Let’s take a minute and rewind to August of last year, when the post-apocalyptic shooter The Drowning released on iOS with the promise of making full use of the iPhone’s innards to deliver visuals that would be about on par with console games. It’s an intriguing concept, a mobile horror game with console quality graphics.
With the exception of a few games, like Resident Evil 4 and the fantastic Dead Space mobile game, I haven’t found many horror titles that have been able to keep me hooked for more than a few minutes. Even still, it looked impressive enough for me to give it a try.
After spending a couple hours in its monster-infested world, I decided The Drowning has a lot of style, but it lacked substance. At its core, it’s a wave survival game with free-to-play mechanics that’s light on story and heavy on mildly creepy creatures to shoot.
Apparently, that’s enough to warrant a film adaptation. As Deadline reports, the game will soon move from the small screen to one that’s substantially bigger. It’s being written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (Olympus Has Fallen and The Expendables 3), and produced by Ted Field, Mike Weber, and Michael Napoliello of Radar Pictures.
Tom Van Dell and Jason Moskowitz are executive producing.
The only thing that has me cautiously optimistic about this is its eco-horror plot, which follows “a deep-sea oil-drilling accident that causes ancient micro-organisms to be released into the water supply of an island town off the Seattle coast.”
“Last Rites” isn’t quite the course correction I was hoping for, but does prove to be a stronger hour, as the team recovers from last week we make some strides toward the endgame.
Of course some of the episode felt like it was stalling, but at first I was chalking it up to Abraham’s flashback scenes. I was worried they’d detract from the week, but they actually gave some incredible insight into the man’s past, and added one of the most horrific sequences the show has churned out thus far. That whole cave sequence was possibly my favorite ten minutes of the show.
I’m still not convinced Dutch adds anything to the show. I found her return with a huge win, to be nothing if not distracting. She and Fet’s budding relationship is a great diversion from the main pull of the episode but feels forced due to a lack of chemistry between the actors. Even still her idea to broadcast a message doesn’t make much sense in a world gone to shit. Especially a world where technological access has been dead for a little while now, but this is The Strain and it seems plot holes come with the territory.
Gus’ plot felt a little haphazard. We know very clearly that he’s a punk with nothing to prove to anyone, and he’s only out for himself. He’s not interested in saving people, and with the world gone to shit, he fits in now more than ever. But he’s always shown potential to be a force for good and this week we’re reminded of it with the gun toss.
Yet the main pull of this episode was making Nora into a more desicive character. She finally committed to this world and understood what needed to be done when someone is lost. It was a smart and interesting parallel to Abraham’s past, but didn’t serve up the same impact. Plus it was nice to see our Goth rocker from week’s past return from whatever hell he was in if only to off Nora’s mother.
The end of the episode did an impeccable job building excitement for next week’s finale. I’m not entirely sure of where things will go from here, but with Quinlan taking Gus, and the Stonehart story finally becoming more interesting things are at an appropriate boiling point for each story to explode it its own way next week.
I want to take a moment and talk about The Master. As a daunting creature who commands legions of vampires his appearance should define terror. He moves with speed and darts around the room like a horrible apparition. He’s depicted as fluid and moves like water, but when he get close he looks like a retarded puppet. Seriously. Not only that but he moves with a certain stiffness that comes to undermine his appearance in every other scene before it. I just can’t get over how terrible his depiction is, and how goofy the face looks.
Exciting things lie ahead in the final week of The Strain. This has been a rather problematic first season that has really shown promise in it’s stronger weeks. This wasn’t really one of them, but it wasn’t a problem week either. Hopefully next week will end things on a marvelous note before the wait for season 2. We can only hope.
- Zack was finally reduced to only a reaction shot this week, let’s all take a breath of relief.
- Eph was really undercut this week, but I didn’t really miss him.
- I need more Quinlan in the finale, let’s hope we get a dose of his squad with Gus next week.
What did you think of “Last Rites?”
It is hard to write or talk about Neverending Nightmares without elaborating on the development, including its creator’s personal history and struggles. Normally, I would eschew unfurling this kind of backstory as irrelevant to the gaming experience, but Neverending Nightmares — along with maybe Depression Quest and Actual Sunlight — have convinced me otherwise.
Neverending Nightmares is the very definition of a personal game, the product of a single man’s struggles with failure, mental illness, depression, and OCD. It is so much a result of Matt Gilgenbach’s psyche that it is nearly impossible to talk about the game without making some pretty substantial statements about its creator.
After a highly disappointing release for rhythm-shooter Retro/Grade, Gilgenbach’s obsessive-compulsive disorder — which he thought he had mostly conquered — began to reappear, prompting the sorts of invasive thoughts of self-mutilation that more-or-less ended up in the final version of the game. It is through that lens Gilgenbach’s vision for Neverending Nightmares was conceived and produced.
Anyone who has seen a screenshot or trailer can see the game’s most immediate appeal: it looks amazing. There is a hellish storybook quality to it that never quite subsides, and the fact that the black-and-white landscape is spattered with touches of color — mostly red — makes it even more starkly appealing.
It is subtle in a way many games are not with regard to color scheme, and it makes me wonder why more games have not availed themselves of something so simple and yet beautiful.
The final product turned out to be a beautiful, weird, and unsettling game, nontraditional but playable and engaging nonetheless. Like other narrative-based experiences of the last few years — think Gone Home — the point is the game itself, as metaphor, as explanation, as whatever the creator wants it to be. Or, consequently, what the player wants it to be.
In Neverending Nightmares, players snap awake in a pen-and-paper world akin to the art of Edward Gorey, taking up the role of asthmatic protagonist Thomas. Without much (read: no) exposition, players wander the halls of a house worthy of Poe and search for…something. Escape. Your lost sister. It quickly becomes clear, but that’s not the point.
The point is, Thomas is a fearful guy living in a world of nightmares he cannot escape, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.
Without a major objective-based plot to drive players forward, Neverending Nightmares comes to feel very much like an adventure game at heart. And this is how it makes manifest the personal connection to Gilgenbach’s OCD.
In each level, players are presented with a series of hallways, many of them virtually identical, with doors that lead to other, branching hallways, which also look exactly the same, which then makes fastidious gamers like me begin to tense up and wonder how to get back to that original hallway and explore the remaining rooms. The intentional sameness makes it nearly impossible to know just what areas have and have not been explored.
Perhaps you see what I’m getting at with this.
It is frustrating and tedious, but in an interesting way. It gives the players a glimpse into what it must be like to have OCD, but also from a purely horror perspective, it builds tension. Even players who systematically wander the halls will get a stomach-churning sense of deja vu when doubling back to find an item or potential exit. If being chased by a monster of some kind, it is impossible not to feel as though the number of exits have been depleted.
The overly attentive explorer will also feel the tension builds as the possibility for death becomes a reality within the confines of this bizarre other-world.
Speaking of death, it’s not quite like Super Meat Boy, but death is immediate and without many of the normal trappings of dying in-game. The player snaps awake in a bed nearby the last place he left off. However, even with that in mind, stepping out into a world of what I’ll call “identical variety” can be daunting, especially if you’re not entirely sure where you left off.
Also true is the fact that the line between death and progression is often blurred, and death is sometimes necessary to move forward. Players will spend some time problem-solving minor puzzles, but for the most part their trips are unimpeded.
The creatures that wander (and often chase you through) the hallways are extreme metaphors for what the player is experiencing, and they reinforce the tone, which never slides out from under its own dark, unrelenting shadow. There is something to be said for a work that remains intentionally bleak, and Neverending Nightmares manages to do so with only the slightest slivers of actual, outright narrative.
Most of what would be considered story has to be inferred by the player, and that is a risk that ultimately paid off. The game uses its own slight acquaintance with plot in order to augment its surrealistic nature. The music, too, should absolutely be mentioned for adding to the unnerving, bizarre quality of the game without ever attempting to take it over.
If any caveats for Neverending Nightmares exist, they have to revolve around time. Thomas, in his frightened, asthmatic state, moves slowly. Very slowly. He can sprint, but it’s a pretty slow gait, even then, and he wheezes such that it’s almost not worth using. It is an interesting gameplay mechanic, especially where it reveals the main character’s weakness, but sometimes just moving ahead is a slog.
The only other potential drawback is that the game is quite short. I clocked in at just over two hours and was just beginning to feel a groove when the credits started rolling. And though there is an option to replay scenarios, with such experiential games the need for replay is often very low. Outside of streaming it, I don’t see myself replaying Neverending Nightmares.
This is a great fixture in the wave of great new horror games of the last few years. It manages to be scary and meaningful, an interesting statement not just about the creator’s experiences but about the act of experiencing a game, period.
The Final Word: Neverending Nightmares is a game that bridges the gap between interactive story and video game, and it brings not just some provocative art but an attention to subject matter that is often marginalized in the genre.
Once inside the Freak Show, there’s no turning back.
Premiering October 8th, check out two more sweet “American Horror Story: Freak Show” teasers, both putting a new twist on the human anatomy.
The fourth season begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952.
“A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.“
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Evan Peters return from previous seasons. New cast members includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.
Unfortunately, they never did, but IBTrav once again crosses “Scooby-Doo” with a horror film – as it should – and imagines a world in which Scooby and gang come face-to-face with The Monster Squad.
The BEST episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies was with guest stars The Monster Squad!
Entitled “The Mighty Monster Mashup”, monsters from Dracula to the Wolfman tangled with Mystery Inc and their new friends The Monster Squad. Armed with Van Helsing’s Diary, the gang had to send the creeps back to Transylvania!
There’s only one way to stop a werewolf. Find out below…
This weekend, Fatal Frame V arrived on the Wii U in Japan. As the rest of the world patiently waits to hear something regarding a possible release outside of the Land of the Rising Sun, through the glory that is the Internet, we’re able to live vicariously through the lucky few who have their copies.
YouTuber ka kit has posted a video of the game’s first half hour. I haven’t watched all of it yet, but I’ve seen enough to know that I want this game badly.
If you were worried that, in their attempt to make Bloodborne a more mainstream game, developer From Software would soften the unforgiving nature and steep difficulty shared by the Dark Souls series that inspired it, you can stop that now. Earlier this month, producer Masaaki Yamagiwa and marketer Yasuhiro Kitao took to the stage to reveal some surprising statistics.
As DualShockers reports, of the nearly 5,000 people who played its demo at PAX and TGS, only 60 — about 1% — were able to successfully complete it. That’s promising.
Bloodborne releases on the PS4 on February 6.
Here we are, standing on the precipice of what may very well be the most exciting time of the year. Sept-Nov is a great time to be a gamer, but it’s also a terrible time to be broke, as I usually am. Thankfully, not every new release carries that premium, and sometimes intimidating, $60 price tag. If you’re on a budget, there’s a number of new releases that won’t take as big a toll on your wallet.
This month has seen the arrival of a bevy of indie horror games, including Doorways: The Underworld, Slender: The Arrival, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Neverending Nightmares and Kraven Manor. Every one of those games is available now, and none of them will cost you more than $20m but if premium prices don’t scare you, Dead Rising 3 also arrived on Steam.
Now that we’ve established what’s out there, I’d like to know which game(s) you’re playing.
We’re all about horror here on Bloody Disgusting, so the options I have in the below poll are all of the horror persuasion. I’m sure your tastes are more diverse than that, so if you’re playing one or more non-horror games, I’d love to hear what’s keeping you busy in the comments.
For the full schedule of the remaining horror games of 2014, check out our handy guide.
Let’s far it, sometimes we watch horror not because we want to be scared but because we really just want to see some limbs fly, some intestines drop, and unfathomable amounts of blood being sprayed everywhere, right? There’s a rather macabre joy in seeing white walls splashed with crimson streaks. Or what about the times when the innards become the…outtards? [Editor's note: I think I just invented a word]
So let’s take a moment to leave our appreciation for some of our favorite horror gorefests! As per usual, I’ve included a few of my personal favorites below. After you check them out, leave me a comment with some of your own favorites!
Guzheng player Michelle Kwan has uploaded a video that shows her covering Metallica‘s infamous track “One”, which comes from their 1988 album …And Justice For All. The cover is pretty amazing, especially when she cranks on the distortion and rips through the guitar solo.
We featured Michelle in the past with her cover of Guns N Roses‘ “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, which you can check out here.
Looking at the video, it makes me wish that relatively unheard instruments were used more frequently in popular music. It would add such a level of depth and uniqueness. Alas, we have the same tones and sounds over and over again.
Anyways, enough of me being maudlin. Check out this great cover below!
Australian dark synth group The Night Terrors were recently commissioned to compose an album using the southern hemisphere’s largest grand pipe organ. The result is Pavor Nocturnus, an album that will be released this Halloween via Twisted Nerve Australia (pre-order here).
A composition for Grand Organ, Theremin, analogue electronics and percussion is an inferno of haunting Theremin-led post-prog and dark cosmic dance. Quiet drops of sepulchral voltage and cacophonous whirls of intricate acoustic phenomena intermingle to prise open the maddening space between sentience and expiration. The Night Terrors create a euphorically terrifying dream sequence, just perfect for Halloween. Their most frightening and beautiful recording to date.
Below is a video of their track “Megafauna”, which showcases just how massively large the pipe organ is. Seriously, it’s a monstrosity, a looming piece of pipes and machinery that evokes some truly spine-tingling sounds.
The band also conducted a short interview with Noisey.
Valve recently gave Steam a snazzy new look and a number of new features, including Curators. Curators were introduced to solve a problem that always reared its big, ugly head every time you visit Steam with the intention of buying a game, but with no specific title in mind.
Sifting through its intimidating database that’s practically brimming with video games of wildly inconsistent qualities can be a daunting task for anyone.
That’s why I’m doing the grunt work for you.
In order to save you a little time, I’ve established an official Bloody Disgusting Curator page that you should most definitely follow, because doing so will get you an ever-growing list of the greatest, scariest, most creative, unique and otherwise unforgettable AAA and indie horror games on Steam.
Once you’ve followed our Curator page, I’d also like to invite your to join our brand new Steam group. I hear it’s what all the cool kids are doing.
We don’t yet offer laminated membership badges, but joining may lead to some interesting conversations with like-minded, horror-loving folks like me and the rest of the BD crowd. I’ve even started a forum so you can recommend horror games for me to play on our YouTube channel.
See you on Steam!
Insidious‘ Patrick Wilson, pictured above, and “Lost” vet Matthew Fox, below, have signed on to star opposite Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins in Caliber Media’s ultraviolent Western Bone Tomahawk, THR says.
“Bone Tomahawk revolves around four men attempting to rescue a group of captives from a band of cannibalistic troglodytes that live beyond the edge of civilization.”
Wilson will play Arthur O’Dwyer, a cowboy whose rise to the foreman position of a cattle outfit is interrupted by an unfortunate accident that reshapes his life in unforeseen ways. Fox will play John Brooder, whose dark inclinations have put him and his polished weapons at the very edge of the western frontier.
S. Craig Zahler is directing from a screenplay he wrote.
Everyone from “Games of Thrones” is getting major roles, and now the new Queen, Natalie Dormer, has been set to star in Patient Zero, the Screen Gems action thriller that Stefan Ruzowitzky will direct from a script written by Mike Le.
“Patient Zero focuses on an unprecedented global pandemic that causes the evolution of a new species. An aggressive form of rabies turns the infected into predators, addicted to violence. An inexplicably gifted human survivor with the ability to speak the new mutant language leads a hunt for Patient Zero and hope for a cure.”
Explains Deadline, Dormer has been building feature credits that include The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2, Rush and Captain America: The First Avenger.
The Babadook is knocking at your door, opening here in the States on November 28. Now, a U.S. trailer has been released that hopes to complete with the frightening UK trailers. This movie looks insane! Will you let the Babadook in?
Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, the film has terrified audiences since it premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival (read our review).
In it, “Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her ‘out of control’ 6-year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a sinister monster he believes is coming to kill them both.
When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that ‘The Babadook’ is the creature he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control and as he becomes more unpredictable and violent, Amelia is genuinely frightened by her son’s behaviour.
But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.”
Bizarrely similar to a scene in The Babadook, this new clip from Asmodexia, the feature debut of Marc Carrete (short films “Mal cuerpo” and “Castidermia”), shows the film’s demon child.
IFC Midnight has slated it for release on VOD September 26. Asmodexia unspools over five days in the lives of an exorcist and his granddaughter, working in the Barcelona area.
“Eloy de Palma is an exorcist pastor roaming the darkest corners of the country with his granddaughter Alba. Their mission is to help those possessed by The Evil One, an infection of the soul that is spreading fast, especially among the most vulnerable members of society: children, mental patients, and drug addicts. There is also a mysterious cult following them, making it more difficult to help those in need. Each exorcism is tougher than the one before, and every battle with Evil reveals a piece of young Alba’s forgotten past – an enigma that if unconcealed could change the world as we know it.”
The PS3 and Xbox 360 may be standing on the precipice of becoming just another chapter in the history of this exciting world of bytes and sprites, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more games coming to the aging platforms. Yesterday was a particularly good day to be a horror fan who owns a last-gen console, as it brought with it both Slender: The Arrival (PS3 and Xbox 360) and the Anna: Extended Edition (Xbox 360).
Get your parkas and boots ready, because the post-apocalyptic survival sim The Long Dark has hit Steam Early Access. For $20, players can freely explore the game’s highly-anticipated “Survival Sandbox” mode, which allows players a glimpse into what the team at Hinterland Games has in mind for the full, upcoming release.
The Long Dark takes place in what the team calls a “post-digital” world and pushes players to survive in the extreme cold of the Canadian wilderness, kind of like a brutal, heavily-stylized Jack London short story.
Bush pilot Will Mackenzie has to make an emergency landing in a vast, excruciatingly cold landscape. A “geomagnetic disaster” has occurred, knocking out all forms of power and rendering communication as humanity knows it entirely moot, including all form of electricity.
Being in the Northern Wilderness without supplies and environmentally-appropriate threads, players must find immediate and resourceful methods for short-term (and eventually, long-term) survival. Intrepid gamers can wander the rocky, snow-covered landscape in search of food, warmth, and protection, and it never becomes dull. The art style is provocative and subtly done, truly one of the best-looking games I’ve played all year.
The Long Dark isn’t merely a walk in the woods, however, because it maintains a pretty rigorous set of statistics as well. The gauges, statistics, and meters keep players on their toes, pushing them to keep moving, foraging in the unforgiving environment for items to stave off hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and cold, among other things. Get too low on any one of those elements, and Will reminds you that it might be a good idea to pack it in and start a fire or take a nap (which is how the game saves).
The game has no traditional HUD, but tapping Tab brings up a user display that presents information for the various elements mentioned above, and then some. Not only is the player’s level of cold charted, but the changing weather conditions are also on exhibition to cause added anxiety. If you’re as panicky a survivalist as I am, then all the information can easily be reduced to “Welp, I guess I’m dying again, aren’t I?”
Story Mode will introduce some actual narrative elements, but playing in the Sandbox is just that, a largely free experience. Every time players die — and it will take some time to learn the systems well enough to get beyond the first day — they are placed in a new area of the map, at a different time of day. Once, I found myself in the woods in the middle of the night.
Surrounded by wolves, without a lamp.
As someone who writes about video games on a semi-regular basis, I find it generally very difficult to endorse an incomplete game, but The Long Dark’s Sandbox mode is well worth the $20 point of entry, not to mention the fact that the team only plans on being in Early Access for 2-3 months, depending on the community’s feedback.
It’s a beautiful, lush environment, and the mechanics make traveling about and trying not to die plenty of fun.
Also, the game will be changing quite a bit, and Hinterland Studios says explicitly that the price point will likely increase once the game is out of Alpha. The game is available for Mac and PC.
Since its release five long years ago, Valve’s addictive co-op shooter Left 4 Dead 2 has been censored and rated MA15+, once Australia’s highest rating for a video game. Under the new system, the game has had its silly censorship removed and it’s been given a new rating of R18+ — the ESRB equivalent of an M (Mature) rating.
If you’re an Aussie who’s been waiting for your fine country to get with the times, you can grab the uncensored version of the game on the Steam store. If you already own a copy, Valve has a free patch available to restore Left 4 Dead 2 to its gory glory.
For the curious, below you’ll find a video that highlights the changes between the original and censored version of the game.
I honestly don’t know where people get their creative ideas. Honestly, I’m quite often just as impressed by someone’s ingenuity and “out of the box” thinking as I am by the end product of their endeavors.
That’s what it’s like with Tumblr user jbetcom, who takes iconic album covers over the years and animates them, giving them an additional layer of depth and charm.
Below is a small gallery of covers from bands like Cannibal Corpse, Nightwish, Metallica, Korn, Public Enemy, and more! Click the link above to see even more covers.
Warning: Since these are GIFs, it might take a while to load them all.