Tag Archives: marble hornets

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…

Found Footage Films and the Art of Closure

14 Apr

This Sunday on Channel 4 is the network premier of The Last Exorcism. I would recommend giving it a watch. Not because it’s a wonderful movie, although it takes an interesting idea and does a lot of good work with it. But, because it epitomizes a problem with Found Footage cinema – it doesn’t have a good end.

The Last Exorcism disappointed me when I first saw it. And it’s because it is absolutely fantastic up until the last ten or so minutes. I’m not going to spoil it for you, because it’s worth watching up until then, but I was completely captivated for the majority of the film. Great performances, well filmed, well paced. But then it hits the curse of Found Footage – the abrupt, cheap ending.

It’s not alone – although I’d say it’s the best of the Found Footage films which has failed at this important step. Most recently, The Devil Inside fell into the same traps. Apollo 18 did it. Paranormal Activity 2. All of them had an abrupt end that clashed with the rest of the film, both thematically and pace-wise.

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Space parasites aren't good at driving shuttles.

So why does this happen? And why does it seem to be such a problem with these first person movies?

Personally, I think it stems from the nature of the medium itself; Found Footage films are generally horrors, and the basis of most of them is ‘the people who made this film didn’t make it out alive’. It’s quite important to have this threat as well – if the characters of the film survived, why would the footage be ‘found’? If a conspiracy is uncovered, or a monster is revealed, why did we, as the public, not find out about it before?

In a fair few cases it still works; the finale of REC is one of my favourite scenes in cinema. The Blair Witch Project’s final scenes, when watched for the first time, were genuinely shocking and fresh. Chronicle, recently, also managed to pull off a satisfying ending (it’s another film you should definitely see – an interesting and innovative take on the superhero genre).

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That kid you bullied at school will NOT be alright with super-powers.

But the same problems constantly get brought up – how was the film found? And by who? In the best cases, this is answered. If you don’t want spoilers then please stop reading now. The REC series takes a very much first person view – you never really see the cameramen at all, and there is almost a ‘present tense’ feel to the films, and there is no real editing that would have to be done post-recording. The Blair Witch project had an excellent bonus feature explaining how the tapes were found. Chronicle has a single survivor.

In terms of films that have failed, though – how exactly does the footage from Apollo 18 survive, when it is caught up in an in-space collision between two space shuttles? How did the footage in The Devil Inside survive a car accident that killed those involved? If you do watch The Last Exorcism, you’ll see that it’s possibly the worst of the lot.

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Let’s just say there will probably be NO ONE around to edit this bad boy

So, how do you fix this? I think the most important thing for these films to do is stick to their convictions and not to fall into the tropes that previous films in the genre have done. The ‘shocking deaths of everybody at the end of the film’ has damaged so many Found Footage movies it’s beyond true, so much so that I go into these films expecting everyone to die, even when it makes no sense (à la Troll Hunter).

Apollo 18 would have been a much better film if someone had survived to bring the footage home, and then had been forced to be quiet about it, until the story was leaked now for the watching audience. In The Devil Inside, the Vatican supposedly stops any footage of Exorcisms from being viewed – so the reason for the footage not making it outside of their clutches is already in place within the story. Behind the Mask (a flawed film that it still worth watching and buying because the idea is so fan-fucking-tastic and the first three-quarters are so brilliant) would have been one of the best films of all time if it had continued its stylistic choices into the finale. The Last Exorcism could have been great, if it had stuck to the intentions set out by the film crew and proved one of the main characters right instead of going for the cheap, shocking twist.

Death is cheap. It’s not shocking anymore. Filmmakers, please don’t go to it as your default option to end a film. Found Footage movies can offer a lot to cinema. It can break that level of detachment and really immerse the audience. It can offer small, independent directors the chance to work on big ideas without a big budget. It can open up people’s ideas an unlimited amount. Hell, just look at Marble Hornets. That’s something anyone with a good idea can achieve with internet access and a camera.

Don’t cheapen it. Do what’s right. Do what’s edgy. Keep away from the clichés and make audiences witness something genuinely dangerous and unexpected.