Flash back to 2009, 30 Days of Night and Hard Candy director David Slade was attached to helm the adaptation of the Antarctic island horror/psychological thriller Cold Skin, based on a best-selling Spanish novel of the same title.
Then, in 2011, Xavier Gens (The Divide, Hitman, Frontiere(s)) was attached to take the reigns from a screenplay by Carriers writers Alex and David Pastor.
After years in development hell, filming is officially underway, which means Cold Skin is actually, finally, truly happening!
Who stars? Ray Stevenson (“Dexter,” Punisher, Big Game, Thor, the Divergent franchise) and David Oakes (The Borgias, The White Queen), says Variety.
Based on a best-seller of the same title by Albert Sanchez Piñol whose adaptation rights were said to have been pursued in their day by Focus Europe and Filmax, Cold Skin begins with a young man approaching a remote island on the edge of the Antarctic Circle to relieve a weather observer who has been stationed there in solitude. But all he finds is a deranged castaway who has witnessed a horror he refuses to name.
Cold Skin co-stars Spain’s double-Goya nominee Aura Garrido (Stockholm, The Department of Time).
Two-time Academy Award winner Gil Parrondo serves as production designer: award-winning Ranchito (“Games of Thrones,” The Impossible) supplies VFX.
Principal photography will move to the Canary Islands later this month and then a further part of the shoot is planned for Iceland exteriors, said Babieka’s Denis Pedregosa.
Here’s the synopsis from a few years back:
“In this grim, H.G. Wellsian fable, an unnamed European of unspecified nationality is hired to spend an unspecified mid-20th-century year logging wind conditions on a tiny Antarctic island. Anticipating solitude, the bookish young man soon discovers that he has a neighbor–the pathologically reclusive Gruner–and that each night, the island is overrun by humanoid killer amphibians. He and brutish Gruner–who has tamed a “toad” of his own–join forces, killing monsters by night and fornicating with Gruner’s pet by day. Inspired by the creature’s ability to laugh and cry–to say nothing of her perky breasts, knack for housework and wordless submissiveness–the narrator begins to think of the cold-blooded creatures as human. When he tries to befriend them and their children, his efforts pacify the humanoids, but not Gruner; the hopeful idyll ends when the older man launches a last suicidal effort to exterminate the “monsters.” Gruner’s death plunges our hero into a rut of battle, drunkenness and bestiality so complete that when his replacement arrives, he has become as feral as Gruner was before him.”
It sounds very Lovecraftian, like The Fog meets Dagon…
What is it with all the Lovecraft-inspired games coming our way recently? Well, I sure ain’t complaining. The latest is Phantasmal: City of Darkness, which has just made its way onto Steam after spending some time in Early Access. It’s a procedurally generated horror game which promises to change and evolve with every playthrough, so you never feel as though you’re experiencing the same thing twice.
As if the horrific creatures hunting you weren’t enough to drive you insane, Hollywood lighting expert Brian Bell also worked on its visual design, so expect it to look incredible.
Buy it by April 21st for a 20% discount.
From the Press Release:
Experience terror that is never the same twice with Phantasmal, a Lovecraftian survival horror that evolves every time you play!
You will need to face off against lurking, otherworldly horrors in the perilous, run-down Kowloon Walled City before its destruction in the early 90s. You are fragile. Not just physically, but mentally as well. The grotesque creatures will challenge your very sanity, and losing your mind can be a fate worse than death!
The odds are stacked steeply against you, but you can prevail through sheer cunning. You must scavenge for resources carefully, sneak past and distract your enemies. If you are caught, you can fight back, but don’t expect to live for very long.
The environment has been carefully crafted by none other than Brian Bell, critically acclaimed lighting lead of several Hollywood movies, including Riddick, Life of Pi, and Ring 2.
- Fear the Unknown: Every ramshackle, disgusting room and corridor is uniquely generated. Battle your anxiety as you’ll never know what comes next!
- Don’t Go Insane: Facing terrifying creatures and skulking in the suffocating darkness will erode your sanity until you can no longer tell the difference between reality and illusion!
- Tread Softly: Every fight you have could be your last. Sneak past and distract your enemies as much as possible.
- Light, Both an Ally and Enemy: Every asset to survivability has a price. Use light sources wisely – you’ll need them to restore your sanity, but you’ll risk being seen!
- Scavenge to Survive: Scrounge the environment for anything you can use: from firecrackers and flares through to wooden boards and metal pipes. Guns are rare, but if you find one, remember that every bit of noise you make will attract more creatures and eventually much, much worse!
The post Lovecraft-Inspired Game Phantasmal: City of Darkness Awakens on Steam appeared first on Dread Central.
As we sit basking in the afterglow of another massively successful cinematic adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, The Jungle Book, I figured it was time to take a look at some of the best versions to date. Is it a horror story? No, but an argument could be made that it falls under the “when animals attack subgenre” like Grizzly, Tintotera, Day of the Animals, Frogs, etc. After all, Mowgli’s parents do often get killed (if not eaten) at the start of each version.
I’m not going to push that angle, partly because I’d just be reaching, but mostly because not everything we run on this site is horror-oriented. Whether some like it or not, we have a sub-section of the site that covers the action, sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero genres. That section is called The Further and it is under this area that the fantasy/adventure likes of The Jungle Book (and this weekend’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War) falls. So, without further (hah!) adieu, here are my five favorite on-screen incarnations of Rudyard Kipling’s classic jungle stories…
That’s right, kids! Like it or not, the second season of MTV’s “Scream” series is about to kick off, and right now we have some new eye candy courtesy of EW. Check it out!
“Scream” Episode 2.01 airs on Monday, May 30th. Are you ready for the games to begin again?
Returning cast members include Willa Fitzgerald (Emma), John Karna (Noah), Tom Maden (Jake), Tracy Middendorf (Maggie), Amadeus Serafini (Kieran), Bex Taylor-Klaus (Audrey), and Carlson Young (Brooke). Joining them are recording artist Kiana Ledé, Santiago Segura (47 Meters Down, “Silicon Valley”), Anthony Ruivivar (“Banshee,” “American Horror Story”), Austin Highsmith (“Murder in the First,” “Criminal Minds”), Sean Grandillo (Spring Awakening), and Karina Logue (“Ray Donovan,” “Gotham”). The new showrunners are Michael Gans and Richard Register.
Related Story: Five Reasons to Watch Scream: The Series Season Two
Season 2 picks up with Emma’s return to Lakewood after several months at a retreat, where she tried to recover from the horrors of last season. Everyone is walking on eggshells around her, questioning whether she has truly gotten over the Killer’s crimes. Meanwhile, Audrey is hiding her connection to the Killer but is getting harassed by someone who knows the truth. Brooke and Jake are also keeping secrets — they are hiding a budding romance from Mayor Maddox. And Noah is getting closer and closer to the truth about the Season 1 murders.
MTV’s first season of “Scream” ended with the reveal that Sarah Koenig-wannabe Piper (Amelia Rose Blaire) was the killer.
It all came together when viewers learned that Piper was the daughter of Brandon James and Emma’s mother Maggie (Tracy Middendorf), and was after Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) because she was jealous of her half-sister’s perfect life.
But before the credits would roll, the finale insinuated that Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) was her partner — and based on EW’s exclusive photos from the second season, it looks like that may be all but confirmed.
Now that we know Audrey is somehow in play, who is donning the Ghost Face mask and attacking Emma? There’s now a third person involved, which is the crux of this season’s underlying mystery.
“Scream” returns Monday, May 30 at 11 p.m. ET on MTV.
Thanks to Bloody reader ‘doodaderek’ for the tip.
Now that she’s out of “The Vampire Diaries”, Nina Dobrev is focusing her career on the big screen with films like XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and Crash Pad. However, it’s her leap into the world of genre films that interests us as it’s been confirmed that the star is in talks to join Sony’s reboot of Flatliners, the 1990 sci-fi supernatural thriller that starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, and Kevin Bacon.
If she lands the role, Dobrev would be taking on the character of Marlo, an overachiever who aims to be at the top of her class, according to Deadline. However, it’s still uncertain if she’s going to commit to the production.
The remake is being directed by Niels Arden-Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and is produced by Michael Douglas and Laurence mark off a script by Ben Ripley. Ellen Page and Diego Luna are already confirmed for the film.
A Chicago medical student persuades his fellow pupils to help him end his life, and then resuscitate him in the nick of time. His colleagues also journey into the unknown, looking for meaning in their own lives. As the experiments become more perilous, each is forced to contend with the paranormal consequences of trespassing on the other side.
You want to poke a bear? In this new clip from Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room (read our review), a band dangerously screams the tune, “Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks…FUCK ‘EM!” in front of a room filled with, you guessed it, Nazi punks.
Green Room is said to be a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band. It is expanding into more theaters on April 22nd before going Nationwide on April 29th, 2016.
IN FACT: WE HAVE MORE FREE TICKETS TO TOMORROW’S SCREENINGS ACROSS THE NATION! RSVP ASAP and get your tickets printed out.
Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair, and Kai Lennox also star.
“Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.
Intense, emotional, and ingeniously twisted, GREEN ROOM is genre filmmaking at its best and most original. Saulnier continues to build his reputation as one of the most exciting and distinctive directors working today, with a movie that’s completely different from his previous, highly acclaimed Blue Ruin, but which is just as risk-taking and even more full of twists. The entire cast deliver first-rate performances, but Patrick Stewart gives a transformative and brilliantly devious turn as Darcy—elegant yet lethal, droll yet terrifying, Stewart makes the film simply unforgettable.”
“The Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev left the show at the right time because it’s gone on to jump a hell of a lot more than just the shark. Deadline reports that Dobrev is in talks to star in Sony’s reboot of the sci-fi medical thriller Flatliners, opposite Ellen Page and Diego Luna.
If signed, she will play the character of Marlo in the Niels Arden Oplev-helmed project based the 1990 original film. The character is an overachiever who is at the top of her class. Oplev, who directed the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is directing from a screenplay by Ben Ripley. Michael Douglas and Laurence Mark are producing.
Opening with the line “Today is a good day to die,” the original Flatliners featured Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, and Kevin Bacon and focused on a group of medical students who conduct near-death experiments to travel into the afterworld to find greater meaning and hidden truths. Being a movie, things go wrong; and they get a lot more than they bargained for, as will likely also be the case in the reboot.
Stay tuned for more as it comes!
When originally announced, Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant was to open in October of 2017. It has since moved into the summer, leaving the slot wide open. What would fill it? How about another Scott sequel?!
Entertainment’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner, starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright and Dave Bautista, will now be released worldwide on October 6, 2017, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.
The film, initially set for a January 12, 2018 North American release, will be directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners).
Principal photography is scheduled to begin July 2016.
The sequel, set several decades after the original, is written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, and succeeds the initial story by Fancher and David Peoples based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Story details are not being revealed.
Multi-Oscar nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins (Sicario, Prisoners) will reunite with Villeneuve on the project.
Warner Bros will release the film in North America and Sony Pictures Releasing International will distribute in all overseas territories in all media.
Starring Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson, Shane West
Directed by Rod Blackhurst
Premiering in the Midnight section of the Tribeca Film Fest this year, this film is probably best viewed in a vacuum. If the nearest theater doesn’t offer this and your living room isn’t properly equipped either, then Here Alone will probably be bagged and tagged as just another survival story taking place in a zombie-ravaged post-virus world where the few humans left fear each other more than the infected creatures trying to rip their faces off.
Rod Blackhurst directs his vision of this familiar setup almost like he’s channeling Terrence Malick at first, showing a woman becoming in tune with nature even if it’s a side effect of the apocalypse.
The solitary Ann (Walters) still had a small shred of life after most of the living became fertilizer, and through a series of flashbacks, we see her and her husband, Jason (West), and their baby daughter fight to stay alive in the remote woods where Jason grew up. As two wanderers, Chris and Olivia (Thompson and Piersanti) happen upon Ann and slowly gain her trust, the flashbacks tell how she came to be alone in the past just as she finds more people in the present. The main question of Here Alone is if they can survive together where they are or venture out in the hope of something better.
The real threat is despair and the dread that, once survival is all but guaranteed, the only thing worth living for is living itself. Aside from a few infected stragglers craving another bite, the only real danger comes toward the end of Here Alone when Ann’s forest paradise is threatened by her new guests and their interests. The proceedings are uneventful but pleasant, like a campfire story you’ve heard before but quietly sit through because you like the ending.
Any tension that exists among Ann, Chris, and Olivia doesn’t last long, which doesn’t do much to drive the story forward; and because Here Alone is set on slow cook, subdued scenes of Ann and Chris getting to know each other eventually become tiresome. Even though both actors have chemistry and the writing (at least until the end confrontation) is confident, there’s just not much happening underneath the surface and too few characters to create any real spark.
Just like the campfire story, Here Alone does have an ending worth getting to, and for such a simple story it exudes a real sense of dread and desperation. Dropping you at the end of one story instead of the beginning of the outbreak, David Ebeltoft’s script depicts the monotony of day-to-day existence in a ruined world that was never intended to be seen.
Based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel, The Girl on the Train will get off at her stop and head into theaters on October 7; and ahead of the release, Universal has just unloaded the official teaser trailer. The novel shocked the world, and the movie promises to do the same. Check out your first look!
Written by Tate Taylor and Erin Cressida Wilson, and directed by Taylor, the thriller stars Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow, and Laura Prepon.
Rachel (Blunt), who is devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.
The post Trailer, Images, and Poster Art Introduce The Girl on the Train appeared first on Dread Central.
Garnering the L’Écran Fantastique Award at the 2015 Fantasia Film Festival, Jacob Gentry’s (The Signal) stunning sci-fi adventure Synchronicity (review) arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on May 10 from Magnet Releasing. We’ve got art and release details for ya today, so read on for everything you need to know!
Chad McKnight (The Signal, “ER”), Brianne Davis (Jarhead, “Casual”), and Michael Ironside (Total Recall, The Machinist) star in Synchronicity, a fascinating thriller that blends time travel and romance with corporate espionage. The home entertainment release includes in-depth commentary from Gentry, cast interviews, and a mesmerizing video bringing to life the spellbinding film’s original musical score from composer Ben Lovett (The Signal, Black Rock).
SYNCHRONICITY (pre-order here) is a mind-bending “sci-fi noir” thriller in the tradition of Blade Runner, Gattaca, and Memento. Daring physicist Jim Beale has invented a machine that can fold space-time, and ruthless corporate tycoon Klaus Meisner will stop at nothing to get it. When Jim uses the machine to tear open the fabric of the universe, a rare dahlia appears from the future. But in order to keep the rights to his invention, he must prove that it works by finding the flower’s identical match in the present. Jim soon discovers that the dahlia lies in the hands of the mysterious Abby, who seduces him into revealing his secrets. Convinced that she is in league with Klaus to take ownership of his life’s work, Jim travels back in time to stop the conspiracy before it can happen. But once in the past, Jim uncovers a surprising truth about Abby, the machine, and his own uncertain future.
- Commentary with Writer/Director Jacob Gentry
- Interview with Actor Chad McKnight
- Interview with Actress Brianne Davis
- Interview with Writer/Director Jacob Gentry
- SYNCHRONICITY Music Video – “Time Travel”
- Theatrical Trailer
Alt-rock band Garbage are going to be releasing their sixth studio album Strange Little Birds on June 10th via their own record label STUNVOLUME. To give fans a taste of what’s to come, the band has released a stream of “Empty”, the album’s second track.
Vocalist Shirley Manson tersely explains, “Empty is just exactly what it says it is. A song about emptiness.”
Believe it or not, it’s already been over ten years since the release of American sequel The Ring Two, and the franchise will be brought back from the dead later this year courtesy of brand new installment Rings. It’s headed our way on October 28, and it may be the first of many upcoming encounters with Samara. Read on!
As reported by Movie Web, the Vice Chairman of Paramount was on hand at CinemaCon last week, and after showing off a teaser trailer for Rings, he noted that if the film does well at the box office, The Ring franchise could become an annual Halloween staple on the big screen – like Saw and Paranormal Activity before it.
Here’s a rundown of the footage shown off in that trailer, which hasn’t yet found its way online.
“The trailer was set entirely on an airplane. A passenger is talking to a woman next to him when the plane hits a spot of turbulence. He tells the story of meeting a woman, part of a group called The Sevens. From this woman, our narrator received the video tape that The Ring fans will well remember. The next day, he received a call that he would die seven days later. That call was six days, 23 hours and 55 minutes ago. Suddenly the turbulence worsens, the cockpit flight instruments flicker to static and some mysterious black liquid bubbles up out of the airplane lavatories. We cut to Samara’s well, both on the cockpit instruments and the airplane monitors throughout the cabin. Samara crawls out of the video and towards the narrating passenger and we are cut quickly to the title treatment.”
Rings is directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez and stars Johnny Galecki as Gabriel, a handsome, pleasure-seeking professor who mentors and helps boyfriend and girlfriend duo Holt (Alex Roe) and Julia (Matilda Lutz). Scream 4‘s Aimee Teegarden, Laura Wiggins (“Shameless”), and Zach Roerig (“The Vampire Diaries”) round out the main cast. Bonnie Morgan plays Samara.
The post Rings Could Turn The Ring into an Annual Horror Franchise appeared first on Dread Central.
Known mostly for his incredible motion-capture performances in films like The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, Andy Serkis is nothing short of a Hollywood icon, and up next he’s stepping behind the camera completely to bring The Ritual to the big screen. Read on for details.
The Tracking Board reports today that Serkis will produce The Ritual through his Imaginarium banner, based on Adam Nevill’s award-winning horror novel. BAFTA nominated screenwriter Joe Barton (“Humans”) will adapt the novel.
The Ritual centers on four friends from college who head off into the Scandinavian wild in an effort to get away from it all and reconnect with each other. But what begins as a trip of bonding and friendship turns into a nightmare when they take a shortcut and end up lost. Some of them are injured and they seem stranded with nothing but forest in every direction direction.
While trying to find their way back to civilization, they come across what seems to be an abandoned cottage. Inside they discover ancient artifacts on the wall and bones scattered on the floor in a sacrificial manner. They soon discover that something is stalking them and is intent on keeping them from leaving the woods.
Serkis will produce the film with Jonathan Cavendish. Chloe Sizer will oversee for Imaginarium, while Laura Wilson will oversee for eOne, which will finance and distribute.
Artist Katherine Dey has cooked up a number of tasty treats over the years, some of which are so disturbing that we cannot wait to share them with you.
Recently Buzzfeed caught up with her and inquired about her wondrous skill set!
“I am inspired by a lot of things,” says Dey. “I love that strange feeling I get when something looks real but it isn’t. Or when a cake doesn’t look particularly appetizing but it is a cake and it tastes delicious.”
“I like to make people feel two conflicting things at once. The subjects I choose are things that have interested me forever, be it anatomy, mushrooms, or portraiture. I love portraiture. Making a portrait of someone helps me to really see them. I love the details.”
Take a look below and let us know what you think. Could you chow down on these?
Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room opened in New York and Los Angeles on April 15th and will begin a nationwide roll-out on April 29th so today we have a new clip to share to help you get ready for it.
Green Room (review) tells the story of a band’s encounter with a group of neo-Nazis and their deranged leader (Patrick Stewart). The film also stars Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Mark Webber, and Macon Blair (Blue Ruin).
Down-on-their-luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights agree to a last-minute gig in a backwoods Oregon roadhouse. The gig soon takes a sinister turn as the band members stumble upon a grisly murder scene and find themselves targeted by a ruthless club owner and his associates, determined to eliminate all witnesses.
It’s April 20th (aka 4/20), so if you think I’m unaware that some of you are partaking in some “recreational activities”, please think again. I’m not THAT naive, alright? But know that I’m not going to be that jerk who tries to put a damper on the situation. Rather, I’m going to give you a seriously trippy video in the form of Zsonic‘s “Intrustion Effect”, which is a phantasmagoric explosion of color and surreal visuals, none of which make 100% sense to my weak brain. You can check out the video above but be warned that you should probably do it when you’re feeling quite chill. I’m not responsible otherwise!
Zsonic will be playing a show at the Beauty Bar in Chicago on April 22nd. You can find more details here.
Nearly six years ago, I wrote about eight real places that’d make for some fantastically creepy settings for horror games. From Japan’s eerily silent “Suicide Forest” where hundreds of people have entered and never left, to an old Czechoslovakian cathedral decorated with the remains of tens of thousands of people, it became immediately clear the world we live in is strange and terrifying, and we’re all one GPS glitch away from accidentally venturing into a real-life Silent Hill, valley of rock knives, or an island run by indigenous cannibals, deadly snakes or evil dolls.
With that in mind, here are five more reasons why you should never ever leave the safety of your home, lest you risk losing your life, soul or sanity to one of the seemingly infinite number of abandoned asylums our society just left lying around over the years.
The Catacombe dei Cappuccini, or Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, is the name that was given to a labyrinthine series of burial catacombs in Palermo, Italy, but don’t be fooled, this is absolutely a dead people jerky meat rack. It began at the end of the 16th century when the first corpse, a Capuchin monk named Fra Silvestro da Gubbio, was mummified inside the crypt alongside about four dozen other friars, who were all mummified so effectively that their faces were still identifiable hundreds of years later.
For centuries, the catacombs welcomed thousands of people into the ranks of the dead, including undergoing the extraordinarily effective mummification process — after a small donation, naturally — until its official closure in 1880. It’s only accepted two bodies since then, with the most recent being two year-old Rosalia Lombardo, who’s since claimed the unfortunate title of “world’s most beautiful mummy,” in case you’ve ever wondered if traveling the world playing Hot or Not with mummies was someone’s actual job description.
Suspended somewhere between life and death, the Capuchin Catacombs have become a popular, albeit delightfully macabre, tourist destination for a myriad curious artists, poets and philosophers, among them the famous Italian poet Ippolito Pindemonte who wrote of it in the Dei Sepolcri, “Death looks at them and it seems to have missed all shots.”
In addition to the otherworldly and decidedly sinister atmosphere the Ghost City of Fengdu always exudes, this place is proof that China is better than us. Even their ghost towns are superior to ours. Have you visited an American ghost town lately? They’re mostly trash and graffiti that form a general town-like structure, and not a single one of them are as photogenic as Fengdu, unless you fancy pictures of tumbleweeds, broken dreams and used heroin needles.
Woah, that got sad fast. Sorry about that.
What’s neat about Fengdu is how it’s both a tourist attraction and a spiritual hub the dead must travel to so they can endure an intense screening process that sounds more or less like a DMV for dead folks. The belief is the dead must pass through three tests before they can move on. The “Nothing-To-Be-Done-Bridge” tests their morality, the “Ghost Torturing Pass” has them present their sins for judgment, then they have to do the Flamingo outside the Tianzi Palace for three minutes or be sent to Hell.
“But Adam, I’m no ghost!” you say? Well, it’s not just a scenic spot the dead can gather at for strenuous exams or to shop for fresh meat bags to cling to so they can siphon their life essence, it’s also a strangely haunting lesson in morality for the living.
Scattered about the massive complex are statues depicting an impressive cast of wholesome characters, such as the man who got over-turnt, the oversexed man, and two boys who appear to be taking turns spanking each other’s bare bottoms. Are you motivated to do good yet?
All you really need to know about the Sanctuary of Tophet in Tunisia to understand why I felt I had to include it here is that it was once the spot where many drummers would come to make music, music that was used to drown out the dying screams of thousands of children the Carthaginians once brought there to be burned alive. It’s also the home of a Roman necropolis.
“Sanctuary” seems like an odd label for what was basically an enormous bonfire made of kids, for kids, and so does the erroneous belief that burning scores of living children before they’re old enough to be allowed to see a PG-13 movie — that wouldn’t be invented for a few thousand more years — is going to please any deity that’s worth pleasing.
‘Tophet’, I should mention, is Hebrew for ‘place of burning’, though a more accurate description would go something like ‘place of-FUCK ME THAT’S A LOT OF URNS’. Since this Sanctuary for Shitty Old Beliefs was discovered by archaeologists nearly a century ago, it’s produced more than 20,000 urns filled with the ashes of children.
“20,000 urns filled with the ashes of children” isn’t a particularly enjoyable sentence to have to read, and you’ve done it twice now. If life had achievements, you would’ve just earned the saddest one. Let’s celebrate that feat with a look at Kampung Monyet, or “Monkey Village”.
Don’t you dare laugh. Don’t even crack a smile. See, these aren’t ordinary monkeys, whatever that even means. No, these furry freak shows are the monkey equivalent of a modern failed circus performer, if that sad individual was also mentally unhinged and prone to wearing inordinately creepy baby doll mask. I wish I made that up. I didn’t. And if you think that’s frightening, wait until you see the gaggle of nightmare monkeys I’ve trained to wait for you in the gallery below.
These foul creatures once had a purpose in providing some much-needed entertainment to poor slum kids back in the 80s. It’s easy to picture the delight on a child’s face as they watch a costumed macaque dancing around — so easy, you can almost forget about the tens of thousands of kids from earlier. You know, the ones who died unimaginably painful deaths at the hands of extremely stupid adults. Remember them? Me neither! They probably deserved it, those rabble-rousers.
I think we can all agree those masked monkeys are right up there with Rick Astley and everything everyone ever wore on the list of things the 1980s can promptly take the fuck back.
Compared to the other places on this list, the ‘City of the Dead’ in Dargavs, Russia is like one of those fancy new playgrounds with the free salt water taffy dispensers that aren’t really a thing, even though they absolutely will be if you vote for me, Adam “Eh?” Dodd, as your new Mayor of Bloody Disgusting.
What’s interesting about Dargavs, aside from the creepy moniker its been given by the locals, is no one seems to know why it exists. The site is a necropolis — hence the name — with numerous tombs hidden beneath it, but there’s no record left to explain the significance of the nearly 100 huts that pepper the surface, or why they’re in such an isolated spot deep within the Caucasus mountains.
There’s more, but first, some bad jokes: I bet their HOA meetings are… lively. I’d move there, but I heard the rent is ghoulish (thanks Jon!) Or hey, what do City of the Deadites ask to borrow a cup of? Sugar? No, you dumb idiot! Salt! Get it – cause ghosts?
Locals have been burying their dead in Dragovs for hundreds of years, with the earliest mention of it dating back to the fourteenth century. The huts are void of any human life, obviously, with window-esque holes that weren’t for spying on neighbors, but rather, for dumping deceased loved ones along with any garbage they accumulated back when they still had hopes and dreams.
Another mystery that has yet to be solved is the purpose of the boats that house the dead in the tombs beneath Dragovs, or how they got there. The most likely answer is they believed their dead had to cross a river in the afterlife, similar to the river Styx in Greek mythology, the Sanzu River in Buddhism, or the Vaitarna River in Hinduism.
That’s it. A fifth list of freaky places to make you question whether it’s really worth leaving your house to get groceries when you can just order them online. It’s probably safe where you live, surely there’s no masked monkey waiting under your bed, or in your cabinet, closet, car, pants pocket, or waiting silently behind you.
Krillbite Studio’s next game, Mosaic, isn’t a horror game. It could be, if you find the often enormously repetitive daily grind of modern life horrifying, but unlike their fantastic 2014 horror game Among the Sleep, Mosaic is surreal and ambiguous, a beautifully styled video game adaptation of the life that so many of us currently live.
But this is more than just a reflection of the mundaneness of modern adulthood, it’s also a stunningly atmospheric story-driven adventure game with mysteries to unravel. And it’s so pretty.
Mosaic releases next year for PC, Mac and Linux.