Archive for the Review Category

Creepypasta Critique: Rusty Fingers

Posted in Creepypasta, Narrations, Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2015 by Stephanie Selby

Lately I’ve noticed a distinct pattern whenever I write a creepypasta critique. Normally I’m gushing over the really good, well-known pastas, and share with you why I find them so enjoyable. Today’s going to be a little different.

You likely have never heard of Rusty Fingers, and that’s a good thing because it is a pretty bad pasta. CreepsMcPasta’s narration makes the tale bearable, but only just. I think the reason he did was because it takes place in the UK and there’s not many pastas that are set in his neck of the woods. In my opinion, he should have kept looking.

The basic writing is very annoying, especially in the beginning where some words are repetitive and details are scant. No idea who these people are really, the how close they might be as brothers, what they’ve been doing on their trip or why they even choose as their destination. Just that they have a room and have been staying there for awhile. It’s a rather careless way to write both characterization and text.

The only place where the author has any sense of creativity is the physical appearance of the villain and his mutilated, child ‘partner.’ there’s little explanation for why this monster is saving people or why his victims seem to accept this notion so easily. Whatever Rusty Fingers is doing to people’s minds it’s not enough to creep me out.

At the very end the protagonist finds his brother dead. Oh well, I guess. It’s not like the author gives us a good reason to get emotionally invested in him. *yawn*

Rusty Fingers is a great example of a bad pasta. The author had enough determination to churn out a very short story with a strange monster, but there’s clearly very little effort given otherwise.

Does anyone out there have a good story that takes place in the UK? I’d love to see some.

Neverending Nightmares

Posted in Insanity, Review, Uncategorized, Videogames with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2015 by Stephanie Selby

NeverendingNightmaresSorry for the blank post earlier! I try to schedule different posts in advance to plan out what I’m going to write as well as motivate me, but this time it seems to have backfired. Let’s put all that nonsense aside and talk about a creepy videogame shall we? No I’m not trying to totally distract you from my inept management of my blog! Can we just move on? …Pretty please?

I must admit this little review has been a long time coming. I played Neverending Nightmares back in October, but life and other interests have put this on the back burner until now.

I was really excited to play this when I first heard about it. I love to try a lot of weird, offbeat games. Some of you may recall my post about Sanitarium, an old adventure game that’s near and dear to my heart. Another good example would be Tale of Tales’ The Path, which I may write about in the future.

As for Neverending Nightmares, you take on the role of Thomas, a young man lost in a disturbing dream world that he’s unable to wake from. Whether he’s successful or lost forever is up to interpretation.

The art style is an illustrated white and black world with little additional colors for important additions. Red is the most prominent to highlight the gore of course. It’s rather impressive and refreshing, offering a bleak setting to build atmosphere.

Enemies are pretty freaky too, from monster baby dolls, insane inmates, and even a murderous doppleganger that managed to freak me out. While gameplay is cut down to the basics and Thomas generally has to side scroll through the environment, there are moments where one has to use different tactics to get past enemies.

This is a very slow-paced game as Thomas is a slow walker, can barely run, and different setting can last for a little too long. I know I say this a lot, but you’re going to need your patience when playing this. If you’re not the type, then you’re better off skipping this one.

While that’s only a minor nitpick, there are major aspects that bother me a lot more. The whole endeavor seems somewhat aimless. I understand that these are how dreams are often experienced and they can be unclear and confusing for us, but that leaves the game with a very unsubstantial plot. That may have been okay for some if the game play was more engaging, but with neither it just becomes a series of scary scenarios with little context.

I’ll give you an example. The second most prominent character is Gabrielle. Most of the game she’s established as Thomas’ sister, but a long different branches of the narrative (there are different endings) she’s also his therapist, daughter, or wife. I understand that she’s an important person to Thomas, but how can anyone gain insight from this information alone?

My point is that it’s these shifting narratives that make any kind of speculation about what is really going on with Thomas or why it may be happening. In fact as someone who over analyzes just about everything, I’m left just scratching my head. There’s almost nothing to base a solid theory here.

With no story or real challenge to the game there’s little reward for going through this experience.

The bottom line here is while the atmosphere and art are skillfully terrifying, there is no concrete story or gameplay for gamers to sink their teeth into. It’s a slow, spooky experience that won’t last long on one’s mind. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re like me and love trying experimental games, but wait to get this thing on a Steam sale or something.

Creepypasta Critique: Smile Dog

Posted in Animals, Creepypasta, Monsters, Narrations, Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 23, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

Smile Dog is sure to floss the flesh out of his teeth every day!

Who doesn’t love this deranged dog? I suppose those of us not haunted by him!

In any case, Smile Dog is a creepypasta staple, one of the very well known tales that serve as a great introduction to this internet-based genre. Those of you who are unfamiliar can read the entire pasta here, or you can listen to my own narration of Smile Dog on YouTube.

The basic plot starts with a young writer looking to interview a woman by the name of Mary E. to get a good story. However, their meeting proves disastrous as she becomes hysterical and refuses to talk at all. It seems as if the writer came out of there with nothing, but one day he receives a letter from the same woman some time after her untimely death.

The cause of her dismay is a peculiar picture she saw on the internet. One that when viewed will cause the terrible photo’s subject to harass the viewer until they ‘spread the word.’ That would be showing the same picture to others.

It’s an instant classic because of the story’s ability to tempt us with our innate curiosity. I’m certain there’s a little part of all of us that want to take a peek at Smile Dog’s picture. Just to see what it’s like, just to see if the curse is true. If it is, all we have to do to cure ourselves is to show the picture to someone else, right?

Smile Dog is also helped by Mary’s character, as she is an honorable woman who struggles with the moral implications of what passing this curse on to others could entail. Even though she does die, her efforts seem successful. She doesn’t spread the word to anyone else. In my personal opinion, she beat that damn dog! A bittersweet kind of victory.

I think this story continues to survive because Smile Dog requires one thing that the internet is all too familiar with: the ability to share and spread all types of information. So often stories, videos, chain letters, go viral and we’re all exposed to whatever the internet has to offer. Usually this is  a good thing for us; we can now quickly research different subjects or keep up with the latest news. The internet can help improve ourselves or at the very least (such as with silly cat videos) brighten our day.

However information can be harmful to us. You could find out over Facebook that your spouse is cheating on you. A terrorist could find directions on how to make a bomb. You could be completely misinformed by someone who is spreading false or inaccurate information. You could be cursed by viewing a picture a friend sent you.

Sharing information like this was harder to do when Mary was first affected by the picture, as the internet didn’t have the capabilities that it does now. But the author wants to pass the torch to his audience, so what kind of spread could we expect to see with the modern internet? The possibilities should fill you with dread. It does for me.

Perhaps it’s the reason why I’m spreading the word, so to speak. You might want to consider doing that too.

The Babadook: Grief Monster

Posted in Children, Family, Film, Horror, Monsters, Movies, Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

The-Babadook

You can guess what movie I just watched! And it’s about time too. Seems like this film has been released everywhere except the U.S. I wanted to see this flick so much, it was starting to drive me nuts (though not as crazy as Amelia).

Amelia’s a lonely widow living with her son, Samuel. He’s a difficult child, making his own weapons and talking about killing monsters – even to the point where he’s pulled out of school. To make matters worse, his birthday is coming up, which also coincides with the death of his father, Amelia’s lost husband. It’s a very stressful time in their household.

Which is made even worse by the inexplicable appearance of a strange pop-up book titled “Mister Babadook.” It tells the story of a monster by the same name. It terrifies Sam and sets him on an obsessive path to try to protect both himself and his mother from the creature. Amelia’s closer inspection shows the book predicting horrible things happening, things that she will do to her child.

Amelia tries to convince her son the monster isn’t real, but strange occurrences prove otherwise. Will mother and son be able to contend with the Babadook? Or will they find themselves overwhelmed?

It’s spooky, it’s smart, and tells a gut-wrenching story that left my stomach in knots.  Those who prefer a faster paced film or expecting a straight-up monster movie will be disappointed; The Babadook is not that kind of film. The slow tension is well worth it though, as we get to know Amelia and her son so well while they’re tormented, which only ups the ante emotionally. A horror movie is so much better when you actually give a damn about the characters.

In fact, I enjoyed the film so much that I pre-ordered my very own copy of the pop-up book shown in the film. It just hope it reaches the minimum amount of orders so it’ll actually get printed. Fingers crossed!

Okay, so I’d like to get in a little deeper at this point. I’ll be discussing different plot points throughout the film. If you’re wary of spoilers, DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT. You’ve been warned!

So, I imagine it’s safe to say that this monster is a personification of grief. It’s very clear that Amelia is still dealing with the loss of her husband, even after six years. Sam doesn’t get to celebrate his birthday on the proper date because it’s the same as his father’s death, and Amelia keeps all his old things down in their cellar. This grief leaves them very isolated from other people as they’re unable to connect with family or create new relationships.

As Amelia’s grief starts to overwhelm her, the tension builds and the Babadook makes himself known. This is especially true when Amelia’s mental state starts deteriorating and she gets ‘possessed.’ Grief-stricken people often lash out, even at the ones they love. There is a monster inside her, but it’s her own emotions that make her act out.

They say you can’t get rid of the Babadook, and that makes total sense if he and grief are one and the same. Those who have suffered the loss never really get over it. That pain will always be with them, and Amelia and her son are no exception. The solution is simple: you learn to live with it. It becomes a part of you and your daily life that you acknowledge and look after. In Amelia’s case that means keeping it in your basement and feeding it bugs from the garden, but hey, people often deal with their grief in strange ways!

Perhaps in a way all are secretly looking after a babadook of our own. How do you live with yours?

Maris Farms: Harvest of Terror 2014

Posted in Halloween, Review, Uncategorized, Zombies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

Because we enjoyed ourselves last year, my sister and I decided to attend Maris Farms Harvest of Terror in Buckely, WA again for this Halloween season. Needless to say it was a very different experience than the year before. You can read my review from last year here.

You might recall in that previous review I talked about how crowded the event was. Man, forget what I said! That’s nothing compared to arriving late on a Saturday evening! Parking was packed and the lines were ridiculously long. The ticket line stretched down the exit lane for traffic, which made things awkward for cars trying to leave and people waiting to get their tickets. It was enough to make my sister and I spring an extra $15 for the fast pass so we could skip the rest of the lines inside the event. It’s a wonder no one got run over.

One way to avoid this fiasco is to purchase your tickets online. Definitely something to consider if you can’t get there early.

If I come there again I won’t be making the same mistake. My advice? If you plan on going, do your best to go on a Friday or Sunday and get there early. Going early in the season doesn’t hurt either.

After we finally got our tickets, my sister and I decided to go through the monster safari first. Sis was really looking forward to shooting up the zombies again this year. However it was dark out and crowded, so we got ourselves pretty turned around and walked toward an unhaunted corn maze before we managed to correct our path. They either need to set up some larger, more legible signs or perhaps create a map.

The monster safari, where attendees get to shoot at zombies with paintballs,  has been expanded from last year, and I must say that the sets look better as well. Walk towards the safari and you’ll hear a mock emergency broadcast warning you about the zombie apocalypse. The main line had a screen playing scenes from the Dawn of the Dead remake. My favorite set while on the safari was the church/graveyard scene where an undead couple was getting married.

Many people complained that they ran out of paintballs halfway through the safari. This wasn’t a problem for me because Sis and I had both sprung $5 for extra and I conserved my ammo throughout. I even had some left over! If you plan on going through the safari definitely consider taking one of these two strategies.

We also stopped at one of the concession stands to get some water, but it took forever because there was only ONE person working at that particular stand. I felt somewhat sorry for that woman cooking, cleaning, and taking payments all by herself. While the ticket lines and the haunt itself are adequately staffed, they could really work on making sure all aspects of their event are covered to ensure a better experience.

After that we went through the haunted maze, skipping the line that was wrapping around the building. I enjoyed our walk through, even though we kept running into other people. This brought down the scare factor for me, but is was still entertaining to see people turn into total chickens.

Many of their set were rather impressive too.  There were several times that I blurted out a ‘whoa!’ at some the effects they pulled off. A toxic waste dump that glowed a bright green was our personal favorite.

Being an outdoor attraction, they’re not as technically proficient as Kitsap County Haunted Fairgrounds, but theirs is much longer to walk through and their creativity shows.

Overall my sister and I enjoyed our time at Maris Farms, but the event could be improved with better crowd management and clearer directions. The popularity of this event is clearly rising, so those who dislike crowds should arrive as early as possible, go on  off-peak days and consider buying their tickets online and/or paying for the express pass.

Kitsap Coutnty Haunted Fairgrounds 2014

Posted in Halloween, Life, Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

KHFposter2014

With the Halloween season in full swing, the haunted house attractions have returned! I always attend the Kitsap County’s Haunted Fairgrounds, and you can read last year’s review here.

This year follows a creepy New Orleans theme, complete with a crypts, clowns, and bayou full of swamp monsters with a running waterfall.  Many of the effects and set pieces are impressive to see and I love to find out what they will come up with next. KCHF has always been a technically impressive haunted attraction, especially in comparison to others in the Puget Sound area.

We arrived at the fairgrounds pretty early to avoid overcrowding. I tend to become annoyed when haunted attractions get too crowded and I run into or get lumped together with random strangers. It breaks the feeling of immersion for me and becomes much less scary. I suppose this could be a matter of preference, but if you feel the same way I’d recommend following my advice and arrive as early as possible.

The opening for this year’s event was a little underwhelming. You may recall that last year we were first ‘scanned’ to check for infections and went through a short maze with a man in a bio hazard suit yelling at us. That wasn’t the case this year, as the maze was barren of everyone but one old woman. I was somewhat disappointed.

That feeling quickly changed as we left the first barn and walked up the pathway to the next, as there were several lovely hearses parked for viewing! The best part was that their respective owners were there to greet people. We stayed there a little longer than most talking to the owners of each one, asking about the vehicles’ details and about how they acquired them. Some were even kind enough to let me climb into them for a closer look. I even had my picture taken lying in one! It makes me really want to get one for myself someday.

Last year, I had some slight complaints about one of the maze sections that made it a little hard to navigate. Fortunately that part’s been done away with and we had no problems making our way through. Although I did miss the skinless man I saw last year – his outfit was so cool!

There is one character form the 2014 haunt that sticks out in my memory. A creepy clown woman that we met in the black-lit area of the attraction. I caught her attention because my jacket really reacted to the lighting, and her dialogue really managed to freak my sister and I out. She got up so close to me that all I could really do was shut my eyes and hope she went away!

KCHF will be running every Friday and Saturday night throughout October, as well as November 1st. If you’re in the area, check it out!

 

Creepypasta Critique: Candle Cove

Posted in Children, Creepypasta, Review, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

maxresdefault

Who doesn’t love this classic creepypasta? It was one of the first tales I found scattered across the internet, thanks to a YouTube channel called theLittleFears which I recommend checking out. Childhood nostalgia, internet lore, and a little twist at the end are just some of the things which make this tale so unnerving for readers, and we’re going to take a close look at it today. You can read a version of the story here. It’s not a very long read.

The basic gist is that forum members are discussing Candle Cove, an obscure kid’s puppet show about pirates from the 1970s. As more and more details come to light, it becomes quite clear that the show had a strange and eerie nature that wasn’t appropriate for children. There was even an episode where the characters did nothing but scream the entire time. Eventually one of the posters discovers that their mother never perceived this show herself, instead observing that they would switch to static and watch it for thirty minutes, implying that the show never really existed or was impossible for an adult to view.

So many things about Candle Cove are so creepy because it is ambiguous in almost every way. Not only is it very obscure, it’s hidden behind time, memory, and the lack of recollection of those who were adults at the time of it’s airing. It takes time for forum members to piece together their memories of the show, and it creates a nice buildup to the climax of the screaming episode and final twist. The fact that puppets are part of is is just icing on the cake.

The screaming episode is an important aspect that makes this strange television show even more mysterious and unnerving. Scary things often make little sense. If fact when events do make sense, or can be explained away, the less terrifying they become. Once we understand whatever was scaring us, it’s no longer ambiguous; we know with certainty if it’s a threat and how to deal with it accordingly. An episode with no plot and the characters in a constant state of terror is more than enough to unsettle any viewer.

The format here is effective as well. The different usernames, writing styles, topic description, and block paragraph format are ubiquitous to an average internet forum. It easily gives the reader a similar feeling to lurking around a real forum page, heightening the experience.

In all seriousness, there’s no real criticism  I can offer at this point. Candle Cove is a short, sweet creepypasta that leaves quite an impact. It’s damn near perfect.