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Stir: Horror

You never know what is lurking in the tunnels of Metro 2033.

Usually I start Stir with some tidbit of information relevant to the topic  – and I research it to try to bring new and interesting information to my readers.  My research into the horror genre has been going on for most of my life and I would consider myself a horror “fanboy” of sorts.  So rather than waxing intellectual on the topic, I’m going to cut to the chase with the first Stir.

Chris Forbis | MensaDad| ProfileTwitter |

I love horror.  Games, movies, whatever.  Everything from the old black and white “monster movies” to the modern extremes dubbed as “gorno” – I love it all.  It probably has a lot to do with my inability to suspend disbelief.  I know it’s a game or a movie and I rarely let myself buy in on an emotional level.  I’m thinking more about how it was filmed, special effects, make-up, digital effects, etc.  I get a little more involved in games since they are by nature – more involving.  Suffice it to say that if I find a movie or game particularly disturbing, then there are probably republicans and religeous groups somewhere trying to get it banned from their local theater.  So here are 10 suggestions – in no particular order – that should Stir your pulse – or you don’t have one.  Set the mood by playing these in a dark room with headphones or room filling sound.

Jigsaw only asks one question of his victims in Saw.

Saw (Video Game) While critical review of this game were not good, user reviews were a different story.  Playing this survival game at a pace as if it were real adds a level of submersion to Jigsaw’s world that run-and-gunners would completely miss.  Watch for traps each step of the way and make choices that you would make in real life.  Being familiar with the films will serve you well here also seeing as how the creators of the Saw franchise were brought on-board to write the script for the game.

Hostel 1 & 2 (Movies) Eli Roth, creator, pushes the boundaries of gore by adding sexual overtones resulting in the term “gorno” being introduced into the genre.  Also called “torture porn”, Roth took the inch of new ground he discovered with the first film and turned it into a mile in the second film.  Both are required viewing by anyone who considers themselves a horror hard-ass.

Crazy but real characters populate House of 1000 Corpses.

Splinter (Movie) This sleeper is one of the best low budget films I have ever seen. A host altering parasite traps a young couple and an escaped convict in an abanbdond gas station.  The small cast and small setting create a claustrophobic need to escape.  I hope whomever marketed this film has been brought to justice for the crime of opening on Halloween, 2008 on only 4 screens and grossing less than $10,000 opening weekend.

House of 1000 Corpses / Devil’s Rejects (Movies)  Both of these films by Rob Zombie are throw-backs to the drive-in horror films of the 70’s.  Both present disturbingly real circumstances with truly psychotic characters.  If there is such a thing as monsters in our world, they are much like Rob’s evil and very believable villains.

Paranormal Activity (Movie) Add this to the list of “real” documentary films such as The Blair Witch Project.  It starts slow but becomes more believable as it goes – ending in a predictable, yet unnerving climax.  The unusual lack of credits at the end of this film leaves one wondering “was that real?”

Use of actual human physiology in unusual ways added to the eeriness of the creatures in Dead Space.

Metro 2033 (Video Game)  Survival horror at it’s best with two endings – each that must be earned.  This future apocalyptic adventure in the subway tunnels of Moscow is based on the Russian book of the same name.  Are the strange attacks hostile or mis-understood attempts to communicate?  You will unwittingly decide while playing.

Dead Space (Video Game) I could fill volumes with what has already been said about this game and it’s sound design.  If you haven’t played this game yet, rent it this week – and play through it slowly.

The Human Centipede (Movie)  Some things you can’t un-see.  This film is one of those things.  It is ground-breakingly disturbing and will haunt you for days after watching it.

WHAT OUR WRITERS HAD TO SAY

Jose Adrovet | Gui J | Profile |

(Jose simply sent us a list of recommended movies,  I second all these titles.)  Dead Alive, Dawn or Day of the Dead, Critters, Zombi, Fright Night, Creepshow 1 & 2, Hellraiser, Exorcist, Tenebre, I spit on your grave.

You are chased by an evil darkness while armed only with a flashlight in Alan Wake.

Cooper Bibaud | Thirsty Robot | ProfileTwitter |

In keeping with the fact that this is generally a videogame website, my offering to this week’s STIR will be that of a game I recommend to anyone who’d rather have a controller in hand on Halloween night instead of a pillow case filled with candy.

It may not offer the type of scares you’d find in an in your face horror game like dogs leaping through windows in the original Resident Evil, or the sheer fright of a movie like Paranormal Activity 2, but this particular game went a different route, a route I encourage every gamer to go down.

The game is Alan Wake, and in all my gaming experience I must say that Alan Wake did something to me I can’t quite explain. Not that I’ve ever been chased in a forest by creatures of the dark, but if I ever do, I know it will feel exactly like Alan Wake. If you’ve ever had one of those dreams where you’re running frantically from something, and you keep slipping or falling, or you don’t quite know where you are or where you’re going, this is the constant type of rush Alan Wake delivers. You feel as confused and panicked as Mr. Wake himself must feel.

Please go buy this game. It did not get enough attention for how truly original it was, and what better time to give it a try then for Halloween.

A machine powered by the negative energy of Thirteen Ghosts? What about this does not scream "RUN AWAY"?

Sarah Brannan | FFXPrincess | ProfileTwitter |

I am a HUGE scaredy cat… Seriously, it’s bad. I saw Gremilns when I was 4, don’t think I slept right till I was 10. Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m terrible. LoL

As far as scary movies that I DO like, shockingly there are two. My fav is Thir13en Ghosts (2001). I also like the movie The Relic (1997). Freakiest movie I’ve seen was They (2002). Went to the theatre to see it with my friend Crystal, we ended up sleeping on the floor in the living room next to each other cause we were so freaked out.

Games? Anything that jumps out at me scares the hell outta me.

Let’s just say I stay away from anything scary in general.

Mitchel Broussard |

Oh God, where to begin? Movie wise, The Descent still scares the bejeezus out of me. The idea of being trapped miles underground was enough to cause my claustrophobic mind to spin out, but add in crazy ass subterranean cannibals and guess who didn’t sleep for weeks? I also loved it for the fact that there was barely a Y chromosome to be found in the entire movie. It was just a band of friends fighting for survival.  And these weren’t “oh my top is falling off as this scary monster chases me” kind of girls. Minus a few, they were hardcore, pickaxe wielding, mutant ass-kicking chicks.  And I respected the hell out of that.

Trapped underground in uncharted caves with flesh eating monsters in Descent.

Steven Buccini | PickaNumber123 | ProfileTwitter |

I thought Alan Wake was extremely scary.  The atmosphere, sound track, and gameplay all combined to make it an intense game to play with the lights out.  I was gripping my controller so tightly, my knuckles turned white.

William Johnson | StylelessKnave | ProfileTwitter |

I’ am easily frightened when playing scary games or watching scary movies. To the point at if I’m watching them at home, on cable, I’ll flip through the channels and then return after or during the frightening chase scenes. It’s a audible, and visual rush – and more so while you’re playing a game since you are the main character instead of watching actors play the part. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because I love scary movies, video games, and the rush of excitement they give. I personally wish that there were more scary games coming out, even though I probably wouldnt even touch them for a while until I get some more exp to bravery. I wish I could recommend some games, but I personally only play like, one scary game every three to five months, so I’m not really sure what all I’ve missed. I would highly recommend picking up Alan Wake. You could find it for less than $50, or maybe even better if there are any sales going on. That game is dark, shadowy – literally, and the story is fresh out of an old black and white, Twilight Zone, Tales from the Dark Side episode that will definitely engross you into the game.

Pinhead from Hellraiser with the famous puzzle box.

Tym Kaywork | vttym | ProfileTwitter |

I can still remember Resident Evil 2 had two moments that made me jump – the first being when I ran down a hallway and had the windows break suddenly.  The second was when I was in the interrogation room, and the devil dog leaped out of the glass.  I am pretty sure I soiled myself on that one.

Those two memorable instances aside, some other games to play would be Fatal Frame, and Condemned (that shopping mall level will stay with you forever).  Don’t play Deadly Premonition thinking it’s scary.  It’s fantastic in its awfulness, but scary is not what I’d call it.

Resident Evil 4 may make you wish for a bigger gun.

Stewart Loosemore | Stigweird85 |  ProfileTwitter |

Scary games for me are much like scary films some are much better than others. I prefer a thriller to a hack and slash movie and the same thing applies to games. I was never a fan of the Silent Hill series, too much doubling back it just made the game artificially longer than it needed to be.

There are a few horror games that I have played even fewer that I liked. I won’t mention the obvious like Resident Evil/Alone in the Dark but one of my favourite horror style games was a game called Obscure on the PS2, it basically plays as a game of the movie: The Faculty

I always liked the look of the Clocktower series but could never find a copy to actually play. I also remember reading about a game which never saw the store shelves. I think it was called rule of the Roses,  I can’t remember much about it now, but at the time I remember wanting to play it.

I can’t write about horror games without mentioning Michigan: Report from Hell. You play as a cameraman as part of a news crew. You must document all that goes on. It sounded unique and certainly had potential. Sadly the voice acting was dire the graphics were poor and there was another shall we say “aspect” of the game which didn’t really serve much purpose or go as far as it could have gone. If you want to torture yourself this Halloween play Michigan: Report from Hell

The sexy / creepy nurses in Silent Hill are not exactly out to heal you.

Mike Murphy | Chibi_Mike | Profile |

My favorite scary game of all time is still the first Silent Hill. It’s strength is in just how damn weird it is. It wears the influence of Jacob’s Ladder on it’s sleeve, and the result is at no time are you sure of what is transpiring, even as you’re doing it. The early era ps1 graphics and controls actually help add to the sense to fear and paranoia. It’s a messed up world, every thing’s trying to kill you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve played through it five times, and I have no idea what it’s about, other than Harry looking for his daughter. And still, it’s my favorite. That says a lot.

Skinless kid monsters with butcher knives. If that sentence doesn’t make you want to play it, I don’t know what to tell you.

Jonathan Palmer |

One of the games that still scares me a good bit to this day is Resident Evil 4. I’ve never been a fan of the Resident Evil games or horror genre games in general really, but I can always pick that game up for a good scare. It was just whenever I popped an enemy’s head off and instead of dieing they spawn something even weirder in place of their head…oh man, it always made me jump. It might be a bit lame, but I still can’t play that game in confidence at any point. RE4 is always a good game for action, creeps, or just a good time.

Rane Pollock | Gemini Ace | ProfileTwitter |

The scariest movie I’ve ever seen is Event Horizon. I remember being freaked out for days after watching it. I think it was the scenes they showed of hell or something, but it really got under my skin.

THE RULES FOR STIR ARE SIMPLE

I pick a topic and ask the Platform Nation writers, editors and staff to send me their opinions.  Thanks go out to all the Platform Nation writers who contributed to Stir this week.  They are all part of the best writing team in the industry and I couldn’t do this without them.

Now, drop down into the comment box below and let us know what horror games or films YOU would recommend this  Halloween.

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  • Cooper

    Nice picks Tym. I remember my dad falling backwards in our rocking chair onto our cat (cat was fine) at that RE2 interrogation room scene. So good. Fatal Frame was insane, I played the sequel and it was TOO scary. Same with the RE original remake on GameCube.