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By: Trisha Gregorio/ANDY Writer
This year’s scary movie season oversees the release of two very distinctive horror films with the influences of H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and Stanley Kubrick all clashing together in the newly released Crimson Peak (directed by Guillermo del Toro), and the upcoming Victor Frankenstein (directed by Paul McGuigan).
Standard horror movie storylines of the past few years have transversed the spectrum of horror movie tropes. Both Del Toro and McGuigan take their films away from these archetypal horror elements to explore a category that has been distant from the spotlight in recent years: Gothic horror.
While many contemporary directors have interwoven Gothic elements into more modern storylines (a shining example of which is Kubrick’s The Shining,) the true core of the genre lies in its Romantic origins: damsels in distress, mysterious Victorian mansions, vampires and the mist-covered countryside. Romanticism was about stimulating its audience with something different, something wildly bizarre in comparison to the rigid Classical norms of the time. Rather than idealize fear, as is the common misconception, the Romantic and Gothic genres instead redesigned it in such a way that it could be embraced.
Crimson Peak perfectly encapsulates this aformentioned “nitty gritty” feel. Del Toro’s film, starring Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in the lead roles, combines all of those aforementioned elements and is rounded off with dark colour schemes and elaborate costumes to take the genre back to its roots. The same goes for the highly anticipated Victor Frankenstein, set for release late this November. Despite the fact that it’s yet another contemporary interpretations of Mary Shelley’s classic story, it’s looking like it will stay faithful to its stylistic roots and impress viewers with its visual elements.
Though Crimson Peak has come under fire for becoming more style than substance in its determination to stay loyal to its Gothic sensibilities, one thing no one can deny Del Toro does exceptionally well is put elements of traditional Gothic films back into the spotlight, and challenge the norms of today’s horror movie scene. The movie boldly asks what made the Gothic horror film genre so distinct from the horror movies we know today, all while simultaneously responding with its own undermining twist on the classic factors distinctive of the genre.
And the answer? Sure, the Gothic genre doesn’t quite employ the same techniques we are now used to in horror. There are not quite so many jump-worthy scares or possessions. Exorcisms aren’t as likely to happen and scenes of violence and gore are few and far between. But the true horror of the genre, Del Toro reminds us, lies in a much more realistic source.
Instead of restless poltergeists and summoned demons, the Gothic genre entertains the notion of less palpable fears: death, guilt, and for most, the dangers that come with the unknown. Gothic elements stand out in a category of their own, and though Gothic horror doesn’t offer the same rush of adrenaline that movies like The Conjuring do, Del Toro and McGuigan seem keen to prove that the core of the genre is in itself a visual kind of poetry that still somehow manages to highlight fear as the most ancient and most human of emotions.
By: Mitali Chaudhary
As Halloween approaches, your room might be feeling a little left out from the DIY costume-making, candy-gorging festivities. Here are a few cheap and fun ways to boost it up from a weepy “boo” to a BOO!
1. Cheesecloth Cobwebs
A step above the usual dollar store cottony mess, cheesecloth webs are much more substantial and can be reused for several years. They can be hung in doorways, windows, or simply against bare walls, and give a creepy feel when they’re cut up, ripped, and frayed to perfection.
2. Spooky Garlands
Although they take some scissor work, garlands are versatile and can instantly liven up a room. Virtually any shape (for example skulls, pumpkins, or black cats) can be printed off, traced onto coloured paper, then cut and hung on a piece of yarn. A simple paper garland can be made even more interesting by adding beads, felt cut-outs, or pressed leaves.
3. Provocative Pumpkins
Plain old pumpkins, though they essentially represent Halloween, are so last year. To make them more fun (and to bring out their colour even more) bats and ghosts can be stencilled on using spray paint, or they can even be completely covered with glitter. The possibilities with this plain orange canvas are endless.
4. Textiled Ghouls
These cute little guys decorate windowsills especially well. All that’s needed is a handy square of cheesecloth draped over a styrofoam ball. A bent paperclip can be used to hang them up. Wide eyes drawn by a Sharpie complete the look, and beg for more cheesecloth ghost friends to hang around with.
5. Window Watchers
Similar to the garlands, shapes can be printed off, traced onto and cut from coloured paper, then stuck on windows. In the daytime, you’ll be able to see bats fluttering across the glass and at night, when they’re backlit, others outside can appreciate your Halloween cheer too.
Price - Free
Visuals - 6/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 1/10
Scare Factor - 9/10
Based on the popular stories surrounding the fictional SCP organization, SCP-087-B takes advantage of people’s fear of claustrophobic environments and forces players to navigate through dark, cramped corridors without a weapon to defend them.
The game is incredibly simple in design, as the player is only able to move down the stairs and hallways the game presents to you, but the fear factor is still very real. While the game doesn’t offer much in the way of story, its simple concept and effective game design makes it a quick and highly effective scare for anyone looking for that coveted rush of adrenaline.
4. One Late Night
Price - Free
Visuals - 8/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Story - 6/10
Scare Factor - 8/10
Much like SCP-087-B, One Late Night plays up humans natural fear of enclosed spaces, but does so within the familiar environ- ment of an office workspace.
The story follows an un- named graphic design employee who experiences a strange and terrifying series of events. This office setting is easy for anyone to familiarize themselves with and the story is fairly easy to
get involved in. Moreover, for a free game the graphics are very impressive, offering more than enough variation in visuals.
Unfortunately, where the game struggles is in its level de- sign. One Late Night offers too little direction when exploring its spooky office environment, leaving the player frustrated
at times where they can’t find out what to do to advance the plot. Still, the game makes up for it by producing genuinely terrifying moments, making it a must-play for fans of a good scare and undoubtedly the best free horror game this year.
3. Alien: Isolation
Price - $60
Visuals - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 8/10
Scare Factor - 8/10
One of the few big-budget titles on this list, Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival-horror game that exists within the fictional universe of the Alien films. What makes it so compelling is the game’s ability to create a unique universe that perfectly mirrors its source material. As soon as you start Alien: Isolation, players immedi- ately feel like they have entered the universe of the films, only adding to the terror the game provides. The only drawback of the game is that the random na- ture of the alien “Xenomorph” can be more frustrating than it is fun. For those looking for a longer story-based experience – albeit it at a steeper price – check out Alien: Isolation.
2. Five Nights at Freddy's
Price - $5 on Steam
Visuals - 6/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Story - 7/10
Scare Factor - 8/10
One of the most innovative horror games since the indie hit Slender: The 8 Pages is this year’s release of Five Nights at Freddy’s. The story revolves around an employee named Mike Schmidt who takes a job at the fictional pizza place “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza” (think Chuck-E-Cheese). As the game soon reveals, the animatronic animals inside the store come to life, making many children’s nightmares come true.
This $5 title knows exactly what it wants to be and effectively produces real scares despite its simple mechanics.
By utilizing a point-and-click style, the game has a surprising amount of depth and strategy that offers players far more hours of excitement than the $5 price tag entails. While the story is fairly simple, I feel the point of Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t to engross players into a fictional universe, so it becomes less of an issue. Instead, Five Nights at Freddy’s should be seen as an easy horror gaming experience that effectively scares anyone who boots it up. Five Nights at Freddy’s is a simple, but addic- tive horror game that leaves the player wanting more after they conquer each night.
1. Among the Sleep
Price - $20 on Steam
Visuals - 9/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Story - 10/10
Scare Factor 7/10
While many titles on this list of- fer exciting new ways to engage the player, none do it quite as effectively as Among the Sleep. The game takes the perspective of a young toddler who explores eerie worlds created by its own imagination, as the player unravels the fears and struggles of the child’s home life through various memories. Without giving too much away, what makes Among the Sleep deserving of our number one spot is that it succeeds in so many different areas of game design. The story is fantastic, and is one of the only games that left me hungry to find out the plot the whole way through.
Moreover, the game does not suffer from the same navi- gational errors that plagued One Late Night as the game effec- tively balances level of difficulty and level of frustration perfect- ly. Because of this, I never felt bored while playing Among the Sleep, and also never felt lost for too long. Visually the game is immediately engrossing, and does justice to the wild imagi- nation of the toddler you play. Each world feels unique, and the games antagonist does a great job of keeping you frightened.
One of the only faults of the game is its relatively short length, as it is roughly two hours long, which to some doesn’t justify the $20 price tag. Despite this, the amount of scares and genuine sense of ad- venture the game offers is more than enough to put this game at the number one spot. If there is any horror game you play this year, it has to be Among the Sleep.