Horror is undergoing a bit of a renaissance at the moment, not only in literature but in the film industry as well. Pretty sure Get Out has blown up the box office with its $111 million return versus its $4.5 million budget. And more great horror flicks are on the way. The reasons for this renaissance are varied but a friend gave one particularly good explanation for it: “Times are tough and people want to be able to experience the thrill of monsters that aren’t real.”
It’s a theory I can get behind, but you know another medium that is experiencing this phenomenon? Well if the title didn’t clue you in, it’s video games.
Who among us didn’t play such wonderful gems when we were younger like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, House of the Dead, and Doom?
I remember being terrified of the cloying atmosphere of that stupid mansion in Resident Evil as my friends and I huddled around the Gamecube and encountered that first zombie in the corridor. Those fixed camera angles still make me angry-scared as I struggled to aim the gun at the creature.
Things have come a long way since then.
The perennial long runners of Resident Evil and Silent Hill have put out entries of varying quality over the years, but I’m taking this little moment to focus on some lesser-known entries that have come out in recent years before moving onto this year’s selection.
Dying Light: A zombie survival game released in 2015. I know what you’re thinking, “Zombies? I love the Walking Dead!” in which case I have only one thing to say to you: Yes, yes, it is a good show and comic series, but there is so much more to that particular sub-genre.
There has been a glut of zombie fiction as of late in all mediums, but this video game is one of the few that I thought truly grasped the desperation of the situation; the frantic struggle for resources along with the never-ending hordes of zombies hungry for my flesh.
And don’t even get me started on what happens at night.
There might not have been anything that truly made me jump or left me uneasy (at least not until the DLC) but the sheer hopelessness and post-apocalyptic feel of the situation was fairly well captured.
Slender the Arrival: Most of you have heard of the Slenderman, and if you haven’t then I advise you to discover the Internet. What some of you may not realize is that the monster does in fact have a video game based around him.
I played this game with my best friend and I remember the two of us tensely switching between holding the controller or gripping the couch arms for fear of what was going to happen next; it would descend from an easy “Oh that looks nice and friendly” to “AAARRRHGHHGHG HOLLLLY CRAP RUN RUN RUN FASTER, FASTER WOULD BE BETTER!”
It was incredibly tense, though the ending felt a little rushed and anticlimactic.
It hasn’t stopped me from shoving it at anyone who says. “I want to play a scary video game.”
Now it is the great year of 2017 *actual greatness may vary* and thus we have a slew of new horror video games hitting the shelves. I’m practically salivating at the chance to see some of these in action and more than likely throw the controller at the TV when something jumps out.
First on this list would be the newest entry in the Resident Evil series, titled helpfully Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. I haven’t yet been able to play the full game, but I did get to play the demo before its release, and wouldn’t you know it was just as scary as I hoped it would be.
This is the first entry in the franchise to be played from a first person perspective as well as a return to the series roots with a harsh atmosphere centered around fading pieces of decrepit architecture. The designers seemed to take the best notes from Texas Chainsaw Massacre along with various ghostly tropes and monsters in the sewer.
The whole thing is oppressive, cloying, and beyond a doubt scary and I found myself in the demo checking over my shoulder every five seconds for fear that there would be something there.
I can’t wait to play it.
As for other games coming out this year we have the upcoming Friday the 13th, a game centered around the popular slasher franchise where you can actually play as Jason Voorhees and no doubt brutally kill some morally deviant camp counselors who undoubtedly deserve it for having extramarital relations while you drowned as child in a revenge by proxy scheme.
Conversely you can also play as a no doubt morally decent and upstanding camp counselor just trying to spend a fun and free summer with your boyfriend/girlfriend that might involve the wayward, but normal, pursuits of youth that are being targeted by a psychotic nutjob in a hockey mask with a machete and you just want to survive and continue being a decent and normal teenager.
Also coming out this year is Outlast 2. Now I played the original Outlast that took our intrepid hero, *insert generic protagonist name*, and investigative journalist to a local insane asylum in hopes of a hot scoop. Well let us just say that he got more than he bargained for. And now this year brings us the sequel and it seems to be borrowing elements from the above-mentioned Resident Evil 7.
A dark foreboding southern atmosphere pervaded the demo as I ran through the woods pursued by a cult that either just stepped off the set of Deliverance or were practicing for their Wicker Man reunion. If this one holds up to anything like its predecessor, I’m going to be running from lunatics while trying to preserve that sweet glow in the dark cameras battery life.
Other entries for this years horror extravaganza are Vampyr (where I’ll finally try to understand what being an Anne Rice vampire is all about), Agony (Where you’re dropped straight into Hell, hate when I take that wrong turn at Albuquerque), Visage (you should really look at the history of a house before buying it) and Call of Cthulhu (I just peed a little, I’m so excited). This years smorgasbord of horror games doesn’t look likely to abate anytime soon and promises to be a great year for not only the Horror Genre but for video games in general.
Wile E. World News
It turns out that there are still uncaught Nazi’s milling about in the world. Today it was confirmed that a 98 year old man in Minnesota was a confirmed leader of an SS unit that burned villages in Poland.
Usually, I would try to provide some sort of hilarious commentary here (and trust me you would be rolling) if this wasn’t a serious matter, as most of the things I report on are.
Poland wants to extradite him and prosecute. All I can say is more power to them. It would be a shame if justice were to slip past before he died of old age, which for this man could be any day now.
On a lighter note…
Yesterday, police in Oregon engaged in a high-speed chase with a man who stole a street sweeper.
Yes you read that right, a street sweeper.
I don’t necessarily want to bail the man out of jail, but I would like to meet him and shake his hand for at least engaging in his criminal activity in a suitably hilarious way.
I bet that highway is super clean now.
Quote of the Week
Nefflix: I’m going to download the Dark Web.
Wile E. Young: When you show up in a hostage video I’m not paying the ransom.
I typed the last period of the Admirer this morning, ending at a little over 70,000 words. I’m about to get my editing chainsaw and dive in, to not only trim it down, but to form it into the final product. I’m proud of it, but also mildly disturbed by it.
I wonder if other horror authors have been disturbed by their own content before…
Now I turn my eye to my next two short stories for a Punk Zombie Anthology (I’m determined to get at least one zombie story published in this glut!) and this year’s SNAFU antho… I’m about to make Slashers cool and scary again for that one.
Besides that, Stokercon is next month where my short story One Night in the Yellow Ring will be debuted in Azoth Khem Publishing’s Carnival of Madness anthology… I’ll post a link as soon as it is for sale.
Also Brian Keene released the table of contents to the contributors of the Clickers Forever anthology (a tribute anthology to the late J.F. Gonzalez). Seeing my name listed there next to my story among these titans of the genre… I was very humbled and hope to honor the legacy of J.F. Gonzalez with my meager contribution.
THAT book is going to be epic.That’s all for now, time to order my ACME editing chainsaw and hopefully catch the Roadrunner.