I’ve shared my picks for the best and the worst horror games of 2014, but because I’m not only voice here on Bloody Disgusting, I thought we’d take a minute to see which games my fellow staffers liked and/or disliked. There are some solid picks here, and some unconventional ones, too. But then, this hasn’t necessarily been a conventional year for gaming.
Whereas the last few years have been mildly uneventful, 2014 came brimming with exciting announcements, reveals and teases of things we’ll have to continue to wait for. Before we get into that, let’s take another look back at more of the year’s best and worst games, as chosen by a few of our lovely contributors.Vikki Blake
Favorite Game of 2014: P.T.
I know you’re going to call me out for cheating because, technically, it’s not a full game, but can we talk about P.T.? Because let’s face it: it was all kinds of incredible.
You don’t have to know me very well to know that the Silent Hill franchise has been stamped irrevocably into my DNA. It’s that game – THE game – that shaped not just what I play, but who I am. Unlike some, I haven’t been wholly table-flippy at the twists and turns the franchise has taken, but I’ll concur that the latter half of Silent Hill’s legacy is nowhere near as potent as the former.
I went into that teaser blind. The demo had yet to soak through public consciousness, and so I stepped into that corridor with no prior knowledge that Kojima was waiting at the end of me. Not since Silent Hill 2 have I been so terrified of turning a corner, and not since Silent Hill 4 have I been so thoroughly distressed by an unfurling story. P.T. is a pitch-perfect symphony of panic and pathos.
Oh, Silent Hills. I cannot wait to play you a visit.Pat Torfe
Favorite Game of 2014: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Now I know that Adam and others will talk about games like Alien: Isolation as being the best games of 2014, but me being me, I had to reach back for a blast from the past, that this past October received a big 20th anniversary makeover, complete with new content.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was originally released way back in 1993, and is considered by many gamers and critics as one of the best games ever. Legendary adventure game designer and creator Jane Jensen wove a masterful blend of horror and mystery into the game’s story, as well as a variety of eclectic and interesting characters.
For the 20th Anniversary release, the game was given an overhaul in the graphics and sound departments, with a few extra challenges thrown in. Granted, some of the changes are a miss (timed puzzles, some awkward animations and a few glitches), but the core story and characters are so enveloping that it’s a minor complaint.
Gamers who weren’t around for the glory days of Adventure games who are looking for an awesome story don’t have to look very far with this update on a classic.T. Blake Braddy
Favorite Games of 2014: Neverending Nightmares, The Long Dark, Five Nights at Freddy’s
Neverending Nightmares plays like a motion comic from Hell. Featuring a black-and-white visual aesthetic enhanced by splashes of color — mostly red, of course — Matt Gilgenbach’s very personal horror adventure game manages to be poignant, tense, and horrific at the same time.
It takes some interesting chances on not just narrative experience but also uses game mechanics and art design as metaphor to further underline its themes. Neverending Nightmares accomplishes plenty in its brief run-time, and so many other aspiring horror titles could learn much from this game’s particular approach to horror.
The Long Dark, I think, has been somewhat overlooked in the grand scheme of the gaming year 2014. It is subtle and quiet to its approach to the survival sim subgenre, but the middlebrow manner with which it tackles the end of the world is precisely what sets it apart. It is neither too dry and numbers-obsessed, nor is it overly filled with grim imagery, but rather manages to strike a comfortable balance. The art style, too, is something the likes of which I have never seen in a game.
It allows for some wonderful exploration, and the manifold ways that people can be dispatched is kind of amazing. Anyone looking for a game to become easily attached to should check out The Long Dark. It is a great one to pick up this time of year, too.
If my other choices are tone-adjacent to horror games, then Five Nights at Freddy’s is the most distilled expression of fear in gaming form I can muster for this feature. It is unbelievably simple and effective, almost devoid of anything but gameplay.
The dread that accompanies the act of clicking through a variety of security cameras throughout Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza is inimitable. It is easily one of the most purely frightening games I have ever taken up, not to mention that robotic, anthropomorphic woodland creatures are innately horrifying, and at $5 full-price, it is a no-brainer.
Least Favorite Horror Games of 2014: Alien: Isolation, DreadOut
This one might be a controversial choice, I know, but hear me out. I don’t think Alien: Isolation is necessarily the worst game of the year, given the franchise’s recent track record, but the disparity between its potential and follow-through is so vast that it can at least be in the running for most disappointing.
Isolation is at least five hours too long for what it attempts to achieve and is in reality probably overstays its welcome by ten hours. The gaming community at large was incredulous that a survival horror game involving a single Xenomorph tracking down Amanda Ripley could be sustained for ten hours, let alone fifteen or twenty (or even twenty-five). Lop several tedious, ship-traversing hours of Alien: Isolation and you are probably looking at a hands-down game of the year.
Still, to the team at Creative Assembly’s credit, this game is proof that the Alien franchise is capable of being viable again. It is tense, unnerving, and sometimes shockingly good, but these stretches are so muddied by tedium and monotony that the game becomes difficult to recommend. Perhaps future iterations will capitalize on what this game promised and then delivered in excruciating excess.
DreadOut suffers from being a relatively undercooked experience. It is brief and yet repetitive, mechanically shallow and yet frustrating. There are traditional myths and some quite terrifying moments in isolation, but they are minimized by annoying puzzles and confounding narrative sequences.
The game’s tone veers wildly from deadly self-serious to cheeky, and the sections are sometimes so jarringly initiated that it feels like the game was created by separate teams and then hastily patched together. However, the team at Digital Happiness could not be more excited about the project, and they have consistently supported the game, so with some updates and a forthcoming second episode on the way, there’s hope for DreadOut yet.
For the rest of our 2014 recap, check this out!
2014 has been an excellent year for anyone who enjoys a night of spooky gaming, but it’ll almost definitely pale in comparison to the impressive line-up that 2015 has in store for us. It’s a little surprising how good this year has been, since the year that follows the launch of a new console generation usually isn’t very memorable.
As devs learn their way around the new-and-improved platforms, building new engines that take advantage of their ability to do and show more, this has historically been a time for experimentation. That tends to result in a mixed bag of games that lay the groundwork for even better sequels down the road, and while this year has been arguably better than most, that doesn’t mean we didn’t get our fair share of duds. Starting with…Escape Dead Island
There’s no reason why Escape Dead Island should be as terrible as it is. I’d be impressed with its extreme level of suck had I not been forced to endure four hours playing it for my review. It takes a lot to get me to despise a game, but I despise this game. It’s tedious, unattractive and lazily made.
No more co-op, no more loot, no more weapon crafting, and no more RPG elements means it also loses its sense of progression. So it essentially removes removes everything that makes the Dead Island series so enjoyable.
I’m serious when I say that I struggled for a long time to try and find something good to say about it in my review — I ended up not hating its cel-shaded art style — but even then, that praise is overwhelmed by a mountain of poor decisions that’s left us with a game that only continues the gradual watering down of the post-apocalyptic zombie franchise.
I fall in and out of love with AMC’s The Walking Dead all the time, but I’ve always been fond of Daryl, the group’s strangely lovable crossbow-wielding badass. Norman Reedus has made that character into one of the few consistently fantastic things about the show. We may know him as Daryl for now, but I suspect that will change once Silent Hills begins its descent from a fiery sky on a chariot made out of old E.T. Atari cartridges, because that’s something Kojima would do.
Silent Hills is going to help the world stop seeing him as that cool guy with the crossbow and start seeing him as that way cooler dude who totally just bludgeoned Pyramid Head to death a second ago with the butt of his flashlight.
Reedus recently took to that magical corner of the Internet we refer to as Reddit for a very special AMA. Most of the questions were aimed at The Walking Dead, but Silent Hills did come up briefly when the actor replied to a question about his experience with it so far, saying “I’m super excited to be a part of [Silent Hills]. Both those guys are geniuses at what they do. We haven’t shot the heavy stuff yet. Kojima approached me right after Guillermo did.”
What do you think this “heavy stuff” is? My guess is it has something to do with the radio broadcasts from the P.T. demo. Stories of fathers brutally murdering their families while chanting strange number combinations would qualify as “heavy”, I think.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. This has been a fantastic year to be a card-carrying enthusiast of the horror genre, and as good as it is now, 2015 is looking even better. We’ve seen more success stories than ever before, and while much of the attention our favorite genre has seen can be attributed to a stronger-than-ever showing from indie developers, it’s clear the studios behind AAA games have also upped their game.
Before we continue our plunge into 2015 and the virtual worlds it has waiting for us, let’s take a moment to look back at some of my favorite horror games of 2014, starting with what I consider to be the scariest of them all…Outlast: Whistleblower
The first Outlast was new and terrifying enough to hide some of its imperfections when it released last year. Outlast: Whistleblower didn’t need to do much to be successful, but rather than rest on its laurels, developer Red Barrels used the expansion as an opportunity to tweak the original game’s winning formula, starting with some trimming of the fat.
Whistleblower is a leaner, scarier and more focused gaming experience that benefits from improved pacing and a selection of enemies and environments that never remain on-screen long enough to grow repetitive. It also manages to be even more twisted, with a final act that ranks among the craziest WTF Did I Just See? moments in gaming, horror or otherwise.
A lot has happened since I last asked this question of you, and since we’re standing on the precipice of the New Year, now is as good a time as any to bring it up again. So tell me, what’s your most anticipated horror game(s) of 2015?
2014 hasn’t fully wrapped up and we already have a good idea of how exciting 2015 is going to be for horror fans. The list is far from finished and it’s already an impressive line-up. If you need a hand choosing your favorites, feel free to use one or both of our handy guides to the most promising indies and AAA releases coming in 2015 and beyond.
If sharing your picks sounds like too much work, I recommend you sneak a peak at my 5 most anticipated horror games of 2015. My mom told me it’s a solid list.
That’s right, I said it. I don’t think you have what it takes to survive this video. All those years playing video games have made you far too soft, you just don’t stand a chance. If you’d like to prove me wrong, this interactive “Choose Your Own Path” video should leave you an idea of how long you can expect to last in Dying Light proper.
It sounds like this video might not work right on mobile devices, so I suggest you do this on a computer. When you’re done with it, don’t forget to let us know how you fared in the comments!
Dying Light is slated to release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on January 27.
Today marks the last Friday of 2014. In just a few days, we’ll be ushering in a New Year, one that gives us all an opportunity to create something amazing, to make us say, “2015? Fucking awesome year!” But in order to do that, we’ve gotta end 2014 with a bang!
Enter London’s Throne and their incredible frame-by-frame embroidered music video for “Tharsis Sleeps”, which took an estimated 45 million stitches to create! Directed by Nicos Livesey and Tom Bunker, the video shows three astronauts head to Mars with a nuclear weapon in tow on a mission to rejuvenate the planet and kickstart new life on the planet. Of course, things don’t go as planned…
Pick up the track on the band’s EP Where Thrasis Sleeps, which you can snag via iTunes.
Frictional Games took to their blog earlier this week to offer an update about their upcoming survival horror game, SOMA, which recently entered pre-beta. Now, this phase isn’t to be confused with an alpha, which would’ve described the state of the game back in March, or the pre-pre-beta phase that preceded the pre-beta. Still with me? Good.
Because video game development lingo can never be as exciting as a pretty picture, we also have this snazzy new screenshot.
SOMA hits PC and PS4 in 2015.
We’re entering the middle of our Kissing Candice week and that means another horror list!
This time we’ve got bassist Grippo’s “Top 5 Movies That Will Leave You Scared” list, which features some genre classics and relatively recent favorites. I’ll admit that each film on this list got under my skin in some way or another. One of them is one that I’ll admit is one of my favorite horror films of all time.
Make sure to grab the Murder EP via iTunes.
Overall, and let’s be honest here, 2014 was a pretty solid year for horror! There were some really interesting and original titles that came out and whether or not you liked them it was still awesome to see our genre get some new and unique entries.
Now, I’m the music guy here and you better believe that a music list will be coming. But I thought I’d share some of my favorite horror movies throughout the year because that’s what got me writing here in the first place!
Let’s venture forth to my selections, which are in no particular order, and then I want to hear yours!
Seth MacFarlane’s “American Dad!”is one of my favorite animated sitcoms. Unlike Family Guy, the series has aged gracefully. Sure, it has a weak episode every now and then, but it has many more hits than misses. As I’m sure many of you know, American Dad! has been doing Christmas-themed episodes every couple of seasons and some of them have a bit of a horror twist. They pay tribute to The Omen, Mad Max, The Terminator, I Know What You Did Last Summer and more. Now, I’m a completionist so rather than cover only the horror-themed episodes, I thought I’d just go all the way and talk a little bit about each one. For all you purists that cry foul at a horror site not covering solely horror: sorry! Also, the first eight seasons of American Dad! are available on Netflix so I’ve linked each episode title to their page on Netflix. Enjoy!
One of the more chilling and unnerving shows on television is Comedy Central’s “Mr. Pickles,” an animated series about Mr. Pickles, a deviant border collie with a secret satanic streak.
Last night I caught an early episode entitled ‘The Cheeseman,’ which spoofed the Friday the 13th franchise.
In it, the Goodmans go on a family camping trip and Tommy learns the frightening legend of The Cheeseman.
You can watch it below.
What better way to kick off 2015 than with a brand new horror movie, right? And if your’e into ghost stories, how about checking out The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death, the sequel to the 2012 Hammer Film Productions The Woman In Black?
If you’re like me and you feel that music is an undeniably powerful aspect to the film, why not get a taste of the movie by heading below to listen to samples of the score, which was composed by Marcus Trumpp, Brandon Roberts, and genre favorite Marco Beltrami.
The music in the teaser is reminiscent of older horror movies, bombastic and theatrical, with sweeping strings and rumbling percussion, like thunder in the distance. It also demonstrates haunting, almost ethereal elements, such as what sounds like plucked piano strings.
You can pick up a physical copy of the album on Amazon.com, which will be released on January 6th. A digital version will be released on December 30th.
Christmas isn’t always the best season for horror enthusiasts. Sure, every now and then we’ll get a Black Christmas or a Silent Night, Deadly Night, but it’s typically a time of year where we are pretty much ignored by movie studios. Nevertheless, I still find plenty of ways to get my horror fix during the holiday season. I watch lots of non-Christmas related horror movies, but the one movie I have to watch every Christmas is Joe Dante’s 1984 classic, Gremlins.
Gremlins, aside from Black Christmas, is probably the most obvious choice for an annual Christmas viewing, so I apologize for not being a bit more original. There really isn’t anything to say about it that hasn’t already been said before. Gremlins is the perfect gateway horror movie for a child and in my opinion should be mandatory family viewing for everyone each Christmas. Maybe put it right in the middle of viewings of A Christmas Story, Love Actually and Christmas Vacation.
Gremlins is one of the first movies I remember really scaring me as a kid (also, Mrs. Doubtfire. I don’t know why. I always used to cry when his fake boobs caught on fire). The exact moment where I had the “oh crap” reaction was when the transformed gremlin escapes from his crate in the school’s science lab and the teacher is reaching under the desk to grab him. As you all know, things do not end well for that teacher. I had nightmares for weeks about that particular scene.
The movie definitely balances comedy and horror pretty well, as evidenced by the infamous kitchen scene (which also freaked me out a little bit as a kid):
That microwave bit gets me every time. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have watched Gremlins at such a young age, but I’m glad I did because I have some great memories showing it to my friends. I’m one of those people who likes to watch other people watch movies I like (weird, I know) and if I ever find someone who hasn’t seen Gremlins I light up like a Christmas tree (sorry) and put it on. It’s just become one of those movies that I feel everyone should have seen. And it’s not easy to find a Gremlins virgin nowadays!
We have a lot of reasons to be thankful for Gremlins. It (along with Poltergeist and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) led to the creation of the PG-13 rating, though some may not see that as a blessing. It led to a fantastic sequel (I still prefer the first one because of all the horror elements but I can’t deny that The New Batch is a brilliant film). It gave us one of the best Christmas monologues of all time. I actually had no idea that some people (Roger Ebert) thought Phoebe Cates’ monologue was supposed to be funny. It always stuck out as the one true depressing moment of the film.
So what horror movie do you watch every Christmas? It doesn’t even have to be a Christmas-themed movie. Maybe you like to go against the grain and watch Halloween every December 25th. Who knows? But feel free to discuss in the comments below and share your Christmas movie with everyone!
I’ve been catching up on Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” and while I originally wasn’t a fan it’s growing on me considerably.
Yesterday I caught an episode from Season 2 that aired during Halloween, and it opened with this hilariously uncomfortable sketch that spoofed The Exorcist.
The vile nature of the original film leads to the punchline…
Reddit user ‘bungchung‘ shared an awesome Alien infographic he created that details the infamous Xenomorph.
It shows the various methods of destruction, as well as the creatures’ lifecycle.
And remember, stay frosty!
While studios are focusing on their franchises and remakes, independent filmmakers are building a horror army that’s one to reckon with. This is now the 13th anniversary of our annual Best & Worst editorials, and what makes this year stand out is that the majority of films on my list came from an independent source – even if a studio eventually released some.
On paper, we’re moving the right direction. There’s a plethora of new up-and-coming horror filmmakers, and more and more horror films are being made outside of the studio system. The bad news is that it’s not a sustainable system, meaning we could be living in the golden age of independent horror cinema. Instead of bitching and moaning when a studio announces their next sequel/remake – take that negative energy and focus it in the right place…seek out and support an indie film you’ve been hearing so much about.
With that, let’s take a look at just how good 2014 was…
This is the first time I couldn’t narrow my list down to a top 10. In fact, I’m sitting on 20 films that all deserve some love – and if I can use the site as my own personal soapbox, so be it.
What I present to you are two batches of films, with the first 10 in no particular order, while the final 10 will be shared in the typical countdown format.
Best Horror Films of 2014: 10-1 (coming soon)
Best Horror Films of 2014: 20-11
Big Bad Wolves (Magnet Releasing)
From Israeli writer-directing pair Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, known for Rabies, Magnet Releasing got behind this psychological thriller that showed that the directors could create tension just as well as they could deliver gore. Big Bad Wolves is easily one of the most intense films of the year, and is filled with a wide array of crowd-pleasing surprises.
The Raid 2 (Sony Classics)
The Man In the Orange Jacket (Fantasia)
While Gareth Evans couldn’t top his The Raid – easily one of the best action films of all time – The Raid 2 is two straight hours of martial arts madness that puts Hollywood to shame. It’s almost gluttonous how much violence and mayhem is delivered in this foreign flick that was shot over the course of 100+ days, which is unheard of for an indie. The aforementioned shows on screen with the beautiful locations, incredible choreography, and insane car chases. If anything, it’s almost too much, if that’s even possible.
Playing at this past summer’s Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, I was shocked by Aik Karapetian’s colorful mix between Lars von Trier and Alex Aja’s High Tension. The Latvian film has strong social commentary about social class, to go along with beautiful visuals – not to mention some intense gore. Orange Jacket feels like the writer/director’s cathartic way of dealing with his own personal rage against the system.
Housebound (Magnet Releasing)
The Purge: Anarchy (Universal Pictures)
The best kind of horror is one that takes itself serious, but also has fun with the audience. Housebound, hailing out of New Zealand, is not only super scary and bloody, but also crazy fun (in the vein of People Under the Stairs.
Starry Eyes (Dark Sky Films)
I don’t know what happened from script to screen, but The Purge was trash, and I can’t even believe they were able to make a sequel. Thankfully, Universal got behind fans of the first and found a way to fix nearly all the mistakes of the first. Anarchy is the producers response to the criticism of The Purge, which resulted in an 80′s homage in the vein of Escape From New York that delivers on its promise. It’s also soaked in relevant social commentary and action. One of the best sequels of all time, Anarchy, which will be forgotten by mainstream moviegoers, will eventually achieve cult status among the horror community.
Mockingbird (Universal Home Entertainment)
A movie about cults and Hollywood? Count me in! Carrying deep-seeded social commentary, Starry Eyes is another slow-burn horror that’s hiding more than a handful of surprises that will shock and awe. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer have arrived, and give horror fans a film that literally has it all, including some of the most shockingly violent scenes of the past few years.
Out of all the years we’ve been running Bloody Disgusting, I’d say the most pissed off you guys were is when I pushed you to check out Mockingbird, the found-footage cat and mouse game from The Strangers‘ Bryan Bertino. While the end to the film is disastrous, which is why it won’t be making my top 10, the “meat” on the bone is delicious. Personally, I thought the build was terrifying, as it had me constantly on edge. Sure, it became clear what direction it was headed, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a fun ride. Surely there are a few of you who agree with me? Back me up, bro…
Oculus is one of those movies that most people seemed to hate, but I really found myself engaged with the retro slow-burn nature of it all. Oculus carries haunting imagery, with classic chills out of an old-school Carpenter film. Maybe expectations were high being that this hit theaters across the country, but for a little indie that could, I found Oculus to be remarkably scary.
Nurse 3D (Lionsgate)
We are so blessed to live in a day and age where a studio can “dump” a movie to VOD platforms, instead of feeling the need to edit the shit out of it for the general masses. After the Weinstein Company fought with director Joon-ho Bong about the U.S. release, Snowpiercer was eventually gifted to us in its full form. Tilda Swinton deserves an Oscar nod for her performance, while Chris Evans plays an awesome badass protag who kicks ass through this steam punk post apocalyptic horror tale. I adore the beak nature of the thriller, and its powerful finale that does not disappoint (although, there were some absolutely naughty alternate ways to end it).
After years on the shelf, Nurse 3D shocked us all by turning out to be an absolutely fantastic horror film that’s jam-packed with boobs, butts and blood! Personally, I found Doug Aarniokoski – who directed one of the worst movies ever made, Animals – had accidentally tapped into an interesting pulp-like fantasy world that any horror fan would enjoy.
Reminder that the above is in no particular order. Top 10 horror films of 2014 coming soon!
This quiz goes out to all of the ladies that frequent Bloody-Disgusting! Well, it’s not just for the ladies but that’s where this quiz’s intentions are definitely set.
We all know that acclaimed horror author Stephen King writes incredibly scary and skin-tingling stories of the macabre and gruesome variety. Oftentimes, the protagonist of these stories is a woman who faces horrific challenges in order to emerge alive and victorious.
Of these characters, who would you be? Based upon the traits that you already live by on a daily basis, which of King’s multitude of strong, powerful women do you most relate to?
Take the quiz below and let us know your results! I got Lisey Landon, which states:
You are absolutely dedicated to the love of your life. Your loyalty knows no bounds.
It’s Frankenstein vs. The Mummy, arriving on both VOD and DVD February 10, 2015 from Image/RLJ Entertainment.
Bloody Disgusting has the exclusive trailer premiere for Damien Leone’s horror showdown that stars Robert MacNaughton, Ashton Leigh, Max Rhyser, Brandon deSpain, and Constantin Tripes.
“Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Egyptologist Naihla Khalil are both professors at a leading medical university. Victor’s latest grisly “experiment” is the re-animated corpse of a sadistic madman and Naihla’s most recent find is the cursed mummy of an evil pharaoh. When the two monsters face-off in an epic showdown, no one is safe from the slaughter. Can the murderous rampage be stopped and the carnage contained before it’s too late?“
Another new movie, another new scare prank.
The UK distributor for The Woman in Black 2 is having a little fun with theatergoers.
A typical lighted theater poster display case has been transformed into something a bit more scary. A woman, pretending to be the title character, hides behind a stretchable poster. When people come up to take a look, she pushes through scaring them. It’s incredibly simple, yet astoundingly affective.
The Woman in Black 2 opens January 2, 2015.