Short fiction from Matt Walace. Basically, this is conan-esque Teddy Bear vs Nightmare Monsters as written by a former pro-wrestler. Epic action horror, seriously.
(Thus Far, we haven’t published any fiction. I figure we’d get things started with a flash piece from mine. And you have something that mixes horror tropes and actions click on the ‘Submissions’ Link and send it out way!)
The perp does, but then starts stalking right towards me.
“Halt!” I command and this time she doesn’t listen.
The first bullet I fire is just that: copper coated lead. I can already tell it’s not gonna do shit. I hit her anyway, more reflex and lingering sanctification than anything else. I don’t even know why the brass insists the first shot has to be norm (that’s what my other sidearm is for). Oh well, regs are regs I guess.
The next two shots are silver. Even during the day there’s a surprising number of wolf gangbangers nowadays; and they don’t stop just ‘cause the sunlight makes them wear their human skins. These slugs hit her without noticeable effect – but silver is light and less effective than a norm round unless you have a susceptibility to it.
I pull the trigger again and again and again. The garlic and holy water infused bullet with a crucifix etched on the front doesn’t work. But if I thought she was a vampire I’d already be running back to the squad car where the crossbow is locked above the dash. The compressed flower petal shell doesn’t do anything (only had it work once actually). And the distilled absurdity round causes her to laugh uncontrollably but otherwise keep advancing (I’m always relaxed when that one doesn’t work, anyone who has bravado concerning Cthuloids is a liar and a fool).
It’s not til round seven that she goes down: cold iron, as pure as we can make it. Shoulda known. While she’s lying on the ground I check the norm.
“You ok?” I ask.
Tears stream down his face. “She was going to take me to the everspring fields, I was to be a prince.”
“Yeah. Sure you were… I’ll get your statement in a second.”
The perp is coughing up something that looks like glitter and smells like potpourri. I call in for an ambulance, wrap her tiny wrists (smaller than mine, even) in golden binding chord.
“You have the right to remain silent,” I say, “Anything you say, do or incant may be used against you in a court of law or through the column of the threefold return. You have the right to consult an attorney, summoner or cultural translator before speaking to the police and to have said party present during questioning or trial by honored combat now or in the future.”
It’s times like this I can’t help but think how much simpler being a cop was before the return.
I should probably start this review with a disclaimer: I generally don’t like remakes. Not that there’s anything wrong with them per se. Taking great stories and giving them a unique spin can lead to great results. But, as a rule, I’d rather see all that talent, money and artistry going to make something new.
Some exceptions to that rule: John carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ (never saw 2011’s prequel/remake), (in a non action-horror way) 2012’s 21 Jump Street and 2011’s Fright Night. In all of these cases; smart ,passionate screen writers and movie makers borrowed brand recognition in order to work with budgets and scales that might otherwise have been unavailable.
Fright Night isn’t something new in terms of plot: A Vampire moves into town, after initial disbelief the hero realizes that he and only he can deal with this as his love interest is put into danger. But even if you’ve heard this particular one before, it’s how they fit all the pieces together, it’s the ‘telling’ that makes it all work so beautifully.
First off, Colin Ferrel does a first rate job as the embodiment of suave menace as ‘Jerry.’ In what is either a conscious or fortuitous nod to the original ‘Dracula’ this is a monster who is more ‘manly’ than any of the protagonists, who’s emasculates lesser males as he threatens to turn them into cuckolds.
I highly recommend checking out Fright Night if you get a chance, it’s well worth your time.
Instead of bemoaning the hyper-abundance of the undead (which would be silly because Zombies are awesome), I thought it would be fun to speculate on what might be slithering our way next coming next.
(Also, I should point to this great article from io9.com discussing some of the same concepts.)
(Note: I’m encompassing survival horror under the banner ‘action horror’ cause… well, I want to.)
5. Resident Evil:
Or ‘Biohazard’ as it is known in Japan. One of the first games to do justice to zombies. Forget the increasingly terrible movies and remember instead the ‘holy shit’ awesomeness of running and gunning the T-Virus infected dogs… because Umbrella help you if all you had left was a knife. Seriously Resident Evil, thank you so much for ensuring I never, ever had enough ammo. Bonus points for the series giving up its addiction to camera angle scares (starting in Resident Evil 4) but staying just as scary.
4. System Shock
This game did not get the wide adoption it deserved. Probably one of the best examples of video game writing I’ve ever seen. All you have is your weapons, your wits, and your psionic powers against an army of I don’t even know whats and the psychotic AI that’s managing it it all. Unlike a lot of the games on the list… SS remains almost entirely out of print today. Which is too bad.
3. Bio Shock
This spiritual successor to System Shock definitely lives up to its pedigree. An Ayn Rand flavored under the sea extravaganza which with so many delightful vignettes courtesy of the deranged ‘splicers’ of Rapture. Granted, I do think that the final boss was a little… silly; in the way that all super steroid final bosses are. But everything up till that point was pure gold. Love the tension of weighing ‘should I or shouldn’t I attack that eight foot tall armored mutant over there to suck the life essence out of the little girl he’s protecting.’ Decisions, decisions.
2. Half Life
Still one of the pinnacles of the first person shooter genre. The level of polish and care that went into the game shames 99% of the first person shooters out there. One word: headcrabs. Nowadays, we have two words: poison headcrabs. Recently found out the ‘zombies’ sounds are actually a man’s screaming voice begging for help. Neat! Now I have more things to have nightmares about.
Ahh doom, you will always have a special place in my heart. With the exception of the film Aliens, this is why we’re obsessed with with space marines battling unimaginable horrors in spaceeeeeee *echo, echo, echo*. Looking back on it now, it’s easy to forget that the demon design used to scare me. But they really, really did. I remember grabbing an ‘unprotected’ key only for the walls to lower and five of these guys come rushing out throwing fireballs and making my soundblaster contort itself into the low-res language of hell. Good times.
Left 4 Dead 1 & 2: Great game(s). Pitch perfect take on the ‘infected’ style zombies. Amazingly designed to force you to work as part of a team. More homages than you can shake a chainsaw at. The director AI is a thing of beauty and why I’m still playing these games a two years later. Still, I didn’t include it primarily because there’s something about getting the opportunity to play as one of the infected that drains the horror from the experience.
So what did I miss? What would be on your top five list of Action Horror Video Games?
(Cross Posted at www.strugglingwordguy.com)
Couldn’t have said it better than io9.com already did. And I really need to get off my but and watch Supernatural as I’ve only heard good things about how well it mixes action and horror.
This was my awesome audience for the event (I would like to point out that the collective cool of their poses made the picture come out just a little bit blurry).
And here is the Anime/Action Horror PowerPoint Presentation I created for the event.
After attending many conventions of all sizes and sorts this past year; I have to say that the energy, enthusiasm and spirit of fun at Anime Conji was wonderful and exceptional. The convention is only three years old, and I can’t wait to see how it develops. I think Anime Conji is one convention I’ll be attending for years to come.