Venganza Media Gazette

Tech, TV, Movies, Games, and More

Introduction to the House of Chthon

On Now Playing, the movie review podcast, Jakob, Stuart, and I are reviewing the three theatrical Blade films.  However, several people have expressed interest in the supposed “fourth Blade movie”, Blade – The House of Chthon.

Blade House of Chthon DVD Cover

Despite all appearances, this was never intended to be a movie.

Truth be told, there is no fourth Blade film.

The confusion is completely understandable.  In 2007 Warner Bros. released the pilot to the Blade television series on home video, and as the series was already cancelled they named the DVD Blade – The House of Chthon.  Later, as part of a series of “value bundle” DVDs, a DVD was released claiming it contained “4 Film Favorites”:  Blade, Blade II, Blade: Trinity, and Blade – The House of Chthon.

But despite clever marketing, what is being billed as House of Chthon is not a movie, nor was it ever intended to be a standalone film.  The video was developed with the title “Pilot”, the customary title to the first episode of most television series.  Pilots are usually filmed prior to shows having been picked up by networks.  In the case of Blade, the pilot convinced Spike TV to order 11 more episodes.

In years past pilot episodes for one-hour adventure shows could be considered self-contained movies.  The pilot episodes for Knight Rider, The A-Team, and even Star Trek: The Next Generation served as both, giving audiences a self-contained story while introducing new characters and new situations which can continue into future episodes.  The presumed pilot for the Generation X TV series, a movie that aired once on the Fox network, also falls into this category.

In the past twenty years however, television has changed and stand-alone, episodic television has been replaced with serialized stories–for example, compare The Incredible Hulk, where every episode stood alone with David Banner in a new town, to Lost, which built upon its own mythology to the point new viewers had difficulty understanding what was going on.

But the pilot episode for Blade, and the entire Blade series, falls more into the latter category–a serialized action-drama with a single story arc that encompasses all 12 episodes.

As such, there is no way for Now Playing to review the first episode of this TV series without watching all twelve episodes.  But starting later today you will be able to read my reviews of all twelve Blade episodes, posted one per day, here at the Venganza Media Gazette.

Want to watch?  You can watch the entire Blade series free at

Read Arnie’s individual Blade TV Series reviews:

1 Pilot
2 Death Goes On
3 Descent
4 Bloodlines
5 The Evil Within
6 Delivery
7 Sacrifice
8 Turn of the Screw
9 Angels and Demons
10 Hunters
11 Monsters
12 Conclave

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Blade - The TV Series, Reviews, Television | , , , | 14 Comments

Thousands Profit on Discounted HP Touchpads

HP Touchpad

The HP Touchpad allows full web browsing, including Flash based web sites, an edge over market leader Apple.

If you haven’t heard, the Hewlett-Packard Touchpad has become the #2 tablet computer on the market, right behind Apple’s iPad. That’s an enviable position for any new product, let alone for one that is already at end-of-life as HP has announced a change in business direction, pulling out of the home consumer market, including the 8-week-old tablet.  How did it pull off this amazing feat? By drastically cutting prices to $99 for a 16GB and $149 for a 32GB, and taking a bath, losing approximately $200 per tablet.

But this has proven that to consumers, price matters more than performance. Demand has been so high that flash-mobs of shoppers from bargain website SlickDeals crashed several sites stocking Touchpads, including Tiger Direct. Additionally, Best Buys getting Touchpads have been met with lines of customers forming hours before opening, rivaling Black Friday.

While many of these customers are lined up to get for themselves the latest gadget, a tablet PC that rivals Apple’s iPad in hardware, many of the others stalking the discount web sites and standing in line are resellers, looking not to save a buck but to make one, selling the discounted tablet PC for higher prices.  In line at a Best Buy in Forsyth, IL last Saturday I spoke to one man who had driven over 3 hours from Chicago in order to get some of the tablets to sell at his electronics store.

Even those who don’t own electronics shops are getting in on the profiteering.  eBay is flooded with Touchpad sales, as is with “Amazon Affiliate sellers”, including shop owners and private individuals, but through these secondary markets the prices hover around the $225 mark with the $99-priced 16GB models sell on eBay for an average price of $230, whereas the $149-priced 32GB models sell for an average of $235, leaving far less profit to the sellers.

Even larger retailers are engaging in this activity.  Aaron’s, Inc., a national rent-to-own business, is receiving shipments of 16GB Touchpads, but rather than pricing them at $99, their price is $180 including an aftermarket case.  Additionally, Aaron’s is making special exceptions to their company policies for the Touchpad – exceptions not to the customers’ favor.  Aaron’s offers a 20% discount to customers who pay cash or credit card up front for their items, versus the rent-to-own methods, however that 20% discount does not apply to the Touchpad.  When asked about this policy Aaron’s district manager Kevin Miller replied “It does not apply to this item because we’re the only place you can get it.”  Aaron’s price-match guarantee states on the web site they will match any local competitor’s print ad or internet price or Aaron’s will give you $100 in cash, however Miller said that only applies to items that are in stock at local stores.  Additionally, Aaron’s bundles the Touchpad with an aftermarket case, thus creating a unique bundle that cannot be price-matched.

HP’s policy is that retailers are free to set their own price on Touchpad devices.

But even at the higher price consumers are buying the Touchpads in droves, many seeing the $230 price as a savings of $270 rather than a markup of $130 over HP’s new suggested retail price.  For those looking to enter the tablet computing market the $230 price seems very reasonable for a device that allows web-surfing, movie playback, eBook reading, and more.  And this may be a signal to future tablet manufacturers looking to take a bite out of Apple, that when it comes to tablet computing price, not features, determines the market.  With Amazon on the cusp of announcing a new tablet computer running Google’s Android operating system, they should take a lesson not from HP’s fire sale, but from eBay’s setting of the market price.

As for HP, they announced yesterday that they are “going back into production” for one last run of Touchpads (a claim that many at SlickDeals are calling “misleading” as HP’s initial announcement clearly stated manufacturing would stop in the fourth quarter, not immediately).  While these newly produced Touchpads are sure to be highly sought after by customers and profiteers alike, HP is also poised to profit from these new sales.  Even at a loss on the hardware, HP’s new customer base promise a profitibue revenue stream through their webOS-based App Store where HP keeps 30% of all sales.

If you are looking for a Touchpad at HP’s suggested retail price of $99, follow HP rep Bryna on Twitter for updates on manufacturing and availability.

August 31, 2011 Posted by | News, Tech | , , | Comments Off on Thousands Profit on Discounted HP Touchpads

Welcome to the Venganza Media Gazette

Welcome to the Venganza Media Gazette, a new service brought to you by Venganza Media, the company behind such hit podcasts as Star Wars Action News, Republic Forces Radio Network, Now Playing, and Marvelicious Toys!The Venganza Media Gazette will be a news site that both supports the Venganza Media Podcast Network and also goes in its own directions.  As podcasts can take quite a bit of time from recording to release, the Venganza Media Gazette will allow more instant release of information in a centralized location, as opposed to scattered social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  But while toy collecting, movies, comics, and television will be primary topics on this site, the Venganza Media Gazette will also allow for a variety of other topics, including technology, video games, fitness, cooking, and more.We hope you enjoy the Venganza Media Gazette and stay with us throughout our launch!

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Site Information | , , | 2 Comments