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New horror text games give voice to marginalized women

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Bitch Magazine has a wonderful article by Carli Velocci about Twine games, particularly the way women are using the text-only platform to express the unique body and gender fears of their experience.

Velocci writes about a horror Twine collection curated by Kaitlin Tremblay, Lights Out, Please, and her own contribution, The Slit-Mouthed Woman, a game about a violent man haunted by the ghost of a woman whom he forced to smile.

Prolific Twine artist Porpentine, who often examines suffering and silenced bodies in her works (Cyberqueen, Howling Dogs, Everything You Swallow Will Come Up Like A Stone and numerous others) is also interviewed for the article:

"You’re kind of cheating yourself in talking about vulnerability if you don’t talk about powerful feminine voices,” Porpentine says. “As a trans, feminine person, I have inhabited, for most of my life, this weird-ass pocket dimension where you get treated differently, but nobody else can really see it. That’s a lot of what horror is, just feeling like you’re crazy for having horrible stuff happen to you.”

Much has been written, including here at Offworld, about Twine giving voice to experiences of trauma and marginalization, but this article's sharp body and gender horror angle adds an important dimension to that conversation.

The Lights Out, Please horror collection is available for free or suggested donation.

Skeletal, poseable life-size critters


Just got a good ole look at these things at Burbank's spectacular Halloween Town; they're poseable, have a nice, grippy matte foam-rubber finish, and are so swell that I may just go back for the whole set!

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WATCH: Waterphones, source of creepy film music effects

Ever wonder how they make unsettling dissonant sounds in sci-fi and horror films? Some are made by waterphones or synths emulating them. Portland-based Robb Bockman demonstrates an analog waterphone, gawdyphone, and dopephone in this video.

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Watch: Gary Whitta working with artist Karl Lindberg to create some concept art for Abomination

Here's a video interview of Gary Whitta working with artist Karl Lindberg from Industrial Light & Magic to create some concept art to accompany his debut novel, Abomination.

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Somebody stole the skull of Nosferatu director FW Murnau

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The skull of FW Murnau, the director of the classic vampire film Nosferatu (1922), has been stolen from his grave in Stahnsdorf, Germany.

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Sandman Slim: Killing Pretty

James Stark's returned to LA from hell's gladiator pits and has been tearing things up ever since -- but what do you get for the monster who has everything?

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Shadowshaper: outstanding supernatural YA contemporary fantasy

Daniel José Older's debut novel Shadowshaper is a thrilling supernatural YA novel with a diverse, likable cast of characters whose peril can only be averted through acceptance, true friendship and an embrace of their identity.Read the rest

Library at Mount Char: urban fantasy that has the magic

Scott Hawkins's debut horror novel, The Library at Mount Char, is a sprawling, epic contemporary fantasy about cruelty and the end of the world, compulsively readable, with the deep, resonant magic of a world where reality is up for grabs.Read the rest

JJ Abrams on special make-up fx artist Dick Smith: "He was the Beatles to me.”

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From JJ Abrams's fantastic tribute to Dick Smith, the pioneering SFX make-up artist behind The Exorcist, Scanners, Little Big Man, and so many more:

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This upcoming horror game looks really, really scary and everyone's excited

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I wrote an entire paen to the Silent Hill series after the sad news that the series' next game was cancelled. Horror video games have definitely lost something in recent years thanks to commercial constraints and a culture shift toward direct action and away from mystery—which is why promising new ones get genre fans easily excited.

Joe Skrebels has the latest interview on Allison Road, a photorealistic horror game that's being called a "spiritual successor" to P.T.—the stunning "playable teaser" that had everyone so eager for the doomed launch of Silent Hills in the first place (this lovely critique of P.T. helps explain its unnerving brilliance).

In the interview, project lead Christian Kessler tells Skrebels that only the atmosphere resembles P.T.—Kessler plans to avoid that game's abstract surrealism in favor of an atmospheric exploration experience influenced by house-centric storyteller Gone Home.

Allison Road never meant to be an heir. But the way it looks so far—bleak color palette, frightening shapes waiting at the ends of long, poorly-lit corridors—easily puts one in mind. And as if an antidote to the bureaucracy and the secrecy of old-world game development and how it's crushed fans and creatives alike, Kessler is offering piqued potential players a transparent look at the game's development on a public Allison Road Facebook page. You can keep up to date til the game's scheduled 2016 launch on PC. Supposedly there might be an Oculus Rift version but seriously who would be up for that oh god

Here's Kessler offering an early (by now dated) look at the beginnings of the first "level":

The Awesome: ass-kicking girl monster-hunter FTW!

Eva Darrows's debut novel The Awesome features the most sarcastic, raunchiest, bad-ass-est heroine in recent YA history -- monster hunting has never been so outrageous.Read the rest

Awesome spooky housewares


Dellamorte & Co does a fine line of handmade, spooky-gothy housewares and fashion items, including this gorgeous vampire bat vase.

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Millennial justice

There's nothing sweeter than poetic justice, and Jamie Lauren Kelles's "Millennial Revenge Fantasy" meets and exceeds Dante for grotesque punishments that perfectly fit the crime.

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Exotic eyeball jewelry and housewares


Stefano Prima is not content to make rings and stalks sporting everyday taxidermy eyeballs -- rather, his pieces sport fanciful reptile irises, vertical goat-slits, terrifying basilisk pupils and even square pupils.

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Why Silent Hill mattered

On the end of a great, mad era for video gamesRead the rest

In this elegant ritual horror, giant hornets are everywhere

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I love Twine games that are able to create a strong sense of place. Despite being text-only, a beautiful typeface and atmospheric, well-selected words go beyond 'choosing your own adventure', to navigating vivid interconnected chambers. Kitty Horrorshow's strange, oddly-lovely Hornets is vivid, all right.

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Stephen King versus Maine's lying governor


Maine's Tea Party Governor Paul LePage (R) has doubled down on his lie that Stephen King left Maine to avoid paying income tax; King is a proud taxpayer who views "taxes as a way of paying back the state that has given us so much."

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