10.30.2006

Halloween offerings

Once again, a colorful assortment of dark, frightful, and ghoulish things in celebration of the most fun holiday of the year. Once again presented in the eleventh hour. At least this year I got it put together before Halloween was over.

Enjoy!

Exhibits

I know we just went a couple of months ago, but how can I resist the chance to take you back for another visit to Surtateum, the Museum of Supernatural History? It's the perfect time to tour two of the museum's permanent collections: The Department of Witchcraft and Invocations and The Department of Demonology. Though still under construction, there are some interesting things to be found here: check out the collection of witches' grimoires in the Witchcraft exhibit, and read about the curse of the mummy and the gruesome artifact known as a "hand of glory" in the Demonology exhibit.





I would also like to guide you to a few selected galleries of artist Mark Ryden; I think his series Blood: Miniature Paintings of Sorrow and Fear is just perfect for the occasion. Also don't miss the Blood Drawings, and if there's time, we might even stay to take in The Meat Show.




What's Halloween without some skeletons? Michael Paulus imagines the skeletal systems of beloved cartoon characters.




Games

Exmortis 2 is the eminently worthy sequel to the excellent Exmortis. In that game, a human avatar known as the Hand unleashed a plague of evil spirits on the earth, where they began to wreak total destruction. This game deals with the apocalyptic aftermath, as you must try to stop the incursion and send them back where they came from. Visuals, sound, effects, storyline, gameplay -- everything about this game is top-notch.
As an added bonus, there is a very nice, complete walkthrough/storyline recap, written by game creator Ben Leffler, at lazylaces.




Under "My projects", "Flash games" you'll find links Bat Company's series of horror games: Ghost Story, Factory of Fear, and Atrocitys. These are your classic lights-down, sound-up, jump-out-and-go-ahhhhh! haunted house games, each a bit longer, more interactive, and more technically sophisticated than the last. One of the nice features of these games is the background scenes, featuring original locations photographed by the game creators.




DeadEnd's Hotel is a very slick, professionally-produced game with a familiar room-escaper plot: having somehow lost your memory, you awaken locked in a strange hotel room, and must find a way out. It's in French only, but you can click the link that says "Little Translation" on the main page for help with the game's main puzzle clue, and the rest you should be able mostly to figure out. I have yet to see how it ends, being unable to survive a tricky arcade sequence near (what I assume is) the end of the game.
Walkthrough at trusty Nordinho.




Haunted House Massacre is a short, linear haunted house game. Decent atmosphere, despite some production shortcuts, and a nice use of 3-d models for the characters.




Hellgate Escape is a short horror game, grim despite the somewhat cartoonish graphics. It's timed, so you have to be quick as you find your way out of Hellgate, or grisly death will ensue.
Here is the lazylaces walkthrough.




Part I of From Heaven to Hell is a promising start to what will eventually be a much longer game. Aside from the traditional "explore-the-house" features, this game also includes equipped objects and a combat system. The story: a boy who lost his mother to mysterious causes is beginning to have strange nightmares. Then there are some monsters in the house...
There's a cursory walkthrough at the Gamershood Forums thread.




Nightmare Escape is a blood-spattered room-escaper in a familiar format. The riddles are a bit tricky.
Jay is Games has a walkthrough in the comments if you need it.




Cinema

Now showing at Google Video: Tim Burton's early classic Vincent, about a dark-souled seven-year-old who wants to be like Vincent Price. Don't tell me you haven't seen it yet.
In fact, I may as well show it here, at the Blue Tea Theater of the Obscure, and save you the trip.
EDIT: Switched to English version. Oops.




Grey Matter, a rather creepy Halloween tale from the The Other Side by Mata, whose other animations include the series Little Goth Girl. You can also view Halloween specials from past years, among others.




You may enjoy as a companion piece Jan Svankmajer's wonderful Claymation film Darkness, Light, Darkness, about a curious genesis.




Animation studio Childrin R Skary has many new animations since I linked to them last, whenever that was. They have a series of dark, gothic gems. You could try my favorite, El Despertar, about a flamenco-dancing zombie-charmer, or see something for the season, the Halloween-themed short Candy. But of course you're going to watch them all.




Blogs

I've recently added a new "Gothic, Fantastic, Macabre" category to the blogroll, which would be a good place to start if you're looking for some blogs with a suitable Halloweeny mood. There's La Main Gauche, for one, the wonderfully dark and fantastic blog that convinced me I needed this category in the first place (French-language, but the links are so good you'll get plenty out of it even without the text); Fantastic Animation, which is so in both senses of the word; Monster Brains, a beguiling parade of beasts, creeps, and creatures of all descriptions; and of course there's dear old Maktaaq, who's always going on about zombies, ghosts, horror movies, Transylvania, mad scientists, hampsters, and the like.

Last week was Death Week at the Athanasius Kircher Society, and you know what that means -- a delightful procession of some of the most outlandish, morbid, and fascinating things having to do with death and the deceased, like Victorian Post-Mortem Photography or the Body Baker, a Thai artist who sculpts frightfully realistic body parts out of bread.




For more haunts, see last year's Halloween post, Five haunted houses for more horror games, or explore some virtual cemeteries in Cities of the dead.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous ladysusan:

This entry is awesome. The Victorian Post-Mortem Photography link was especially compelling. I loved the photograph of the young woman placed on a chair as though she were just quietly reading (with the accompanying caption), and the young couple outdoors with their baby. All of the pictures of live people with dead people were fascinating--the adults who seem so often to be trying to keep their faces composed for the camera while nevertheless betraying puffy eyes or care-worn expressions, some of the children who look frankly upset or freaked-out. And, finally, I loved the Emily Dickinson look-alike and the old woman who looked utterly blissful. This one is definitely going in my "bluewyvern's links" folder.

Also, the cartoon skeletons are great. I think Hello Kitty is destined to be my next desktop background.

14:01  
Blogger Maktaaq:

Thanks for the mention! I have very little time to blog these days, but not for any lack of material. I am just getting ready to write my Halloween post. Am still wearing my bat ears.

PS the baker of the dead is creepy, but neat.

00:44  
Anonymous debbiemuz:

What a cool entry! I love Halloween too, and was looking for something to counteract the sweetness of leftover candy. This did the trick! I loved the games and the portraits.

01:51  
Blogger Bryan Alexander:

Excellent entry. I'm mining it quite happily at Infocult. :)

20:44  

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