Tag Archives: creepy

Black Crown. Or, How I Came to Know A Genuine Pioneer

16 Jul

For once I will not be promoting the various ‘creative’ projects that I have come to acquire over the years, shoving them down your throat like so many overcooked pieces of broccoli. Instead, I would like to talk about one of the most fascinating, original pieces of writing and gaming to appear in recent years.

It’s called Black Crown, and it’s a bold storytelling experience from Random House. In its simplest form, it is horror. One way to describe it is as a completely modernised, innovative multi-option choose-your-own-adventure story, taken to its highest, most thrilling, literary ceiling; a multitextual new media narrative with ARG elements, requiring both gameplay interaction and a deep involvement with the story. And it is a story which will send shivers deep down your spine.

I discovered this project by not discovering it at all. I know the author. Rob Sherman, the creator of the world of the Black Crown project. At home playing delicate acoustic guitar at a folk festival, yet who you could see quite at home on top of a mountain, wearing woad and yelling insults at the old gods.

He also plays some of the greatest music you have never heard.

He also plays some of the greatest music you have never heard.

I met him at university, both studying English and then Creative Writing. Even then, when surrounded by people with that glint of imaginative spark, of untapped potential both hindered and cultivated by having so much time to both think and drink copious amounts of alcohol, Sherman was immediately recognizable as being damn special. He not only had an incredible creative drive, determination, but also an original way of thinking that constantly kept him ahead of the curve. If any of us deliciously inventive types were going to create a great work of fiction, art, music, it was going to be him.

We were given an early glimpse of what would become Black Crown at the end of our Masters, tasked with completed a creative dissertation. Most of us played it safe, writing a novella, a long piece of non-fiction, screenplay, a poetry collection. I chose to write a film script, a supernatural mystery that, in spite of very good marks and feedback from both academics and fellow students, is currently gathering dust on my bookshelf, waiting to be re-edited.

blackcrownRob Sherman’s project, though, was different. He kept it secret from the rest of us for a long time, only dropping hints when necessary. Non-linear, he would utter. A collection of first hand sources. Mystery was intensified when we were asked to contribute. A select few of us – band members, course-mates, friends – arrived at a retro shop to meet a photographer with a very vintage camera. Rob then threw bizarre clothing items at us, asked us to change. I was given a vest and braces, another band member a gas mask. We were photographed next to backdrops, ancient versions of ourselves, scratched with sepia. And still the end goal was unknown. Sherman had unconsciously perfected, within real life, the key to mystery: for every question that is answered, two more need to be asked.

Eventually, submission came round, tomes carried to campus. Metal-wound scripts for myself, delicately-bound poetry and graphic novels for others. And then came Rob Sherman, carrying a red case. A case covered in arcane signs, tattered notes. It caused a bit of a storm, this unique creation. A story of a lost town, told via a series of half-connected clippings, photos, documents. All of it tied up in a physical, tangible item. A work so brilliant that there was even a workaround made for the English office’s requirement of two copies of each assignment being submitted. After all, how exactly can you hand in two copies of such a unique work, whose sheer presence is part of the storytelling experience?

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After that, Sherman slaved, modified, augmented. The project morphed slowly, over thousands of hours of dedicated work into Black Crown, the devastating horror that is available to experience, for free, now, online. It’s what would happen if HP Lovecraft had written House of Leaves as a series of emails late at night. If the SCP Foundation had grown up in to a living, breathing, literary entity. If Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero had built upon the eldritch abominations of the past, not the future. A monster, made complete by its absolute originality. After all, the most important part of all great horrors is the unknown – and Black Crown breaks so many barriers that you half expect it to claw through your screen into real life.

Fear Dot Com: Scariest Places on the Web

23 Jul

A little while ago I gave you a brief look at the internet storytelling known as Creepypasta. But that’s not the only place to get chills online. Here is a rundown of some of my other favourite scary sites and series.

 
Marble Hornets

Marble Hornets has been responsible for more sleepless nights than all of the horror films I have seen combined. Based on the Slender Man mythos, an internet-created urban legend that originated on the Something Awful forums in this thread, Marble Hornets is a first-person, Found Footage series that somehow manages to tap into our fear of things that go bump in the night. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example:

If you fancy seeing more, then here is a playlist for all your Marble Hornets needs. Currently in its third season, the plot is getting deeper and darker.

If you’d like to see more Slender Man stuff, then check out EverymanHybrid’s deliciously meta take on Slendy or his own wiki page. When you’re done with that, check out this free Slender Man game and scare yourself silly.

 

Internet Story

The tale of an online treasure hunt. Better for you just to see it yourself:

Wonderfully told with a brilliant finale, Internet Story has become a cult classic in the internet community.

 

The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost Comic

A Korean webcomic written by HORANG. Originally in Korean, an English version of the comic was made and can be found here. There was also a sequel of sorts, set in a train station.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘comics, eh? That won’t be that scary’. Well, go ahead and click. Do it. Oh, and film your reaction because it will be hilarious.

 

DaywaltFearFactory and Fewdiodotcom

If the raw nature of Marble Hornets isn’t quite to your fancy, then don’t fret: there are a number of fantastic short horror films who call Youtube home. Pick of the pile, though, are probably Daywalt Horror and Fewdio.

Here’s my personal favourite:

 

The SCP Foundation & The Holders

The SCP Foundation captures and then documents the effects of a number of paranormal ‘artefacts’ that would otherwise be a danger to the human race. Within the site are stories with a very particular style; case entries for the different SCPs that are under the Foundation’s care. Although their mantra is to “Secure, Contain, and Protect”, some of the most chilling stories are those that revolve around the lengths the Foundation will go to keep the human race safe.

The SCPs are varied in nature: from a statue that attacks when you lose eye contact, a toaster that affects the human mind in an interesting way, a mysterious coral growth, or the victim of a cult who must be constantly tortured to stop the birth of a being that could destroy the world.The series (originally Creepypasta) is constantly evolving, and with moderators stopping crossovers from other IPs there is always something unique to find.

Similar to The SCP Foundation, The Holders tells us about 538 objects that “must never come together. Ever”. The site consists of instructions on exactly how to obtain these items…although given what you sometimes need to go through, you probably don’t want to.

 

Various Terrifying Youtube Videos

So I’ve already posted the wonder that is Marble Hornets. Here are a few others. Vicious516 posts Creepypasta readings as well as other scary vids:

Foundmedia23 bought a load of random Betamax tapes and all of them are fucking weird:

No Through Road makes you want to never drive down country lanes again:

 

I think that will do for now. Just remember that if you’re bored and fancy seeing something scary, there are plenty of horrifying sites on the internet. And I’m not just talking about 4chan…