Vampire Hunter D: Army of Me Fan-Film

I was initially going to review this fan-film created by several cosplayers out of Idaho, but you know what? I’d just rather everyone watch it and take it in. ❤

“Vampire Hunter D: Army of Me is a short film inspired by the Vampire Hunter D book series written by Hideyuki Kikuchi. This project was created by fans through all four seasons in the beautiful state of Idaho.

WARNING: Content may be disturbing to some audiences.”

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World of Darkness: The Documentary Review

I was contacted by TriCoast to do a review on a documentary being distributed by it’s off-shoot, DarkCoast. Now, normally, I would be hesitant to say yes to this type of review, but the film was a documentary on White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness series. It has inspired a known cultural phenomenon, including influencing many in the cosplay community.

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World of Darkness: The Documentary

Honestly, I’m starting off with stating I thoroughly loved watching this documentary. I took a stupid amount of notes I’ll try to condense, but I do enjoy role-playing games. I dallied in Vampire: The Masquerade years ago, and am a fan of the supernatural anyway. I loved seeing the costumes created by live-action role-players (LARPers) and the stories they intertwine. All of this is covered beautifully in World of Darkness and literally dives right on into it from the get-go.

There is immediate discussion of the role-playing games available in the 70s and 80s and how the main genre that was popular was fantasy. Interviewees discussed the ridicule faced by discussing their involvement in the games and why they tended to keep to strict social circles (sound familiar, cosplayers?). There wasn’t a lot of information out there with new content, so that was basically how White Wolf Publishing was born… Creating magazines to spread out amongst other players.

The founders discuss how GenCon, the world’s oldest tabletop role-playing convention, was how they took off. Their magazines became popular and they eventually ended up merging with Lion Rampart because of it. They then go into how the economical changes of the time that caused urban decay seen around the founders are what inspired the creation of Vampire: The Masquerade, where you would play a vampire and thusly, an anti-hero. This brought in all types of people, including more women, who were interested in a change-up in role-playing games at the time.

The game also brought together all the major vampire mythology, both modern and ancient, at the time. It introduced the idea of less rules and more storylines, turned classes into clans, and all-around made it easy to create a very expanded and evolving character. Fanclubs were born, then LARPers received their own version of the game, with the RPG turning into a huge expansive world. Thus… World of Darkness was truly born.

The artwork was done by Tim Bradstreet (I remembered his name because well, THAT ART) and it was heavily influenced by the goth punk fashion and club scenes of the 90s. All of it was based off of actual models and poses, which made the art feel more alive and real. This was another reason LARPers and regular role-players grew to love the game as well.

Speaking of the LARPers, they interviewed several throughout the film. Each one discussed their love for the game, as you watch them get into their costumes. It’s really enjoyable to listen to their stories and see their transformations throughout the film. All of them are from different clans, and each has a different story, but it’s cool to see how the game brought together such a different variety of people first-hand.

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Still from World of Darkness: The Documentary, photo by Curious Josh

The World of Darkness quite literally became a cultural phenomenon, facing both the good and bad of such a title. From murderers and bad television series, White Wolf Publishing faced a lot of backlash in the late 90s. The digital age was upon them and sales took a hit to the point the original Vampire creator was laid off, but vampires and the supernatural exploded on-screen.

The Blade movies, Underworld, and many other works were clearly influenced as well, listed and examples given throughout the documentary, and it was all quite fascinating to learn about what occurred with each. However, the World of Darkness continued onwards, until the big blow hit when the fanclub and publishing company went to court over the use of the “Camarilla” name. The publishing company won, but it started outcasting the people they relied on for business.

To garner interest back into the series, the founders decided to restart the series under Vampire the Requiem, but due to many things explained in the film, the fans were still not getting into it. The PC game, Bloodlines, was launched afterwards and did decent enough, so White Wolf Publishing wanted to pursue more in the digital age.

Attempting to pursue making a MMORPG, like Eve Online and World of Warcraft for example, they hired fashion designers in their merger with gaming company CCP. However, the budget far exceeded what money existed and the idea was eventually scrapped with a lot of people losing their jobs along the way.

The documentary ended with an update as of 2015 concerning White Wolf Publishing and their next venture. But, to find out more on that, you’ll have to watch it yourself.

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World of Darkness: The Documentary, artwork by Tim Bradstreet

Overall, I found this film fun and fascinating, with good visuals and music compositions. The interviews and older footage of the founders and creators made everything a lot less stale for what you’d expect of a documentary. The cosplayer in me loved the costumes and clothing introduced by the LARPers and digital fashion designers. It’s all around a pretty fun film and I definitely recommend checking it out!

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DarkCoast will bring White Wolf’s World of Darkness: The Documentary to the USA on September 18th, 2018 for its online digital release streaming on various VOD platforms (Amazon, InDemand, iTunes, Fandango, Dish, FlixFling, Vimeo on Demand, Google Play, Sling).

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Hellraiser-Inspired Make-up/Cosplay Tutorial

This tutorial was created by Courtney Little Makeup and is definitely a more intense one! The final look is absolutely amazing and would be perfect for any horror fan for Halloween! 😀

Hope this helps! 😀

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New Fabric Resources for Sharing!

I realized I hadn’t shared new resources in quite some time, so I figured I’d rectify that situation! 😀 I found a couple of fabric sites I hadn’t shared before, so I checked them out!

  1. Fabric Wholesale Direct – The major thing that caught my eye with this site is flat rate shipping at $6.99, with free shipping on orders over $75. They have a nice choice of spandex, silks, satins, and just kind of whatever you might need for fabric! The prices are reasonable depending on the fabric choices, but the spandex for example, is comparable to specialty ones found in JoAnn Fabrics. They also ship internationally, though the rates will obviously change for those orders.
  2. OnlineFabricStore – This site also does free shipping on orders over $50! I feel this site is a bit more limited on choices for fabrics, but still has a decent selection. It does have stuff like interfacing and dyes though. Shipping changes on what you choose, but they do have $7.49 flat rate shipping and do ship internationally.

So, there’s two more resources to hunt fabric! Happy cosplaying! 😀

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Interview with Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric

It’s time for another interview, this time with Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric! He’s an international cosplayer from Canada, who enjoys making props look as realistic as possible!

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Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric as Ian Nottingham from Witchblade, photo by Eurobeat Kasumi, Coat by Reva Dawn

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric. I have used to alias Huxxley for ages in various online games and whatnot and I wanted to have something other than ________Cosplay. I thought that considering that I’m usually spewing some sort of rhetoric that the name would be appropriate.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I have been cosplaying for about 9 years now I suppose. Initially it was my wife who got me into it. It’s something she had been doing for years and her passion for it kind of swallowed me up. Now it’s something we do together. Lots of “couples cosplays” and group things. We find it more amusing to do things as a group.

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I guess Worbla was the real game changer. I’m by no means an expert with it but it has been very fun/exasperating/rewarding/annoying to work with. I also enjoy utilizing poly carb and like materials for weaponry as I feel it creates a very “realistic” appearance. I have always been one who tries to make things as real as possible, shying away from a more animated look but that’s just my personal preference.

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Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric as Ron Stoppable, with his wife Brooke as Kim Possible, from Kim Possible, photo by Eurobeat Kasumi

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
Hard to say. I’ve been experimenting with Thibra and that’s proved to be a real steep learning curve. I like the results that are possible, especially when it comes to armor panels but it’s really easy to mess it up if you overheat things. I suspect at some point I should really learn to sew because we currently lean very hard on our amazing seamstress friend Reva Dawn who does most everything fabric related for us and is skilled beyond belief.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I like seeing creativity in costuming. I enjoy when people “make things their own,” as in creating their own versions of characters. I don’t feel there is a huge need for pinpoint accuracy on costumes. For instance; I like seeing characters that are battle scarred and beat up and not all pristine and unscathed. When I did my Punisher, he was really beat to crap and looked like he was fed through a mulcher. I think anyone does well in a costume they love. This whole thing is a labor of love and I really like seeing what people put into their passions.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
This is an interesting question and I feel it’s much like any scene with positives and negatives. I have met some great friends in this scene and I have seen some really stupid drama in this scene. I think this scene can be super judgmental at times and incredibly welcoming. It really depends on the specific folks involved.

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Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric as The Punisher from Marvel Comics, photo by Ekello Harrid Photography

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I really would like to see the scene in general be more accepting of things like POC cosplayers and body positivity. There are some absolutely amazing POC cosplayers out there just rocking it and I love seeing them do traditionally white or Asian characters and doing an outstanding job of it. Honestly I don’t think it matters a single bit what color your skin is, if you cosplay a character you cosplay a character and are just as valid as anyone else. I have seen a lot of outrage over POC cosplayers or people whose bodies “aren’t ideal” for the characters they are cosplaying and that absolutely needs to stop. People need to learn to check their intolerance, its 2018 for Christ sake.

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Do whatever you like. There isn’t really a wrong way to do things. Find what works for you and roll with it. Don’t let other people’s opinions shape how you do things. This whole community is about expressing your fandom and nobody can tell you that’s wrong unless you are doing something like wearing a German SS uniform at a con. Then I’ll happily tell you its wrong because it is. Period.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I would have to say Emerald City Comic Con and Rose City Comic Con as we have met some amazing friends at those cons and its really an opportunity for us to hang out with people we don’t get to see very often, including one Denver based cosplayer that needs to get her butt back to the Pacific Northwest… No names mentioned *cough,Koi*. Our local con in Vancouver is good too because it’s close and we don’t have to buck up for a hotel room in USD which is always a pricey endeavor.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
Ha! I don’t tend to do a lot of mainstream stuff so when I get recognized its pretty cool. I was cosplaying Constantine pretty much from the get go which was long before he came back to prominence with the TV show. Actually it was funny because people thought I was Castiel but I have been reading those old Vertigo titles since the late 80’s and have a lot of love for them. But I suppose the main fact I like about them is they represent my personal fandom and at the end of the day that’s really what cosplay is all about.

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Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric as Constantine, photo by Darkain

Thanks for the interview, Huxxley Costumes and Rhetoric! You can check out his Facebook page here!

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Overwatch’s Tracer Goggles Tutorial

This cosplay tutorial is a fun one! It teaches you how to create Tracer’s goggles from Overwatch and was created by Axceleration!

Hope this helps! 😀

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Guest Post: Steff von Schweetz’s Why You Lost The Costume Contest

Instead of reiterating everything here, I’ll just say that this piece is something everyone who competes in the cosplay community NEEDS to read.

“While people have different motives to enter a costume contest/masquerade at a convention, one thing is for sure: it sucks to lose.

You may often wonder why you lost. You may be quick to blame others in your group. You might think the judges are biased or weren’t skilled enough to properly judge you. You might feel you got shafted because first place doesn’t look that special. But as someone who has ten years of judging and competing experience, I’m going to bring some hard truth and say that it’s probably your own fault that you lost. Let’s look at this critically.”

To continue reading Steff von Schweetz’s piece, follow the link here. Everything in this article is hands-down correct, from both a competitor’s and judge’s standpoint. It’s a great reality check and learning tool for anyone in the competition side of the community! ❤

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