Friday, 30 October 2020

The Return Of The Gruesome Games (Part 2)


As has somewhat become a tradition of the blog, every time I tried to write this next installment of Gruesome Games, I ended up feeling terrible...the dreaded Curse of the Blog!! Nevertheless I persevered, and so here are four more games for you to consider for some fiendishly freaky fright-fest fun!

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War Of The Monsters (PS2/PS4) :

Big giant monsters! Ever since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building and Godzilla first rose up from the sea, huge creatures have been stomping all over our on-screen cities. Naturally it wasn't long before such creatures met up to battle each other to find out who was the best, and cause even more destruction! Once video games appeared on the scene, they also didn't wait very long before giving us control over these mega-sized monsters! 




This game then is similar to a few other monster beat-em-ups, but it is a very good example of the genre! There are eight characters unlocked at the start of the game, with a few more available to unlock. These characters will look fairly familiar to any fan of the aforementioned sci-fi flicks too, with a giant ape, a giant lizard, a huge robot...you get the idea! The game knows it's target audience and knows what they'll want to see!



Once you've listened to the 50's style music, watched the spinning newspapers of the intro and picked your favourite monster, you can play against a friend in fully 3D environments, smashing buildings, picking up cars or sharp pointy pieces of metal to throw at them, and using your characters unique abilities (radioactive breath, for example) to defeat the other player. You can also add an extra couple of fighters, although sadly these can only be computer controlled. If you can't find anybody else to play with, there is a fairly decent solo mode too, with the added feaature of slightly smaller monsters to battle in between the big fights!




The environments are pretty cool, often hiding little discoverable easter eggs such as extra weapons to use, and the way the buildings fall apart and add more things to lob at your opponent is pretty cool. There are apparently also a few mini-games to unlock, but I've never managed to unlock any of these yet, so can't really comment on those.

It all makes for a pretty enjoyable, suitably sci-fi, beast-filled brawler that's a bit of a hidden gem on Playstation 2. It took me a while to find a copy, but Im really glad I did, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a slightly unusual addition to their collection of fighting games!


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Monster Madness - Battle For Suburbia (Xbox 360 / PC) :

I stumbled upon this game in a charity shop a while back, and was amazed I'd never heard of it before. I thought I knew about most of the 360's horror-themed titles, but this one had totally escaped my attention, maybe because it was quite an early release on the system....

I'm certainly glad I picked it up though, as what I found was another hidden gem of a game, that almost feels like a 3D version of my old favourite, Zombies Ate My Neighbors! Almost.....



You play as one of four teenage characters, who are having to deal with a zombie outbreak that seems to have happened at the worst possible time for one in particular. Zack, the nerd, was about to tell Carrie, the goth, exactly how he felt about her just as his skater friend Andy turned up, swiftly followed by Jennifer the cheerleader and the zombie horde!

Starting in Zack's house, you'll need to scour the environment for weapons and pickups to use against these icky ex-humans, and you'll also other pieces of metal and materials that can be used to later to construct more powerful weapons to keep them at bay. A boss zombie appears, and once you defeat him you can escape the house to the city and a whole host of other environments as you try to stop these undead fiends from ruining your night!

It soon becomes apparent however, that its not just zombies! There are all sorts of messed up monsters to battle....Bigfoot, Zombie Dogs, Werewolves...even Evil Clowns! Each new monster is introduced by a short cut-scene, which is a nice touch, and from what I've played so far new enemies pop up very frequently which keeps things interesting!




There's a fair dose of humour involved in the game too...it doesn't take itself too seriously at all, and this is what gives it that B-movie mocking, light hearted feeling thats similar to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. The weapons also harken back to that classic, with you using all sorts of weird implements to bash in the baddies heads! It does add a few tricks of its own too though, with a selection of vehicles to control such as a boat to battle zombie pirates, or a hot-rod style buggy thing to traverse the roads...

Sadly though, the game has a few issues, chief of which is the camera. It quite often picks a weird angle to show you, and although it can be swapped between a close up view, or one that gives a slightly more top-down look to the game, it would be better if it gave you full control over it instead of it being semi-fixed. The controls can sometimes feel a bit janky too, and sometimes the gameplay does some weird things, and jumping around the levels can be frustrating.



So a gem, but a flawed one then! Interestingly, there's apparently an updated version for PS3 that fixes some of these issues called Monster Madness - Grave Danger, so I'll need to see if I can find that one! I can still recommend this one though...despite it's flaws it is the closest thing to a ZAMN sequel that I've seen, and was a very pleasant surprise! Pick it up if you can!


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Blair Witch (Xbox One / PC) :

Blair Witch is another one of those games that I really don't want to talk about too much...I just want to recommend it to you so you go and experience it for yourself! I feel the less you know about it going in, the better the experience will be...

I can tell you the basic details though. Two years after the events of the original film, a young boy has gone missing in Black Hills Forest. Ellis Lynch, the character you play, is an ex policman and military veteran who decides to put his training to good use and go help the local police force to track down the kid. With him he takes his faithful dog, Bullet, and can use his canine chum to access areas that would otherwise be inacessible. Bullet also becomes really handy when things get a bit darker or foggier at night, finding paths and ways through the forest....so you'll be wanting to keep him on your good side by occasionally playing with him or giving him treats when he does well.




As you search through the creepy forest environment you'll discover various clues and items, the most notable of which is a camera. I mean, of course....you cant have a Blair Witch game without a camera right? Needless to say this also becomes a very handy thing to have around...

Like previous Bloober Team games, this first person horror will have you jumping in fright on more than a few occasions, and it does a great job of capturing the feeling of being lost in a forest at night, before it ramps things up into the suitably weird experiences of being around the Blair Witch. But maybe I'm saying too much...


It's not a flawless game, but it's certainly suitably scary and worth a playthrough, especially at this time of year! Just be prepared to have your mind warped as you try to wander the woods.....


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Scary Monsters (Commodore 64) :

In true horror movie style, American football hero Harry Johns and his girlfriend Conny have found themselves stuck on an island near some spooky old mansions. These mansions are owned by a mad scientist called Dr. Graves, who has been pottering around in the corspe filled places that he shares his name with, and conjuring up monsters with which he plans to take over the world! 



It's up to Harry to wander around the island, enter these mansions and find the special weapons required to take down the six main monsters who are also lying sleeping in some of these cursed buildings. He'll need a gun to defeat the werewolf, a hammer and stake for the vampire...you get the idea! Trying to put a stop to Harry's plan are all the lesser monsters under the control of Dr. Graves. Touching any of these fiends will see you bounced around the screen, your health diminishing as you do so. Luckily Harry has somehow managed to power himself up with some sort of magical energy and can fire bolts from his hands to kill the beasties! Bizarrely, they also seem to be a bit spooked themselves, as pressing down on the joystick while in a building sees you giving the baddies a scare by waving your hands around in a spooky fashion. It's all a bit odd...



I had high hopes for this one after reading the premise and seeing the screenshots, but unfortunately the game is a mess. Trying to navigate the map screen I immediately came up against an invisible wall that stopped me going in one of the directions. Entering the first mansion I couldn't find anything but enemies, but had no idea how to leave the building again. And so I spent my time endlessly getting bounced around the screen before dying 3 times and getting a game over screen. Oh, I should say that was actually my second attempt as well, as the first time I tried to play the game sel-aborted to the title screen from the map.

A real shame then, but although this game looks lovely and has pretty good presentation, I can't recommend it at all, as it is utter, utter poop!

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Tomorrow! Yikes! Tomorrow is Halloween! 

Hopefully I'll be able to get a few posts done for the Grand Finale! There will definitely be the second part of the Wendigo stuff, and hopefully another comic strip and some more stuff to watch too! I'll see you here for all the Halloween hilarities anyway! Right now though, go check out what the other folks taking part in the Countdown have been doing by clicking the badge below to be zapped as if by magic to the Countdown hub!




Thursday, 29 October 2020

The Forbidden Room!






There really are a lot of stories about mirrors in old horror comics....and this is another one! From the pages of Charlton Comics Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, issue 4, dated July 1957, today's tale is called The Forbidden Room!












Well, what are the chances, eh? Luckily the people in charge of the Sands Of Time managed to avoid a nightmare of a legal battle there! 

(Thanks to fett who uploaded the original scans to the Digital Comic Museum)
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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Cinema Of Stuff Presents....Don't Go To Sleep (1982)

 


In this TV movie from 1982, a young girl starts seeing the ghost of her sister who died a year before in an accident. Strange happenings then occur throughout the family's new home. Has the dead girl returned to haunt her relatives?

I've heard good things about this one...supposedly really creepy, but I haven't had the time to watch it yet, so I'll be watching this one along with you! The cast seems great though, with folks from Duel, Poltergeist and Rosemary's Baby to name a few!


Directed by Richard Lang

Written by Ned Wynn

Starring.......

Dennis Weaver - Philip

Valerie Harper - Laura

Robin Ignico - Mary

Kristin Cumming - Jennifer

Oliver Robins - Kevin

Ruth Gordon - Bernice





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Only a few days left until Halloween now! Hope you've all got those pumpkin's scooped and the candles ready to be lit! There'll be another post here tomorrow, but why not go peruse the peculiar posts my fellow bloggers are putting on their pages until then, by clicking the badge below!

 






Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Nightmare!






Apologies anyone who turned up yesterday looking for a post..had a pretty full on sinus headache, so didnt feel up to it! Still not 100% but well enough to pop up another tale from the vaults of the Digital Comic Museum! 

Sometimes when looking for such stories, I come across the occassional one that makes absolutely no sense, but is still weird enough to warrant a read. This is one such story.....well, at least I think so...

It comes from the pages of Charlton Comics The Thing, Issue 1, dated February 1952....











I mean....whuh?....uhm....ehrm....his head..uh, never mind....you see what I meant when I said weird!

Anyway, hopefully I'll feel a lot better tomorrow and be up for some more typing. Pop back then to find out! In the meantime, there's plenty of other things to see and do at the other blogs taking part in the countdown! Click the badge below to be whisked off to the hub where you can find all the links!














Sunday, 25 October 2020

Horror Hall Of Fame!


Feeling a bit drained after all that writing yesterday, so here's four different Horror Hall Of Fame videos I found on Youtube yesterday for you to watch! The first features blog regular Vincent Price as the host,  looking at the old classics, and then the later ones are more of an actual award show hosted by Freddy Krueger star Robert Englund! 

Enjoy!






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Saturday, 24 October 2020

Spook Sightings of Yester Year - No. 19 - Wendigo!

 

Wendigo by Iren Horrors


A Wendigo is, according to wikipedia, 'a mythological creature or evil spirit from the folklore of the First Nations Algonquin tribes based in the northern forests of Nova Scotia, the East Coast of Canada, and Great Lakes Region of Canada and in Wisconsin, United States.' 

Humans can become wendigoes if they are possessed by one of these evil spirits, but this isn't the only way for them to turn. Consuming human flesh can also make you become a Wendigo, as can being in the company of other wendigoes for a long time. Some First Nation tribes also believed that if you became too jealous or consumed by greed, that was another sure fire way of becoming one of these cannabalistic, ghoul-like creatures.


*Note - there are some terms in these old newspapers which people will find offensive, such as 'Indian' or 'half-breed.' These terms have been left in to stay true to the original text. *

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(From the Ottawa Daily Citizen, dated Saturday Morning, July 21st 1860)

CANNABALISM IN THE SELKIRK COUNTRY - SIX PEOPLE MURDERED AND EATEN

From the Red River Nor'Western

Detailed accounts of a case of cannabalism far surpassing in atrocity that recently noticed in these columns, have lately been received - The victims in this instance were six in number - a Salteaux Indian and his wife and four children - and the cannibal one of the youngest members of the family! A rumour of this fearful tragedy was current in the settlement some time since ; but the story was too revolting to obtain general credence. Incredible as it may appear, however, the tale has been confirmed by too many to leave any doubt as to its correctness. 

The most reliable version we have been able to collect is as follows :- About the beginning of March, a Salteaux named Ka-wa-kie-sick, who was wintering near Lac de Roseaux, went a short distance south of "Dawson's track" to hunt moose. On his way, he noticed in the snow the trail of Indians who appeared to have been catching rabbits : and, while following along to visit them, he was startled by finding an Indian woman lying dead near the track. Her remains were so horribly mutilated as to lead him to at once suspect a case of cannabalism. To all appearances, she had been sitting snaring rabbits, when she was killed by being shot through the back of the head. The skin of her arms, and also of her legs from the knee downwards, had subsequently been torn off by the murderer to be devoured! A short distance further on, the hunter saw a boy named Sha-way-goniash sitting by a little fire. He was about ten or twelve years of age, and had been cooking something that had the appearance of human flesh. After a brief conversation, the hunter became convinced that the young wretch before him was the cannibal, and would at once have tomahawked him, but forebore, lest, in that event, he himself should be accused of the cannabalism.

Leaving the boy at the fire, therefore, Ka-wa-kie-sick proceeded to a tent close by, and here a still more frightful scene met his gaze. Inside lay the bodies of an elderly Indian and four of his children - all of whom had been murdered! The father had evidently been shot while sitting in the tent : and it is supposed he must have been the first victim. From the appearance of the snow, a struggle would seem to have taken palce between the murderer and one of his brothers. Portions of some of the bodies were cut away, and from their decayed appearance the hunter concluded that the murder had been perpetrated several days previously, and that in the meantime the boy had been living on the flesh!

That a boy so young should thus be able to butcher so many people can only be accounted for by the superstitious dread with which the Indians regard a "Windigoo," or man-eater. It is said they are perfectly powerless when a cannibal approaches them, and that they rarely make an effort to defend themselves.

In the present case, the murderer could not have been urged to the commision of the crime by starvation, for there were rabbits enough in the tent. When the atrocity became noised among the tribes in the neighborhood, Sha-way-gonaish was hunted from place to place like a wild beast ; and at length, being found skulking in a camp at the Lake of the Woods, with the intention, it was conjectured, of furnishing himself with some more victims, he was chased into the woods and shot by his uncle.

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Sadly, as can be seen in these newspaper reports, episodes of both physical and mental illness were often misunderstood as being a wendigo case, as well as those unfortunate souls who became hungry enough to resort to cannabalism when isolated in the wintery northlands...

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(From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, dated August 19th 1879)

A CURE FOR CANNABALISM

How the Indians Serve Suspected Man-eaters.

We hear of a little tragedy at Lac Seul, Keewatin, one of those fortunately rare occurences that stand out with such miserable distinctness from the usual even tenor of Indian life ; being carried down as this will from generation to generation - produced to while away and thrill the long winter hours in the lodges of the people.

The incident immediately mentioned is of the Indian at the Lac who had incurred in some way the suspicion of cannabalism, and who was slain at once by the band - being cut to pieces by an ax and thrown into a fire that consumed all vestige of the unhappy man. With some knowledge of cases of real and imputed cannabalism among the Indians, in lack of knowledge of the actual facts serving to condemn this man, we are inclined to believe that he was more the victim of fear on the part of others than ought else. 

There is nothing to the Indian mind more fraught with dread and horror than unnatural appetite. The thought of it is a skeleton as ghastly to them as their own "wendigo," and creeps with a baleful celerity (swiftness of movement -DF) through their secluded camps, poisoning their every hour, carried at such length to such a height that "outre" or strange conduct on the part of an individual, spring from what source it may - is often set down to the incipient stage of the mental aberration - or, more strictly speaking, obliquity - that culminates in the destruction and devouring of their fellows - and in this they are as unreasoning as even the Puritans of old who burnt and ducked to death so many innocent old women and children, possessed with the absurd idea that they exorcised the power of witchcraft.

Mentioning the fact stated before to an old resident - one thoroughly conversant with Indian life and Indian character - it recalled to him a tragedy of this kind personally known to him. Some twenty years ago, while living with the Indians on the north shore of Lake Superior, engaged in the trade, he knew well a handsome, clever, young Indian who was the son and chief actor in what follows. The father of this young fellow was an old and rather infirm man, and from inability to hunt or fish, as was his wont to contribute his quota to the lodge supply, was often hungry, and so contracted a habit, when the rest were aslepp, of getting up and seeking among the cooking utensils for remnants of food. This prowling about at midnight among them aroused their fears that he was seeking a strange meal, which, growing rapidly, culminated in the old man being brought before a regular council convened to examine into the facts of the case. Pressed by questions and prejudgment - the poor old fellow, in a hopeless dull way, admitted the implied charge and suggested that they had better kill him, and so it was decreed - his grown son, the young man adverted to, being appointed to slay him, they arguing with a rude pathetic justice that he should fall by no hand less dear than that of his child. It was done ; his son cleft his skull with an axe, and the father lapsed from hunger and suspicion into rest.

The Rev. Father Faver, an admirable and accomplished man - coming up from the Jesuit mission at Ft. William, and perfectly conversant with Indian life - stated that the old man was simply a victim to the fears and ignorance of those who put him out of the way, "I may say, while on this theme," continued our informant, "that one of the finest little Indian women I ever knew had on one occasion, when starving, eaten two of her children to save the rest. There was no mark of remorse or aught else about to show that she recalled it as one of the necessities of a terrible winter.

"There can be no doubt, however, of the fact that human food once eaten by some of the Indians induces a  diseased and horrible appetite for more, and in pursuit of and indulgence in it they become bloated, blasted in looks, in fact, devilish, and are hunted down by the others and shot like ferocious beasts - as they are. It is idle to suppose, however, that this appetite is peculiar to the Indians ; there are too many like attested cases among European races to permit it an instant ; but wherever it manifested, and the fearful demoralization made apparent, can be found food for suggestive thought that reaches down to the very depths of depraved impulse - a region from which one, with a very prayer, recoils."

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(From the Salina Herald, dated Thursday, December 17th 1891)



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(From the Manitoba Morning Free Press, dated Monday, April 20th 1896)

A 'WEHTIGO' MURDERED.

Canadian Indians at Trout Lake Kill an Insane Companion - News of the Tragedy.

John McLeod arrived on Tuesday from the Church of England mission at Wapisca lakes, about 100 miles north of Athabasca Landing. He started from Wapisca on April 7th, and came by dog train to the Landing. The winter was changeable and at times severe at Wapisca, and the snow is about two and a half feet deep. The Church of England mission in charge of Rev. C. Weaver is having the buildings considerably improved. A school, having an attendance of eight or ten children is kept by Mr. Weaver. The H. B. Co. have a small trading post at the lake, an outpost from Athabasca Landing, kept by Sam Houle. Colin Jolanson, trader of the Landing, also has a trading post in charge of his brother, Sam Johnson. There are about 200 people in the settlement. The country is chiefly forest, but they grow a few potatoes and have horses and cattle. The Indian or half-breed who was killed as a "wendigo" at Trout lake in February last, lived at Wapisca and was well known to Mr. McLeod. His Indian name was Na-pa-nin. He was a fairly intelligent man, about 35 years of age, and lived in a house like a half-breed, and provided well for his wife and children. About the end of January he started, apparently in good health, with his wife and children on a visit to his father, who lived at Trout lake, about eighty miles from Wapisca. His wife reports that on the second night out he acted strangely, saying that some strange animals were about to attack him. During the remainder of the trip he acted strangely at intervals, and at such times his wife for her own safety induced him to go ahead. They reached his father's place at Trout lake safely, and was there for twenty days, his fits of insanity becoming more frequent and violent. His body is said to have swelled considerably and his lips were very much puffed out. His wife on her return to Wapisca, said that he did not become dangerous, but other persons said that he was violent and dangerous at intervals. In his lucid moments he told his friends that he did not intend to hurt anyone, but that if they considered him dangerous they had better kill him. On the day of his death he was tied hands and feet, face down, in one of the houses. His wife did not know he was to be killed and went to a neighbor's house with her baby. After a while, suspecting something, she returned to the house where her husband was. The door was attempted to be shut against her, but she palced her foot between the door and the jam and held the door open so that she heard the blow of an axe and saw blood on the floor. She was shoved away and the door shut. Four men were in the house at the same time as her husband. The men are reported to have said that they tied him before he entered one of his frantic fits for their own protection, not with the intention of killing him, although the possibility had been seriously discussed. But at this time during his frenzy, he had nearly broken loose and they feared he would get loose altogether and kill some of them, They struck four blows with an axe, about the head, The reason that an axe was used was that there is a belief amongst the Indians that a bullet will not pierce a "wendigo." Some days after the death of the man the people of the settlement were terror stricken, believing that he might re-appear and destroy them. His murder is justified on the ground that unless he was killed he would have killed others and that it is the custom of the country.

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(From the Ottawa Daily Citizen, dated Wednesday, February 10th 1897)



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The next couple of articles have a more cryptozoological feel, suggesting that some of the "wendigoes" might actually have been some lesser known species of wolf or big cat.....


(From The Leader Post, dated Thursday July 22nd 1897)

The Whitewood Calf-Killer Was a "Wendigo."

The Herald contains the following interesting if not startling item :- It will be remembered that last year a strange beast which got to be known as "the Calf-Killer" committed great havoc through the district south of Whitewood. It ultimately crossed the track and was killed by one of Mr. Frank Cosgrave's sons. Two pelts of a similar animal are now to be seen at Brandon where they were purchased by the representative of Carruther's wool and hide buyers. The beast has no name and is very scarce. Mr Carruthers says that he has been in the pelt business for thirty-five years, and only has seen three. Years ago the pelt of one was sent with a consignment to New York, but the New York people were unable to give it a name. It seems probable that the beast is the survival of a race that is nearly extinct. Its colour is hard to describe exactly, but is brownish. The head is round, but the nose pointed ; and there are resemblances both to the bear and the timber wolf. An Indian saw the pelts in Brandon, and said "Wendigo," and wendigo is Indian for devil, or something of that kind. Our readers will remember that some time ago, at (illegible, but looks like the Rat Portage case from above - DF) , an Indian was tried for shooting another Indian to death, believing him to be a "wendigo." The Indians therefore evidently have some superstition about this rar and destructive beast.

The history of the two pelts at Brandon is rather intersting. A farmer found the two beasts devouring a colt of his they had killed. He went back to the house, and got a double barrelled gun loaded with buck shot. On returning to the spot the two "wendigoes" made for him, and had he been unarmed would undoubtedly have killed him. However, he pumped lead into the foremost and killed it. The other stopped to sniff at its companion and he killed it also. It appears that another Indian name is, "buffalo runner," as it had a trick of chasing the buffalo in the old days, and killing the buffalo calves. The tendancy to kill claves in preference to any thing else would appear to be inherited. "Wendigo" or no "wendigo," our farmers dont want to see another specimen of this mysterious and destructive brute around.

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(From The Leader Post, dated November 11th 1897)


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I think that's enough for today, but I still have a few more Wendigo report finds, so I'll probably revisit it before the end of the month! Pop back tomorrow for something different and remember to check out what the other bloggers are up to by clicking the badge below!




 And before I go, thanks also to the Tired Parents on Twitch who inspired me to look up Wendigo sightings after playing the brilliantly spooky game Until Dawn! Go check out there schedule for some more spooks before Halloween!