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Much of Arcanum deals with Item Crafting and character building — many of the items in the game can be used to build other items. It contains a very detailed setting and a well-designed scenario, as well as vast amounts of political backstory in the game's libraries, newspapers, and legends. The game retains a cult following similar to its cousin Fallout , and is additionally often very favorably compared to Baldur's Gate II and Planescape: Torment , although Arcanum 's detail focuses more on its setting's history and mechanisms than on its playable characters.
The IFS Zephyr has just begun her maiden voyage, a marvelous, high-society venture through the clouds. Aboard, the cream of high society enjoys the flight, playing chess, sipping fine wine, etc. Sadly, nothing gold can last forever — and, out of the blue, the airship is attacked by a pair of ogres flying primitive fighter planes. Within moments, the vessel goes down in flames.
There's only one survivor, the player character — and, as they crawl out of the wreckage, a dying gnome begs them to take his ring to "the boy". Immediately after the gnome succumbs to his wounds, the player character emerges from the rubble and is approached by a man named Virgil , who claims to have found the reincarnation of a long lost prophet As they journey through Arcanum, the player can join up with a number of companions.
Although their personalities are often not as well-defined as those of some non-playable characters in the game, many of them are very nicely voiced, and they all contribute to the plot and interact with each other. Many of them are hidden, and many of them require very specific alignment, charisma stats and dialogue from the player before they even suggest joining the party. Similarly, the player often needs to meet very specific aptitude requirements before certain quests are even mentioned, meaning that no two playthroughs are the same and that each new player character will have a unique experience.
Arcanum has a level cap of 50, which encourages players to specialize in very specific types of magic or technology. However, a no-CD-patch combined with a level cap remover patch can quickly fix that. Uniquely, knowledge of technology in Arcanum disables magical aptitude, and vice versa, so that the player will always have to choose between the two or find a very, very careful balance and eventually be shunned by the other branch.
Remarkably, the game is still being tested and patched by a squadron of devoted fans today. The game is now available on GOG Dot Com , with the notorious bugs fixed and the game adapted to modern systems. In August , it made it onto Steam as well.
A sequel — titled Journey to the Centre of Arcanum and using Half-Life 2 's Source engine — was in its initial planning stages , but Sierra and Valve had disagreements, and Troika Games ' dissolution sealed the game's fate. This game provides examples of the following: The PC gets better reaction from other characters including shopkeepers who give them discounts if he or she helped the inhabitants of a given settlement.
Additionally, characters sometimes mention specific deeds of the PC and act accordingly. Of course, evil deeds get attention and respect of shady characters including party members who base their decision to join the PC on his or her karma meter. Absurdly Low Level Cap: The level cap of 50 can be reached before you've even finished half the game, quite easily at that.
And because followers only level-up with player's character, it can get really tricky to find and recruit them before you've surpassed their starting level, which in turn affects their competence. Patches addressed this by allowing the experience meter to roll over endlessly at 50, granting no bonus for your character but allowing followers to keep leveling up until they hit the cap.
Franklin Payne combines this with Gentleman Adventurer. Anyone banished into the Void becomes this. Time seems to pass, but no one gets any older.
It is unknown whether this quality only applies to beings from Arcanum. The old man in the opening sequence who provides you with your mission goals before dying. Averted, oddly enough—the game begins on January 1, , despite this being another world.
Cynthia Wit has no idea that she's a lycanthrope, or that she's responsible for butchering the rabbits that her father farms. She tells you that she's been hoping to catch the culprit herself, but all she remembers is feeling terribly exhausted, falling asleep before the attacker arrives and waking up the next morning to find another dead rabbit.
There is a militant nomadic group in the Isle of Despair which consists solely of women who couldn't stand the misoginyst order in the encampment. While you can't have a complete female party in game, you can still have a party which consists of the female PC, Jayna, Raven and Z'an Al'urin though you have to be extra charismatic to hold together the latter two , plus the temporary followers like Swyft and Lady Druella at some point in time. Near endgame Nasrudin summarizes the moral of the story to Virgil: The other Aesop is "Even when life is suffering, it's still worth living.
Torian Kel's fellow Gray Legionnaires; undead warriors whose bodies have rotted away. They will live on At least it's given him time to consider how much of an ass he was. One of the Isle of Despair's inmates will offer to tell you a story, which ends with the revelation that he's the rightful heir to the throne of Cumbria, deposed during a coup. And Man Grew Proud: Vendigroth was the height of humankind's technological development. The city was so advanced that they didn't take the threats of a powerful mage seriously enough and he ended up wiping them off the map.
On the other hand, the moment he started to cause troubles, the scientists of Vendigroth created a device perfectly capable of killing god-like mages of the Age of Legends. And Your Reward Is Clothes: The clothes happen to be the ones the mage was wearing.
The Heal Poison potion and its tech equivalent Poison Cure. Poison is not that damaging to begin with, so most of the time it's easier to just wait it out and heal the lost HP.
Only one character in the game even uses a poison strong enough to actually kill you. Non-tech characters might not even have to wait, as NPCs with White Necromancy spells, including Virgil once he reaches level five, can negate both the poison and the damage.
For most of the game, Kerghan kills, tortures, and generally acts in an indisputably evil way. But when you are told his motivations for doing so, particularly when Virgil confirms what he has to say , you can easily understand his point of view.
Which is kind of disturbing given that he's an Omnicidal Maniac. The manual is written like this. Mostly in an in-universe style. Some of the books and newspaper articles you can find in-game are written in a similar fashion. In Vendigroth, you can find newspapers reporting about an elven wizard who threatened them and how they told him to screw himself.
Vendigroth is now a giant lifeless wasteland — guess who's responsible for that. Guns are some of the weakest weapons in the game, particularly those not crafted and all of those sold in shops. It isn't until much later on when you get really big guns that they begin to hold their own as a weapon class, and even then most gunslingers will never hope to match the damage output of a basic melee fighter.
Your total number of followers is governed by your Charisma. This maxes out at six. Simeon Tor is the head mage of Tulla. He gives you the quest to find Pelojian. There's also the Master Mages of each magic School. If you've learned every spell in a School, you can learn under their tutelage, giving you Mastery of that School and halving the Fatigue cost of all the School's spells.
You cannot master multiple Schools. Garfield Thelonius Remmington III is a human who, by some freak accident of birth, was born resembling an orc. He found that the only way he could make money in the game's prejudice-filled society was by adopting the name "Gar, World's Smartest Orc" and performing as a freak-show attraction, hiding his family name and severing all ties with them so they would not need to bear the shame of association with him.
Even though tricking him into revealing his true name and securing his freedom from his employer are both necessary steps to recruiting him as a follower, your character continues to refer to him as "Gar" for the rest of the game.
The game hand-waves it, as he himself explains he still doesn't want to embarrass his family. So outside the interactions with the player's character, he maintains his entire masquerade and demands the same from the PC. The Unifed Kingdom was actually ruled by kings a long time ago, but now, after the royal dynasty mysteriously disappeared somewhere, it is an oligarchy ruled by the Gnomish Industrial Council. The Bangellian Scourge, at least story-wise.
In game terms, every kill subtracts from your alignment. The AI's capable of some pretty complex interactions. If you kill a man in the street while no guards are watching, you might think you're off scot free — but you'd better drag the body into an alley, because if a guard on patrol spots you standing next to a corpse he'll figure out you're the killer. Also, unlike in most RPGs, if you take off your clothes and go running through the streets NPCs will actually react to your obscene behaviour.
AI characters tend to pick up anything on the ground that looks appealing — even if that object is a several ton boulder that will almost crush them under the weight. You can use the AI's proactive behavior against it by dropping a piece of equipment that's been cursed and waiting for them to equip it, which will make them easier to kill or even kill them for you. AI characters are programmed to switch to better gear in their inventory, but don't always make such determinations logically.
This is especially true of armor, as characters may ignore a higher Armor Class for other statistics. There is a guard captain in Dernholm whose patrol route occasionally takes him right through a campfire. Left to his own devices, he'll walk through that fire until his plate mail melts right off his back. Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Mannox was believed to have done this.
He was actually murdered, making this a subversion. In some of the Multiple Endings , the PC can do this. It's heavily implied as the fate of all the high elves upon the natural end of their lives. Virgil was a thief and gambling addict until his brother was killed to collect on his debts. He claims that he himself was "an evil man" when Virgil tells the PC this.
A bigger one is Arronax, who can be recruited during the final part of the game, tells you about how much he regrets the horrible crimes he committed in his youth, and how having years to stand in a single spot and think about it has that effect on you.
Being a Technologist is often seen as this. While it's actually more of a Magikarp Power due to the sheer number of points required, there's plenty of easier ways to break Arcanum before you even hit the midpoint./p>
See Action Girlfriend for the few couples who approach such a dynamic, like Zoe and Wash from Firefly. The author of Rurouni Kenshin , Nobuhiro Watsuki , believes that men should be strong and women, cute. There are few, if any, women able to fight any Big Bads or against Kenshin and his team.
Though in Kaoru's case it isn't so much that she's weak, but that everyone else is too strong. Creator of Fullmetal Alchemist , Hiromu Arakawa designs her characters with a specific variation on this principle: The main exception is the capital, where the shogun gets a harem of men for her personal use, and while they're theoretically her bodyguard, they tend to be on the pretty side as well.
Later one shogun gets the idea of using men in a fire brigade where their muscles can be put to better use. Played With in the original Marvel Family: Averted in the Post-Crisis reimagining, where the three all had the same powers from the same male benefactors. Doctor Sivana 's two non-evil kids are Beautia , who lives up to that name , and Magnificus , who is a Badass Normal.
This is the gender norm in A Song of Ice and Fire —men are expected to bear arms and fight while women are expected to sit around and keep house. Arthur " The Sword of the Morning " and Ashara Dayne, siblings whose deaths in the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion were much-romanticized as a result of this trope, exemplify this; Arthur was a Master Swordsman and member of the Kingsguard while Ashara was World's Most Beautiful Woman at the time.
Characters that subvert these expectations, such as Brienne of Tarth and Asha Greyjoy both warrior women are met with derision. Invoked in Who Wants to Be a Superhero? Kar'yn and Rya'c use this trope for their wedding vows: Rya'c, your heart is pure and your spirit strong. You give me strength and joy and I will stand by your side always. Kar'yn, you are as beautiful as the sun and my love for you is like the morning rays that dawn over an endless day. The Barenaked Ladies song "What a Good Boy" quoted at the top of the page does not actually contain any good examples of this trope beyond the two opening lines.
It's more of a meditation on cultural conservatism in general instead of the Double Standard. In the second edition of Fantasy Hero for the Hero System , there was a description of what it meant to have a characteristic higher than The many, many armor sets of Monster Hunter tend to abide by this trope.
The male version will often look tough and hide the wearer's face, while the female version will generally focus on looking graceful, keep the wearer's face visible, and in some cases, boast a little Fanservice.
The image up top is a more specific example: The male Aelucanth armor set is designed to invoke the image of an intimidating insect, while the female version strongly resembles a butterfly. Aesthetics aside, the game generally averts this trope with regards to the Player Character ; both male and female hunters are equally as capable of becoming badass G-rank hunters and neither have a gameplay advantage over the other.
Similar to the above Monster Hunter example, Final Fantasy XIV features a few armor sets that are different in looks depending on if the character wearing it is male or female. Notoriously, the Dragoon artifact armor was purple plate armor for male characters, while for female characters is was purple plate armor with a giant goddamn boob window in the middle of the breast plate that left most of the vital organs one would expect heavy armor to protect completely unprotected.
There is, however, no functional difference to the armor, giving the same stats regardless of who's wearing it. There is also gear that can only be worn by male or female characters, mostly being "glamourbait" stand-ins for various formal wear that serves no purpose other than to frustrate players who think it would be funny to dress their Roegadyn Warrior in a Thavnarian Bustier.
This generally reserves "pretty" or "dainty" apparel for females, while the dudes get tuxedos and the like. The character models for different genders in a given race can also exhibit this. Most blatantly apparent in the Au'Ra race. Au'Ra males, besides being ridiculously scrawny for the race with the highest Strength rating, are second only to Roegadyn in height, and all have angular faces with scowls carved into them liked the designer was trying to parody Perpetual Frowner anime and video game tough guys, with larger horns angling more up and in front of their heads.
Part of the reason why magic and technology are in opposition of each other. Almost from the moment the game begins you're told that you're the reincarnation of Nasrudin, a messianic figure.
Later subverted when you actually meet Nasrudin, who's still alive and living in seclusion. Or possibly played straight, since the exact wording of the prophecy says that the spirit of Nasrudin will be reborn, rather than the guy himself. Since Nasrudin was a force of order and righter of wrongs in his time, and you can become one too, it could be argued that you revived that spirit alright.
If you happen to be, say, a dumb ogre, upon first meeting Virgil, he will make an awkward "the gods move in mysterious ways" excuse while trying and hilariously failing not to be offensive. The Master instructor of Backstabbing will stab you in the back, figuratively and literally.
Circle of Standing Stones: Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Green monsters mostly mean they're poisonous and red ones are usually fire-based. This isn't absolute, though. For example, blue zombies are counter-intuitively able to deal fire damage. Most of the quest solutions boil down to one of these, with Magick and Technology allowing you to either cast spells or build and maintain items to complement your preferred play-style.
Some NPC companions such as Virgil and Magnus are more involved in some plotlines than others and react accordingly if in the party at the time Virgil believed the PC to be a prophecied hero and is less than thrilled to discover they've been worshipping the wrong guy all along , Magnus is a city-born dwarf and desperately tries to hide it via Have I Mentioned I Am a Dwarf Today?
Even though he isn't an actual cop. He'll take the job from the useless sheriff if you save the town and help him stop the bank robbery, though. William Thorndop, formerly the world's greatest marksman, has taken a vow of non-violence, and cut off his own trigger fingers to make sure he can never hold a firearm again.
Arcanum uses a sliding scale of encumbrance which applies progressive penalties to speed, removes sprinting, and finally outright stops your character from moving.
In practice, you're still trying to hit the delicate balance between walk and run, but that balance is well shy of your total carry weight. Virtually everything the Silver Lady has to say. It takes at least a second playthrough to fully decipher her visions, which include not only advice on where to go next but also tidbits of backstory as well as hints to the true nature of the villain.
Her mention of a lone figure floating above a plane of mirrored glass is worth remembering when listening to Kerghan's motivations. In exchange for docking your alignment for putting it on, it increases your magic meter every time you don it unless your technological meter is too high.
It's great for three reasons: Cutscene Power to the Max: Well, Back Story power to the max, anyway, overlapping with Informed Ability. Arronax single-handedly destroyed the largest and greatest technological city of the Age of Legends. In-game, he can't even use Disintegrate which he actually does use in a cutscene.
It mostly amounts to a game engine limitation. Since all characters run on the same type of build that is to say, they function as you do , it's impossible for him to be as powerful as advertised. Still not a sufficient excuse, though, because there are other characters in the game who are legitimately more powerful than he is, so someone overlooked something with him.
The Police Chief in Caladon. One stray bullet or misaimed boomerang is all it takes for two townsfolk to start laying into each other. Averted in the present. Black Necromancy and even demon-summoning are morally neutral at least as far as your character alignment is concerned , though in point of fact Black Necromancers tend to be jerks. Played straight in the story, as Black Necromancy was considered an abomination when it was first discovered.
Hence why its discoverer, Kerghan, was banished to the Void. Due to their racial strength bonus which allows them to reach the 20 strength and gain the double damage bonus and to the Fantastic Racism , Half-Orcs females are this by default.
You can buff yourself with therapeutics and drug, corrode, poison or even "zombify" your enemies with chemicals. Oh, and remember to pick the Mad Doctor background trait. Birth of a Half-Ogre child almost always leads to death of human mother. Kerghan's goal is to create a technological portal that will exploit the fragile balance between magic and technology and free him from the Void. The game encourages you to destroy him with the Vendigroth Device, a technological weapon which utilises the same principle to turn his own magic against him.
Both mages and technologists have ready access to spells, scrolls, and chemical concoctions that can resurrect anyone body and soul intact.
This is precisely why being banished to the Void is such a big deal, since it isn't killing someone so much as tossing them into an alternate dimension from which there is no apparent return. Being able to nullify magical resurrection is also why the Vendigroth Device is so desperately sought after by both sides of the conflict.
For the Steam Punk genre. The game takes pains to point out the more unpleasant side of the Victorian era, including hideously unsafe factory working conditions, strikers being gunned down, classism, racism try playing the game as an half-orc , eugenics — there's a very uncomfortable book that talks about a way of solving the Orcish Question via use of a breeding program and removal of a 'malignant gland'.
Not to mention the Half-Ogre breeding project, which has some distinctly unnerving parallels with antisemitic conspiracy theories of the time. It also deconstructs the Standard Fantasy Setting. Elves really have a solid claim to being better , but that doesn't mean that they're wiser.
Good men can wreck the world with the best of intentions, while someone who is pure evil may turn out to be right. Wandering adventurers raiding ruins are joked at even as the PC does just that, and glorious heroes who went around righting wrongs triggered a general war when they disagreed on what was right or wrong.
Defiant to the End: Multiple characters play this straight, subvert it, or avert it depending on the actions of the player. One notable aversion that takes place before the plot begins is the Banishment of Kerghan to the Void. Banishment was viewed to be a Fate Worse than Death , and everyone who earned it was dragged kicking and screaming. Kerghan meekly goes to his fate. Of course, this is something of a Batman Gambit , as he was counting on continuing his research in the timeless Void.
Every voice-acted NPC has extra dialogue depending on your status. This isn't merely limited to whether your character is retarded or talking to the NPC's ghost, but also includes invisible, transformed, shrunken, and whether they're dressed as a barbarian or completely naked.
They also have numerous interactions with other voiced NPCs, including other companions. Even when you decide to follow the evil path and take the quest to get the Vendigroth Device from K'an Hua, you still later sail to Thanatos and take the same quest from Nasrudin.
If you do this and go to the Ring of Brodgar with the device, you will find that Nasrudin killed K'an Hua before you came. Defeating Kerghan , who's more or less a Physical God at this point. The Black Mountain Mines can catch unprepared players off guard, introducing a lot of very tough enemies.
Enjoy the rock sprites, seething masses, and ore golems which do damage to any melee weapons you try to hit them with. Also, there's tons of traps all over the place that will damage you if you're not careful and a huge maze-like dungeon that will certainly get you lost if you don't know where you're going. Implied with the detect alignment spell. The vast majority of Tarant's guards show up as negative.
The halfing thief god Bolo is said to only have one arm; the other was cut off as punishment for stealing the shadow of Progo the god of storms. The Disintegrate spell handily destroys your enemy's loot, as well.
A bog standard weapon with neutral amplitude, meaning it can be wielded by any character having even most basic melee proficiency. It deals great damage and has one of the highest speed ratings in the whole game. Despite that it costs pocket change and can be even bought in the shop before the game starts. The rapier is wickedly good and is by far one of the most powerful, yet widely accessible and common melee weapons, able to keep up with enemies up until about reaching Stillwater or so.
Recruiting Magnus in Tarant or investing just two points in the Smithy Discipline will allow you to create Balanced Swords, a very fast, decent damage weapon that's a solid choice for most of the game unless your character is a mage, or a technophobe. Since it can be reliably crafted in the first town, it makes powering through the local Beef Gate all that easier.
Extending from this is the Featherweight Axe, the Balanced Sword's slightly slower but stronger big brother, which can be upgraded into the in famous Pyrotechnic Axe. It can be made as soon as you set foot in Tarant. Fuel is dirt cheap and can be picked up from the local general store. Simply put three points into Smithing or have Magnus make Featherweight Axes when he's at a high enough level. The schematics for the Pyrotechnic Axe can be found in a locked chest under Mr.
Willoughsby's trap door guarded by three mechanical arachnids, which you don't even have to fight they're slow, so you can just lead them around the room and break the chest while they try to catch up.
Alternatively, the schematics can bought from the nearby weapon shop if you're willing to roll the inventory enough. Then all you need to do is buy enough manuals from the college to inflate your tech skill to craft it. Once you do, you have yourself an Infinity -1 Sword which does not suffer weapon damage and does fire damage a hit, which is broken in this game because the only things immune to fire damage are the things that can do fire damage themselves. You start with around hit points.
A single salve heals 20, instantly, regardless of character. It takes a single point in Herbology to make them or recruit Jayna Styles and just the starting location has enough ingredients to make 16 of them. They are by far the most reliable and commonly used healing items in the game and certain builds' early survival entirely depends on starting the game with the recipe.
The Sword of Baltar, Lianna Del Par's blade, is a massive greatsword that does ridiculous amounts of damage per hit. Now, it does take a high Strength to use, but even if you're not a Half-Ogre yourself, you might well have Sogg Mead Mug for a companion, and he can use it effectively, allowing him to tear down any opposition at lightning speed.
It costs a fate point to steal, but who cares? One rather often-overlooked, yet quietly exceptional, weapon is Almstead's Axe, the property of Blackroot's blacksmith. In the early game most characters struggle to hit the broad side of a barn in broad daylight, making accuracy extremely valuable.
It is definitely worth the Fate Point you'd spend plucking it out of Almstead's hands. In similar fashion, one of the rewards from Doc Roberts. If you say you dabble in magic, the doctor will give you an Enchanted Sword. Not only is it the best weapon from all three options, it's not a standard Enchanted Sword either. It can help immensely early on, especially if you decide to deal with the bandits guarding the bridge — if not you, then Virgil or Sogg can use it to great effect.
Another easily overlooked weapon is Sharpshooter's Pistol, a revolver carried by the gunsmith working in Tarant. With a little bit of level grinding and the right background, mages can have access to 5th spell in a chosen college before the second plot-mandated dungeon.
This includes the Disintegrate spell, which kills anything you can target with no saving throw allowed. Considering the second dungeon is full of very powerful things that do not drop loot anyway, this is a big help. The Looking-Glass Rifle can be assembled as soon as reaching Tarant.
It packs serious punch, dealing damage at range that exceeds any other weapon or form of attack. In some versions, it deals a fixed damage in , which allows to knock-out most of the early and midgame enemies with just one bullet. The only thing stopping this rifle from being ultimate gun is relatively low Speed — it takes 4 AP to fire a single shot and that's after getting Apprentice training. It's perfectly possible to pick this gun and keep using it up until the very end.
Does This Remind You of Anything? An in-game character called Gilbert Bates. Considered the inventor of steam engines, actually turns out he stole the idea from the dwarves.
Reminds you of any old, debunked conspiracy theories? He even has a pissed-off, borderline incompetent competitor named Cedric Apple by. Also, the first NPC character that can join your party and act as your early guide to the world of Arcanum is a man called Virgil. Possibly doubles as a nice Shout-Out.
A Dog Named "Dog": Quite literally with the dog. It has no proper name and the game refers to it either as a dog or as "worthless mutt". There is an unique, game-breakingly powerful sword to be found in Isle of Despair, that is simply called "Sword". It looks, weighs and has a shop price similar to a generic, standard quality one-handed sword.
Its stats are anything but generic, however; it's the fourth best sword in the entire game, surpassed only by two-handed ancient artifacts that come to play in the final act. The Dog Bites Back: The player can find several half-ogres magically bound to a cruel master in the Dark Elf village.
Killing this master will release them, and they immediately turn on their tormentors. The elves never stand a chance, and they'll go on to attempt to wipe out the whole village. The manuals you can buy to inflate your tech skills cannot be read, but are phenomenally heavy for books and rather expensive , the implication being that they aren't exactly light reading. Do Well, but Not Perfect: To achieve the best possible ending for Caladon along with convincing Donn Throgg to end the orcish uprising , you should perform well in negotiations between Caladon and Tarant, but not excellently Willoughsby should evaluate your performance in , not coins.
If you negotiate on the best possible terms for the Unified Kingdom, Caladon eventually will fade away in the shadow of Tarant, while the unification under more friendlier terms for Caladon brings both cities mutual prosperity. The Dredge in Wheel Clan mines is a subversion. Rather than actually digging too deep, the dwarves simply abandoned the corridors after digging out all the ore and the monsters nested in, eventually growing both in size and numbers to the point where the tunnels had to be sealed and guarded, because it's too late for cleaning.
The maze of corridors is one of the toughest crawls in the entire game and the monsters can put a serious fight even without the end boss getting involved. Should the party came unprepared, it can easily escalate to Total Party Kill. Characters in-game frequently mention the island of Cattan, a tourist destination. You can see it on the map, but you can't actually go there in-game.
Should you use a glitch or cheat to get there anyhow, it's empty. It mostly only really helps to keep people from being hostile on sight and resolving a small few situations without combat. You can get by with a 2 and even maximize your Charisma , and there are several items and blessings floating about that will bump it up about three or four points. There are some exceptions but the difference is minor and largely limited to a few minor quest rewards and merchant prices.
Lampshaded in the game's manual, which tells the player that an intelligent, charismatic but ugly character will reap the full benefits of a speech-based playthrough more easily than a beautiful, but uncharismatic and stupid character. By the same token, reaction modifiers as part of character backgrounds are pointless.
Fancy clothing provides a hefty reaction boost which equals any positive modifier and will negate any negative modifier. This makes the Escaped Lunatic background pretty useful, as the penalty to reaction means practically nothing compared to the major resistance boosts.
To a lesser degree; spending Skill Points on Health and Fatigue boosts alone. You're better off with the additional bonuses with Strength, Constitution and Willpower. However, certain followers don't actually have anything else to do with their remaining points after maxing out their core abilities and stats, leaving them with no other option.
The dog is probably the best example of this and it's the reason why he's by far the best melee character in the game, even if he can't wear armour. Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Air is annoying, Water poisons but is mostly harmless, Earth ranges from a nuisance to a respectable threat, and Fire is outright one of the most dangerous enemies in the game. Elves and dwarves have traditionally gotten along fairly well — the recent industrial revolution has, in fact, caused both civilizations to dislike humans far more than each other, though elves are still a bit bitter about the dwarves letting Gilbert Bates get his hands on the steam engine.
However, a faction of racial supremacist elves manipulates the dwarven king by threatening war between elves and dwarves unless he banishes one of his own clans as punishment for elevating humans. Years later, the king realizes that it was not, in fact, the elves' doing. King Thunderstone points out that the two races don't get along but are civil about it because their moral and ethical philosophies differ too much for them to understand each other properly.
Ironically, if you consider the philosophies, they are actually very similar. The elves do not take it well if a dwarf PC visits Qintarra. Anyone's allowed to visit, but some are more allowed than others, and dwarves are not on the wanted list. Several have arisen following the continent's industrial revolution; compound bows that can be upgraded to shoot either poisoned or burning arrows , knives and hammers fitted with clockwork mechanisms, swords and axes that can give electric shocks, inflict pyrotechnic damage or are permanently envenomed , and tesla-staffs that shock enemies with jolts of electricity are all available to technologically-savvy adventurers.
The Ancient Lesser Gods are worshipped by a certain race. Ter'el is the Elven God of Wisdom. Geshtianna is the Human God of Love. Alberich is the Dwarven God of Stone. Makaal is the Bedokaan God of Hunt.
If you tell to the poachers about the location of the Bedokaan village, Makaal won't accept any gifts from you. Bolo is the Halfling God of Thieves. Kerlin is the Gnome God of Gold. Shakar is the Orcish God of War. Ironically enough, Shakar by the start of game is mostly worshipped by human barbarians in Kree.
Torg is the Ogre God of Heart. Even Evil Has Standards: Trellian, known as The First Assassin, severs an alliance between the assassins' guild he leads, The Molochean Hand, and the Derian-Ka, a cult of necromancers, when he learns of the atrocities committed by the cult's founder, Kerghan, and leads the Hand in a war to purge the Derian-Ka from existence.
Many evil Companions will turn on you if you side with Kerghan. Taking the evil path at T'sen Ang bypasses most of the plot of the last two arcs of the game, including several famously annoying quests and dungeons. All you have to do is slaughter the peaceful inhabitants of Stillwater.
In general, if you murder the person who's supposed to give you the next main quest, they'll have an item containing info on where to go next. Or you can use dark necromancy to summon their spirits to the material world, torturing the information out of them in exchange for their freedom. It actually works quite well. Robert Milton in the Glimmering Forest, who pursues the most exotic creatures of the Arcanum wildlife, like Bedokaans.
You can either remove the poachers for Bedokaan or betray them and tell Milton the location of Bedokaan village. In the Boil there is a conflict between the gangs of Maug and Pollock.
Both sides consist solely of violent thugs who don't hold any redemptional traits. The only way to get a good ending for the Boil is to kill leaders of the both gangs. There are plenty, but none are as infamous as the Bangellian Scourge. Its creation involved atrocities, and it is an Artifact of Doom. Using it docks your alignment with each kill. Of the "everything is cheap" type, with most builds having access to abilities that can destroy everything in their path.
The exception is guns, most of which are woefully underpowered; on the other hand, the Elephant Gun is one of the most damaging weapons in the game. Archery is another exception. Archers lack any high-end weapon and the skill has no particularly special use. It takes a very specific build and dependence on certain randomly found artifacts to make a decent archer character.
Everyone looks down on orcs. Elves and dwarves simply hate them; humans and gnomes use them for slave labor in a direct allegory of black slavery. The book series "The Orcish Question", found in the Tarant library, goes into a lot of detail about both sides of the debate, including some contributions by Orcs themselves.
There are many almost-explicit comparisons to Africans and to Jews in the discourse, which neatly lampshades the trope: Odd thing, though — if you play a half -orc they have the same base intelligence stat, and a lot of the orcs you can talk to don't really seem stupid or violent at all, just uneducated and underprivileged. As for the manual entry Good luck playing as a half-orc. Most inhabitants of Arcanum are grudgingly civil to half-orcs at best, but many will openly react in disgust to your presence.
Elves and dwarves don't especially like humans, though this is justified by the fact that humans have been making a mess of things recently. Gnomes, for some reason, are not nearly as disliked by either.
Everyone likes halflings, more or less, and racism towards half-ogres is limited by the fact that it's a bad idea to tick off something that big and strong. Racism against half-ogres is usually too subtle for them to notice. The one you meet on the Island of Despair who was unusually intelligent, as well didn't realize he was a factory slave until years afterwards, when he'd gotten an education and time to think about it.
Subverted by the half-elves who are almost universally liked and admired and tend to become diplomats, merchants and Also, Qintarra's elves get a bit snobby toward them. The Unified Kingdom, which actually no longer has a monarch and is run by a cabal of gnomish capitalists, is obviously modelled on late Victorian Britain.
The fantasy races are mostly Tolkienian stereotypes. Before the release of the game, the official site carried several front pages for a fictional newspaper from the gameworld. One article had an amusing account of a fantasy version of the historical controversy concerning Darwinism. The gist of it was that the Elves consider themselves the oldest race on Arcanum, and are rather irritated at recent discoveries that seem to indicate that the humans and dwarves evolved first and that elves and some other races branched off from them the due to the influence of magic.
One of the in-game texts was a journal of local Archaeological Society. It turns out they are very unhappy about "heroes" raiding ancient tombs and ruined temples for magical treasures and ancient lore , without any reverence for scientific methodology. It could be a Shout-Out to Heinrich Schliemann's methods — but it's a fantasy role-playing game, and we all know what the characters in every fantasy role-playing game ever excel at.
The battle between Science and Magick is an actual rule of Nature and a major sort of world-point. Guns are considered technology, and therefore magic interferes with them. Thus, the archetypal mage cannot use a gun without it exploding in his hands. Firearms are both common and fairly effective Enchanted armor and mid-to-high-level monsters laugh at handguns , meaning that late-game technologists will be packing BFGs and lots of ammo.
It's a recurring plot point as well in many of the sidequests, though it only becomes important to the main quest near the end. The backstory examines the "conscript versus knight" problem, but the game doesn't bear this out. Rifles and effective pistols are expensive, ammunition is even more so, and firearms are no easier to learn than any other weapon. Among NPCs, most guards carry swords and other archaic weapons instead of guns, which tend to be more the purview of adventurer types.
The Farmer and the Viper: Arbalah gave a shelter to the bandits, who repaid him with murder of his family and stealing of his sacred artifact. In terms of builds, you have these three and Technologist; taking technological skills gives you Item Crafting , Anti-Magic and lockpicking. After you visit the Isle of Despair, but before you reach the Wheel Clan, Kerghan posing as Arronax appears before you as a phantom, taunts you and uses a spell which knocks you and all your followers unconscious.
More of a "Final Mook Preview," but one quest in Blackroot involves shutting down a portal to the Void, the game's final dungeon. During it, you fight monsters normally not seen till the final dungeon. When you kill them, more spawn, changing to different monsters after you've dealt with enough of one type. Though they run out eventually, leveling here is pretty quick , enough to get you near the top in one go.
The Final Boss can summon two of the Elite Mook blue zombies to aid him in battle. Even if you're maxed out for that battle, the zombies are at least a respectable annoyance because they do fire damage. The society of the elves of Qintarra and presumably T'sen-Ang is sexually open and non-monogamous.
In fact, in Qintarra, living together monogamously is considered perverted to the point of threatening the social order , which becomes a plot point in one quest. Several, with perhaps the most notable being the one where a party member told to wait will disappear forever. Male characters get a considerable number of advantages over female characters.
First of all, out of the 8 playable races only 4 of them have a female option. This means they can never obtain the double melee damage bonus for having 20 STR without taking a background that increases their strength. Which naturally excludes them from taking another, more useful background. Males also have more heterosexual options for sexual encounters in the game. Gameplay and Story Integration: The game deserves credit for the fact that the resurrection spell enables new quest options via restoring a person.
Seducing a lonely widow is harder if you're also a woman, but it's certainly doable. Then there's the female Dragon , who, when faced by a female hero, is actually more likely to be the one doing the seducing.
Finally, there's an actual brothel in Tarant, which isn't that discriminating about its clients. In fact, it appears the only straight option for females are two filthy gnomes one being a prostitution job , and the orgy in you're invited to in Stillwater for finding the cult's statue there are some dudes lying around in the aftermath, although you're not linked to anyone specifically.
Hervor, a guard of steam engine in Shrouded Hills, is named after the Old Norse female heroine. Dwarven males outnumber females by 2 to 1, which is one of the reason why male dwarves protect and shelter females from sight of foreigners at all costs.
This explains the existence of powerful spells which were used by ancient mages in the past or even present but are inaccessible to the player such as banishment to the Void. Thorvald's Half-Ogre guard, who was educated in Tarant as a child and has a love of reading. One method of getting past him is to find him a new book to read.
The player character can be built like this as well. Spiders start at about cat-sized and move up from there. One quest has you clear a mine of poisonous spiders impeding work. The boss of the level is an oversized version that's much tougher than the regular ones. Averted in-universe the lack of such actually comes up as a plot point a couple of times , but played straight gameplay-wise.
A God Am I: One that looks minor, but disturbing when mulled upon. That 'Gnome' who gave you the ring at the start of the game turns out to be a Dwarf who emaciated himself and cut his own beard to better hide his identity. Arcanum Dwarves regard their beards as the most important thing right after their own lives, which begs the question: The Industrial Council is running one of these, largely dealing with breeding half-ogre guards. These allow the weaker gnomes running the council to be protected against jealous rivals and keep themselves in power.
Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Some noble women also wear same looking dresses. Franklin Payne, who carries a big gun and a bigger ego. If you ask him, he'll tell you stories about his hunts. The Guards Must Be Crazy: Policeman NPCs notice and react to bodies, as well as the presence of armed characters in the vicinity of those bodies, and may attack the player if they happen to walk in while you're standing over a fresh kill with your sword drawn. In the event of an assault they'll leap to the victim's aid, and it is possible to get them to fight on your side if you don't fight back against your attacker until they get involved.
Recruiting the dog can be quite the hassle unless you know exactly what you're doing. Then again, it's equally possible to just stumble upon the dog by accident, since recruiting him is time-sensitive upon arrival. Unless you have resurrection spell or a resurrection scroll handy. The blessing from the All-Father. You have to make blessings at the alters in a certain order, some of which have to be repeated at least once, then find the final altar buried in Vendigroth.
Oh, and if you're a technologist, you better have one of your followers carry a tech-based resurrect. The All-Father kills you in the process of blessing you, then casts Resurrect to bring you back The game does give you a book and a vague diagram which can allow you to reasonably figure it out, and trial and error allows you to realize you messed up other gods will curse you if you do it wrong.
One particular bit on getting the All-Father blessing is ridiculously obscure. You need to give an offering to the Greater Goddess of Neutrality But the altar is located in Gorgoth Pass, a location which is not shown in any map in the game.
Even if you know the place from browsing game guides, it still won't pop in your map until you're close enough, and just getting close enough is a challenge on itself. Some Fate Points require counter-intuitive behavior to trigger.
For example, a Fate Point gained for aiding Magnus against the necromancer jewelers requires that you almost betray him first. Simply aiding him outright earns you nothing. Good luck finding the Aerial Decapitator , the best non-grenade throwing weapon, without looking up the coordinates of its location. Persuasion-based characters can get anyone to do pretty much anything they want, often without charge.
It's even possible to have a decent combat build on top of this, including some use of magic or tech. You can play this kind of character. Killing Madame Toussaud is a bad idea. Can also be inverted with the quest's good ending. Now in three flavours: Unusually for the genre, the writers have an in-game explanation for why halfbreeds are even biologically possible Pre-release marketing material in the form of a fake newspaper suggests that humans and elves are really just distantly related races rather than separate species, half-ogres are a eugenics experiment that has gone though countless non-viable offspring until a breeding population was produced while Orcs are suggested to be humans that have undergone some form of mutation or deformity , and why only those three variants exist.
With a large enough bore to literally qualify as a 'cannon'; in Real Life , anyone attempting to wield it as a pistol would shatter their own arm. Not that anyone cares. See Killer Rabbit below. The Hat Makes the Man: The Dark Helm, which in the unpatched game permanently lowers your alignment every time you use it, while boosting your magickal aptitude at the same time. After the patch, Dark Helm lowers your alignment and increases your magickal aptitude only as long as you wear the helmet.
Healer Signs On Early: The first thing that happens upon the player gaining control is a conversation with Virgil, who is very insistent on joining you. When she finally reaches her destination, her goal seems a lot smaller than she hoped. The truth is, the charm of this movie is magical and indescribable. It manages to convey sadness through light cheery innocence, to distill broken people through lovably quirky humanity, to hide dangers behind a flimsy curtain of optimistic cheery innocence, and to leave you with a feeling of both bittersweet resignation and warm hope for a broken world.
Famous for its deadly flying silver balls that drill into people's brains, a Tall Man who's amputated limbs have a life of their own and eventually turn into large insects, shrunken zombies, and other bizarre elements.
A very imaginative b-movie that doesn't make much sense but achieved cult status thanks to its creativity and creepy atmosphere. A memorable cult classic. It's only strange in a light Bunuelian absurd way, but the tension keeps building until the unforgettable ending that packs a wallop.
An ordinary man becomes trapped in an ordinary phone booth with amused reactions from various passersby. The situation becomes more ridiculous as time passes by. To say any more would be to ruin the movie.
This one would go well as a slightly darker but more subtle companion piece to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The movie is mostly metaphysical, philosophical and intellectually romantic with only one surreal dream sequence.
A bizarre murder takes place where a man's brain is stolen. At the same time, we witness a man who seems to live in multiple worlds and is very aware of it, and in each one he encounters the same intriguing woman only in different roles. This movie asks many intriguing questions about the imagination and power of the mind: If you had the power to live in infinite worlds, wouldn't you be as omniscient as God?
What would life be in a world of mind unconstrained by physicality? What would happen to emotional attachments in such a world? How does one find meaning and passion under such conditions? The plot is about some engineer hobbyists that try to make money by building an unusual machine.
So many ideas get thrown around, and the machine's goals keep changing so often, that even they can't figure out what they put together, and soon unusual things start to happen, until they figure out that they have invented a time loop. At first, they use it for simple financial gain, beautifully taking into account minor details such as the many ways they may affect their own timeline, two cellphones with the same card existing at the same time, and leaving a car ahead of time so they can drive back home.
But as they use it repetitively, the recursive permutations involving the same people going through the same short timeline noticing different details every time and trying to fix little things that have gone wrong encountering their future selves trying to change things that haven't even happened and that may not even happen, all goes over their and our heads.
The techno-babble and the various repercussions of time-loops are both thrown around at a brisk pace to provoke thought without caring whether the audience can catch up or understand, and eventually, like with the more existential 'I Love You' by Resnais, something else emerges and you just enjoy the movie's metaphysical provocations at a higher intellectual level.
This is like the hardcore geek version of 'I Love You' with the low-budget and intelligent feel of Pi, it is metaphysically challenging and purposely confusing, and is only suitable for people that really, really love the technical, ethical and philosophical side of time-travel conundrums. This one dives into the limitless possibilities of time travel, and isn't afraid to drown in it.
It deals with repeating fragments of memories by a man who becomes obsessed with them, until something different emerges from the movie: An existential, thought-provoking, reality-bending experience. It's Synecdoche, New York done right without the self-loathing. This man suffers severe damage from a mysterious falling object after being there for unknown reasons with a mysterious suitcase.
After a long recovery, his life without memories has become meaningless and disaffected and the remainder consists of only fragments of memories which he struggles to remember and piece together, these memories becoming his only link to life and meaning.
A large financial settlement allows him to hire anyone and anything to reproduce the memories. But his obsession gradually shifts from trivial fragments to more violent events that awaken something inside him, and he goes to very extreme lengths to explore and reproduce those and get any kind of connection to life. Reality merges with staged reality, real lives become subservient to an obsession, and life becomes a quantum reality that creates itself. An unstable recluse and his brooding aerialist girlfriend kidnap a CEO whom they think is an alien from Andromeda and submit him to various tortures in the belief that they are saving the planet.
A police duo provide some intelligent sleuthing to track down the kidnapper. Is he insane or does his convincing encyclopedic knowledge about aliens have a factual basis? The film mixes touching drama, wacky black comedy, bloody horror, cruel violence, thrilling tension, science-fiction, demented plot twists and props, and rich scenery and cinematography which is at times a tad reminiscent of Gilliam and Jeunet.
For those of you that have had enough of the relentlessly grim Korean war and vengeance cinema but enjoy the style, this early entry may be just what the doctor ordered: Uniquely insane and balanced with a human as well as a blackly humorous angle. OK so it's the only one of its kind, but it's absolutely great entertainment.
The heroes and villains are mythical and almost surreal, the scenery and costumes are inspired by Mad Max but have a style of their own, and the action, music and camp comedy are all superb. This movie defies any and all categories and is superbly entertaining to boot.
Definitely a cult movie waiting to be discovered by a wider audience. They set their eye on his wife who encourages and flirts with them to annoy her husband, they fight with him about a construction job they are too lazy to complete, and start a lynching party after a local retard whom they think is a perverted animal.
It all escalates quickly, pushing the American over the edge into brutal violence and intense psychological emotions that he didn't know he had in him. Features an intense, semi-cooperative rape scene that obviously annoyed the feminists. The remake is competent but inferior thanks to the weaker location and casting, and this movie simply didn't need a remake in any case. The setting is a pseudo-mythical land of Serbia during WWI after most of the men have been wiped out, and some villages consist of only women, lust, longing and magic.
Two women, who work as professional mourners, and after having a disastrous appointment with the only old man left in the village, are cursed and sent off to find men to bring back to the village, while the rest drink spider-brandy and literally flirt with ghosts. They find a circus strong-man and a smooth-operator Charleston dancer, bring them back after a delirious marketplace chase, and promptly fall in love, complicating matters with the village.
A visual feast and a nice blend of sadness, energy, ghosts, death, overflowing lust for life, and magic that loses its way only a bit in the second half. Its main focus is atmosphere, experimental visuals and the portrait of a futuristic dehumanized world rather than a complex plot, which simply tells the story of a man trying to escape a world where everything is mechanized, budget-driven, and efficiency-oriented, and passion is controlled with drugs.
This world is occupied by strange, unsympathetic characters, driven by deeply confused but subdued neuroses, prisons are stretches of pure white without bars and walls, and people look for answers in robotic spiritual booths with canned answers.
Not a popcorn sci-fi movie, and full of gripping atmosphere and enigmatic details. And what a magically warped, and charmingly grotesque this movie is.
The story involves a little French woman, a dog that hates trains, and her boy obsessed with cycling, whom she trains until his muscled legs become five times the size of his skeletal torso. He is kidnapped by a 'French mafia' while on the Tour de France and she follows him to Belleville, a grotesque version of America, where she enlists the aid of a very eccentric performing triplet of old ladies.
This a world where legs are massaged with vacuum cleaners, dogs dream of riding trains and being barked at by humans, old ladies blow up frogs with grenades for food and play music on refrigerator shelves, ships tower over the water like skyscrapers, and waiters literally bend over backwards to serve.
I also liked the use of Bach and other classical pieces in the soundtrack. Endlessly surprising, amusing and highly recommended. The first part is a horror-thriller about a man who just split up with his girlfriend and who is sure that a strange man is lurking in his big house but he can't find him. This first part gets under your skin and is done very well. The second part becomes subtly bizarre as it reverses the roles, and is highly entertaining as well as unsettling.
And then suddenly everything turns utterly bizarre into dream-logic, leaving you no alternative but to re-interpret the movie, especially when you realize that the same actress acts in two roles. This brilliant movie turns out to be about relationships and the fears of living with somebody and sharing your space and living habits with them, an artsy movie about living with someone with secrets, where a basement symbolizes the subconscious.
A horror movie indeed. Full of over-the-top dark humor, this noir film follows the life of a man whose life just keeps getting worse and worse to the point of absurdity. He gets caught up with domestic, incestuous violence, greasy opportunist mechanics and many other strange adventures in an inbred, trashy town from hell.
The atmosphere, music, characters, acting, story and setting are all extremely well done, and the movie has an extraordinary and indescribable effect, etching itself permanently in your brain with a powerful ending. It offers a fascinating and unsettling look into Pagan lifestyles of old, complete with long musical episodes where the folk dance and sing joyously while performing acts of alien and barbaric religion.
And yet the comparisons to Christianity provoke thought. I usually don't like musical performances in movies, but the musical set-pieces here are unforgettable and add a lot to the movie, including a popular number by a naked Britt Ekland.
Chilling, fascinating, erotic, unforgettable, classic cult material. Things get violent when they kidnap an aggressive mogul's daughter and run off to a planet populated by psychotic miners who haven't seen a woman in decades Campy, violent, slightly twisted fun with an art department that went on to do Delicatessen.
The theme seems to be about empty people living through objects, rented emotions, fantasies, and other people's lives, the value of life classified, evaluated and adjusted by insurance adjusters or cinema censorship systems. Noah goes above and beyond the call of duty to help people after a fire has taken away all of their possessions, comforting them and even giving them sex when they need it, regardless of their sexual orientation, all the while evaluating their lives through their belongings, leading his customers and motel owners to put him on a pedestal as a kind of saint.
His wife evaluates films by pressing buttons, then records the deviant pornography so that an immigrant can experience what she is going through. They live in a model home with fake books, opposite billboards depicting more fake homes. Finally, a rich woman with ridiculously complex sexual fantasies involving exhibitionism and her accommodating, insane husband, take over their house and lives under the pretext of making a movie, leading to a bizarre ending that kinda makes sense once you understand the language of this movie.
As opposed to the rest of Egoyan's fans however, I didn't find this particularly deep or interesting. A group of teens sigh find themselves abducted and then entangled with a sinister government project and nasty individuals that experiment with alien semen and perform lobotomies with a blender. Some interesting nightmarish and bizarre moments, some gore, lots of bad acting that ruins the film, acceptable special effects, an interesting twist ending, and a weak final scene.
It's also Danish and has superb production values, even though it uses shaky cameras and gritty lighting, almost like a Dogme 95 film. The powers-that-be arrange for a visitation to the Zone where he will learn Important Lessons about his past and his soul and where his Talent is stored in a jar. There is some light wry humor that pokes fun at the absurdity of the fantasy situation, but, otherwise, this is obvious, crude and unchallenging.
It even has the same flaw. Alyce, who is obviously mentally unstable from the start, and her friend Carroll, are both stupid girls trying to get over Carroll's boyfriend cheating on her in an endless setup where we get to hang out with a distasteful group of youngsters.
After she accidentally pushes Carroll off the roof, she makes the stupid decision to run, hide from police, feel horribly guilty, and then sell her body for drugs what? But this is only the beginning, and when she snaps, it's not a pretty picture. Unfortunately her personality never rings true, but the acting is good, and her psychotic, devil-may-care attitude in the second half of the movie as she starts masturbating to news footage of the Middle-East, playing deranged and violent games with lovers, flirting with necrophilia, and inventing gory ways to get rid of bodies, is a must see.
And no, besides the names, and the fact that it has some colorful characters and a girl losing her mind, this has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. A man takes a suicidal man to a bar where he is celebrating a biographical book with his old friend. They tell the tales of their past since growing up in the 50s until the 90s, with characters from the past popping up in the bar as they go along.
The movies and music that shaped Brazil interweave with the stories, some involving sudden violence or crime, a strange relationship with a prostitute, life in the country and in the city, the turbulent 70s where his bedroom suddenly becomes a mass of swarming red-book students and Godardesque intertitles, that all somehow turns into a sex thing.
Other absurdities include a bodybuilder posing in front of the bar, a skeleton in a typing office, and people magically transported to different settings. A moderately interesting complex artsy epic. A girl appears out of nowhere who has a thing for burning cars, a criminal dies at the dinner table to which his mother reacts with a mild criticism, and a crime boss brings along a woman who urinates on graves on command.
Features a sprinkle of absurdism, a dash of psychological tension and Freudian themes, an ambiguous ending, and a speck of surrealism but none of these elements stand out and the movie doesn't quite feel original. So she displays her body and bodily functions, seduce each other in twisted ways, intellectually discuss sexuality as only the French can while he plays with and mildly abuses her body while trying to come to terms with his disgust.
This one uses explicit pornography to explore the female body and wanders into gratuitous territory with some nasty menstruation games, but as usual with Breillat, it manages to philosophize nonsensically as well as provoke some thought. These movies straddle the border between erotica, exploitation, art and thoughtful drama.
The first deals with teenage rapists as brutish animals trying to deal with their conscience and their treatment of women, one of whom has a young sister that makes things difficult for him to behave as if he doesn't care. The second deals with porn and illusion as a pornographer falls in love with an innocent-looking girl in a rape flick only to find that reality is much darker, her innocence and charm long dead as she sells herself and practically rapes customers in nymphomaniac lust. The third follows a female reporter who tracks down rape victims to document the aftermaths, and finds much more than she bargained for as victims show her their twisted lifestyles, or cower in fear and look at her like a disease as she uncovers their experiences.
The fourth deals with perception and relative perversity: The fifth tells the tale of a couple with trust issues after being raped, cheated on, abused, lied to and abused by society, who then try to build a romance after he hits her with his car and rapes her in despair. All the movies are filmed beautifully and artistically enhanced by some dream sequences, they linger on numerous graphic sex and rape scenes but creatively hide the cruder details, the actors are all good, and the themes are explored thoughtfully.
Portrait of a Serial Killer. A pathetic sociopathic loser with ambitious fantasies for committing evil is released from jail and promptly goes looking for people to kill, plotting and planning but always failing to pull anything off due to his weak will and mind. After running away from a confrontation with a suspicious female taxi driver, he finds a house occupied by a lady, her mother and her retarded brother and even then, his attempts at sadistic murder become extremely messy.
The camera-work is incredibly skilled as it follows him around, and the voice-over by the killer informs us of his plans, thoughts, and dysfunctional relationship with his family.
Gritty, grimy and unpleasant. What's really weird is how straight this Argentinian black comedy plays it. It takes the idea of a man having a passionate affair with a sheep, and just runs with it, as a deadpan comedy-horror. The sheep's eyes call him, they fall in love, there's an torrid affair in the barn, he shares his feelings and thoughts with the sheep.
But then the problems start and never stop. A rapist farm-employee, discovery, his family becomes involved, he may have to commit murder and other immoral deeds to protect his love, and what if the sheep decides to cheat on him with a ram? It also contains one of the most deranged cover-ups of a murdered body ever. I can't say that this is a tasteful movie, but it does its utmost to be tasteful, except it's completely warped and witty, resulting in a hilarious movie, except you wouldn't want to tell your friends that you laughed.
It starts with a dream about faucets left running and a strange person knocking at the door, then it turns into reality as one strangely dressed person after another pops up in her house. People appear, disappear, there's a murder, the victim may or may not be alive, people in raunchy costumes appear for a sex party, there's a painter, a television with a mind of its own, etc.
Is it all in her mind? But surprises and odd events turn out to have perfectly normal explanations, then again, the normal explanations run out of steam and it becomes an absurd fantasy involving queens and special powers. But the movie is a dark body-horror movie about a society obsessed with diseases gotten straight from celebrities, ruthless businesses that thrive on this, 'cell-steaks' grown from celebrity bio-matter, and a black market based on these and other disturbing abuses of bio-technology.
If this makes you think of a certain director, then you should not be surprised to find that this was made by Cronenberg's son. When a black marketeer gets his hands on a celebrity virus that is unable to be tamed, and everyone wants a piece of him, the thriller plot emerges together with the horror and understated dark satire. This also features machines that interface with viruses, and viruses given human faces.
I think his next movie should be about horror film-making talent made flesh and passed on via genetics to create little mutant horror film-makers disguised as humans. A quite good one. A grounded, thoughtful young man discovers what appears to be a video camera that shows him other lives, the past and some possible futures, which gradually alters his perception of reality. Dangers also appear, insanity, and it is discovered that previous owners of this object may have died.
Metaphysics, perception, the power of the mind, transcendence, and similar concepts are thrown around, as the young man rises through levels of enlightenment while being jailed for a crime. The first half of this movie is intriguing and promises good metaphysical sci-fi, but then it unravels with a mish-mash of new-age mumbo-jumbo and muddled writing, hoping that something grander will emerge by throwing together random Asian characters and random cliched concepts of mental powers, reincarnation, astral projection, flying, subjective perception and how reality affects and stagnates our abilities.
The actors are either bland, or poor, and the dialogue tends to become unnatural and pretentious. Top marks for ambition, above-average marks for making the movie look good despite the low budget, low marks for implementation details and muddled new-age claptrap in the second half. A writer, some friends and associates are haunted by the continuous presence of the mysterious Joachim Stiller. Letters arrive with impossible knowledge, proof of Joachim's existence from different times in history, prophecies, mysterious bell music, omens and messages.
Joachim can be interpreted alternatively as God, a guilt complex, a prophet of the apocalypse, a conspiracy, a time traveller, the second coming, a supernatural being, a magician, an illusion. Intertwined with this mystery are the lives of the protagonists, their love affairs, and a hilarious story of a deranged, old bathroom-graffiti pervert who is grabbed and promoted as a new visionary artist and bribed with whores.
A very well-done and intriguing movie, but I'm not sure what to make of it. The future consists of huge megapolis cities with the desert area in between ruled by local despots with their police or anarchy. One man tries to escape from this life with dire consequences.
A stunt-man has the hots for a local country girl with vocal talents but her protective father puts him in jail. A sleazy talent scout finds his way to the village and sets his eyes on her, but so do some violent flying aliens who enjoy decapitating and impregnating humans.
Chaos ensues while another local talent makes a dog howl musically by fingering its wound. Entertaining and nicely filmed but feels unfinished and has way too much singing. A journalist wounded in Vietnam continues his thirst for answers after witnessing raw death and birth in the war. He conducts interviews with various experts and asks people in the street what they think of death in preparation for his book, but of course, not many people have interesting things to say and most ignore it or have unrealistic attitudes about it.
This is mixed with some poetry and quotes recited by various characters, drama over a sudden death of a young man and his family, and drama over marriage and various people who forget to live. But all this is just decoration over the centerpiece, which is a real human autopsy in graphic detail intercut with all of the above that the journalist watches and films for his book, and which this movie treats as a life-changing experience. Of some interest only.
A ghost, and his own walking-talking skeleton who keeps trying to dig himself out, is finally judged by God and given one last chance to redeem himself if he makes one woman out of four fall in love in him to the point of self-sacrifice. To this task, the devil himself is given the job of bringing women to his haunted abode and he recruits some odd families, luring them to the castle with the promise of money, playing games with them and pitting them against each other.
There's a silly gag and surprise every other minute, with a mad inventor, a robot grandmother, a retractable tail, a reduction chair that makes the devil splatter sulfur, many women in bikinis, Christmas trees as disguises, rain that literally falls in buckets, beatnik juries, a man-child that speaks in a tiny voice, special agents and much more.
A nurse ignores her better judgment when she gets involved with a confident con-man and skirt-chaser. In the meantime, women are arriving at the hospital with bizarre and painful pregnancies that end quite nastily, and a blind and desperate female patient with cancer keeps hitting on her. Matters escalate, the con-man seduces more and more women, while she tries to dig herself out of the trouble she finds herself in and get away from the devilishly overpowering jerk, leading to a surreal twist.
A welfare worker becomes interested in a case of a grown man still acting like a baby, in diapers, unable to speak or walk and under the care of a mother and her two grown daughters.
The acting is chillingly superb, the characters are never stupid, and the movie makes its case well, making for some disturbing, plausible horror, up until the surprising twisted consequence-free ending that disappointingly makes the movie lose its plausibility.
Imagine a version of Henenlotter that likes to stick things up his butt, directing Gremlins after watching The Brood. This is a movie that, right after having watched it and picked your jaw off the floor, you may find yourself wondering why the hell you just enjoyed a movie about a butt monster.
This feels like a comedy-horror throwback to the 80s in a good way, except it's about a man whose alter ego is a creature that lives in his stomach. This vicious-cute demon has a And they somehow snagged Warburton, Root and a couple of other good actors for this one. There's awkward comedy over his mother's way-too-active sex life, office humor straight out of Office Space, one gratuitously splattery scene involving a penis, and sessions with a crazy shrink that just keep getting funnier.
This is the furthest thing from a metaphor! A self-possessed, pedantic, jealous and passive-aggressive professional psychologist gets caught up with a free-spirited, neurotic, flirtatious, spontaneous and self-absorbed woman.
They are drawn to each other as only opposites can, each needing and lustfully attracted to what the other has, their relationship rapidly becoming unhealthy and obsessive from both ends until the final twisted ending. A third obsessive character is provided by the stern and pedantic detective who tries to piece together what led to her attempted suicide shown at the beginning of the movie. The structure is superbly non-linear and carefully edited together, the characters are intensely familiar, extremely well-drawn and realistically twisted and Roeg pulls no punches, thus receiving criticism from people who can't stand seeing such insightful exposure.
The overly-explicit and nasty ending always ruins it for me however, not feeling completely in-tune with the rest of the characterization, and ending on a note of pointless nastiness rather than insight or dark catharsis.
On an island that floats, the leader is an old captain constantly awaiting death who always holds up a picture of himself as a young man, there are dozens of black-clothed crones always hovering in the background, there's a priest, a sailor, an older woman with desperate lusts, a young man, and various other characters that all seem to represent something.
There's also a law that says that people are not responsible for their actions during a depressing storm. When a beautiful and mysterious woman arrives by boat, she creates havoc, with all the men lusting after her, the women chasing and hating her, as she stirs up dark secrets like greed and lust in the priest's home, a pregnancy, and deep confused desires from the dying captain.
She only seems to get along with the laid-back young man who plays with her. The natives sing traditional song, the atmosphere is earthy and mythical, all leading to a violent metaphorical climax. This is not a homage to Italian giallo movies or a horror movie, but a psychological breakdown movie in the vein of Repulsion. Except that in this case, it delves into the mind of a meek, gentle sound-engineer who finds himself working in Italy for the first time on what sounds like a horrifically nasty movie about the torture of witches.
The relatively crude, outspoken and fiery Italians keep him alienated, as does the Italian mistreatment and lust of women and masquerading as charm. In addition, the director is full of himself and pretends his movie his art, and although we don't get to see the movie itself, the sounds, the expressions on the engineer's face, and the abused voice-actors, all bring its nasty scenes to life indirectly.
The last reel of the movie veers into light Lynchianisms as his reality falls apart and literally becomes a horror movie, but its all about his attitude and face that reflect the changes he went through.
I thought the ending seemed extremely abrupt just when the movie was finally building up to something, until I realized that his mental state was the only goal of the movie. Very atmospheric and well-crafted, but it needed a bit more payoff. Many fruits and vegetables were harmed during the making of this movie. A college boy's nightmares start blending into reality, the scenes strung together in a sequence like real life, and people and objects from real life changing, dying and coming back to life.
He involves his psychology professor and some teacher assistants only to put them in danger. Somewhat entertaining and interesting, but contains weak acting and rubbery gore and monsters. Brain Dead did it better. The result is mild fun, quirky and entertaining, but it also feels like it's trying too hard to be weird. An aspiring actor is manipulated by a strange neighbour who knows his masturbation practices, to go on a mission to deliver a blue suitcase to a cowboy. Along the way he meets many odd characters and is asked to do odd things, until the oddest finale.
It has fun with clues and meaningless cross-references like the number 11, sperm and neck band-aids, but this is the equivalent of putting together a lot of puzzle pieces only to find that the final picture is one big blank, a journey that the protagonist also seems to go through.
Score one for the Zen-like movie title, except that it isn't satisfying in the slightest. Don't leave sperm samples lying around. This is a jazzy, stream-of-consciousness movie, due to its loose structure of flashbacks, voice-overs and inner thoughts, as well as due to its score.
Like Hiroshima, the subject matter is its flaw, in this case yet another self-obsessed but internally dead woman who leads a successful life of actress, mother of three and rich wife, and who is so bored that she spends her time obsessing over her affair with a frustrated artist who constantly tries to provoke her into coming alive.
Flashbacks weave together with other flashbacks often involving hurtful things he said to her, to the point where we are not sure if she is projecting these conversations only within her mind, the games and tension between them devolving into a tedious game of counting numbers while awaiting each other.
Dead architecture is portrayed as more alive than she is, and his frustration and blocked writing makes him try increasingly desperate acts. Mostly tedious and frustrating, if only because the movie succeeds in its experimental editing and structure to evoke a mind devoid of interest clinging to others for its source of blood.
Most of the movie is quite normal, actually, but it builds up slowly for a very overwhelming ending. Norman is a weak loser in love with a rich girl who barely seems to be able to stand being with him. He joins her for her father's birthday party in a strange retro-hotel straight out of Barton Fink, and spends the evening trying to talk to her while trying to avoid embarrassing her.
But strange things are afoot with the waiters, and people keep ending up dead, while some madman keeps giving him instructions on how to stop an apocalyptic cult-ritual. The climax blends ear-splitting sound, silence, complete chaos, and very strange and incomprehensible goings-on, as all hell breaks loose and Norman tries to stop it with increasingly desperate measures. Reminiscent of Miracle Mile in how it starts as a regular movie gradually increases the chaos for an explosive ending, leaving you wondering when and how it turned surreal.
And this is only one of the elements that makes this Italian movie kinda weird. Shelley Winters delivers another unhinged performance loosely based on a real-life female serial-killer during WWII, who seems a normal, pleasant and helpful neighbour on the outside, but has convinced herself that she has a deal with Death after 12 miscarriages, and must regularly kill people as sacrifices. She doesn't just kill, however, she converts every part of their bodies into something useful, including soap and medicine, and converts her kitchen into a factory.
She also has a disturbing, overly-protective and near-incestuous relationship with her one son and does everything to keep women and other dangers away from him. Her mentally challenged assistant and disabled husband complete the picture of her highly-controlled domain.
Sydow is not the only drag-queen here, and the movie also revels in drag camp, drama and music for no particular reason. The numbers of murders, rapes, sadistic brutalities, and various inhumanities against civilians including women and children are all shown one after another including infamous scenes where a soldier rips out a fetus from a woman on his bayonet and some child rape and murder.
It's a mixed bag, some scenes seem over-the-top and even exploitative in their indifferent and rapid delivery, others are disturbing and have a documentary feel, and others, like the massive burning of bodies, are powerful.
Harry Joy, who loves to tell stories, has a heart attack, dies and comes back to life, and finds that his life has turned into a hellish mockery of his old one, which drives him mad. His wife is cheating on him with an accountant, his daughter is giving sexual favors to her brother for drugs, his business accounts are using carcinogenic products, an elephant sits on his car, and he has to tell stories to stop getting beaten up by the police.
He falls for a new-age vegetarian prostitute with an obsession for honey, and so on and on. This is also a strange magical world where people blow themselves up to get attention, fish falls out of a woman's skirt as a symbol of her infidelity, and men have visions of cockroaches coming out of their chest after heart surgery.
The movie doesn't feel like it takes the time to develop themes, but it does entertain with its offbeat storytelling. Travis is a mutant product of genetic engineering at war with his business competitors. He employs an ordained assassin that wears clown makeup, a dwarf, shrunken humans that have been transformed into killer dolls, and a female rock band, the members of which he keeps in a cage and electrifies when he wants to hear a tune.
His nemesis is a manipulative dominatrix for whom Travis has a soft spot. Will the two evils join forces or die a horrible death? Campy, interesting, offbeat fun. This one is so comfortable with and proud of its stupidity, silliness, and camp that it gets drunk on it and celebrates its silly outrageousness.
So, although it is a stupid movie, I could not take my eyes off the screen, was very entertained, and when it ended, I just kept on laughing. Unfortunately, one has to wade through a half-dozen painfully fake accents and silly acting, and this for me was the movie's fatal flaw. The story involves an unlucky thief who is sent to Russia to steal a valuable ancient cross, but gets in over his head with some very inept and strange characters in a hostage situation and matters escalate when they start getting killed barbarically.
To tell more would be to ruin it, but the spiked-booby-trap with disco music scene is priceless. Recommended to watch at least once, if you can get through the accents that is, and can accept the movie for what it is. Wounds and death have a way of disappearing, but everything is tasteless and lacking passion. Even sex and women are cold and joyless.
When real music and smells emerge from a crack in the wall, he starts digging, much to the annoyance of the city-dwellers. A superb movie, if only there was some way to approach or understand it. Attempted theories to explain aren't adequate: It can't be hell because of the ending, it can't be purgatory because there is no soul-cleansing going on, it can't be a satire or morality tale on modern lifestyles or the joy of living because of the strong supernatural aspects.
The beginning suicide is misleading because it re-appears in the middle, and the ending is impenetrable. A man communicates telepathically with his dog who teaches him history, English yes, the dog is the teacher and comments cynically about the man's hormones while helping him sniff out target females and rivals. The second half is a great satire on controlled society and empty-headed sheep as the man goes underground Morlocks?
The surprising blackly humorous ending makes it all worthwhile. A cult classic with consistent characters that put extreme practicality and misogyny above such mundane things as manipulative 'love' and that's putting it mildly. At first it seems like it's going to be yet another teenagers-in-supernatural-peril-during-Halloween movie, but it grows more mysterious and thoughtful as it goes.
Corey is part of a gang of skater teenagers that run around wildly on Halloween, often performing cruel tricks or bullying other people, especially when it comes to their favorite victim Jonah. But Corey has second thoughts about who he is, and his gentle father and female friend are influential.
A walk and a dare become mysteriously spooky, the past, the present and some scary elements weave together in scenes that are part fantasy, part 80s horror, part surrealism, part symbolism. Not as deep as I would have liked, but a somewhat interesting movie for a teenage audience. An obsessive, socially-challenged man is in his flat where he has locked himself up for a year, collecting every useless thing he owns or produces in neatly labelled boxes that stack up to the ceiling.
He reminisces a trip he went on with his friend who is the complete opposite: A loud-mouthed, confident, skirt-chasing, laid-back, anything-goes, party man. The trip is filmed surrealistically as memories and postcards, with almost everything in the scenery made of photographs or household items, and the locations are often linked to rooms or furniture in his house.
I was looking for another rpg for myself, but I saw that this one had Mature Sexual Content listed among its ratings. Could anyone And even if you take off all the armor women/men are in their underwear. Heck my parents. Meetville is a dating site, which will help you to meet the local single women, searching in thousands of single people looking for each other online to build. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is an expansive and very open- This is especially true of armor, as characters may ignore a higher Armor Class for other statistics. Males also have more heterosexual options for sexual encounters in the game. Some noble women also wear same looking dresses.