Huluween Film Fest – 105

Huluween, if you’re oblivious, is Hulu’s month-long Halloween celebration. They have loads of featured horror films and TV shows plastered to the front of the website and their apps. In addition to this, they’re showcasing eight independent short films. Those are going to be what I’m covering today. If you’d like to watch these before I talk about them, you can watch them in an official playlist here.

If you’d like to support GEEK THIS and get a free trial of Hulu, please use my affiliate link here. I’ll receive a small monetary kickback for each person who continues their service after the trial is over.

URNDirected and written by Ben Steiner; Produced by Dan Dixon

THE RIZZLEDirected by Josh Tanner; Written and produced by Josh Tanner & Jade Van Der Lei

THE HUGDirected, written, & produced by Jack Bishop and Justin Nijm

THE BOX – Directed by Santiago C. Tapia; Written by Jessica Curtright & Santiago Tapia; Produced by: David Moore

LIPPYDirected & written by Lucy Campbell; Produced by Garry Paton

HAUNTED, HORRIFYING SOUNDS FROM BEYOND THE GRAVEDirected by Rodney Ascher; Written by Basil Quartermass; Produced by Tyler Glodt

THE GILLYMUCKDirected & written by Dan Samiljan; Produced by Noelle Hubbell

CARVEDDirected & written by Justin Harding; Produced by Kris Elsley, Dale Andrews, Rob Brunner & Jason Kennedy

Are You Afraid of the Dark? – 104

It’s October, the podcast is back, and it’s that time of the year where we all just want something spooky to watch. This week, I’m starting off the season right by talking a little about a show from my childhood – and possibly yours – Are You Afraid of the Dark. I hope you enjoy the return from my unexpected two-month break.

After recording the episode, I found this amazing, updated re-imagining of the Are You Afraid of the Dark intro. It’s the audio you hear at the end of the episode. Please check out more of the videos and projects created by SNEAKYBOY on YouTube. I did not ask permission to use the audio in the episode, but am in the process of getting in touch with the SNEAKYBOY team to let them know.

Geek, Sundry, and a World of Slaughter

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

WATCHING

Alpha (Geek & Sundry/Nerdist)

I’ve been a fan of Nerdist and Geek & Sundry for a few years now and not too long ago they released a joint subscription service called Alpha. For $5 per month you get access to original content by both companies. This includes shows currently available on YouTube, like Tabletop, Critical Role, and some others, but there’s Alpha-only content like G&S Painter’s Guild with Will Friedle, Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen, and Game the Game to name a couple I’ve watched.

If you’re unfamiliar with Geek & Sundry or Nerdist, I would be incredibly surprised, but to give you the long and short, they create content for geeks and nerds. Self-explanatory, I know, but I really think what they’re doing is special. There is a genuine love for that niche of pop culture and it shows.

The shows I mentioned above are only a few of the ones I’ve taken the time to watch. One of the others that is really hitting home is Starter Kit. The gist of this show is to walk newbies through different RPG systems and games – Dungeons & Dragons, Cypher, 7th Sea, Numenera, and Pheonix: Dawn Command.

I’ve mentioned in recent entries of GTFF that I’ve become more interested in playing D&D, so Starter Kit is something I can’t wait to dive into more. So far I’ve only begun to watch the Numenera series due to my familiarity with the Cypher System that is used. And there may or may not be another reason why I’m brushing up on that knowledge…

Talkin’ Toons is great, too. I’ve always been a fan of voice acting and seeing Rob Paulsen, the voice of so many characters, sitting with other amazingly talented actors, really lights me up. I recently sat down and watched the episode with Paul Dini, Kevin Conroy, and Alan Burnett. These guys not only love Batman, but they love how they shaped a generation with their depiction of the Dark Knight. There’s so much heart in that conversation and so many more conversations that I can’t wait to watch and listen to.

I’m currently on a two-month trial of the service, but as of right now, there’s a good chance I’ll stick around for $5 every single month.


PLAYING

Small World (Days of Wonder)

No, this isn’t that creepy ride with the creepy dolls singing their creepy song in a creepy tunnel. This Small World is all about winning the most coins and taking over your opponents in order to do so.

I’ve eyeballed Small World for the last few years, since I started playing (and collecting) board games. It was that elusive one that I wasn’t sure I wanted to drop $50 on just to see if I liked it. Luckily it was in the Clearance section at Target for $15. And boy oh boy would I have paid the original price for it!

I’m not the best at strategy games, but I love them. This one’s a little different because it isn’t always about how many tokens you have on the board; it’s about utilizing your tokens and power-ups to get the most coins by the end of the game.

Here’s a good rundown on how exactly to play it. I’m not great at explaining board game rules, so I’ll leave it to the professionals. I always forget something.

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I’ve played it with two, three, and four players at one time and it’s always fun, especially once everyone understands how it works. My favorite combo is Spirit Ghouls. Or maybe it’s Berserk Amazons?


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Fire and Steele

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly series meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

It’s always nice to take a break from regular geek content. By “regular” I simply mean things focused on comics, superheroes, and movies. You know… essentially everything I talk about on the podcast and the blog.

This week, though, I’ve been diving back into the world of blacksmithing. It’s been one of those quiet interests I’ve had since I was a boy, but I never knew how I would go about learning the craft, so I didn’t pursue it. Years later, I’m even more fascinated by the shaping of steel.

Forged In Fire (History/Hulu)

One of the biggest shows on TV in regards to blacksmithing and knife-making in particular is Forged in Fire. I found out about this show a year ago and I was instantly intrigued. Since then, I’ve kept up as best as I can, watching each season that hits Hulu.
Forged In Fire host and judges.
What I find great about the show is the time frame in which these blacksmiths have to create not just a beautiful knife, but one that is functional – it has to slash through something, take a beating in a chop test, and be a killing weapon. And it’s not like they’re handed a bar of perfect steel and set free to make what they want. Nope. I’ve seen them salvage steel from cars and chainsaws, as well as create their own in canisters. And did I mention they only get about 5 hours to complete the entire knife in sweltering heat? Yeah.

Alec Steele (YouTube)

I cannot remember how I came upon Alec Steele’s YouTube channel. It was most likely recommended to me on the home page and I thought, “What the heck. I’ll take a look.” If you’re even moderately interested in the blacksmithing craft, Alec’s channel is a must-watch.
Alec Steele
He’s got the most positive attitude of anyone on the internet. No joke. He sets his mind to something and even if he messes up, he gets right back on the saddle and works on it until it’s finished. I’ve seen him scrap projects he’s spend days on because the shape isn’t right. He’s serious about his craft and smiles every step of the way. Alec is focused on learning. Not just how to be a better blacksmith, but how to be a better maker. It’s incredibly inspiring, even though I don’t have a physical craft. And did I mention he’s only 20? The guy’s a beast!

Those aren’t the only reasons why I watch (and sometimes binge-watch) his channel. His process is extraordinarily educational and entertaining. And every single build turns into a thing of beauty. His love for the craft, as well as the time and attention to detail shines through every single time.


So, yeah. This week’s Finally Friday was different than the usual format, but it was never meant to be one thing other than a space to share what we’re geeking out about. You can geek out on most anything!

Want to write your own Finally Friday entry? Drop us a line! We’d love to have more contributors!

Hawkeye, Infinity War, and No Thank You, Evil!

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

READING

Old Man Hawkeye (Marvel Comics)

My comics reading is rarely up to date. When I found out about Old Man Hawkeye, the first thing I thought was, “Oh, this is just a rip-off of Old Man Logan.” I’ve never read Old Man Logan, but with the titles being so similar, it’s hard not to think that’s what was going on.

In this series, Clint Barton is one of the few heroes left alive after Red Skull takes over the US and breaks it into new territories governed my other baddies. Clint is on a revenge mission and I have know idea where the series is going, given that I’m only 3 issues in. The whole feel of the book is wild west. Hawkeye is a B-level comic character – let’s be honest – but writer Ethan Sacks takes that and makes good use of it. Marco Checchetto’s artwork is absolutely on point and cinematic. (Yes, I’d love to see a Logan-inspired movie version of this. Sue me.)

WATCHING

Avengers: Infinity War (Disney/Marvel Studios)

I watched this twice in theaters, but I still think there are secrets and stories that need to be unlocked or revisited. Since getting the digital copy of Infinity War I’ve been burning through the featurettes and other bonus content. My favorite by far has been the Director’s Roundtable featuring some of the most notable directors of MCU films since Iron Man. Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk), Kenneth Branagh (Thor), Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger), Shane Black (Iron Man 3), Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange), and Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming) weren’t part of the discussion. While I would have loved to see everyone in the same room, the ones that were there had incredible respect for each other.

I still have yet to watch the film with the Russo’s commentary track, but I’m looking forward to it. By the way, it’s still a good movie!

PLAYING

No Thank You, Evil (Monte Cook Games)

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been learning more about tabletop role playing games. This week I decided to open up a game that I backed on Kickstarter a couple of years ago called No Thank You, Evil. This is a kid-friendly RPG that I can play with both of my girls – the oldest is 9 and the youngest is 4 – and it keeps their interest.

The overall concept of the game is that each player creates a character, much like Dungeons & Dragons, other than these are children that can be ninjas, astronauts, princes, superheroes, or anything else they can think of. They also get a companion – a horse, robot dog, and many others are available – that will travel with them through the Land of Storia, which they travel to through secret portals in their own world. After that, adventure ensues.

We started a story/campaign from scratch that I created off the top of my head and they had a blast. If you have kids and want to get them into tabletop RPGs while keeping it age-appropriate, this is definitely a great way to start.

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A Quiet Place & The Adventure Zone

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

WATCHING

A Quiet Place

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

John Krasinski will always have a place in my heart as Jim Halpert from The Office. When I heard he had co-written and directed a horror movie, I’ve got to be totally honest: I was skeptical. Then I saw the trailer and knew I needed to see it.

A Quiet Place is easily one of my favorite films of 2018. While it doesn’t totally fall into the horror genre for me, it’s a great, tense directorial debut for John Krasinski. I was lucky enough to have taken my wife with me to see it while it was still in theaters and I’ll tell you, I have never been a theater that silent in my entire life. For a movie that has a rough total of 3 minutes of dialogue, it used sound (and the lack thereof) very effectively. I was impressed.

We recently picked up a copy on Blu-Ray and I introduced my oldest daughter to it. She’s been interested in watching horror movies and this felt like a decent place to start. Come to find out, it was the perfect starter movie for her. It had some good scares, a heart-wrenching emotional scene, and a good female lead in the way of not just Emily Blunt, but Millicent Simmonds as Krasinski and Blunt’s daughter.

I highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of their horror experience. It is simply a well-crafted and well-executed film.

LISTENING

The Adventure Zone

For whatever reason, I’ve become very interested in the idea of playing Dungeons & Dragons. I don’t really have a good group of people to play with locally, so I’ve been enjoying The Adventure Zone, which is a podcast hosted by The McElroys. They’ve got a few other shows between them, most notably My Brother, My Brother, and Me , but I’ve never really listened to them.

In The Adventure Zone, the three brothers and their dad play through their own homebrew D&D campaign and comedy ensues. It’s definitely not family-friendly, but it is absolutely hysterical and is probably what games would be like if I sat down with David, Mike, and Adam. (Minus the strong language, of course.) This seems like a good introduction to what a D&D campaign could be if everyone didn’t take themselves too seriously and wanted to dabble.

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SDCC 2018 Trailer Reactions – 102

It’s the week after San Diego Comic-Con and we’ve got trailers! Why not spend the entire episode giving my initial reactions?!

NEWS STORIES

  • Dave Jackson inducted into the Academy of Podcasters’ Hall of Fame at Podcast Movement 2018
  • James Gunn fired from Disney and Marvel Studios over decade-old tweets

TRAILER LINKS

Power Rangers, The Flash, & Kingdomino

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

READING

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (IDW Publishing)

Welcome to Angel Grove. Home to the Power Rangers and weekly monster attacks. Tommy Oliver was the new kid in town when evil doer, Rita Repulsa, swooped in and made him the Green Ranger. Now, free from her mind control, Tommy struggles to find balance between the plights of high school, making new friends, and the dangers that come with being a hero.

Seeing as my childhood was spent in the 1990s, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was a staple. Not only did I watch the TV show every chance I got and played with as many of the toys as I could, I spent every single school recess session running around with my friends, pretending to be one of the Rangers. (20+ years later, I still don’t know why Tad wanted to be a dog…?)

As I’ve gotten older and had children of my own, I’ve looked back at the original series with… a little bit of embarrassment. There’s still that nostalgia, though, and this series from IDW has somehow captured that while updating the original Rangers  – Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Trini, Billy, and Tommy – and so many other beloved characters for a new generation. I can’t wait to finish reading these and pass them along to my daughter. I think she’s going to like them.

WATCHING

The Flash – Season 4 (CW/Netflix)

Out of all the DC/CW shows out there, The Flash has been my favorite. It’s kept me entertained consistently since the first season and after binge-watching the first three seasons on Netflix, I was glad to see the fourth pop up relatively soon after. This season, though, feels a little off-kilter to me and I’m only halfway through. The introduction of Ralph Dibny (AKA the Elongated Man) was fun at first, but he’s become annoying. The marriage of Barry and Iris doesn’t feel natural. The Thinker doesn’t feel like a well-thought-out villain. Maybe things will shape up by the end of the season, but it feels clunky right now. Fingers crossed.

PLAYING

Kingdomino (Blue Orange Games)

David Hunt and his wife, Sabrina, introduced my wife and I to Kingdomino a couple of weeks ago and we immediately went out and picked up a copy. We’d never heard of it and I assume you might not have either, so here’s a rundown of the game courtesy of Board Game Geek:

In Kingdomino, you are a Lord seeking new lands in which to expand your kingdom. You must explore all the lands, wheat fields, lakes, and mountains in order to spot the best plots. But be careful as some other Lords also covet these lands…

Dominoes with a kingdom building twist. Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. The game mechanics for obtaining the tiles is clever: the order of who picks first depends on which tile was previously chosen. Make sure to secure tiles with crowns- these royal treasures help to multiply the worth of your kingdom at the end of the game! The game ends when each player has completed a 5×5 grid, and then points are counted based on number of connecting tiles and crowns.

The game mechanics feel weird at first, but once you get playing and understand the strategy, it’s easily a blast. We’re actually using it as a tool in our homeschooling arsenal with our oldest daughter and we all love it.

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