Steampunk inspiration and resources

Movies and Television

Steampunk Movie Review – The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box (2013)

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book-cover-midas-boxThis movie has been lurking quietly around for a few years now, but despite its impressive cast, no one seems to have heard of it. Based on Mariah Mundi: The Midas Box by G.P. Taylor, this film chronicles the plight of a pair of brothers. They know their lives aren’t ordinary, but nothing prepares them for the mysterious stranger (Michael Sheen, Underworld, Twilight Saga) who arrives bleeding, joking, and most importantly, carrying an amulet of great power. He passes it to the boys’ mother, but when the agents of power-hungry aristocrat Luger (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park) come to collect, they take Mariah’s parents and he barely escapes with his brother.

As they flee to the mean streets of London in just their pajamas, they discover they each have half of the amulet in their pockets, and a whole mess of trouble on their heals. The little brother is taken during an escape, and Mariah (Aneurin Barnard) must depend on the stranger and his plan to rescue him and keep Luger from getting his hands on the destructive power of The Midas Box.

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I enjoyed this movie, and it would be a good choice for any little Steampunks in your life, especially if you need that “family movie” for everyone to watch during down time this holiday season. The adult actors, including Leana Headey (Game of Thrones), were all spot on, and Barnard was perfect, but as is the case with many a teen/tween actor, I didn’t love all of the younger members of the cast. That being said, the settings were interesting and the story was compelling, so don’t let that stop you from checking it out, and the clothes are awesome if you like Victorian style.

 

I’ve never read the books, but now I’m curious. Has anyone read the books or seen this movie and care to share your thoughts? Feel free as always 🙂


Steampunk on Kickstarter, Nov. 2016

Publishing

The Time Traveler’s Trilogy, Ends Dec. 20

It’s 1815, and Wellington’s badly-outnumbered army stares across the field of Waterloo at Napoleon’s forces. Desperate to hold until reinforcements arrive, Wellington calls upon a race of monsters created by a mad scientist 25 years before.

It’s 1815, and a discontented young lady sitting in a rose garden receives a mysterious gift: a pocket watch that, when opened, displays scenes from all eras of history. Past…and future.

It’s 1885, and a small band of resistance fighters are resorting to increasingly extreme methods in their efforts to overthrow a steampunk Empire whose clockwork gears are slick with its subjects’ blood.

Are these events connected?

Oh, come now. That would be telling…

My favorite reward: $5 pledge and you get the first ebook in the series by January.

Find out more

Film

Outlawed Faith, Ends Dec. 16

 

GENRE: Sci-Fi/Western/Steampunk

LOGLINE: In a dystopian universe, on a dead-end back water world, an orphaned boy and his sisters, one of which is a mystic Seer, try to escape from the sway of their megalomaniac uncle by seeking out the help of a reformed gunslinger.

PLOT SUMMARY: Young Jonah’s faith carries him and his sisters, Celine, and Cora to the borderland town, Harpdale, a dusty crossroads on the edge of the galaxy, where law is what one makes it. They seek out his mother’s old friend, the infamous reformed gunslinger Kulta; but what they find is more than what anyone bargains for. Outlawed Faith is a science fiction action adventure which brings forward a strongly charismatic, but unlikely and reluctant, hero to the rescue of innocence in danger. The story brings together a mashup of genres (Steampunk/Western) creating a perfect blend for adventure.

My favorite reward: $10 pledge gets you a download of the short, plus a download of the finished full film

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Gaming

Concept Crowd Gear, Ends Dec. 4 

The Game: 

The game will have a steampunk anime type stylized aesthetics. An unknown force brings magic to the equation, causing inexplicable phenomenon such as strange monsters and weird climatic changes that alter the setting and increase the conflict.

As the game grows, the core platform supporting the game will add new weapons, terrains, bosses, creatures, or mechanics. This allows for more repeat playing of the game.

The Process:  

Rewards for support include participation in the concepts section, voting rights during development, and credit for any contributions that are used in the game. Whether backers have a passion for drawing, modeling, or just have great ideas for the videogame, access to the forums is gained based on backing.

My favorite reward: a $10 pledge allows you to be a part of the design process and give feedback

Find out more

 

Steam Hammer, ends Dec. 15

Steam Hammer is the first hardcore sandbox-style RPG set in a dark and mysterious steampunk world. Experience the intensity as you try to survive on the mysterious Acribo Islands.

Steam Hammer features:

• a classic Victorian steampunk setting with wondrous mechanisms, machinery, weapons, armor, clothing, and—of course—steam and smoke.

• an open-class system that frees you from arbitrary constraints. Engineer, scientist, farmer, gunsmith, stormtrooper, sharpshooter, and more can all be combined and switched depending on your skill set.

• a huge open world for you to explore, travel, and terraform. Go where you will and master the land.

 Craft your Glory. Craft your Victory. Craft your Steam Hammer!

My favorite reward: $25 pledge gets you the full game and your name in the credits

Find out more

 

Pirates: Age of Gravitum, Ends Dec. 22 

In Pirates : Age of Gravitium, you play as a pirate captain looking for a solution to the upcoming threat of the India Company. Whether you want to become famous, rich enough or well prepared to fight is for you to decide. To help you during your journey, you can recruit a large variety of fellow pirates. You can also grow your headquarter to unlock new skills, accept missions for other factions or simply explore the world in search for treasures or easy targets to rob. But be careful ! You are not alone, and the other factions – the British, the French, the Dutch, the Spanish and the other Pirates – will make sure you pay for your crimes.

Sea itself is treacherous if you travel for too long, as the moral of your crew, like the hull of your ship, is far from being unbreakable.

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My favorite reward: 18 euros and you get the game, a chance to answer polls during development, and your name in the credits

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Steampunk Movie Review: Gallowwalkers

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I started writing a new book at the end of September, and the first part takes place in the Old West. I got a chance to beef up on California history last year when I lived near Sacramento, so my heroine is an ex con woman who is forced out of retirement when her last job comes back to haunt her. Literally.

So, it’s given me a hankering for some other “weird west” and freaky tales of the frontier, which led me to today’s film, Gallowwalkers. In a dusty, backwater recess, the dead just refuse to stay dead; at least, the ones killed by the mysterious gunman, Aman (Wesley Snipes). Now they are back and looking for revenge, and they’ve found out who he is and where he lives. With the help of a hired gun (Riley Smith), he must protect what remains of his family from the terrible fiends and live to ride another day. But Aman isn’t the only one with a family, and the ringleader of the dead (Kevin Riley) has a son who just refuses to come back to life, and needs a temple hidden in the desert to bring him back.

maxresdefaultThough it’s not much of a stretch to call this movie “Blade in the old West,” it wouldn’t live up to its namesake. The story was disjointed and a bit hard to follow, plus pretty gory to boot. The flesh of the undead continues to rot, so they have to find new faces and victims to skin on a regular basis, and they only way to kill them is to rip the spine from the body or obliterate the head, so you can imagine there’s quite a bit of blood.

I’ll hand it to them, this was an interesting premise with some scary villains, but I wouldn’t call it “good” by any stretch. It seemed to be working up to a big climax with the temple, but the writers just forgot all about it when it came time for something cool to happen. For me, the biggest reason to watch it is for Snipes’ badass dreadlocks, but no matter how awesome he looks as a cowboy, it’s not worth the 90 minutes of meh.

 


Steampunk’d Comes to Netflix

First Penny Dreadful, and now the world’s first Steampunk reality TV show has come to my favorite streaming service! I admit it, I watched half of the entire run of the show in one sitting because I can’t seem to get enough of watching brilliant and talented people making beautiful things 🙂 And the timing is perfect as people everywhere turn their minds to crafting the perfect Halloween costume.

Plus, the show brings all the catty fun we all know and love from the reality competition genre, but rather than just sewing like Project Runway or just character design like Face-Off, these makers are challenged every week to create a functional Steampunk space with at least one matching costume. The judges give them extra tasks as well, like creating a Rube Goldberg machine that serves breakfast or giving the bedroom a mechanized way to go from day to night, so every assignment stands out and addresses specific needs and a range of talents.

 


The 5 Best Movies to Add a bit of Steam to your Halloween

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Guys, this was hard. Like, waaaaaaaay harder than I expected. It turns out there are LOT of Steampunk movies with a bit of the gothic or macabre so they’d work for Halloween. I decided to choose five categories and provide both my pick plus at least one runner-up in that category. Luckily for us, it’s still 28 days until Halloween so you’ve got plenty of time to watch them all!

Best Steampunk Halloween Movie with…

…Ghosts

Crimson Peak (2015) came out just in time for Halloween last year and it was fabulous. These were some of the scariest, most amazingly rendered ghosts I have ever seen, and they did a clever job of making the main character’s life mirror the book she was trying to write. If you want something sincerely spine-tingling, check this one out.

Read full review

Runner-up: The Woman in Black

…Monsters

Van Helsing (2004) was one of the first movies I ever reviewed for the site and it still holds its own against newer titles. This flick brings together Dracula, the wolf man, and Frankenstein’s monster, not to mention Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale in the lead roles. Though more of an adventure than a horror film, the special effects definitely bring in some of that special Halloween freak-factor you’re looking for.

Read the full review

 

Runner-up: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2012)

…A “Fractured Fairy Tale”…

The Brothers Grimm (2005) continues to be among my all-time favorite movies, and if you haven’t seen it you simply must seek it out this Halloween season. It follows the exploits of two con men as they discover all the stories they tell their unwitting victims are actually true…

Read full review and check out the Fairy Tale Guide/Drinking Game

Runner-up: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters (2013)

…Subtitles

Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidoqc (2001), known simply as Vidoqc in France, is a stunning piece of film, and creepy to boot. The titular character was actually a real detective in France in the 1800s, and among the first to use forensic methods to solve crimes. Over time, his almost “magical” ability to catch criminals led to a mythos involving the supernatural, and in the film they take this to the extreme.

Read the full review

Runner-up: City of Lost Children (1995)

…Johnny Depp

So, it turns out there are at least three different Steampunk Halloweenish films that star the oh so talented Mr. Depp, so he gets his own category. If I have to choose my favorite, I think I’d have to go with Sweeny Todd (2007), but only because I love the music as much as the movie. There is plenty of gore, but also a touch of macabre comedy in this one, unlike the two runners up (see below)

Read the full review

 

Runners-up: From Hell (2001) and Sleepy Hollow (1999)

What do you think? Did I miss one of your steamy Halloween favorite? Leave a comment!


Penny Dreadful Comes to Netflix

That’s right friends, you can now watch Penny Dreadful with Netflix rather than curse at your cable package for not carrying Showtime. I started it last night and it was amazing. Plus, the perfect thing to get me into a spoooOOOoooky mood for the world’s best holiday, Halloween! In only the pilot I already came face to face with vampiric ghouls and a very mad scientist obsessed with animating the dead.

In case you’ve never heard of this lovely little ode to the gory and the gothic, check out the trailer.

 

 


Steampunk Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens

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A lot of the movies that I put under the umbrella of Steampunk get that title because of more or less aesthetic reasons. The City of Ember, for instance, is technically a post-Apocalyptic future, but the people rely on a level of technology akin to the 1900’s. Cowboys and Aliens falls on the other end of the spectrum. Instead of looking Steampunk, the very essence of the story is an alternate history with a futuristic twist, which makes it qualify in my book. It’s also an awesome mash-up that expertly uses some of Western’s best tropes and integrates horror movie principles flawlessly.

cowboys-and-aliens-fullThe film opens with sweeping shots of the seemingly empty landscape. Cut to Daniel Craig, dirty, bleeding, and with no memory of how he ended up in the middle of the desert with a funky metal contraption on his arm. Within a few minutes, he establishes his unadulterated badassery and his status as the consummate cowboy – a gruff loner with a quick draw and sledgehammer fists. But all he has are disturbing flashes of the dead eyes of a beautiful woman staring at him to tell him who he is or where he came from.

Enter Harrison Ford, an ex-military man turned cattle rancher who now spends his time bullying the townsfolk. His son takes his shenanigans one step too far and winds up in jail. (You see what I mean about classic Western tropes?) The big showdown between Ford and the sheriff seems imminent and then BOOM! Aliens attack! They blow stuff up and use these wicked grapplers to take hostages and whisk them away. Suddenly, the people who were at each other’s throats are pulled together in their quest to get their people back and retake their little patch of earth from the invaders.

The film is based on a graphic novel by the same title, and the director, Jon Favreau, was committed to both the spectacle of a comic and making a damn good Western. The special effects are great and the gritty realism of the cinematography and acting grounds what may seem like a goofy concept and makes it feel like it really could have happened. This is a great adventure film and I strongly recommend it for fans of science fiction and old movies alike.

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Steampunk Crowdfunding: June/July 2016

It looks like a lot of Kickstarter folks must be on summer vacation, because there weren’t all that many projects going at the moment. But the ones that exist look really amazing, so check them out!

Gaming

Wrath of Anna, Ends July 19

  Watch the video: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1118017763/wrath-of-anna-pre-orders-round-2/widget/video.html

Wrath of AnnaI grew up playing competitive games at the highest level, and I have been actively developing Wrath of Anna since July 2015 (utilizing Unreal Engine 4). My name is Michael L. Fiorentino Gutierrez (a.k.a. hamtaro in the gaming world) and I’m presenting to you a competitive FPS with brutal 5 on 5 competitive play alongside other small and large scale combat modes. I have self funded the game up to this point with a small amount of private assistance, and I’m here now to utilize Kickstarter to raise extra funds mainly through pre-orders.  These funds are important and will help provide a more advanced multiplayer early access experience.The early access focuses on multiplayer gameplay; with additional episodic campaigns planned for later release.

My favorite reward: For a $10 pledge you get an early access key to try out the game before the official release, as well as previews before anyone outside of the Kickstarter project.

Find out more

 Stars of Empire, Ends Aug 11

  Watch the video: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/759107276/stars-of-empire-a-vsf-steampunk-rpg/widget/video.html

Stars of Empire bugsIn 2016, a game publisher called Black Pigeon Press and I put out a Victorian Science Fiction Role Playing game titled Stars of Empire. We used their game engine and my Hive, Queen, and Country (HQC) setting. This fusion provided gamers with a tabletop experience where they could be challenged by the story and not by the rules. Unfortunately Black Pigeon Press closed its doors. Instead of letting the Hive, Queen and Country Universe just die I formed Aerolyth Enterprises LLC and began self publishing. With the help of a number of friends and a successful Kickstarter we’ve been able to produce a miniatures game and two source books. Now we would like to come full circle. With your help we will produce two core books, one for Referees and one for Players.

My favorite reward: For a $40 pledge you get the full library of 6 books minimum, and any additional books that get funded as stretch goals.

Find out more

Film

Forbidden Two, ends July 9

Watch the video: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/114455469/forbidden-two/widget/video.html

Forbidden twoOur team consist of independent filmmakers. We hope to raise a modest goal to make this project come to life!  Right now we are aiming to make the Pilot episode as a “proof of concept” with the hope of shopping the show around and eventually moving onto a full season. Why Not a Web series? For us, “Forbidden Two,” is an immersive and lavish world, and with the complexity of the story, we don’t feel that a web series format would do the show justice. This is why we are aiming to create the pilot.

My favorite reward: For a $50 pledge, backers get a special screening (either over the internet or in person), plus cool rewards at lower levels like coloring pages based on the concept art and soundtrack.

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