Posted on March 26, 2007 by Flames
From role-playing games to television series, Flames Rising horror webzine offers hundreds of reviews on products from every world of horror imaginable. We feature nationally-distributed and licensed products like Hellboy, to small press ventures like the game InSpectres from Memento Mori.
Our philosophy on reviews is simple: we encourage our horror reviewers to channel their inner Poe to write reviews that are easy-to-read and provide you, the horror fan, with the best information possible.
Whether you enjoy paranormal romance or post-apocalyptic horror, this list has a little something for the monster in all of us. If you would like to be a horror reviewer for Flames Rising, we encourage you to visit our submission guidelines. We go out of our way to reward our regular horror reviewers, and encourage you to add your voice to our choir.
Our reviews are listed in alphabetical order by type of review category (click on the “Read more…” link just below this paragraph). For an alternative means of navigation, feel free to take advantage of the search box on our site to find what you’re hunting for.
Posted on February 9, 2014 by Flames
Monsterhearts should come with two warning stickers. The first is “Warning: This is a game for mature gamers and deals with adult themes.” It doesn’t have this because that sort of warning fits the Book of Erotic Fantasy rather than a genuinely mature take on the subject matter. It has lead to some of the most intense and immersive experiences I’ve ever had roleplaying, but I refuse to play it with my main tabletop roleplaying group.
The second is “Warning: This game can go into uncomfortable territory. Discuss expectations and respect boundaries.” It doesn’t have this, and Monsterhearts is the only game I’ve played that’s imploded when it has become clear that one player doesn’t know the meaning of the word “consent”. Better there than in real life.
So what is Monsterhearts? Monsterhearts is based on the Apocalypse World rules and claims to be about “The messy lives of teenage monsters”.
Posted on January 18, 2014 by Steven Dawes
Review by Steven Dawes As a reviewer, I make it a point to not give out any spoilers if I don’t have to. However, after reading issue Department of Monsterology Issue #2 (and #3 once I finish this review), a few spoilers tidbits will have to start coming out. If you don’t want to risk […]
Posted on December 12, 2013 by Steven Dawes
“Officially, it’s the Department of Cryptozoology, Mythological Studies, Parapsychology and Fortean Phenomena. But to the rest of the students and staff at the Dunsany College, baffled by the cloak of secrecy that surrounds the Department and its affairs, it has another, more dismissive, name: The Department of Monsterology. Their brief: to investigate the dark and unexplored corners of our world – the places we’ve forgotten, lost or believe to be mythical. And to study those things that may still be lurking there.”
Looking at the cover of “Dept. of Monsterology” from Renegade Arts Entertainment, I knew right off the bat that it had potential. The color palette is minimal and bleak, with plenty of blackness and shadows mixed in to compliment the mysterious tone of the comic.
Posted on August 12, 2013 by Billzilla
What is the fascination with Nazis and their pursuit of occult knowledge? The popularity of Raiders of the Lost Ark offers some evidence that we as a culture find the concepts intriguing to say the least. Perhaps, deep down, even the most cynical skeptic wants to believe that supernatural magic is real.
Posted on June 19, 2013 by Billzilla
I first got hooked into the World of Darkness about three years ago; I became intrigued by the Vampire: The Requiem setting thanks to a particularly good game I was in at the time, and my passion for the world hasn’t diminished since then. In support of Free RPG Day (June 15 this year) Onyx Path released a sharp-looking product called Reap the Whirlwind, a complete quick-start introducing new players to the vampire branch of the World of Darkness.
Posted on March 13, 2013 by Michael Holland
When the New 52 launched I, Vampire was one of those titles I was recommending to everyone. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov (Echoes) and penciled by Andrea Sorrentino (X-Files/30 Days of Night crossover) there was so much packed into the first issue I just knew this comic was going to be a big hit. And it was a big hit until issue #2 hit the shelves and nothing really happened. Then nothing really happened in issue #3, 4 or 5. Then something really bad happened in issue #6 but it was okay because I didn’t really care about the characters. I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love collects the first six issues of this disappointing series.
Posted on February 20, 2013 by Michael Holland
DC Comics’ New 52 has had about a year and a half to find its footing and one of the nicer aspects of the “reboot” is DC’s revived focus on supporting the supernatural side of the DC universe. Along those lines the famed Justice League has been divvied up into numerous teams (and titles) with each focusing on different aspects of the JL’s mythos. While Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their closest friends handle the big threats the Justice League International team stumbles about handling other… less important… threats. So who handles the ghosts and goblins of the DC universe? That would be Justice League Dark.
Posted on January 29, 2013 by Steven Dawes
I’ve been hearing about Hansel & Gretel (H&G) for well over a year now. It was supposed to have hit the theatre a few times over the last year before it if finally escaped this weekend. If I had to guess, the studio was probably waiting for an opportunity to dump it in hopes of making a quick buck and then forgotten about, and after the “Avengers” made it so big and everyone recognizes Jeremy “Hawkeye” Renner these days, now was the time to start this witch hunt. It was probably the right move; my niece was dying to go see this with me, simply because Hawkeye was in it. So with a couple of teens and my wife forming a hunting party, we all went to see G&H. And how did the hunt go?
Posted on January 1, 2013 by DecapitatedDan
There was a point in my life, oh lets say about a year ago, when I was sick of vampire comics. The typical blood sucker story seems to just get played out when done over and over again. Sure there is some good horror and gore in those books, but the stories are so blah and easily passable. Then I get this little catalog sent to my house called Previews, and I see the cover to The Strain #1 listed in it. I’m instantly thinking, “Great, here we go again.”
Being a horror nut though, I check out issue #1, and wouldn’t you know it, my head fell off. That first issue had something new, something fresh and something I needed to enjoy a vampire comic again (seriously, the last one I really enjoyed was Devil from Dark Horse).
Posted on December 27, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
James Herbert is a horror writer who hails from the U.K. He’s been compared to Steven King and, for the first time, his work is available stateside. The novel I read, ASH, is a reprint through Tor Books.
Herbert is a multi-novelist with almost two dozen books out in the wild. (Sadly, the author does not have an official website, or I’d link to it for you so you could see his bibliography of published works.) This is the first time I’ve read Herbert’s work; this type of story is more my fare than a continual stream of blood, guts, and gore. ASH begins with a mystery and a haunted castle. The main character, David Ash, is a ghost hunter and parapsychologist who works for the Psychical Research Institute. His abilities give him an edge and we, the reader, find out more about them as the story progresses.
Posted on December 18, 2012 by Megan
Packed into but four pages (the other four being filled with a fancy cover, the credits and an introduction explaining what it’s all about, and a page of adverts for other Legendary Games product) here is a wealth of material designed to support and enhance one of Paizo’s Adventure Paths. As explained in the introduction, they have chosen not to mention just which Adventure Path (so as to avoid even suspicion of using Paizo’s intellectual property) but as I am GMing the one in question at the moment, it’s not too hard to guess. (‘Carrion Crown’ if you really want to know!)
Posted on December 10, 2012 by Megan
The Zalozhniy Quartet provides resources necessary to running a complete campaign utilising the Night’s Black Agents concept and ruleset to the full. It’s not, however, something you can flip through and then run, like the game itself it requires thorough preparation and planning by the Director (GM) in advance, but will repay that effort by inspiring an epic and memorable experience for all involved.
Involving the core concept of the game – a vampire-led conspiracy across post-Cold War Europe – the book presents a detailed Conspyramid (the mechanic used to map the conspiracy player-character agents are combating) that spreads its tentacles from central Europe clear across to Baghdad. Resources provided include allies as well as enemies, locations in several cities, complete city details, maps and an almost bewildering array of events that you can throw at your characters… even some pre-generated ones, of particular use should someone fall by the wayside as the adventures proceed.
Posted on December 7, 2012 by Michael Holland
The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology is The Onyx Path’s opening salvo of a new series of products for the World of Darkness under the auspice of the God-Machine Chronicle. Since the launch of the new World of Darkness White Wolf/CCP has released a plethora of products as part of their toolbox approach to game design while shying away from developing an overarching “meta-book.” While some books have strayed close to the line between the two for the most part each product was a package of tools each troupe could play around with to build the World of Darkness they want to explore. Now Rich Thomas and the many creative forces behind The Onyx Path are stepping over that line and producing a chronicle book, a setting in which we can explore a particular vision of the World of Darkness (which some tweaks to the core rules to match). This anthology begins the exploration of that vision, wetting our whistle for the upcoming chronicle book which we will not get to see until sometime in 2013.
Posted on November 28, 2012 by Michael Holland
Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness was originally released directly to DVD in the UK in Aug 2012 and premiered in the U.S. on the Syfy channel this weekend. Writer Brian Rudnick (Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God) was joined once again by director Gerry Lively (Darkness Falls, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God) to bring the third Dungeons & Dragons movie to life.
Posted on November 20, 2012 by mazecontroller
Tabletop RPGs were born from historical minis gaming. Going in the reverse direction seems to be difficult in RPGs. Unless, of course, you add a supernatural element. Western gaming lay dead until Deadlands came along with a potent mix of zombies and steam guns. It’s no surprise that the company made famous by that game, Pinnacle, might try a similar formula with other times in history. They made a successful foray into the d20 OGL with Weird War II, smashing together the horrors of war with the horrors of legend. Weird Wars are poised to become a brand within Savage Worlds, with rumored entries including Rome and the Crusades. Launching the line felt like a good time to revisit Weird War II, which is available in Print and PDF for Savage Worlds.
Posted on November 19, 2012 by Flames
New Tales of the Yellow Sign by Robin D. Laws is a collection of eight short stories that invokes and draws inspiration from The King in Yellow, the 1895 psychological horror collection of Robert W. Chambers. In writing New Tales, Laws undertakes what is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult projects for an author—writing a short story collection built around a core concept or a small number of central themes. The challenge in doing this is that whether readers are trying to or not, they tend to judge each short story on its own, instead of how it fits into the collection’s overarching concept and themes. In composition, I see a collection like New Tales to be akin to concept albums. Each has “core tracks” that advance the concept. Each may include “voice breaks” where the audience is addressed directly as a way to make the message more explicit to the audience. Each often contains a “cover song” or a selection that pays homage to a past artist that the overall work is drawing inspiration from.
Posted on November 16, 2012 by Megan
The Introduction lays out the basic premise. This is not just any spy game. It has a very specific slant, taking the view that in the aftermath of the Cold War a lot of people who’d been earning their keep on the back of the efforts of East and West to monitor (and interfere with) each other now found themselves at a loose end, and had to put their somewhat dubious skills to profitable use in a freelance market – mercenary spies for hire, if you will. Frequent reference is made to movies and TV shows that present the appropriate feel, and if you enjoy them, it’s likely that this game will work for you, at least at the ‘spy’ level. As has been done with other GUMSHOE games, there are various ‘modes’ in which you can run your game and each is denoted by a small symbol – these are used to denote optional rules appropriate to your chosen mode, and other snippets of information useful to that style of game. This allows you to fine-tune the mood of your game so that it becomes precisely what you are after.
Posted on November 13, 2012 by Michael Holland
I would say “the plot thickens” but to be honest the fourth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise doesn’t really add much to the mix. I will say that up front. At this point the writers (Christopher Landon, Chad Feehan) have pretty much phoned in the possibility of developing a growing plot and they’re playing with the dangling threads of the previous movies. We see this kind of treatment all too often in other franchises and it is usually a sign that the ride is coming to an end. If the box office is any kind of indicator the general audience is feeling the same as PA4 earned less than half of any of the previous PA films.
Posted on November 9, 2012 by Michael Holland
I cannot tell you the naked fear I feel, putting down these words for once and for all. Perhaps I will regret them. Perhaps they will never see print. Yet, it is my nature to report this. It is, as they say, in the blood.
Thus wrote Aristotle de Laurent, Noddist scholar and vampire, in the preface of the Book of Nod. This book was special because it was published by White Wolf Publishing, Inc. in 1995 to be used as setting material for the Masquerade Mind’s Eye Theatre game as well as Vampire the Masquerade chronicles. Bound in black leather the book was the perfect prop for storytellers to hand over to their intrepid players. The stories began to write themselves.