Category: science fiction

Astral Projection, Shadow People & Sleep Paralysis in Current Pop Culture!

I’ve been noticing more recently the increased interest in astral projection, sleep paralysis & the shadow people phenomenon (all three that often times go hand in hand) becoming quite popular subjects lately in pop culture. If you’re unsure of what the three of these things are let me briefly explain. First astral projection (also referred to as an out of body experience) is when your consciousness or “soul” separates from the physical body. Sleep paralysis is when someone “wakes” from sleep and finds their body paralyzed for a short period of time. Finally “the shadow people phenomenon” has been reported by countless people while in the state of sleep paralysis and involves coming in contact with shadowy beings who appear near you or around you. These encounters are often described as terrifying, with strange voices and sometimes feelings of being attacked or suffocated by these shadowy beings.

What many people don’t know is that sleep paralysis, despite how modern horror movies depict the phenomenon, is actually a state that people who attempt or practice astral projection strive to get to. So to some who might not understand what’s happening during sleep paralysis this is a frightening experience but to others this is the sweet spot needed to induce an out of body experience. You see, when someone attempts astral projection it involves a certain amount of concentration or meditation, basically you are trying to let your body completely fall asleep while keeping you mind awake. When doing so successfully you body once calmed enough will become paralyzed, we all experience sleep paralysis every night when we go to bed, it’s what keeps us from acting out our dreams physically. In some cases sleep walking occurs when the body isn’t paralyzed completely. If you can successfully keep conscious while the body falls in sleep paralysis you’re actually very close to astral projecting, which is an amazing thing. Sleep paralysis is considered in a way the gateway to another dimension. Most of the movies and such out there today portray the experience in a negative & frightening way when in reality it’s a direct step to an incredible, life changing experience. Continue reading

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‘Alien: Covenant’ Will Make You Appreciate The ‘AVP’ Franchise!

‘Alien: Covenant’ finally dropped at theaters yesterday, and after all the hype the smoke finally cleared as I sat back for a late night viewing of the “prequel” for the legendary horror franchise. Ridley Scott returns again after the lackluster ‘Prometheus’ for purely passable installment that is Alien: Covenant. I wasn’t a huge fan of Prometheus, it’s one of those movies I can’t say I ever care about seeing again and same is the case also with ‘Covenant’. It does though fit quite nicely alongside the current trend of forgettable sequels to once amazing movie franchises of the 80’s that are cranked out these days. It’s like the ‘Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull’ of the Alien series, making the third and fourth installments of the Alien franchise suddenly feel more legit.

This doesn’t mean I hated the movie, it just means that I’m quickly growing tired of the trend of sequels that I once endlessly pined for. It pains me to see Ridley Scott now for a second time bringing us such uninspired pieces of cinema. The movies large cast of characters hasn’t got anyone in it you’re likely to give a damn about and spends it’s time focusing on the android “twin btother” characters played by Michael Fassbender instead. ‘Covenant’  simply feels like Ridley has run out of ideas and decided to start lifting major plot points from ‘Bladerunner’ simultaneously trying to re-create a “best of” compilation of scary scenarios from his first Alien movie.

So while no one from the cast gets much time to develop into much more than alien prey you might think that at the very least we’d get quite possibly the best most bad ass version of the legendary ‘Alien’ creature now that it’s 2017 and they’ve more than got the budget to do so. Quite the contrary, ‘Alien: Covenant’ can’t even get that right for fans. For a movie that’s been boasting impressive practical fx work from day one you’re likely to be disappointed by it’s incredibly cartoony looking aliens littered about the movie frantically. Heck the fx work in this movie makes the two ‘AVP’ flicks suddenly feel kinda legit as well and that’s a damn hard thing to do. Long gone is the suspense & stylized horror of the old movies, instead you’ll be treated to the same old CGI schlock you’re used to from all the huge summer blockbusters. The Alien franchise officially lost it’s heart & soul quite a long time ago and even bringing Scott aboard hasn’t resulted in finding it. Right down to final battle, this movie simply fails, proving that we ALL really miss Sigourney Weaver in a BIG way.  Ridley has now truly mastered mediocrity as I honestly may’ve actually enjoyed Prometheus more than this, because at least with that one I wasn’t expecting much there from the start.

At least one thing Ridley got right were the locations & sets he used in filming this movie. It’s visually stunning in that respect. However I’m realizing I was actually quite fine with NOT knowing the backstory of the Alien and honestly liked it when we knew nothing about it’s origins when it was little more than a monstrous stow away. The mystery is gone and instead what we end up with plot wise begins to feel a bit absurd and a tad cliche. This is a classic case of “they just don’t make em’ like they used to”. It’s a bit sad but I realize not everyone can make a ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and sometimes attaching the original directors to these sequels clearly doesn’t always equal movie magic. That being said, after seeing this last night my excitement level for the upcoming sequels to Bladerunner & Predator has severely lowered. I’d say if you’re a casual fan of the Alien franchise you’ll likely have a good time at the movies with this one but if you’re looking for the magic of the first two (or heck even the third & fourth) you’re bound to feel a bit empty as you exit the theater. At least now I’ve developed a new urge to revisit the ‘AVP’ movies, I mean damn, I was way too hard on those I think…

Astral Projection: The Theater Method!

I’ve expressed my interest in lucid dreaming here at Universal Dork a couple times in the past and today I thought I’d take a moment to talk about ‘astral projection’. First though, if you’re not quite sure what lucid dreaming is let me make it simple, it’s when you have a very vivid dream and something within the dream triggers you to become aware that you are dreaming (movies like Inception & Dreamscape are good examples). In many of these cases often with a little practice and focus you can learn to have them quite regularly. To be honest it makes movies like ‘Inception’ feel pretty boring. It’s one of the most incredible things I’ve experienced and  anyone can do it with a little effort.

There’s another practice that’s linked to lucid dreaming called ‘astral projection‘, also known as an ‘out of body experience’ or OBE. I’ve worked a ton on different methods to experience this phenomenon with various degrees of success. I can tell you with honesty that it’s lead to the most bizarre & unexplainable experiences of my existence. I’m to this day a bit uncertain exactly what astral projection really is at it’s core, some believe it’s just an elaborate lucid dream while others believe it’s the complete separation of consciousness from the physical body. I intend to find out for myself what the truth really is behind it. Thus far I’ve had several unexplainable experiences that have lead me to believe that perhaps there’s abilities humans have that involve being able to enter into different dimensions of existence that are not of our physical material world. It’s also made me question heavily my beliefs on life after death. Perhaps there’s more to us than just our bodies of flesh and bone?   Continue reading

Shane Black’s ‘The Predator’ Won’t Feature Arnold? I Don’t Buy It!

It’s been “revealed” recently that Shane Black’s ‘The Predator’ set for a 2018 release will NOT feature the return of Arnold Schwarzengger’s iconic character ‘Dutch’ from the original (and by far best Predator flick of them all). Apparently Mr. Black who actually starred along side Arnold in the 1987 movie met with him and the two couldn’t agree on the right role for his character Dutch to play in the upcoming blockbuster. This what Arnie recently had to say about it:

“They asked me, and I read it, and I didn’t like it — whatever they offered, So I’m not going to do that, no. Except if there’s a chance that they rewrite it, or make it a more significant role. But the way it is now, no, I won’t do that.”

So Predator fans all over seem a bit bummed about the news. Black had basically gone on record saying this installment of the franchise was going to feel like a big mysterious event for all the fans rather than just another throwaway Predator installment to make a few bucks. He’s stated: It would be an”inventive sequel” to the 1987 movie and not a remake. “Why start over, when you’ve all this rich mythology yet to mine? I like the idea of expanding and exploring the existing Predator mythology, rather than hitting the restart button.” He’s also said he was resisting the urges to use CGI and keep it in line with the original’s spectacular practical effects. From what I understand he’s kinda going for a “Force Awakens” of the franchise and I just don’t see how you can really do that with Arnold involved.

So I’m throwing it out there that I think Arnold’s statement is pure BS to throw the fans off. I bet he’ll indeed be included to the cast, but as it stood it sounded like Shane wanted Dutch to appear at the end of the movie in a way similar to how Luke Skywalker appeared in the Force Awakens. So let’s consider this though, Arnold is 69 years old, though he still looks great, if he’s gonna appear in a Predator movie it better be fucking soon! To make a great sequel to the ORIGINAL movie you absolutely need Dutch, one of the only people on earth to survive an actual confrontation with the alien killing machine. I’m sure Black knows this and I just can’t imagine he wouldn’t include the character in this next movie. Arnold be the ideal addition to a team of mercenaries who try and fail to kill the creature, who then seek him out to lead the mission. Wouldn’t the cast seen in the picture below be 100 times more epic if Arnold was included?

He certainly can’t go hand to hand against a Predator when he’s nearly 70 years old but he could still get in on the action with a big ass gun and help the team in their fight, employing his knowledge & some tricks he used against them back in ’87. It’d be amazing and the only thing that’d make this sequel even better was if they also added Danny Glover from ‘Predator 2’ to the cast as well. The two of them could lead the team in their final confrontation in this installment. Again, Shane Black must know that the rich mythology and classic characters returning in “The Force Awakens” was a huge part of what made the movie a bonafide blockbuster for all ages. I realize neither Glover or Arnold have the box office draw that they did back in the 80’s, hey neither did Mark Hamill until you linked him to the Star Wars franchise. What better surprise for fans for Dutch to appear in the movie mid way through?

So now I’ve recently heard that ‘The Predator’ has been pushed back from a Feb 2018 release all the way to August 2018. Hmmm…perhaps Shane is actually reworking the script to include Arnold in a bigger role? I’m completely willing to bet this is the case. I don’t have much faith in the idea that we’ll be seeing Danny Glover appear, though it’d be absolutely amazing for the die hard fans. However I just don’t believe Shane’s gonna let a direct sequel to Predator hit the theaters without Dutch. It’d be a huge mistake. He wants this one to be epic for all Predator fans and you simply can’t do it without Arnold. The Terminator franchise more recently rammed Arnold in as a Terminator and it felt forced as fuck. Arnie again as ‘Dutch’ however feels completely natural and essential for a true Predator sequel. What do you think? You think we’ll be seeing Arnold in the next Predator or has my fanboy fantasy warped my mind? 

Comic Review: Space Riders #1 – Galaxy of Brutality!

Here’s a cool new comic book from ‘Black Mask’ that packs a visually stunning slice of dirty raw color to the space pirate genre. From page one I’ll admit for this one it really didn’t matter how solid the plot would be for ‘Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality’, the first page showcases some awesome artwork that’s a breath of fresh air in the current comics spectrum. Black Mask has been putting out some pretty impressive shit for quite some time now. Space Riders #1 continues that trend with a solid debut that could possibly be more fun to look at than read. This is apparently a sequel series, but it’s new to me and I’ll have to take a moment to hunt down the first trade. So if you’re late to the party like myself, I don’t think it really matters all that much. We’re given a cast of outrageous characters from the get go, some crazy space bikers, weaving through the stars, wreaking havok on a refugee ship full of aliens. It doesn’t take long for the giant floating skull space craft, with our main characters aboard to vaporize the scavengers dead in their tracks. This sets the tone for the type of crazy shit visually and plot wise that’s on the horizon.

I  totally dig it, it’s a straight forward story so far filled with some insanely colorful characters that harken back to classic vintage style space voyage that would’ve fit nicely in the pages of ‘Heavy Metal’ magazine. We’ve got the gruff wise guy Captain Peligro, a tuff guy baboon human hyrid co-pilot, cyborg babes, bat people, marauding space bikers, galactic maidens and cool space vagina portals. It’s a damn fun first issue that’s jam packed with eye candy galore and just a ton of weirdo oddball landscapes & evil aliens. I like these kind of stories sometimes that don’t rely too much on paying attention to crazy details and more so on just having a good old fashion ruff around the collar space adventure. This is the perfect book to roll a joint, kick & absorb the madness of it all.

Now the problem here I gotta say is that Space Riders takes about five minutes to read. I’m not exaggerating either it’s filled with a ton of huge panels and splash pages. While those can all be cool to look at I’ve said before comic books these days need to make some changes for readers who’re expected to throw down four bucks per issue for five minutes of story. Too many books out there don’t seem to give us enough bang for our buck. What do you think? Can you afford the rising prices of comic books? Well if you can I recommend Space Riders #1 it’s got a unique look and it bound to go to some pretty cool ass places…       

More Amazing Practical FX From 2011’s “The Thing”!!

Damn was I disappointed with ‘The Thing’ remake/prequel from 2011! They had all of the ingredients together for a cool ass little prequel set to be a neat little companion piece to the original John Carpenter classic remake. His 1982 movie is the holy grail of monster movie for me and still stands the test of time today. StudioADI had crafted the special effects for the 2011 movie boasting practical effects on par with the 1982 classic. However what we ended up with was a piece o’ shit CG wankfest that was panned by critics and fans alike.

The sad thing is the practical effects they created/filmed were erased and they actually replaced what was really on film with CGI. God damn does that make me furious! Someone tried to take matters into their own hands back in 2015 by releasing a petition trying to get the working print of the film released with all the original fx work. Sadly the petition didn’t gather enough attention. Anyway today studioADI released a new video showing the practical effects that were filmed & designed for the movie!! Check this shit out:

 here’s more:

Here’s another great video that gives you the full scoop on what went wrong with ‘The Thing’ 2011:

Comic Cover of the Week: Remembering ROACHMILL!

Back in the 1980’s there were some pretty awesome indie books out there. If you were looking for something different than what the “big two” had to offer there were some unique ones out there, one I was quite intrigued with was ‘Roachmill’! What? You say you never heard of Roachmill? Well this ultra oddball superhero came on the scene in 1986. He was a professional futuristic exterminator, a killer for hire and he was bad to the bone.

He also had two bizarre cockroach arms that extended from his body making it easier for him to kick the living tar outta people and shoot guns a’ plenty . The series was set in New York City during a time when there were hoards of aliens from other planets moving to Earth. Apparently this caused a lot of crime and chaos in the city and they needed badasses like Roachmill to keep humans and aliens alike in line.

This rad indie series was written and drawn by Rich Hedden & Tom McWeeney and had a heroic dose of grit & comedy evenly bound within it’s pages. I’d really like to revisit it soon to see how it holds up in 2017  and being part of my comic book cover of the week posts Roachmill stuck with me all these years as having some totally excellent cover art. In the late 80’s it got picked up by Dark Horse Comics. I totally dig these weird offbeat 80’s series, hey who knows maybe Roachmill will make a return?!