What’s so Great About the Death Game

(Apologies for the lack of posting last week – I’ve recently undergone an exciting change in my life, so things have been a little busy. That’s why this week, I am ecstatic to be covering not one, but TWO of my favorite franchises. Get ready!)

To all my fellow fans of quirky, messed up Japanese murder mystery games: What a time to rejoice! If you follow me on twitter, then you know it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of game developers Kotaro Uchikoshi and Kazutaka Kodaka, the creative minds behind the Zero Escape and Danganronpa franchises. With this knowledge, I bet you can imagine my excitement when I heard that these two creators have announced that they’re starting their own Tokyo-based company, Too Kyo Games. They have already released information about several new projects in development, including an anime, and a few different games. Along with Uchikoshi and Kodaka, several other creators from Team Danganronpa are on board with the company, so we can expect a lot of top quality content in the coming years.

Zero Escape and Danganronpa are major influences in my screenwriting work; I admire their unique approach to crafting strange, but amicable characters as well as meticulously convoluted plot twists. These games are downright sick, leaving no character safe from their malevolent “death game” narratives, no matter how lovable they are. What is a “death game,” though, and why is it such an ingenious method of horror storytelling? I’m not talking about Hollywood torture-porn gore fests like SAW (although those movies are a lot of fun after a few cocktails) but games that test the mental endurance of their players, and just how far they are willing to go for their survival. Since Zero Escape and Danganronpa are often associated with each other, I thought I would use them both as my examples for why “death games,” are so great.Read More »

The True Horror of The Blair Witch Project

*SPOILERS FOR THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) – READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.

If you were to ask me what my favorite horror movie of all time is, you might hear the sound of my brain making “dial-up” noises, followed by a short-circuit. With so many brilliant, innovative scary stories out there, it feels impossible to pick just one. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I’m a fan of non-traditional horror, or horror that thinks outside the box just a wee bit more than your average ouija board flick (nothing against those types of narratives, just personal preference here). One movie that will always pop off at the top of my head, however, is the masterful piece that kickstarted the popularity of the famous “found footage,” genre – Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s 1999 cult classic, The Blair Witch Project.Read More »

Why are Horror Movies Turning into Action Flicks?

*Light spoilers for all of the Alien films, Jurassic Park, and Jurassic World, read at your own risk.

Are we really in a “Golden Age of Horror”? On one hand we get films like Get Out (2017), The Babadook (2014), and Hereditary (2018). On the other hand, we get films like… Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016). Horror films are either incredibly creative and dynamic or so god damn banal and obvious.

But there is a noticeable difference in horror productions now. For roughly thirty years studios have been remaking horror films into blockbuster action flicks. The most obvious contender is The Mummy (2017). However this trend isn’t limited to The Dark Universe franchise, it has seeped into others. If one looks at the trajectory of the Alien franchise, you can clearly see it’s deviation from its horror roots. Sure, Alien: Covenant (2017) has horror elements, but by the second act it ultimately becomes an action film. Two androids beat the shit out of each other and a Xenomorph is shot out into space for the hundredth time in the franchise.

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Doki Doki Literature Club: A Portrait of Uncanny

*SPOILERS FOR DOKI DOKI LITERATURE CLUB – READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION

Happy Monthaween, everyone! Who else is madly in love with the month of October? I know that we have until the 31st for the world’s greatest secular holiday ever, but goddamnit, I just don’t feel like waiting. To celebrate my undying love for Halloween, I’ve decided that all blogs written this month will be horror themed. I must admit, I’m a bit of a horror addict. Whenever I watch or play something that is really, really terrifying, I get this rush, not too dissimilar to the feeling people get after they ride a rollercoaster. Call me a masochist, but I just can’t get enough of that feeling like I’m about to implode from sheer terror.

What kind of horror gets me jazzed, though? Horror has become an umbrella term, with so many subcategories from slasher to psychological thriller. I suppose I would call myself a non traditionalist, in the sense that the more typical things like haunted house movies and monster flicks don’t really do it for me. No. I crave horror that digs much deeper. Horror that doesn’t make you scream, but instead leaves you shaking because you feel like something is slowly and painfully crawling under your skin. Horror that stays with you well after the show is over. If you’re looking for an example of what I’m talking about, then look no further than Doki Doki Literature Club.Read More »