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Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Monday · 29 Oct 07 · 12:57 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I watched both Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End this weekend, and thought I'd write a short post about them.  The first movie had a group of people who get stranded in the West Virginia woods after a vehicle accident, and as they try to find a road back to civilisation, they are attacked and killed one by one, by a group of deformed cannibalistic inbred mutants!  Who will survive?  The 2003 movie was an above-average thriller that provided some tense moments and nice atmosphere, punctuated by spurts of blood and brutal violence.  Starring Eliza Duskhu and Desmond Harrington, it was directed by Rob Schmidt.

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

When it was announced that a sequel was being made to this, and additionally, that it would be a direct-to-DVD release, I was pretty skeptical.  Was this really needed?  But once the sequel was released, I started hearing a lot of good things about it.  After having watched it, I'd say it was worth the praise!

In Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, a reality show is being filmed in the West Virginian country, and the contestants are divided into groups and left alone in the woods.  It's not long before they are attacked by the cannibalistic hillbillies who happen to inhabit that area.  While the setup isn't anything that we haven't seen before, the movie did provide a constant supply of graphic kills, done in very creative ways!  You see, the first scene shows a woman being split in two vertically, with an axe, and the two halves being dragged away by the cannibals.  That sort of sets the tone for things to come!

Apparently the movie was shot in 25 days, and I think they must have spent most of the money they had on the gore effects, which are all done very convincingly!  The movie is energetically directed by Joe Lynch, and the acting is pretty decent too.  Henry Rollins is the tough retired army officer who is the host of the reality show, and Erica Leerhsen (who I remember from Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [2004 Remake]) plays one of the contestants.  The other stars I did not really recognise but they did a good job.  In fact, everything about this movie is a cut above what you'd expect from a direct-to-DVD release.  Suffice to say, they did a great job on this one.

Above is a drawing I did of Erica Leerhsen from the movie.  How I came to do that, is like this — recently, I'd moved a lot of stuff out of my computer's hard disk onto my external drive, and then I sorted some stuff into 4.37 GB-sized folders.  I then wrote these out on DVDs and deleted the data from the computer.  As lots of data (a couple of years worth of photos, videos and other downloads) was being written, I couldn't do much else on the computer while Nero was running.  So I just decided to do a quick drawing of whatever was on my desktop, so that resulted in this.  Done using black ballpoint pen (same one I used for my Saw IV Comic) on paper.  You can click the image above for a larger version.

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1980s OSTs!

Sunday · 28 Oct 07 · 07:58 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I like 1980s music, and I like movie soundtracks.  Hence I was overjoyed when I found a few blogs that had download links to a whole bunch of hard-to-find or out-of-print movie soundtracks!

Of course, these are all hosted on sites like Megaupload or Rapidshare, so there's waiting involved (and I haven't been able to download anything hosted at Megaupload, either it says that all slots for India are occupied or that there are no more slots for free users).  Anyway, those soundtracks I did download, are as follows —

Lots of great stuff there, you'll have to grab it while you can.

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"Saw IV" Parody Comic — "WTF is on the DVD"

Saturday · 27 Oct 07 · 12:49 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

I just uploaded a new one-page comic to the gallery, and this one is based on the movie Saw IV.

Saw IV Comic — WTF is on the DVD — by Karthik Abhiram

This was done in office over two days (Oct 25 and 26), and was done directly in ballpoint pen on paper.  Click this link or the image above, to view the full comic [warning: some profanity].  For the benefit of non-Saw fans, I have also provided an explanation for the comic, as well as the script for it, on that page.

As always, comments welcome!  Saw IV was released in theatres in the US yesterday.  I am really looking forward to watching it, though sadly it won't get a theatrical release in India.

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Have you ever seen a Portal?

Wednesday · 24 Oct 07 · 04:30 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

Now this is something awesome that I came across while reading Slashdot today, and I just had to write about it!  This is a game called Portal, developed by Valve Software (the guys behind the Half-Life games), which was apparently released very recently, as part of something called The Orange Box.  As with the previous post, descriptions will follow, and then a set of essential links will be provided below!


What amazed me most about this game was the simple yet very fun concept.  You play the game in a first-person mode, and you have a gun that can open up portals in the game environment.  You can only open up to two portals at any given time, and the idea is that if you step into one, you exit out of the other.  You have to use this to escape the puzzles within the game.  Apparently, the game also has a nice story built around this concept (you are trapped in a lab and an artificial intelligence called GlaDOS talks to you and urges you to complete the puzzles, but it may not be totally reliable either, and might actually be the villain in the story), and there is even an awesome song that plays over the end credits, once you finish the game.  The Valve website has a short video (done as a mock orientation video) which shows off just how great the concept is.  I doubt I will actually be able to play this game anytime soon (availability and price are issues, and even if I was able to get the game, I don't think it'd run properly on my laptop).  Fortunately, there is a 2D Flash version of the game available for anyone to play!  I would highly recommend you give it a try, you won't be sorry you did!

As promised, all essential links here —

I played just 4 or 5 levels of the Flash game so far.  Would have played more of it, were it not for the fact that I need to go to office tomorrow, hence need to go and sleep...

[By the way, the headline is a reference to the movie Donnie Darko]

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Bio Menace, The Soundtrack (and the game too)!

Wednesday · 24 Oct 07 · 03:50 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

Bio Menace is a 1993 game developed by Apogee Software (a.k.a. 3D Realms, the developers of Duke Nukem 3-D).  This was one of the earliest games I played when we got a computer back in 1999, one that I have fond memories of playing, and one thing I really liked about it was the music (composed by Bobby Prince, the same guy who did the music for Doom and the Commander Keen games).  I had tried many times to download the music in MIDI or some other format, but it just wasn't available anywhere.

Bio Menace by 3D Realms/Apogee

On Sunday I was randomly searching for this stuff again and I came across some very useful links.  I managed to get the soundtrack of the game, though it was not so straightforward.  I'll describe the steps I took to finally get it to work here, but don't let that scare you, I've also included a list of essential links below, which should allow you to easily get and listen to the music yourself, and also get and play the game itself.

The starting point was a post at the 3D Realms Forums, which talked about extracting the music from the company's older games (published when they were still Apogee Software), which led me to another post on a Commander Keen-related forum.  Here, someone had very helpfully extracted out 16 music tracks from the game and uploaded them as a neat ZIP file which was just 50 KB in size!  The only problem was that the music was in IMF format (music intended to be played on an Adlib sound card) and couldn't be played directly.  A plugin for Winamp was needed, that enabled it to play back IMF files, and such a plugin was called Adplug.  Unfortunately, the official site for Adplug apparently does not host binaries, and had only source code available!  Fortunately, there was a separate site with a compiled binary available, which I downloaded.  I dropped this into my Winamp Plugins folder, and I was finally able to listen to the songs from Bio Menace!

By the way, the entire game was released as freeware a couple of years ago.  However, it being a DOS game, would not run properly on modern computers.  You would need to play it with the DOSBox emulator.

Bio Menace by 3D Realms/Apogee

As promised, all links below, categorised for your easy reference —

Downloading and Playing the Music

  • Go to the second post on this page and download the file
  • Next, go here, and download the file  It contains a file called in_adlib.dll, which you just need to drop in your Winamp Plugins folder (for me this is in C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins).
  • Now you can open those IMF files with Winamp and listen to the music!

Downloading and Playing the Game

  • Go to the Official Bio Menace Page, and download the file called (by the way, the full game, with three episodes, is just a 1.5 MB download, man, how much things have changed since then!).  Install it anywhere you like, preferably in a folder with other DOS games (I have mine in C:\Games\DOS\Bmenace).
  • Download the latest version of DOSBox and install that too.  Run DOSBox and within it, mount the relevant folder (I usually do this: mount x: c:\games\dos).  Then at the relevant prompt, navigate to the Bio Menace folder and run the game (for me this would be an x: first, followed by cd bmenace and then bmenace1 or bmenace2 or bmenace3 depending on which episode I want to play)!

Other Informational Links

One can do quite a bit of exploring from those pages, enjoy.  Personally this was a lot of nostalgia too for me, I have a large number of game-related (a lot of Doom-related) MIDIs on my cellphone, and was listening to many tracks on the way to work this morning.

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New Grindhouse Drawings!

Monday · 22 Oct 07 · 04:28 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

Yet another weekend passes by.  This time I have not one, but three new drawings you can look at!  These are drawings of characters from the movie Grindhouse, and I tried a different style while drawing them.  This time, no shading, everything is done using stark black and white.  This also means that the finished pieces have smaller filesize and are available at a larger resolution.

Grindhouse Drawings — Two Against the World — by Karthik Abhiram

Above is my personal favourite out of the batch of stuff I did this time, called "Two Against the World".  Click that to see a large version (very large, I might add – 1360×800 resolution!).  These are the pictures I added to the gallery today —

Do have a look at them and post your comments.  Apart from this stuff I relaxed during the weekend, watched John Carpenter's Dark Star (nice movie), and this evening met Jayesh and Anirudh (been many months since I met them and it was good to catch up).  A few hours from now and I'll be back again in office, the start of another week (ugh, I hate Monday mornings).  As always, I hope the week will go by quickly.

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New Drawing: The Bourne Ultimatum (plus, two older pictures)

Monday · 15 Oct 07 · 04:15 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

The last week was a busy one at work, and I really wasn't happy about that... it's definitely not a pleasant thing having to stay in office for more than 15 hours a day, yet, that was what happened on Thursday and Friday.  This line from Fight Club — "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time" — seems very relevant when describing one's feelings in such a situation.  Anyway it was really good to have the weekend free, and I relaxed through it, waking up late each day and just relaxing otherwise.

On Saturday I re-watched Saw II and later in the evening, watched The Bourne Ultimatum.  It was an awesome movie, essentially a two-hour long chase!  Very nicely done.  So, when I was looking for something to draw for this weekend, Varun suggested I do this movie's poster.  That being a very detailed image, I was hesitant to attempt it, but gave it a shot anyway, and ended up with a drawing I'm very happy with.

The Bourne Ultimatum — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

You can click the image above, or this link to view the full-size drawing.  As with my previous drawing, there is a detailed write-up on both the drawing as well as the movie, with "behind-the-scenes" images as well.  Have a look, and do post your comments.  But wait, that's not all — I also added two of my older drawings (from 1998 and 1999), which are similar in style (both are faces done in black and white).  You should have a look at those as well —

  • Total Recall — This picture I drew in 1998 (I believe it was during the holidays after First Year Intermediate) is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the movie poster.  I was quite proud of this one at the time.
  • The X-Files: The Cigarette Smoking Man — A drawing of William B Davis as "The Cigarette Smoking Man" a.k.a. "Cancer Man" a.k.a. "C G B Spender" from The X-Files.  This is from 1999 (I believe it was during the last days of Intermediate Second Year), and I was very happy with it because the shading came out very nicely, considering it was done directly with black ballpoint pen.

Well, that took longer than expected, and I really need to go to sleep, so I will conclude this post here.

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New Drawing: Milla Jovovich in "Resident Evil"

Sunday · 7 Oct 07 · 09:57 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

Yes, one more drawing added to the gallery, this one is of actress/model Milla Jovovich from the movie poster for Resident EvilVarun suggested that I do this and I'm very happy with the way it came out.  Started drawing it yesterday, completed today.

Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Click the image above, or this link to see the relevant gallery page.  There is a detailed write-up with some behind-the-scenes information on the drawing there.  But that's not all, this time Varun and myself tried an interesting experiment — both of us started off with the raw scan of the drawing and post-processed it in our own ways.  The results are totally different.  Varun made a desktop wallpaper out of the drawing, and posted that on his blog.  Go to the gallery page for info on all that, and do leave your comments.

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New Drawing: John Carpenter Tribute

Wednesday · 3 Oct 07 · 01:15 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

One more drawing added to the site today.  Drawn the day before yesterday, scanned yesterday and posted today.  It is a tribute to three of the movies of writer-director John Carpenter.

John Carpenter Tribute — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Above, is a small version of the drawing.  Here is the final version (you can also click the image to see the relevant gallery page).  Note that the final version has some text added to the picture, which gives the names of the movies depicted.  The description I've written there is also quite lengthy, containing what you might consider three movie reviews!

Anyway, before you see the final drawing, try guessing the movies from the "no text" version above.  If you have seen these movies (or if you are aware of them), you shouldn't have trouble identifying the movies (at least, I hope so!).  Let me know what you think of the picture too.

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fsck the System!

Tuesday · 2 Oct 07 · 02:24 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

Was reading Krish Ashok's blog yesterday, and was noting his propensity for puns, so I thought I'd get in on the act as well.  This post is an excuse to use the headline.

My laptop was behaving very sluggish over the past few months, and in recent days I started moving GBs of data out from the hard disk, onto DVDs or my external hard disk.  This improved the performance quite a bit (though I still wonder, when you have an 80 GB hard disk, shouldn't you be allowed to use more than 60 GB?), and yesterday, I ran chkdsk and then started defragmenting the hard disk.  After running for about 18 hours or so, it got done yesterday evening.  Watching the defragmenter is like watching paint dry, but I was wondering about the algorithm that it'd use, and would running it once again make a difference (like a two-pass thing, but I guess it won't matter).  So that's why I was reading about this stuff on Wikipedia and it reminded me that the equivalent of chkdsk on a Linux system is fsck, hence the headline (see "Track 12" on this page, that's what it is named after.  Sorry, couldn't resist).

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Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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