Friday, 29 October 2010

Halloween Tips. Sale and more!

Now that northern hemisphere people move into darker times what can be better than to indulge in some horror! Read along to get some tips on games, books and movies to check out this Halloween!


What to Play?
First of all we have to recommend our own creations that are now available at a very low rate! Amnesia and Penumbra can both be gotten for as low as 50% the price on several online stores. Right now discounts are available at Our Own Store, Steam, GamersGate, ImpulseDriven and the voices tell me Direct2Drive will have discount very soon too.

I would also like to put special attention on our newly launched Mobile Store. It is an ordinary internet store where you can buy the game by simply sending an SMS. It does not get much easier than that and is especially nice for anyone missing a credit card! All our games are on sale there too and if you are lucky they might cost you less than half the normal price! So do not hesitate and check it out now:
http://mobile.frictionalgames.com/

In case you have already played both Amnesia and Penumbra, here are some more more recommendations:

Anchorhead
A lovecraftian Interactive Fiction game with story similar to "Shadow of Innsmouth" and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward". It is quite long and very well written and implemented. If you can manage playing without graphics this is a great choice.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Another lovecraft-game, but this time in glorious realtime 3D. Especially the first third of the game is deliciously creepy with a nice foreboding atmosphere. If you can stand a few bugs and cheap deaths, this game is well worth getting.

I have no mouth and I must scream
This is a game that is not that scary, but instead features some extremely disturbing themes. The story takes place in a post apocalyptic future, where the last five people on earth are being tortured by a not-so-friendly AI named AM. It plays like a usual point-and-click but with some fun twists. Unfortunately the game suffers from some annoying puzzle design, but is still worth trying out. And oh, the game works with ScummVM, and should thus run on just about any platform.


What to watch?
At Halloween all kinds of crappy horror movies are released, so to save you from that here are some films that you might have missed:

Fermat's Room
Five people are called to a puzzle evening which takes on a diabolical twist. If you enjoyed limited location based movies like Cube and (first) Saw, this is one is highly recommended!

Eden Lake
A story about a couple taking a trip to a lake is not all that original, but Eden Lake has a nice twist to it. Beware of some disturbing scenes.

Hard Candy
Cranking up the disturb-o-meter, this movie is unsettling to say the least. It starts out with a creepy meeting between a man and a young girl, and then gets progressively worse.

Day of the Beast
To lighten up after Hard candy, you should consider this movie. It is about a priest that in order to stop the anti-christ decides to become evil. He teams up with a mentally unstable death-metal fan to do so. Hilarity ensues.

Lost Highway
This is probably my favorite a Lynch movie, if only for an excellent scene involving a telephone at a party. It is not that scary, but keeps a brooding atmosphere throughout. Beware of weird lynchian plot!

Audition
Since we want to go out with a bang I am rounding up the list with this disturbing masterpiece. The movie is quite slow, but this only helps building to moments of true horror that it has. The end scene is unforgettable.


What to read?
Nothing can tingle the imagination as a good book. So here are some tips on how to invoke those nightmares I bet you long for.

Anything Lovecraft
A novel by the master of horror is a must! For people new to the man, I would recommend "The Whisperer in the Darkness", "The Shadow over Innsmouth" or "The Dunwhich horror", all very typical lovecraftian tales. All of his works is available online, but they are of course best enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

The Terror
A retelling of the doomed Franklin expedition with the addition of a stalking monster. Most of the book is based on true events, and the supernatural spice increase scariness in an already horrific story. This is probably one of the best horror books I have read. It takes a while to get into, but when you do the book will not let you go.

Perdido Street Station
I consider the books author, China Mieville, but be a kind of modern day Lovecraft. He has the same dense, but yet enthralling, prose and an incredible ability of making monsters. The books takes place in a fantasy world, but even though it is very weird, it feels in real in a way. Prepare for some really disturbing imagery.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Ever wondered what happens to human bodies after they die? This book contains all you want to know and then some. It opens up with describing rows of heads lying in bowls (to be used in educational purpose) and then gets worse. For anybody interested for anybody interested in the macabre this is a must.


Your tips?
Please leave any nice Halloween tips you might have in the comments!


36 comments:

  1. Nice tips!

    While I have played both Anchorhead and Call of Cthulhu (and enjoyed them both tremendously), I did have problems getting 'I Have no Mouth...' to start up on my system. I'll give ScummVM a try though, so thanks for the tip!

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  2. I would suggest a French movie called High Tension.

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  3. I would suggest the movie "The Strangers", because nothing is scarier than real life :D. Another good one can be dead silence

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  4. I got into HP Lovecraft a few months ago. Of ocurse, I immediately started seeing his influence in so many places, related to horror. :)

    I really enjoyed "The Mountains Of Madness" from HPL which I believe will be turned into video game / movie form in the near future. (Also the titular inspiration for this blog? :))

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  5. @anon2

    I've seen High Tension a few years ago. That's a great one.

    My tips:

    Movies
    _
    Identity - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0309698/
    What lies beneath - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0161081/
    Inland Empire - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460829/

    Books
    _
    Stephen King's Salem's Lot - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%27Salem%27s_Lot
    Edgar Allan Poe's Stories - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe#Selected_list_of_works

    Games
    _
    Black Mirror - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Mirror
    Darkness Within - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkness_Within
    Deadly Premonition (the perfect game for Twin Peaks-Fans) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadly_Premonition

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  6. Could you guys do a penumbra sale?

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  7. Anonymous:
    There is!! Both games are on sale!! :)

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  8. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.. not scary but pretty depressive and grim.. It should be read on a sad and morbid day. Thank you once again F.G. for great games :)

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  9. You guys should put a steam sale on penumbra too, i would buy that in no time at all.

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  10. I'm a big fan of horror games, and Amnesia, Call of Cthulhu DCotE, I hace no mouth.. etc are some of my favourites, but i think it's just a shame you didn't mention SILENT HILL. Every horror fan knows that Team Silent's Silent Hill is a true masterpiece....

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  11. @Lunatika

    Well, it's not really a "shame" that he didn't mention it. He just didn't, because he only wanted to mention some less known games. Everbody knows Silent Hill, and everybody knows how good it is! :P

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  12. Audition was terrifying. I told my wife, had I still been single I would have quit dating!

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  13. If you can get it to work on a new system, or are still running Windows XP, Thief: Deadly Shadows' spectacular Shalebridge Cradle is well worth your time. For the rest of us, Kieron Gillen's article exploring the Cradle will have to do: http://gillen.cream.org/thecradle.pdf

    For atmosphere you can slice and serve with jam and marmalade, check out thechineseroom's Half Life 2 mods Dear Esther (http://www.moddb.com/mods/dear-esther) and Korsakovia (http://www.moddb.com/mods/korsakovia).

    Dear Esther is a gentle exploration of a dark and brooding island accompanied by randomly-chosen elements of intertwining stories of mystery and madness, while Korsakovia is a confusing and psycho-reflective journey through the twisted world of a lunatic mind, again with increasingly startling voice-over narration.

    If blood and guts and action is more your thing, try Vampire: Bloodlines (http://store.steampowered.com/app/2600/), just make sure you get a community patch first. It has its own set piece scary level - heavily influenced by The Shining - and a general sense of darkness, the macabre and the fantastic.

    As for films, I recently enjoyed the original Dracula (1931) with Bela Lugosi. Not a horror film, per se, more a psychological thriller with dark fantasy elements but still a load of frightful fun. Find the first part on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9qtivRryDM&feature=related

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  14. Thanks for this post. Great suggestions ... I'm going to have to check these out.

    For the book category, I'd like to suggest Ship of Fools (Richard Paul Russo):

    http://www.amazon.com/Ship-Fools-Richard-Paul-Russo/dp/0441008933/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1288380321&sr=8-5

    Very spooky Sci-Fi horror!

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  15. This is actually a pretty good list of some lesser known horror games/books/movies, especially since the horror genre is not known for its quality control. A few other recommendations I can think up off the top of my head:

    My Little Eye- sort of a cross between reality show and horror movie, but the result is much better than you might think.

    Three... Extremes- Three short films from three different Asian directors (including the director of Audition). They're all well done, disturbing, and do not contain any generic creepy-Japanese-girl crap.

    The Marionette: A freeware adventure game with surprisingly good production quality. Plus, it's free.

    Also, I hope the sale goes well, because you guys really deserve it.

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  16. To add to the list:

    [Books]
    *Dan Simmons' Drood (part 1 & 2)*

    Drood, by Dan Simmons, is narrated by Wilkie Collins. He was a famous author in his own right as well as a longtime acquaintance of Charles Dickens with whom he collaborated on various literary projects. Collins begins his strange tale in dramatic fashion. He describes a catastrophic train accident that took place on June 9, 1865. [The locomotive ...] encountered an unexpected gap in the rails and six first-class coaches hurtled down to the chasm below. Dickens and his party were fortunate in that their carriage dangled over the side of the bridge but stayed aloft; [...] One of the weirdest anecdotes that Dickens later recounted is that while he did his best to soothe the dying and help the survivors, he encountered a shadowy figure who identified himself as "Drood." This specter was "cadaverously thin, almost shockingly pale."...

    [Movies]
    *The Road*
    (with Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee)
    A disturbing post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his son trying to survive a cruel, barren and above all mad world by any means possible. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food - and each other.

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  17. [Books] Adding some more Dan Simmons: Song of Kali, Summer of Night and anything horror like he's written. Even his thriller and SF is definitely tainted ;)
    F. Paul Wilson has a strong Lovecraftian vibe in his Adversary and Repairman Jack stories. The Keep and The Tomb are good entry points.
    For a bit more down to earth folk tale horror Manly Made Wellman is a sure thing. His John the Balladeer stories are gems.
    Iain M Banks manages to be quite creepy writing SF books like Use of Weapons and Against a Dark Background. Some of his mainstream work are chilling too f.ex.: The Wasp Factory.
    For sheer gross out Clive Barkers Books of Blood are hard to match. Stories like Rawhead Rex set the high or possibly low :) point.
    The Mike Mignola, Christoper Golden collaboration Baltimore straddles the Book/Comic border. The text and art work their evil way up the readers nerves. Both have produced excellent horror by their own too.
    Gravel by Warren Ellis is scary no nonsense blue collar magical mayhem.
    The Fall of Cthulhu is an original Lovecraftian comic series that manages to convey a decent amount of cosmic horror.

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  18. [Books] Factual accounts:
    Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert Ressler. Gives a small peak to show there is nothing sexy or glamorous about serial killers.
    Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer. Think humans rule the planet? What inspired Alien? Thinking tapeworms are a safe way to shed weight?

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  19. I read The Yellow Wallpaper (short story) when I was a kid sick in bed. Slow and creepy. You can read it here - http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/YelWal.shtml

    The movie Frailty was a pleasure to watch, with a cool ending.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264616/

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  20. You should mention that "I have no mouth, and I must scream" is originally a short story and that if you can't get a grasp of the game (like I did) you should pick up the short story instead. As it is now, you're giving the impression of ignoring the existance of what it is originally based off of (and I'm sure that's not your intent).

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  21. Eden Lake is a very good movie, the scariest part is that it is based on facts.

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  22. I loved Amnesia, and i read an older post where you said that minecraft had fewer torrents online than Amnesia. So i had an idea. What if you made some kind of account system so when would play the game you would have to log in. When you buy the game you get a code wich you can use to activate your account and play the game. :D

    Anyways just an idea, good luck with the business :)
    -Axel, Norway

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  23. Axel, it takes even the most obnoxiously DRM riddled piece of software only days to be cracked, and typically those who pirated face the fewest DRM related problems.
    For instance, if this particular idea were implemented in a single player game, anyone playing a legal copy would have to be connected to the internet. A cracked copy, however, could be played any time.
    Not to mention that the more annoying a piece of software is to use, the more it turns people of any sort off from using it, and this is essentially the sole practical effect of DRM.

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  24. Thanks for everyone's recommendations. I like the sound of The Terror particularly and it's been ordered from Amazon. Some other stuff:

    Books:
    House of Leaves - http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Leaves-Mark-Z-Danielewski/dp/038560310X/
    The Shining - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shining-Stephen-King/dp/0340951397

    Film:
    The Haunting - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057129/

    Game:
    System Shock 2. But I suspect we've all played that already...

    I particularly recommend the Shining if you've not read it. One of King's very finest and super-creepy. And it's about a million times better than the film (which I seem to be in a minority in thinking it's absolutely, almost un-watchably, terrible).

    Anonymous upthread recommended the film of The Road. Not seen it, but I can absolutely recommend - demand, even! - that you read Cormac McCarthy's book on which it's based. It's magnificent.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Road-Cormac-McCarthy/dp/0330447548/

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  25. Oh, and a couple of other things.

    Ghostwatch (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200659/) was a BBC play that was purporting to be a live investigation of a poltergeist incident, that was shown on Halloween back in the early 90s. Some of the acting is terrible and it's not dated well in a lot of ways - particularly as the central concept has been executed much better since (Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, for example). But although it was of its time, it was also way ahead of its time and it's actually really effective. If you can track it down, I highly recommend it.

    Also, the BBC used to do yearly adaptations of MR James ghost stories every christmas. They're generally ace, but the best of these is surely Whistle And I'll Come (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Whistle-Come-Ghost-Story-Christmas/dp/B00005NTKL - although you might want to find alternative sources for this one!).

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  26. Oh yeah, House of Leaves is good, it almost has a Silent Hill (2) vibe to it. The ever-changing and ever-growing dark world. A sinister force slowly changing the configuration of the rooms. A group of men descending down a seemingly never-ending, ever-winding gigantic staircase, in the complete darkness...

    Yeah. The dark descent. But no amnesia this time.

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  27. Heh, I read all those books.

    Lovecraft's The Colour out of Space is my favorite.

    Hard Candy is hilarious to watch after watching Juno (that and twisted).

    Audition is truly disturbing - it's still in my instant queue for my gf to watch - whenever I notice it I get a little queesy.

    I just saw the Cube and Cube 2. I'll have to check out Fermat's Room.

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  28. EDIT - Yes, Song of Kali is an amazing novel. It will pull at the deepest, darkest parts of the reader's soul and dare him to call himself a good person.

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  29. Several of Robert Aickman's stories are fantastic for cold, rainy days. Don't go in expecting gore or screaming cosmic horror - most of them are ghost stories, or psychological horror told from the perspective of a potentially unreliable narrator. Arthur Machen is totally worth tracking down; "The White People" and "The Great God Pan," in particular, merit mention here.

    For novels, track down a copy of T.E.D. Klein's The Ceremonies. It's let down by a rushed and unsatisfying ending, but the buildup to the climax of the story is just masterful. His short stories are also really, really good. Edgar Allan Poe's oeuvre is all great, but check out The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket if you want to know whence the inspiration for Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness came.

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  30. [Books] Some old horror stories:
    The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis from 1796.
    The King in Yellow a collection by Robert W. Chambers from 1895.

    [Film] After hard thinking about Halloween appropriate movies from my DVD collection I settled for a Giallo perspective:
    Torso by Sergio Martino, 1973.
    Bay of Blood (Twitch of the Death Nerve) by Mario Bava, 1971.
    The Beyond by Lucio Fulci, 1981.
    And to top it off the Dario Argento Ultimate Collection.
    Bava nad Fulci collections also exist.

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  31. Games:

    Penumbra
    Stalker
    Dark Corners of the Earth
    Cryostasis
    Condemned

    Movies:

    The Thing
    Jacob's Ladder
    [REC]
    Kwaidan
    Session 9
    Re-Animator
    The Changeling
    In the Mouth of Madness
    Don't Look Now
    Dead of Night

    Books:

    Anything lovecraft

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  32. Good to see lots of horror book suggestions! I have found that good horror books are not always that easy to find. Now I have more suggestions on what to read! :)

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  33. To Read
    Cold Skin - Albert Sanchez Piñol
    The Shadow of The Wind and the Game of the Angel - Carlos Ruiz Zafón
    Cabal - Clive Barker

    To Watch

    Lord of Illusions
    Julia's Eyes
    Necronomicon

    To Play

    Clive Barker's Jericho

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  34. Sorry about late posting, but I have a good movie recommendation to you.

    Angst. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165623/

    This masterpiece was filmed in 1983, but very few people have seen it. It tells a story of a psychopath (as the narrator and the main charachter) just released from prison. Top notch acting and cinematography. Not horror per se, but disturbing, yes.

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  35. I'll be coming back to this comment page a lot, I think :)
    But when it comes to recommending, I'' recommend the game The Suffering and the book The Darker Side: Generations of Horror.
    A really good anthology!

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  36. There is a great HL2:EP2 mod Nightmare house 2 - http://nh2.wecreatestuff.com/ - for those who enjoy dark hospitals;)

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