REVIEW – Chris Scullion

While browsing through the Games, Movies, ETC Twitter feed, I came across some devastating news – Troll Hunter was about to be removed from Netflix! This movie had been on my Netflix list for a long time, but like many others, I just hadn’t gotten round to watching it yet. I had heard great things; what little I knew of it suggested I would enjoy it, but I just don’t have as much time for movies as I would like any more. Part of this is because I like to watch movies in one sitting. I know some people are probably saying, “Yeah, that’s how you’re supposed to watch movies,” and I know that! But sometimes I really enjoy watching a movie (that I have already seen) episodically. By far the best experience I have had of that was Brazil. I hadn’t seen it in a while, and watched it in approximately 20-minute slots (usually at breakfast time), and genuinely couldn’t wait until the next “episode”. What a fantastic film! Go watch it!

Anyway, my point was, when I watch a movie for the first time, I prefer to watch it in one sitting, and if possible, without pausing once. But the warning that I was not going to be able to watch it on Netflix meant I made time for Troll Hunter, and I am glad I did. It’s not perfect, and some choices bothered me, but it was a very enjoyable movie, skilfully put together, and Otto Jespersen‘s performance is exactly what it needed to be to ground the events to feel like a reality. Go watch it!

The reason I have gone on so long about the correct decision to watch Troll Hunter, is that it was Chris Scullion who had said, “Don’t miss it,” on Twitter. I took his advice for the…I don’t know how many times it has been…but he has never disappointed! I would say that Chris and I have similar tastes, but that isn’t accurate as I wouldn’t have the patience for the amount of terrible horror films he watches, or the stomach for some of the Video Nasties. But certainly when he recommends something that I believe I would like, I have always found his opinion to be spot on. A relevant example of this would be The Babadook. In his review he says, “but if ever a film should come with a ‘don’t believe the hype’ disclaimer, this is it,” and he was completely right. I didn’t read his review before watching the film, but I had heard the hype, along the lines of, “horror is back”, or, “will scare your socks off, chuck them in a dirty river, and you’ll never see them again…” In the end, meh. Chris is a bit more lenient on it than I am, I feel like I wasted my time, but as he said, “it won’t terrify you.” I didn’t get scared by it at all, which for me meant it was a complete failure in what it set out to do.

Along the same vein (and I will move on from horror films soon), he recommended It Follows. I think it may have even been a recommendation as an actually scary alternative to the Babadook, and it truly was. It Follows is a genuinely creepy, and at times very scary movie, reminiscent of the classics like Halloween or The Haunting (1963). Go watch it!

And so I shall move on from horror movies to…oh…a horror game… Silent Hill Shattered Memories, specifically the Wii version. I had never played a Silent Hill game, as I had always been in the Resident Evil camp. What a child I was, treating video game series’ like football teams – if you liked one you supported it and stayed away from the others! So I had missed out already, but was never compelled as an adult to go back and try the series. Until it felt like Chris had harped on about Shattered Memories for what, I don’t know, the 17th time? Turns out he was right to, and should still be harping on about it. It is by far one of my favourite gaming experiences, and to be honest, I genuinely don’t think I can criticise it. I know some people bemoan it’s lack of combat, but that is integral for me to the main character’s sense of hopelessness as he desperately looks for his missing daughter. Maybe I’m getting overexcited, but I think it’s a masterpiece! Go play it!

So once again, Chris was right.

Those are the specifics; the things he said you must experience in a way that moved me into experiencing them. There are many more games, movies and etc(s) that I enjoy that he has reviewed, or spoken about in a podcast, but those are the ones that he knew people might not necessarily come across, and wanted to make sure that some of us did.

Now that I am finished with the specific examples, I am struggling to articulate why Chris deserves his own review on the site, but he does, so I am going to try! I would struggle to pinpoint where I first came across any of Chris’ work, but certainly when he ran the NGamer website was when he cemented himself on my radar. A radar is really not the kind of place to have cement, but there it is. For those who don’t know, or have forgotten, NGamer/Nintendo Gamer/NGC etc was the best gaming publication that ever existed, with some of the best writers out there, and was by far the most entertaining games magazine of all time. That’s not to belittle the other fantastic magazines out there (or that used to be out there), it’s just that this one was the best, all killer, no filler, worth reading cover to cover. So when Chris became editor on the website and possibly the sole contributor, that’s when I began to realise he was a writer worth reading!

Years on and I follow him on Twitter, thereby reading his articles that he tweets, but also, and this is where my recommendation comes in – listing to his podcasts. The ONM podcast, Chat Very Good, North of the Borders and now Tired Old Hack have all been immensely enjoyable, and those that still exist still are! Tired Old Hack is the one that I have only just started listening to, and it (as well as the Troll Hunter tweet) were what inspired me to write this article. I realised that regardless of which podcast he is on, Chris is himself, with the same wit, insight and reliable opinions as always, and I highly recommend you subscribe! Before this starts sounding like a paid for article, I shall finish!

The overarching point is that Chris is a reliable source of recommendations and opinions, and he always has a grounded and realistic approach, without getting carried away. Even when describing his favourite games or movies, he has a well thought out reasoned approach to talking about them, meaning you don’t get a fanboy, “it can do no wrong”, babble. He knows what he’s talking about, and he knows how to talk about it!

Oh! He also has a lovely Canadian wife with a lovely Canadian accent, which proves he must be a stand up guy in real life too!

Follow Chris @scully1888

Subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/user/scully1888

Check out his websites – www.tiredoldhack.com, www.thatwasabitmental.com

You won’t be disappointed!

Joshua Galbraith

Josh blah blah blah

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