The Escapist's 10 Halloween Treats
With Halloween upon us, Team Humidor has been emptying our closets in search of movies, music and games to jump start the spirit of spookiness. Because toilet papering Cliffy B's house, soaping the windows of the police station and digging up graves are hard work, and a double shot of witch's brew will only take you so far on its own.
So to help us (and you) get in the mood, we've compiled the following list of spooktacular Halloween treats. Enjoy!
Honestly, I'd say John Carpenter's The Thing and the original Alien are more deserving to be on that list than Halloween itself, though top reason being those are more psychological horror based, which is what real horror is all about. Add to that some classic H.P. Lovecraft and you got the beginnings of some material that'll make any adult afraid of the dark.
Otherwise, pretty good list.
I liked Evil Dead: Fistful of Boomstick. Zombie stomping fun like nobody's business. Anyone play They Hunger for Half-Life 1?
The original Alien was terrifying, but I will admit that when I first saw Thriller (at about age 6) it was pretty damn terrifying, too.
I will further admit I saw Michael Jackson on TV the other day and it was STILL terrifying, but now for different reasons.
I love the reminder of Vampire: Bloodlines. I may have to pick it up off of Steam as that Haunted House was truly a wicked level.
I also completely forgot how freaky some of the levels in the original Thief game were. That game tended to be suspense personified as I got scared every time someone I was stalking turned suddenly and saw me.
I think that Sierra's Aliens vs Predator 2 also should have been considered for its suspenseful levels, particularly playing as a colonial marine. Those aliens are flat out scary and fast and that first level whe you get chased by a horde of them...doesn't get much better than that.
Dana, you're not alone in your dread of the zombie levels in Thief. I felt an embarrassing amount of relief to find they weren't in The Metal Age (short of a quick stroll through a certain cemetery). It was all about the sound; I'm not sure which member of the Lookingglass team was responsible for those disturbing undead wheezes, but he or she deserves both my hatred and respect.
As for Bioshock, I'll never look at a dress dummy the same way again.
Other freaky, scary gaming:
- Blast Pit from Half-Life: Creep...creep...if I can just get off the ladder without...CLANG! Dead.
- DOOM 3: Still one of the best virtual haunted houses around.
- Shadowgrounds: Channeling the motion detector bit from Aliens, the ping of toothy creatures approaching from outside the path of your flashlight's beam created more dread than DOOM 3's monster closet shock tactics.
- Missing: Since January: The proliferation of Internet walkthroughs ultimately destroys the illusion of reality, but while it lasts, this look inside a serial killer's mind is throughly creepy. Plus, it was the lucky winner of Most Disturbing Opening Cutscene Award for 2004.
" Majestic: Missing's progenitor tapped into the same "this is real" vibe. Unfortunately, it also tried to convince thousands of players that 10 minutes of gameplay a day was worth a monthly fee as long as it was surrounded by plentiful opportunities to conduct tangentially-related Web research for the other 23 hours and 50 minutes.
I also enjoyed, although probably by myself, the first Phantasmagoria game from Sierra. It was a bit hammy, but I still felt there were some great moments in the game.
One game that also never gets enough love is the Condemned game from Sega. It was an XBOX 360 launch title that got lost in the shuffle, despite being one of the more interesting titles available. There is a department store scene where mannequins begin moving around from early on in the department store level. This is done rather subtly at first, before it becomes more expected, but it adds a very creepy atmosphere to an already creepy game.
No mention of The Shining? Sacrilege!
The Bottom of the Well in Ocarina of Time. Scared the hell out of me the first time I played it, and even afterwards I quickly found the shortest route through just so I didn't have to spend much time there.