All Aboard the Hype Train – FNAF Edition

Naturally, the best way to approach this horrible idea was to buy all three games.

Naturally, the best way to approach this horrible idea was to buy all three games.

Happy Easter, or happy Sunday if Easter isn’t applicable. Either way, I hope you’re all having an at least moderately enjoyable weekend. I’m distracting myself with buffalo chicken dip as I write this, so there are no complaints here.

Instead of dancing around today’s topic, let me get to the point: I finally caved and bought the Five Nights At Freddy’s (FNAF for short) trilogy (or, rather, the three games that presently exist in a series that could continue) on Steam. I’ve mentioned, at least on two occasions, that I have a strange fascination with these games and how much of a following they’ve accrued, but I’m also terribly susceptible to jump scares. Not exactly the makings of a good purchase, so I instead lived vicariously through YouTube videos of people playing FNAF. After multiple viewings of Markiplier swear-babbling his way through all three games, as well as seeing The Completionist’s videos on this trilogy, I finally decided to take a chance at being the night shift security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Continue reading

Five Nights At Freddy’s – The Food Coma Preface

I’m in a terrible food coma, so here’s a preview of what tomorrow will involve.

image

Foxy killed Jason because he couldn't close the door (Thanks, Bonnie.).

My mother inflicted enough Easter weekend feasting upon my siblings and I that I feel like I need to hibernate. Urk.

Once upon a time, I got a book published

Well, more specifically I should say that once upon a time I won a book publishing contract that resulted in getting a book published. As a quick, highly-related aside: my backspace key seems to be sticking, so correcting errors is a real treat. Already prepared to say screw it and have typos from here on out. We all know that isn’t going to happen.

Right.

“But Phil,” you might say, “why are you saying published in the past tense?”

What an excellent question, convenient question-asking post-device persona. That’s because, and I’m both very excited and slightly anxious (for no good, real reason) to announce, my first novel, Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King, is now available for purchase here.

Needless to say, this is really crazy exciting stuff for me, even if I haven’t fully processed it because I’m still partially lost to my Thanksgiving feasting-induced food coma.

Check it out and please consider picking up a copy (or two or ten; it would definitely be a great non-denominational holiday gift). There will be a Kindle version available down the road, and I’ll be more than happy to link to that as well.

Jump scares are the absolute worst

Obligatory warning message: there will be a video clip that features jump scares. If anyone tries saying they were shocked, surprised, or not expecting such things from this point forward, I reserve every right to call bullshit on such claims.

It’s a month of celebrating all things that would, under most normal circumstances, leave people safely tucked away in an impenetrable, supernaturally-warded bunker until the screaming of less fortunate people stops. I enjoy horror slightly less than the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be someone who openly weeps at the slightest indication things are about to get scary; that guy and I are close to on the same level. I attempt to endure scary movies and video games, and the results don’t typically involve me retaining a whole lot of my dignity. Continue reading

A necessary bit of the heebly-jeeblies

Or “I don’t care if you think that’s not how it’s spelled, Chrome; I’m calling them the heebly-jeeblies” and “It’s open-window weather, which means it’s time to think creepy thoughts and deprive myself of sleep.” This post was brought to you in part by me posting a picture of Horrifying Houseguest (also known as Shadowlurker) on Facebook. Take a moment and Google it.

There’s a small, twisted part of my brain that is actually pretty okay with being scared. Plenty of things scare me, and I’d be willing to guess if you’re a living, breathing person, reading this post, there are plenty of things you are scared of as well. I’m not talking fear of rejection or how any college graduate is (reasonably) scared out of their minds about student loan debt. I’m talking about the things that occupy the space just in the corner of your vision, lacking clarity but still holding enough form to unsettle. The serial killers who may or may not be lurking in your basement this very moment, waiting until the lights are out so they can make their move. The creepy creatures who you might catch glimpses of just as you drift off to sleep.

You get the idea. Everyone’s afraid of something different, too, which is truly interesting. In terms of pants-wetting, high-pitched-shrieking terror, few things creep me out as effectively as distorted human faces and forms. I’ve got a rudimentary understanding of the psychology behind it; how something familiar, twisted, is a reasonable trigger for fear. It’s how horror movies manage to scare the bejeezus out of me when nasty specters with blacked out eyes and elongated mouths fly out of nowhere (jump scares are to horror as puns are to humor, as far as I’m concerned). Even though I can rationalize and dissect what about those things creeps me out, they still (almost) always manage to get my heart racing. It’s why much of what is featured in creepypasta stories (why, yes, I have read various creepypasta stories, and feel no shame in admitting it; some of them are pretty damn scary) manages to creep me out so much.

In any event, it’s been a fun night of thinking about scary stories, and the creepy things that inhabit them, and so I figured I’d write a post. Naturally, I must pose this question: what scares you? Name some of the things that really get your hair standing up on end, make your heart beat a little faster, and are cause to run to turn the lights on the moment you enter a room. Maybe sharing some of your favorite things that go bump in the night will discourage them from visiting? Or maybe it’ll just draw them a little bit closer.

Oh, and remember: it’s silly to be afraid of the dark, but perfectly reasonable to be afraid of what the darkness may conceal.

Another Tale of Unremarkable Horror

Jacob stomped along, crushing every leaf he could underfoot.  The night, admittedly, had not gone as he had hoped.  After Marcus had left the movie without them, Jacob offered to walk Julie home.

“Don’t want any monsters getting you,” he had said to her with a wink.  Only once he got to her front door did he find out the eye-roll that had accompanied her thanks was more sincere than he’d wanted to believe.  After a fair bit of insisting on hanging out a little, Julie had responded with equal persistence that Jacob spend some quality time away from her instead.  With nothing to hold over Marcus’ head next time he saw the little dweeb, Jacob had what few beers were left in the fridge and a multi-pack of what he referred to as the Z-List of zombie movies; they were so bad they were almost good, but only with enough booze.

That’s when he first noticed it.  That creeping sensation he was being watched, like someone was right behind him.  He had seen zillions of scary movies, and knew there’s always something spooky lurking right behind the good guy at the least convenient moment.

“Try scaring this, bitch,” Jacob said.  He spun around, and delivered a punch to the air that had just been behind him.  Across the road, a group of small children gasped and some parents gave him disapproving looks.

“Whatever,” Jacob said to no one in particular.  He turned around, kicked over a decorative bag of leaves that looked like a giant vampire head, and continued home.  As he walked down the narrow, dimly lit alleyway leading up to the back entrance of his apartment building, the hair on the back of his neck started to stand on end.  He felt the unmistakable warmth of someone’s breath.  It must be Marcus, Jacob thought, trying to get back at him.  Jacob kept pace, not breaking stride as he removed the keys to the apartment building from his pocket, opened the door, and made his way up the stairs.  He spun around, hands balled into fists, outside his apartment door.

“You really think you could scare me, Wimpus?” Jacob said.  The creature stood a good foot taller than Jacob, three mouths full of sharp, jagged teeth dripping saliva on the dirty carpet.

“What about eating you?” it said.  “That’s certainly not a possibility we’d want to rule out.”

Tales of Unremarkable Horror

Thin streams of moonlight trickled down from beneath thick, murky clouds, and the shadows danced around the sidewalk playfully at Marcus’ feet as he walked home from another yearly viewing of the Hell-O-Scream Movie Marathon.  He hadn’t wanted to go.  Like every other year, he protested; asked why he and his friends couldn’t just get drunk and pig out on junk food, like everyone else their age.

“Don’t be such a goddamn pansy,” Jacob had said to Marcus.  Marcus remembered how Jacob puffed out his chest, and how he looked like a great, stupid pigeon in a varsity jacket about three sizes too big.  “If Julie’s going, maybe you can show her how brave you are by making it through all five movies.  You might get some treats of your own.”

After five years of the same commentary, Marcus had learned to suppress the urge to groan.  Hell-O-Scream always managed to scrape together four of the scariest, hands-over-your-eyes sort of movies.  He went, against his better judgment, and left the evening, and his friends, feeling like he’d wasted another perfectly good evening that could have been spent working on a new painting.

As Marcus rounded the corner, the streetlight overhead flickered off and on, intermittently illuminating a shape just behind the bushes up ahead.  Just like in Night of the Blood-Drinking Mangler, he thought.  The leaves rustled, as something shifted and crept among them.  Marcus’ heart pounded as he picked up his pace significantly.  The bushes shook alongside him; whatever they concealed was following him now, and he knew his life would be over soon.  Just then, out from the foliage, darted a startlingly obese black cat.  It flopped across the sidewalk, and then the street, before disappearing from Marcus’ view.

“Shit,” Marcus said to himself, having stopped to compose himself.  He took a moment to be grateful his friends hadn’t been there;  he’d have never lived that momentary panic down.  He resumed his walk home, now with a little more speed and purpose to his step.  The sooner he was inside, with the door locked behind him, the better.

Two blocks later, the front porch of his house came into view.  The trash cans still stood, neatly arranged, at the edge of the sidewalk.  Marcus made sure he’d put the garbage out earlier, recalling previous years when he’d been so preoccupied with the monsters from that night’s movies he’d forgotten, leaving his house to stink of week-old pizza boxes.

It started with a slight shudder of the garbage cans, their metal exteriors lightly clunking against each other.  Marcus slowed his pace.  He eyed the trash cans, suspicious.  Probably just some raccoons, he thought, getting their own Halloween feast.  The slight tremors of the trash can became more pronounced; their exteriors clanged and crashed together as Marcus got closer.  The one closest to him toppled over abruptly, vomiting its contents onto the sidewalk.  Another cat sauntered off into the distance.

“This is ridiculous,” Marcus said with a sigh.  He reached into his pocket, produced a key, and let himself into his house.  The living room light had been left on, but the rest of the house was dark.  A small note on the coffee table reminded him his parents had gone to a costume party, that there was pizza in the fridge, and to have a Spooktacular Halloween.  Marcus set the note down, then made his way to the kitchen.  He flicked the light switch into the on position.  The lights came on, dimmed, flickered, and returned to a moderate level of brightness.

Marcus opened the fridge, found the pizza the note had promised, and shut the fridge door.  As he walked past the kitchen window on his way to the microwave, he caught sight of a peculiar reflection.  A masked figure, dressed in all black, was only a few paces behind Marcus, and it was holding a knife in a way suggesting it hadn’t arrived to help him prepare his leftover dinner.

“I don’t suppose you’re a cat, too,” Marcus said, as the color drained from his face and the cold pizza dropped to the floor.