brilliant red curtains. Sitting in front of the red curtain will be an exclusive die-cut acrylic figure of Laura Palmer kissing Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Fans who can’t afford the set will be able to purchase a more standard collection on Blu-ray and DVD, titled Twin Peaks: The Television Collection which will be released on October 15.

The From Z to A set costs $139.99 and is available for pre-order here. The Blu-ray TV collection costs $91.01, and the DVD TV collection costs $50.99.

While your waiting for your set to arrive, be sure to check out our insanely popular Twin Peaks podcast, The Lodgers, hosted by Simon Howell and Kate Rennebohm.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set
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‘Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’ Trailer Reveals New Monsters and More!

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I’m guessing we are not alone in choosing Monster Hunter World as one of the best games of 2018. In our review, Matthew Ponthier wrote, “Monster Hunter World is a hallmark entry into the storied franchise and is a title that will light a fire in the belly of any triumphant Hunter”.

And so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise either that we are hotly anticipating Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, the massive expansion to Capcom’s best-selling game to date. The latest trailer revealed this week during Gamescom 2019 gives a glimpse of returning and new monsters, including a closer look at Velkhana, the mysterious Elder Dragon that’s new to the series. Additionally, new options will be available to help players progress through the main World game and further encourage existing players to aid other hunters in the community.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Iceborne will include a multitude of new monsters and subspecies for hunters to challenge, and now, two more have been confirmed to join the upcoming massive expansion’s lineup. The brute wyvern Brachydios is a returning fan-favorite known for its explosive slime attacks, while Namielle, a mysterious all-new Elder Dragon, unleashes powerful water-based attacks. More details about the new flagship monster Velkhana have also emerged. This Elder Dragon’s icy breath can cause frozen pillars to form on the battlefield, which hunters can use to create exciting opportunities for new hunting strategies.

 A free Guardian Armor set will be provided to all hunters, both World and Iceborne, as part of an upcoming title update on September 4 in time for the launch of the expansion. This upgradable armor set offers increased defense and skills that help hunters survive in the New World. The buffed armor can be equipped from the beginning of the World game, and is especially geared towards newer hunters to help them progress through the main story.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Last but not least, there will be another gameplay feature new to the series that focuses on Low Rank and High Rank player assistance by creating a further incentive for the community to help fellow hunters. Helpful players will get rewarded with exclusive in-game Pendants and Trophies for assisting other hunters in ranks below their own.

The upcoming Iceborne expansion will be coming to the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, globally on September 6th, 2019, with a PC release to follow in January 2020.

Watch the trailer below.

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‘Control’ Launch Trailer Cranks Up The Crazy

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With the release date of Control fast approaching, a new launch trailer has been revealed during Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany.

Remedy continues its trend of creating games with mind bending and bizarre realities with Control, a third person action game set in a world where supernatural forces are present. The otherworldly entities take over a government facility in New York tasked with containing supernatural threats known as the Federal Bureau of Control. The player takes on the role of Jesse Faden, the new Director of the Bureau, who has her own personal mission as she sets about finding her brother who was taken by the Bureau when they were children. The trailer shows Jesse as she wanders through the Bureau, set appropriately to Ruelle’s “Madness” as she falls through various dimensions and realities. Jesse has her own powers for the player to play around with as well as a weapon known as the Service Weapon, a supernatural firearm that can transform and change to the wielders will. We get a good look at the Service Weapon in the launch trailer and it looks like a particularly interesting element that make for intriguing shooting mechanics.

To celebrate the games launch, 505 Games will be hosting a charity stream in aid of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, a research hospital for various diseases and cancers affecting children. The stream will run from 8am to 4pm PDT on August 27th. It’s all to raise money for a brilliant cause so to check it out and to donate, go to the link here. Control will also be coming to PAX West next weekend from August 30th to September 2nd, so make sure to check it out if you’re attending.

Control will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows via the Epic Store on August 27th, 2019.

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Fantastic Fest 2019: Second Wave Adds ‘Knives Out’, ‘Parasite’ and More

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This year’s Fantastic Fest is shaping up with one of the strongest lineups in recent years and if the first wave announcement didn’t impress you, the second wave of films announced today will have you running to buy tickets.

Wave two brings a ton of exciting new titles including Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out, Bong Joon-ho‘s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, as well as Richard Stanley‘s The Color Out of Space and the latest from filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead, Synchronic.

This year, Fantastic Fest will also be spotlighting Mexican genre films such as The Black Pit of Dr. M and The Ship of Monsters—and, the festival will also include a sidebar dedicated to LGBTQ+ representation in genre cinema.

Check out the full second wave film lineup below. Fantastic Fest runs September 19-26. Be sure to check back as we will be covering the event once again this year.

Abou Leila
Algeria, France, Qatar, 2019
North American Premiere, 139 min
Director – Amin Sidi-Boumédiène
In the midst of the Algerian Civil War, Lotfi ventures into the desert with his lifelong friend S., who hopes to find and kill the elusive, dangerous terrorist Abou Leila.

The Antenna
Turkey, 2019
US Premiere, 115 min
Director – Orçun Behram
Somewhere within an unnamed city in Turkey, the residents of an apartment block await the installation of their new antenna as ordered by the central government. No one can prepare them for the evil that will be unleashed.

The Black Pit Of Dr. M
Mexico, 1959
Repertory Screening, 82 min
Director – Fernando Méndez
Two doctors make a pact on behalf of science: Whichever one dies first will return to share the secrets of the afterlife. This pact will not end well.

Bliss
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 80 min
Director – Joe Begos
While trying to complete her latest painting, a starving artist facing a lack of inspiration spirals out of control in a blaze of blood-soaked, drug-fueled glory.

Blood Machines
France, USA, 2019
North American Premiere, 50 min
Director – Seth Ickerman
The wild sequel to the Carpenter Brut music video, Turbo Killer, shoots you into a turbulent psychedelic adventure of galactic hunters tracking down the soul of a spaceship set to a killer synthwave soundtrack.

Butt Boy
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Tyler Cornack
Writer/director/comedian Tyler Cornack’s Butt Boy introduces us to Chip, a middle-aged man whose first prostate exam stirs feelings deep inside leading to an addiction that can only be shown to Fantastic Fest audiences.

Climate Of The Hunter
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Mickey Reece
The “Soderbergh of the Sticks,” Mickey Reece, returns to Fantastic Fest with his 27th feature. Two beautiful sisters vie for the affections of a man who may or may not be a vampire.

Color Out Of Space
USA, 2019
US Premiere, 111 min
Director – Richard Stanley
Unimaginable terrors befall the Gardner family after a meteorite lands on their front lawn in Richard Stanley’s entrancing, horrific adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story.

Iron Fists And Kung Fu Kicks
Australia, 2019
North American Premiere, 107 min
Director – Serge Ou
From the Shaw Brothers to The Matrix, this wild documentary tells the story of how kung fu films conquered the world from the 1960s to now.

Knives Out
USA, 2019
Special Presentation, 130 min
Director – Rian Johnson
In attendance – Director Rian Johnson
From acclaimed writer, director Rian Johnson comes Knives Out, a fresh and modern take on the classic “whodunnit” mystery genre.

The Lodge
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 108 min
Directors – Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala
Five years after Goodnight Mommy stunned Fantastic Fest audiences, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are back with another disturbing psychological twister about a brother and sister spending Christmas with their shadowy soon-to-be stepmother.

The Long Walk
Laos, Spain, Singapore, 2019
US Premiere, 115 min
Director – Mattie Do
In attendance – Director Mattie Do
An old Laotian hermit discovers that the ghost of a road accident victim can transport him back in time fifty years to the moment of his mother’s painful death..

Lyle
2014, USA
Repertory Screening, 65 min
Director – Stewart Thorndike
In attendance – Director Stewart Thorndike
After the loss of her child, a young woman begins to suspect that her neighbors might be part of a satanic cult and that she might be their next target.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
USA, 1985
Repertory Screening, 87 min
Director – Jack Sholder
In attendance – Actors Mark Patton and Kim Myers
Jesse (Mark Patton) is the new kid on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger might not be the only monster in the closet in this much discussed but under-appreciated queer horror classic.

Nobadi
Austria, 2019
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Karl Markovics
In a retirement allotment in Vienna, a crabby 91-year-old finds both himself and his humanity when he hires an Afghani refugee to help him in Karl Markovics’ remarkable and poignant third feature.

Parasite
South Korea, 2019
Texas Premiere, 131 min
Director – Bong Joon-ho
Bong Joon-ho’s seventh feature — about an unemployed Korean family conning their way out of their basement apartment — is a roller coaster ride of laughs, gasps, horror, tears, and perfection.

Patrick
Belgium, 2019
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Tim Mielants
Patrick is not having an easy time. First his domineering father passed away and now his favorite hammer is missing. Before the day is out, Patrick’s search will lead him to discover answers to the questions he didn’t even know existed.

Phil Tippett – Mad Dreams And Monsters
France, 2019
International Premiere, 80 min
Directors – Gilles Penso & Alexandre Poncet
After their documentary Creature Designers – The Frankenstein Complex, French journalist Alexandre Poncet and filmmaker Gilles Penso deliver an in-depth, sad, and beautiful documentary about the stop motion and VFX artist Phil Tippett, a man who changed the landscape of visual effects in film.

The Platform
Spain, 2019
US Premiere, 90 min
Director – Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
In attendance – Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Somewhere in the future exists The Platform, a vertically tiered prison where the upper levels have access to exquisite food and the lower levels fight for survival. Level assignments are random, but how long can a prisoner’s luck hold? One man is about to find out.

Prey
1977, United Kingdom
Repertory Screening, 78 min
Director – Norman J. Warren
Jessica and Josephine find more than their relationship at stake when they’re chosen by a shape-shifting alien as his target for an observational study.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street
USA, 2019
US Premiere, 100 min
Directors – Roman Chimienti & Tyler Jensen
In attendance – Directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen
More than thirty years after its release and his departure from Hollywood, Mark Patton (star of A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge), sets the record straight on the famously queer horror sequel in this fabulous, surprising, and eye-opening documentary.

The Ship Of Monsters
Mexico, 1960
Repertory Screening, 81 min
Director – Rogelio A. González
Two Venusian women and their robot servant are on a mission to find suitable candidates to repopulate their planet. Soon their ship is filled with bizarre specimens from across the universe, leading to an adventure like no other!

Synchronic
USA, 2019
US Premiere, 96 min
Directors – Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
In attendance – Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Two paramedics find their world ripped apart when they start encountering deaths linked to the otherworldly effects of a new designer drug called Synchronic.

Trampa Infernal
Mexico, 1989
Repertory Screening, 77 min
Director – Pedro Galindo III
In Mexico’s most notorious unseen video-era masterblast, a crew of toxically masculine bear murderers runs afoul of a forest-dwelling war veteran wearing a mannequin mask and Freddy Krueger glove. Entertainment ensues!!

The True Adventures Of Wolfboy
USA, 2019
North American Premiere, 88 min
Director – Martin Krej?í
Suffering from hypertrichosis — which covers him with animal-like fur — Paul knows he’s not like other kids. But a seemingly random package from his estranged mother will send him on a journey of self-discovery alongside extraordinary characters.

The Vast Of Night
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 90 min
Director – Andrew Patterson
A rural 1950s radio DJ and a telephone operator uncover a strange signal that could change everything in this stunning science fiction debut feature.

VFW
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Joe Begos
In attendance – Director Joe Begos
In the near future, a new drug called Hype has turned America into a war zone. The addicted are more mutant than human, and they’ve set their sights on assaulting a VFW post in Joe Begos’ star-studded latest.

VHYES
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 71 min
Director – Jack Henry Robbins
In attendance – Director Jack Henry Robbins
This bizarre retro comedy, shot entirely on VHS and Beta, takes us back to when 12-year-old Ralph, over one formative week, mistakenly records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents’ wedding tape.

Vivarium
Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, 2019
US Premiere, 98 min
Director – Lorcan Finnegan
When young couple Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) drive out to a maze of temptingly affordable houses in the suburbs, they find themselves unable to leave.

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Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

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