Archive for Scary

Top 10 Things that Scare The Bejeezus out of Xander

Posted in List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Growing up, I was a scared kid. I mean, I was scared of everything. Put me in a dark room, near a clown, around some bugs, and I was a crying, blubbering mess. Every single night I went to sleep, I would think, “Tonight’s the night the ghost is gonna decide to get me.”

I forced my siblings to leave the bathroom light on so it would pour into my bedroom. Nightlights weren’t enough. It had to be the bathroom light or my bedroom light. I slept in a fully lit room for about a year in middle school.

It was bad.

Now, I’ve tamed those irrational fears.

Well… most of them.

Check out what I’m scared of now.

Continue reading

Review: Silverfish (Book)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2016 by thiathebard

Author: Hobie Anthonysilverfish
Publisher: Tentacles Press
Date Released:December 7, 2015

Review by Bridget Cannon

Silverfish is a compilation of short horror stories by Hobie Anthony. The setting is a dystopian world ruled by one twisted man. The stories have different settings and twists while keeping with the overall theme. Despite the theme, and the hard work that was clearly put into the stories, I was not a fan of Silverfish.

The stories in Silverfish were not a style that I am overly fond of reading. Particularly the first story which shares the name of the main volume itself.

The first story utilizes a style of writing that can be confusing if the reader is not accustomed to it. The lack of punctuation and flow was off putting until I realized what Anthony was doing with the story. Instead of it adding to the story, I found it disjointing. It is set in a dystopian future that heavily utilizes shock and sex in the narrative. There was one twist that I did enjoy, but other then that it fell flat for me.

The other stories do have a better pace. Perhaps if Anthony had started with one of them, it would have been a better way for the reader to be introduced to his writing.  I did enjoy Anthony’s verbiage. After getting past the first story his vocabulary was able to shine.

There was a story that I did enjoy called “A Cleaner Today, A Brighter Tomorrow.” It was able to keep the grit and shock that are a big part of the overall novel. The main character in this story was a lot more interesting to me then the others. She seemed less flat than the others.

 Silverfish has a lot of great tropes. I can see where the author tried to make his characters gritty and have more of an anti-hero quality. A lot of them just felt like I was reading caricatures that were meant to shock me, though they never really did.

The idea behind the stories were good. It just never really reached the point where I was scared or excited. 

While I did not enjoy it as much, it has gotten some very good reviews on Amazon, so if you like dystopian or shock horror, perhaps you might want to try it.

Review: Outlast & Outlast: Whistleblower DLC (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Dev/Pub: Red Barrels
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS
Release Date: September 4, 2013 (DLC: May 6, 2014)

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Outlast Original Game:

You are a journalist armed with a camcorder who is investigating an insane asylum after you were given leads that would indicate abuse and neglect of patients, among other possible atrocities. You wander into the hospital, only to find murderous scenes before you. Hoping for the best, you continue on and soon learn that the whole institution has become a bloody shit show, complete with viscera and entrails strung about the place. The threats are abundant and smarter than you’d think.

As you traverse this gruesome landscape, your senses are almost constantly assaulted with screams, yells, creeks, eerie music, drips and drops, grunts and groans or the blood, gore, body parts, destroyed hallways, random medical equipment, fires, notes written on the wall and all the disturbing information you read about in the files you pick up as you go. It’s dark, dirty and deeply disturbing. As if finding body parts or bodies in various stages of ripped up or dissected aren’t bad enough, sometimes they are still alive, which obviously indicates experiments on living inmates. There isn’t a single thing about this game that isn’t a true horror show.

Outlast is by far one of the most terrifying video games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The ambiance, the graphics, the twists and turns, the gore, and the dialog are all terrifying. Even for an older game, the graphics are haunting. I can’t tell you how many times I jumped, cried out and had issues sleeping. You can’t fight, you can only run, hide, or die. You’re equipped with just your camcorder, which you can use to zoom in and out. However, it is mostly used for the night vision (as long as you have batteries), helping you maneuver the maze of the nearly destroyed hospital which is mostly in pitch black.

If you are interested in playing this game, sit down because you have hours of gameplay to get through. This isn’t a quick game. It is a well thought out series of mind fucks, high tension, and not always random creepy music. The best part is that not everyone you run into is hostile, but good luck telling the good from the bad and holy crap are they creepy as fuck. You couldn’t pay me enough to do any of this crap.

This game has more elements than I could even do proper justice. It isn’t just about insanity, it is far more complicated. Initially, I went in thinking that insanity was all that was offered; however, there are parts of the story that dabble in the supernatural and scientific. Those lines felt blurred to me, though, and – please correct me if I am wrong – the ending felt weird. It was as if the story that you followed most of the way through was a strong misdirection and the actual story wasn’t explained until the very end of the game. The story made the beginning part of the game… moot, pointless.

I am torn about the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending by any means, but a little confusing. I think that it could have been integrated into the story better instead of being slapped on at the end. That being said, it is a phenomenal game that you have to play. It’s well put together with amazing game mechanics, interesting twists and turns, and enough terror and jump scares to give you some sleepless nights. Simply a wonderful and enjoyable game.

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Outlast: Whistleblower DLC:

If you didn’t think that Outlast could get better or more grotesque, I have news for you. The Whistleblower DLC tells you the story behind Waylon Park, the gentleman who sent you the original email in the first place. You get to see everything that happened after that email was sent and is it an amazingly crazy ride. I won’t delve too much into it, but here is what I will tell you.

The story continues to be amazing and a treat to experience. You run into new and old characters throughout the gameplay. It is definately worth the price; it adds so much to the game, which is what you look for in a DLC. I actually walked away from this DLC with a sour stomach, which is so hard, but there are a few scenes that even made me cringe, and for good reason. Actually, I think not cringing says more about you than it does the game, but not as much as the person who thought it all up. My mind was blown on more than one occasion.

I cannot stress enough how much this DLC added to the game and could have almost been a stand alone game itself. If you played Outlast without the DLC, you are seriously missing out! Now I’m going to scrub my brain with bleach.

WintersOver4

Review: Emily Wants to Play (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Dev.: Shawn Hitchcock
Pub.: SKH Apps
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Mac OS
Release Date: Dec. 10, 2015

**This review contains SPOILERS**

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If you didn’t like dolls before, this will make you hate those fuckers with the passion of a thousand fiery hells. If dolls terrify you, turn around and walk away from your computer or go look at pictures of fluffy kittens. I won’t mind, promise. Go ahead.

Still here? Well, I warned you. You are a pizza delivery driver who is answering an online order to this random ass house in the middle of the night. This game warns all delivery drivers to never open the fucking door if no one answers. Seriously, dude, yeah you reading this. You don’t get paid enough for this bullshit. Anyway, the delivery driver opens the door and walks in to call out that he has arrived and the door shuts behind him and cannot be opened again. I would have thrown the fucking couch through the front window, but that’s me.

You wander around a house that appears to be devoid of people in some state of packed. You hear a story about a murdered couple found in a house with the door wide open and you find creepy ass notes around. If you are interested in playing this game, and I will tell you that you should, it is amazingly full of jump scares that rival Five Nights at Freddy’s and an interesting story. Sorry to give away my feelings so soon, but if you want to play, I will give you one tip: do the opposite of what the white board in the kitchen tells you. Now stop reading.

The first doll that you will encounter is Kiki. Kiki looks like me on a good goth day. She is a small white doll with black hair and a black dress. She giggles when she is around you. You have to turn and stare her down until she disappears with another giggle. Next, Mr. Tatters, the clown, (oh yeah, that’s right, there’s a fucking clown doll) will laugh. Don’t move! Don’t even turn to look! He will make a curious noise and then a disappointed noise. After the last noise, you can move as normal. Chester, the next doll, will laugh and you have to run the fuck out of the room. He looks like the typical old school ventriloquist dummy. He’s fucking terrifying. They are all terrifying.

This is by far one of the best horror games I’ve come across. The story is even disturbing: the family moves into this house and their daughter Emily starts acting strange; so strange that she begins acting out violently and is eventually kicked out of school. They lock her in the basement (this is a weird leap in the story), where she finds dolls and begins talking to them as if they can respond. Soon, Emily dies suspiciously. She has no marks and nobody has any idea how. After she dies, however, the dolls start moving around the house by themselves until the parents are eventually found dead.

I adore this game. Each jump scare, each doll, each rule. All of it. The story is a little odd. I would have worded it a bit differently and I don’t see why Emily had to be locked in the basement. There seems that there could be a better way to have done it, but it is literally the only thing I would have changed. I won’t spoil all of it, there are some things I am leaving out so you’ll have to play to find out. Tell me what you think and make sure you watch your own dolls.

Review: The Forest (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by thiathebard

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Dir. by: Jason Zada
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt

I think that most horror fans have a favorite sub-genre. One of mine is Japanese Horror, or J-Horror. I love creepy schoolgirls that just pop out of the shadows, ghosts that kill people with their hair and the overall physiological shocks that these movies bring. I was excited when I thought that The Forest would be able to have many of those qualities. I was also worried, like many other people, that the movie would be disrespectful of the Aokigahara Forest.

The Aokigahara Forest plays a large part in the movie. It is the setting for the majority of it. The forest could also be argued to be the antagonist. Now, why would a horror movie center around a forest in Japan that is also a popular tourist attraction? Partially because it’s very dense and without much wildlife. This gives it an eerie quiet. The other reason is because it’s a popular site for people to commit suicide and is supposedly haunted by angry spirits of the deceased.

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Thus brings about the plot of The Forest. Sara Prince (Dormer), an American, receives a phone call explaining that her twin sister, Jess (also Dormer), might be dead. Jess was last seen going into the Aokigahara Forest. Her sister has always been troubled, so Sara travels to Japan for answers. When she ends up with more questions than answers, she decides to go look for Jess in the forest itself.

The movie is good. The Forest is not great, but also not as bad as I thought it might be. I still have some complex feelings about the story, though.

I loved the hints of J-Horror; the darkness of it. The scenes in the older buildings made me think of other movies I love. It put me on edge. Trust me when I tell you I wanted those ghosts. I wanted the twists that come with them. Every time Sara talked to someone outside of the forest, I kept wondering, “Is this person really alive? Are they being interacted with by anyone else?”

I still feel torn because The Forest does have a white person just charging into a place and a culture that they don’t entirely understand. I don’t think that The Forest was disrespectful of the Aokigahara Forest, but the movie is also clearly from an outsider’s perspective. I think that made it lose some of the scares that could have be there. Instead of being properly afraid, Sara just stomps along expecting everyone to fall in line. I hate to admit that I always love when characters like that get tormented.

Please understand that I did like Sara. I understood her abrasiveness. I appreciated her need to get things done to save her sister. As I learned her backstory, her actions also made more sense. I just wish that the main character would have had a better understanding of the lore of the Aokigahara Forest. Having American Sara, who researches so little beforehand, also gives us less to be afraid of from the start because we have so little information about the Aokigahara Forest and its possible ghosts.

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Why are people going to commit suicide there? What possible energy could be stuck there? What emotions still fill the space? All of this kind of information could have been given to Sara before she went and the audience could have had more to jump at. As an American myself, I want to know all about it. Give me the history. Every theory. Let it fill my brain up with possibilities. Instead, we are rushed through. I suppose that was supposed to make it mysterious and more scary – fear of the unknown and all that – but I think it did quite the opposite.

I think Jess knows. I think Jess knows the lore and the history. I think she goes into the forest with respect on the trip and with the intention of acting upon her knowledge. It is one of the differences between the sisters. Sara is so fast paced and sure. Jess is not. The audience also only sees Jess through Sara’s eyes. We see Japan and the Aokigahara Forest through Sara’s perspective. I honestly think it would have been more interesting through Jess. Her knowledge and immersion in the culture would have made the film so much richer. We get so little of an appreciation for the culture surrounding the main setting of the film.

Overall though, I did like the film. I liked the characters. I was concerned and unsure when I should be. The settings lent to the story. Some of the effects were unnecessary. I was a little disappointed with the end, but it has left with me with a few theories.

My rating stands at: Good.

Watch the trailer here:

Review: Dead Man’s Journey (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2016 by Xander Woolf

Dev: Turnvex
Release Date: April 9, 2016

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You’ve done something horrible. You are dead and stuck in purgatory. You are greeted by the voice typically used in the Saw movies and kidnapping videos. After a bit of a confusing start, you are ushered into a P.T. Silent Hills type of industrial area. Dark and ominous, there is only emergency/flood lights to guide your way. Quickly, sounds begin off in the distance and the jump scares are well deserved.

As you venture further, you receive a night vision camera so that you can continue on your journey. You also realize that they could have used an editor or at least spell check. Notes and news clippings appear, attempting to explain the story of what happened when you were alive and why you’ve ended up here, in purgatory. The voice will chime in all judgmental and better than you. Each loop reveals a new part of the story, which just becomes more and more confusing as you continue on. Just when you think the voice is going straighten the story out, that fucker only makes it more confusing. If you play the game, for the love of the maker, explain the fucking story to me.

The ‘thing’ that you keep seeing is a bit confusing in its form. It doesn’t look like you’d expect, which only adds to the confusion. You are eventually guided to make a choice, not that choices ever really matter in horror games.

I enjoy the concept of this game. The graphics are great; the atmosphere is stellar, but there are plenty of plot holes and story confusion. I can’t call this a good or a bad game. It has some awesome elements that would make for an excellent game if not for the poor story line. Give it a go and tell me what you think.

WintersOver4

Review: Exposure Therapy (Short Story)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2016 by Xander Woolf

Title: “Exposure Therapy”13mt-front-cover-post-proof-600-dpi
Anthology: 13 Morbid Tales
Author: Devon L. Miller
September 29, 2015

13 Morbid Tales is a book of 13 horror short stories by the author Devon L. Miller and edited by Reggie Lutz. “Exposure Therapy” is the fourth story within the book.

What’s it about?
“Exposure Therapy” follows a teenage girl, Mara, who loves horror movies. Her love of horror movies is deemed an illness within her society, which prompts her parents to send her to an institution so that she can be cured of her “affliction.” In the facility, she and the other patients are put into virtual reality horror situations as a form of exposure therapy.

What did I think?
This story is probably one of my favorite short stories I’ve read, to be honest. The character is relatable  and situation is downright terrifying. The idea of being thrown into VR horror situations in order to scare someone out of loving horror movies is A Clockwork Orange level of brilliance.

The story is written very well. As a reader, I can visualize the situation easily and I feel as though I know each of the characters that Mara briefly meets. Mara herself is a well crafted character. She has just the right amount of angst for a 17 year old and handles her situation as well as I would have at that age.

Without giving anything away, the ending is exactly what it needed to be.

Do I recommend it?
Yes, I do. The plot is well constructed, the characters are well crafted and the story is just well written overall.

Honestly, check out 13 Morbid Tales. You can find it on Amazon.

Check out Devon L. Miller’s guest post here!

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