Terror Trax: Sinthetik Messiah

Sinthetik Messiah

The following is a real interview with a real band. It does, however, take place in a fictitious world.

It was raining again on Tuesday, which made me happy as usual, because I could sit at my kitchen window and watch the Unclass peasants, who can’t afford to install the weather predictor app on their portable life-line telephones, being melted into the sidewalk by the sudden and fierce onslaughts of toxic rain plummeting from the rusted sky. Watching an elderly man fall to the pavement screaming, clawing at his melting face and pulling his cheeks loose from their bones, I chuckled and took a sip of my coffee, thinking about how thankful I was for my tiny hovel’s triple titanium reinforced roof and siding. The old man’s legs melted off and my phone rang, alerting me of an incoming call. I answered on the second ring. It was Bug Gigabyte. He said he was ready to do his interview for Horror Addicts. Delighted, I screamed aloud an ancient curse of joy and threw my cup of coffee across the room, smashing it against the wall and sending porcelain bits raining down on the cold, tile kitchen floor. Sensing the excitement in my voice, Bug asked if I could meet him at Café Metroid in twenty minutes.

“You’re goddamn right I can”, I replied. After saying our mutually cordial goodbyes, I hung up and raced into my clothing container booth to put on my chemical rain and toxicity resistant cloak. Five minutes later, with my trusty journalist’s satchel slung over my shoulder, I was hopping over melting peasant corpses, rushing toward my destination.

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Stepping over the remains of several peasants that were splattered near the front entrance, I entered Café Metroid. I pulled back the hood of my protective cloak. My eyes scanned the room, searching for Bug Gigabyte’s signature black mowhawk. My stomach rumbled. I needed a quadruple ghost pepper infused espresso shot to calm my excited nerves. I stepped into the line that led to the counter. Suddenly, the café’s front door exploded open. I calmly looked over my shoulder to see who or what had burst through the entrance. A Seeker tore past me, brandishing an inert particle reverser in her trembling hands, a determined fire in her eyes. My eyes trailed her, watching her disappear through the swinging kitchen doors, admiring her athletic form held inside her tight leather pants. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned. It was Bug. He smiled at me, held up what looked like an old-fashioned TV remote, and pressed a blue button in the center. All the patrons waiting in line ahead of us disintegrated, turning into pale dust. A café employee appeared with a broom and dustpan and swept them up while Bug and I strolled up to the counter and placed our orders. Moments later we were seated in a cozy window booth.

I took a sip of my piping hot drink and asked Bug how he’d recognized me in the line.

“Because of your official Horror Addicts toxicity and chemical rain resistant cloak,” he replied.

I then remembered that my black cloak has the words HORROR ADDICTS STAFF emblazoned in huge red letters across the back.

“Oh, yeah, that makes sense,” I said with a chuckle.

The rain intensified, pelting the layered safety glass of the café. Another Seeker sped by on a hyper bike. The sight of two of them in such a short time rattled my nerves. I looked at Bug. “We better get started.”

He nodded. “Alright, then…”

After retrieving my digital recorder and a pad and pen from my satchel, I hit the record button and set out to learn the dark secrets of this most elusive creator of dismal worlds of sound.

I cleared my throat and began. “According to your Bandcamp bio, the albums Revelations of the Nintendo Generation (Vol. 1 & 2) were created using the KORG DS-10 program, which is the same software used to create music for the Nintendo DS. Could you please explain a bit of this seemingly mystical process to the uninitiated?

Bug shrugged and answered. “The DS-10, which is the name of the program, was developed by a software company called Xseed games and it’s a digital model of the KORG MS-10. It gives you creation leeway to where it gives you two synthesizers, 4 drum sounds, and a pattern editor to compose the sounds into a musical form. Technically it is a video game, but it is made so well that is a watered down version of a modern day DAW (Digital audio workstation). I created 9 songs on the Nintendo Game alone, and then I imported each instrument into my studio and added guitars, drums, vocals, and extra effects. It is great for beginners as it is a tool to help them learn how an analogue synthesis works. When you sign up for a VIP membership on my Bandcamp, you actually get the original files that came from the DS before I manipulated everything in my main computer.”

“Very intriguing technique”, I said.

Bug took a sip of his soda. An explosion echoed from the third floor of the City Records building across the street. The toxic rain fueled the flames and caused them to leap high into the sky.

“Looks like it’s happening again,” Bug remarked.

I nodded in silent agreement and scribbled a note to myself to check my will if I made it home later that afternoon.

Bug squirmed against the imitation leather seat of the booth. “Next question please, um… what did you say your name was.”

I frowned. “I didn’t, and I won’t; it’s part of my mystique as a distinguished Horror Addicts journalist and I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t ask me again.”

I felt my fingers gripping my cup tight. I could feel the rage building inside.

Bug grinned. “Just kidding, man, I used to write for The Dark Prints. I know all about the mystique.”

I laughed and a female scream tore through the air outside, perfectly complimenting the harmonious atmosphere that Bug and I were cultivating in our café booth. I cleared my throat, took another sip of my espresso, and began again.

“What inspired you to create dark industrial music using the same equipment that was used to create music for Nintendo DS games?”

“I always thought to myself that, for my first big release, I wanted it to be something interesting where not just fans, but industry as well would look at it and think, ‘What did he do with it? What? A Nintendo DS…?’ I always felt that the story behind the way the sounds are made is more interesting than what is on top of them or comes what after that, and I wanted to capture that element with those albums,” Bug explained.

He seemed so fixated on this Nintendo, an antiquated video game system, one of a handful played by our old-world ancestors that I was vaguely familiar with. Considering his class status as a Neo-Tech, I didn’t quite understand how this obsolete game system seemed to inform his identity. I needed to know more.

“Who is the Nintendo generation and what are their revelations?” I inquired.

Bug fixed me with a serious, contemplative glare. “Throughout history, there has always been this gentleman complex in society as far back as the 1800 to about the 1960s, and scraping by on the 70s. By the time the 80s hit, life was more culturalized because we were becoming more connected by technology and the average man had a lot more different complexes due to the social down turn of society and what was going on throughout the global community. With that in mind, the Nintendo generation is made up of kids that grew up with the original Nintendo, playing games like Mario, where you are always the hero trying to save the princess. It is the hero complex within us -where all that is wrong- we want to change. It is embedded into our subconscious through the video games. That was my revelation.”

Fascinating! An entire philosophy gleamed from a gray and black electronic box. Maybe there were ghosts inside the primitive circuitry that subconsciously communicated these messages to the young artist? I scratched these ponderings onto my notepad while Bug graciously awaited my next question. Outside, the rain poured down even harder. I was beginning to feel nervous.

I looked up at my subject. “Bug, what is the inspiration behind SINthetik Messiah? Is there a meaning behind the band name?”

“SINthetik Messiah, to me, is an avant-garde art project that started out in 1996 and it was based on the theory of using gorilla tactic promotional ideas in the art community to help inspire others to strive better in their art form. I would describe Gorilla Tactic promotion as promotional material that involves stationary positions in society where it can be seen clear as day. Sometimes put there illegally such as graffiti. Then years later, I fell in love with music and it kind of just evolved after that,” Bug explained.

“A philosophy, a visual statement, and all leading up to an auditory exploration…?” I pondered out loud, my words trailing off.

My interviewee offered no response as he stared out the window, riveted by the raging fire across the street. He trained his eyes upward. “The sky’s turning purple,” he whispered. “I wonder if the Seekers will make it in time.”

Seeing Bug’s expression turn dour, I quickly made my best effort to turn the conversation back to the subject at hand.

“Tell me, please,” I began. “Are there any key influences on SINthetik Messiah, musical or otherwise?”

Bug turned back to me, a slight smile across his face. “In the beginning, it was acts like Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, Wumpscut, and many other acts in those experimental genres that really helped the sound I had always wanted or felt that I needed to create myself. But as of lately, playing with a lot of local Louisiana acts has influenced me in a sense of what kind of musical direction I want to get into for the time being, that being Southern Rock. I just picked up a new guitarist, Mr. Suede Wilson, who has been helping me implement southern rock for the past 9 months into our current style. It blends really well musically when we play with rock/metal based acts. The next major album we release I will be featuring him on the album.”

I made a mental note to remind myself that, if I was alive tomorrow, to ask Bug what Southern Rock actually is, and proceeded straight into the next question. “Do you have an all-time favorite Nintendo game?”

“My favorite Nintendo game has to be BattleToads because they were the first punk rockers/goth looking characters in the Nintendo franchise,” Bug said.

As I brought my demitasse espresso cup to my lips, an eardrum shattering explosion rocked the street, shaking the café and causing me to spill the last of my drink down the front of my favorite sweater. Cursing, I reached for a napkin. Another explosion rumbled somewhere in the distance. A café employee appeared at our table and, with terror-filled eyes and a shaky voice, informed us that things didn’t seem to be working out that well on this particular afternoon and that The Metroid would be closing early and that we should probably continue our conversation elsewhere.

I noticed the dreaded red light begin to shine down from the sky, seeping in through the windows, and Bug and I found ourselves agreeing with the frightened food service worker. After gathering our personal items and throwing on our protective cloaks, Bug and I headed out the door. I still had an interview to finish, however, and I wasn’t giving up anytime soon.

“What kind of function do you see electronic-based music performing within horror culture?” I asked.

He skipped over the half-melted body of an Unclass sanitation worker, still in uniform, and replied thoughtfully, “Considering the fact that when Bob Moog first made the full functioning polyphonic synthesizer, musicians weren’t picking it up, due to price and not understanding what can actually be done with it. It was the film industry that was using synthesizers to create sound effects because they could afford it and by that it helped further advance sound design as a whole.  So I feel it has even a bigger role now days because most of the sounds on a film are more recreated than actual sounds.”

Having witnessed first-hand the influence that film has had on our culture, I didn’t press the issue any further. Besides, there was a gang of What-Nots approaching fast on their motor machines, all thirteen of them crowding the width of the street. We ducked into an alley just before the group sped past, toxic rain bouncing off their armor, their shouts rising into the air. Seeming a good time to take the questioning in a darker direction, I asked, “What is the best type of curse?”

Bug laughed out loud. “Being that you guys are a horror program, the ones that make you bleed from your eyeholes and your assholes until the person who is cursed completes what needs to be done in favor of the one who cast it.”

Another explosion tore through the city. I looked at Bug. He wore concern across his face.

“I don’t think the Seekers are gonna make it,” he lamented.

“They’ve failed in their quest on their last three tries,” I added with a sigh.

“And the city will burn down, again…”

“Well, it’s not forever,” I said with a smile. “When the Seekers start a new quest, everything will be bright and new once again, and the Unclass will be melting in the streets and we’ll be smiling and having our coffee and it will be a brand new day.”

Bug grinned, appreciating my optimism. “Yeah, you’re right. But still, that’s what sucks about life as a video game extra; your day could just end at any moment, even when you’re right in the middle of something cool, like an interview for Horror Addicts.”

Upon hearing Bug’s soliloquy, I was gripped by a deep and sudden urgency. I had to finish the interview before our world came to an end.

The sirens started to wail. The countdown had begun.

“What’s it like being a socially conscious Goth in the Deep South?” I shouted, holding my recorder out to Bug.

Raising his voice, he replied. “Given the fact that a lot of the people I work with aren’t Goth at all, I’ve learned to get out of my shell and be more open to people who really aren’t on the same level as me as far as style goes, and I can certainly appreciate the cultural differences. Those differences show up in my work quite often. Sometimes it can be really hard though, because most of population in the south has that Christian judgement thing going on, and sometimes it is not so positive. I like to prove them wrong though, how’s the saying go? Kill them with kindness? Haha…!”

The pavement cracked and dark red blood bubbled up at our feet. This was the sign that the Seekers were on their last remaining lives, and that their life force was terminally low; time for one last question.

“How has your benefit work been received?  Does anyone ever express the attitude of, “Hey, you’re this dark band, what in the eff are you doing benefit work for? Aren’t all you people supposed to be existential, nihilistic, misanthropes?”

Bug shook his head, knowing the stereotype all too well. “It’s been received quite well since I’ve gotten quite a few articles about me on the internet and in newspapers of my band doing benefit work. I never really got negative attention from anybody about that. However, I’m not the only one that is doing benefit work in the Goth scene. I have come across 50-100 bands in the goth/industrial scene alone, but I don’t think they put in as much time and effort as I do in helping their own community even if it’s not Goth. There is a lot of stuff about benefit work I do that I do not put in the public, why? Because it’s not about press to me, it is about helping the ones in need, the best way we can without going broke. That is just my personal opinion on the subject. Also, if there is someone that did hate on my act or any other act that does benefit work, I would personally tell them they can go suck a dick, they are a terrible person and should just stay inside and keep their opinion to themselves.”

The red sky above us began to glow.

“Any closing words or news on upcoming plans or releases,” I asked as the ground shook beneath my feet.

Cyberpunks of New Tokyo is a book/album/animation that im working on that’s set to be released sometime 2019. I had to push the date back because there are like two/three other albums I wanna put out before that one is released,” Bug said. “And… Thank you, much love and respect.”

I smiled. “Thank you, Bug, and-

I never finished my sentence. The sky exploded and we both disappeared, an obvious sign that the Seekers had failed in their quest once again. When I regained consciousness, I was seated at my kitchen table, watching the toxic rain fall from the sky, waiting for my next writing assignment to arrive in the mail.

https://sinthetikmessiah.bandcamp.com/

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FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Full Eclipse versus The Howling II

Bad, Bad Dog: Full Eclipse and Howling II: Your Sister is A Werewolf

By Kristin Battestella

Somehow, I managed to stumble upon not one, but two questionable tales of wolfdom- the 1985 sequel Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf and the 1993 HBO original movie Full Eclipse. Ruh-roh!

LA detective Max Dire (Mario Van Peebles) loses his wife and his partner and can’t quite deal. Fortunately, new special officer Adam Garou (Bruce Payne) invites Max to join his exclusive criminal task force- composed of other quality, but struggling cops like Casey Spencer (Patsy Kensit) who take the law into their own hands. The team injects themselves with a special serum designed by Garou, giving them superior prowess against the crime on the street…and a few werewolf tendencies.

Director Anthony Hickox (Waxwork) and writers Michael Reaves (Gargoyles, Smurfs) and Richard Christian Matheson’s (The A-Team, and yes, son of Richard Matheson) standard, undeveloped cop story has its share of script issues as it weakly deals with all the typical detective traumas like alcohol, empty marriages, and corruption. More repeating clichés and meandering plots waste far too much time for a 90-minute movie. Worse still, Full Eclipse never decides whether it’s a cop movie or a horror film- this wolf unit is supposed to be so total justice and badass, but the entire idea is just too preposterous even for fantasy. The dark realism attempt comes across as totally hokey, and a lot of the poor design work is too dark and tough to see anyway. Though dated by the nineties fashions, the lingering low budget feelings and mismashed plots are worse than any of the old motifs. ‘Looks old’ you can forgive if the tale holds up, but this nineties badass isn’t really that badass at all thanks to too much useless, bad action and slow motion police work. And all this is before all the cheesy werewolf mess! There’s simply not enough mystery or scares to accept the crappy effects, wolverine like wolf claws, and cops suited up like cannibal superheroes.

Fans of Mario Van Peebles, thankfully, can find a few things to enjoy in Full Eclipse. Granted, Peebles (Damages, All My Children, New Jack City, Heartbreak Ridge, Posse, Solo, I’ll stop) is kind of just being himself as always, but it’s juicy, cocky, and fun to watch as expected. Likewise, Bruce Payne (Highlander: Endgame) is freaky fun. The script and goofy wolf serum plot don’t serve him well, but some might enjoy his violent creepy, disturbing as that it is. Unfortunately, it’s Patsy Kensit (Emmerdale, Lethal Weapon 2, music chick and rocker wife) who drops the ball most in Full Eclipse. Yes, there’s plenty of nineties rowdy English rose pretty, but she’s also pretty obvious and absolutely unbelievable as a cop- much less an action hero with hairy secrets or a meaty attitude. Actually, there’s no chemistry among the cast, and Full Eclipse isn’t nearly as sexy as it could have been. And that ‘love scene’ between Kensit and MVP is just pathetic. I’ve never seen people bump and grind whilst being so far away from each other!

Likewise, fans of that horror titan himself, Christopher Lee, can attempt the badly bizarre novelty of Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf. But of course, Sir Christopher’s voice is great as always- and I do so love the way he insistently repeats that subtitle! He certainly looks the classy werewolf hunter, or excuse me, the ‘occult investigator’. Big C always comes to play even in a bad, bad movie such as this, but the classy older Lee going for those funky white sunglasses and red leather jacket for some undercover eighties clubbing is just….no. In some scenes, it’s like there’s Christopher Lee, and then there’s everyone else- and to top it off, he has the Holy Grail in his wolf arsenal. I kid you not. Lee’s Occult expert Stefan must convince reporter Jenny (Annie McEnroe) and Ben White (Reb Brown, Captain America) that his sister- the reporter Karen White from the 1981 film The Howling– is now a werewolf needing to be staked in her crypt. To stop all the virile werewolves from rising with the full moon, the trio must travel to Transylvania and destroy the ancient wolf queen Stirba (Sybil Danning) before she makes hairy werewolf love in a spectacular eighties light show. I repeat, I kid you not.

Truly, this cast is so, so bad (I made a mistake when I typed my notes and wrote ‘sos’ bad, as in ‘S.O.S’, wow!) Annie McEnroe (Beetlejuice) is a totally unrealistic and mousy reporter with pathetic delivery. In her scenes with Lee, it feels like he would have been better off talking to a wall because it is that one-sided of a conversation. None of it sounds right, especially the bad howling during the weird wolf sex. While I love the idea of a sexy and badass black wolf chick stealing the show, Marsha Hunt (Dracula A.D. 1972) isn’t given the proper treatment. Her makeup and over the top wolf plots are too eighties to be sexy, and the full doggy getup ends up looking more like a drag queen. It’s an utter injustice for what could have been hot hot hot. Thankfully, Sybil Danning (Amazon Women on the Moon) is totally fetching despite that scary and violent leather bodysuit. The incredibly weak script gives her nothing to say but growls and gibberish- was that aged 10 millennia did you say, really? Danning looks perfectly perky and kinky in her prime, but if only we could have seen more of her and Lee together in something more Hammer juicy. Alas, instead we get the very disturbing Little Person Werewolf Hunter Jiri Krytinar (Amadeus), who unfortunately gets his brain imploded by Stirba before turning Don’t Look Now. Ouch.

 

This utterly preposterous story from director Phillippe Mora (A Breed Apart) twists source novelist Gary Brandner’s mythos and also goes by Howling II: Stirba- Werewolf Bitch. Well, I may as well stop reviewing right there, for there isn’t anything major wolfy or bitchy here. This 1985 sequel is a far cry from its cult treat predecessor, with nasty werewolf implications that don’t go far enough and awkward, reaching ties to the original film. Too many changes to the werewolf essentials almost turn Howling II into a vampire move. These Transylvania wolves are immune to silver and can only be stopped by titanium stakes through the heart. Every eighties horror shtick possible is used – fire magic wolves get their powers binded by Big Christopher in what is a completely random and unfulfilling attempt at sexy horror and wolf comedy. Everything about Howling II is mistaken, from the bad, unnecessary eighties music over taking everything to the low of the lowest budget 1985 design. The punk teen Euro wolfy fashions, horrible lycan effects, awful zooms, and disastrous attempts at what you don’t see horror- really; these werewolves toss crates to ensnare their victims! Likewise, they themselves are caught in some bad action scenes and get captured with fishing nets!

I’m harsh, yes, but Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf and Full Eclipse can be entertaining believe it or not- if you really, really like bad wolfy movies or are seriously jonesing over the leading men. It’s ironic because Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lee are probably as far from each other in the leading man spectrum as you could get, but both deserve to be in a quality wolf horror movie. Nonetheless, their fans can still have fun here. However, if you are a highbrow fright connoisseur and expect some sense of credibility or logic in your lycan films, then move along doggie.

Odds and DEAD ends: The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden’s cursed album

If any album deserves, by outward appearances, to be labeled cursed, it’s Iron Maiden’s 1982 album The Number of the Beast. The title track was inspired by a nightmare bassist Steve Harris had after watching The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976), and the matching album artwork, was enough to convince the general public that Iron Maiden was a satanic band. The album was subject to much controversy, with public burnings of the records country-wide. Some people even refrained from burning the albums for fear they would inhale the evil from the toxic fumes being released from the cursed vinyl and instead smashed them with hammers.

Never mind that the only the title song references the devil and that the lyrics are about a dream of a cult much like in H. P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu (1926). The song’s protagonist even says ‘this can’t go on, I must inform the law’, which sounds to me as anti-satanic as you can get. Nevertheless, it was enough to warrant protests from more conservative groups, with leaflets being handed to concert goers outside the venues, and there are even reports of giant crucifixes being carried and erected nearby. And this is just after the album was released.

So it’s not surprising that, given all this controversy, even the guys behind the scenes think there may have been more to the album than meets the ear.

The production was apparently plagued by technical breakdowns and disasters. Most of this involves technical glitches during the recording process, such as electrical faults, and equipment breaking down. It’s amusing to remember that The Exorcist is reported to have had similar issues during its production. Coincidence? Occasionally, I’ve heard, there were one or two moments of coldness in the booths and production rooms during the recording.

But this all pales in comparison to the infamous van-full-of-nuns incident involving the album’s producer, Martin Birch.

The story, so it goes, is that it’s a Sunday, and Birch is driving home from the studio after working on the track The Number of the Beast itself, by a strange coincidence. In the dark and the rain, Birch’s car collides with a van, causing serious damage to Birch’s Range Rover.

Getting out of the car, Birch walks to the van and peers through the windows. To his surprise, he sees half a dozen nuns in the back of the van.

Out of the front comes the driver, shaken up and very lucky to have not been seriously injured, or even killed, in the incident. The man drops to his knees in the middle of the road and begins to pray for a bemused Martin Birch, thanking God for sparing them from further harm.

Perhaps there was some kind of divine intervention there, a tragedy to be inflicted by the beast having been thwarted at the last moment by the worshipers of God. The tale, however, doesn’t end here. A day or two after the incident, Birch takes his Range Rover to the garage to get repairs done. The mechanic eventually comes back with a figure. The total at the bottom of the receipt?

£666.

Reportedly Birch asked for the price to be changed, even increased by a few pounds, as long as he didn’t pay that specific number. The album, it seems, had apparently followed him a little too closely.

Cursed productions and media are, of course, nothing new. As well as the aforementioned Exorcist, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is also rumoured to be cursed; witches that lived near Shakespeare’s old home in Stratford having cursed the play after he stole their words for the famous cauldron scenes. And although the curse of Iron Maiden’s album has done nothing to prevent it from being one of the most influential rock and metal albums of all time, it’s definitely interesting to think that, perhaps, they were channeling something a little more sinister than just musical talents and showmanship.

 

Bibliography

Lovecraft, H. P., 1926. The Call of Cthulhu. s.l.:Weird Tales.

Maiden, I., 1982. The Number of the Beast. [Sound Recording] (EMI).

The Exorcist. 1973. [Film] Directed by William Friedkin. USA: Hoya Productions.

The Omen. 1976. [Film] Directed by Richard Donner. UK, USA: 20th Century Fox.

 

-Article by Kieran Judge for HorrorAddicts.net

 

 

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: Enchanted in the Moonlight

Game Review: Enchanted in the Moonlight

Monsters are big business right now. I mean, they’ve always been the stars of horror, but recently audience sympathy has shifted in favor of what were, traditionally, the villains. Wanting a little monstrous romance is more common than it’s ever been (Academy Award Winner for Best Picture The Shape of Water, anyone?). So, in the world of games, romance and horror, there must be an intersection somewhere for those looking for a little action.

Look no more. Today, I will review Enchanted in the Moonlight, a dating simulator game for iPhone and Android where you become romantically involved with a monster.

Enchanted in the Moonlight draws inspiration from traditional Japanese mythology and includes ayakashi, creatures that are similar to monsters (and will be familiar to fans of anime). You, as the main character, have a special power that is coveted by the ayakashi. As a result, you have your pick of supernatural suitors. Choose a suitor, then sit back and enjoy the story.

Game Play

Dating sims have been huge in Japan for a while, so otakus are probably already familiar with the concept. Only in recent years have they made their way into the mainstream minds of Western consumers.

If you haven’t encountered the concept, dating sims work like an electronic Choose Your Own Adventure, plus romance. You play the sim on your phone by downloading the app. The game follows a story and gives you, as the main character, choices throughout that effect what happens next.

Most games are free, but you must purchase stories in the app to play through more than the first chapter. Once you choose which character to pursue, you can then follow the story, choosing what you do and say along the way and hopefully bring about a happy ending.

Enchanted in the Moonlight offers six possible love interests: a kitsune (fox), tengu (black bird), werewolf, oni (demon), yukibito (snow spirit), and house spirit.

Game Experience

I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for storytelling games. And the stories included here were addicting. The supernatural premise adds an element of drama that I really enjoyed. I’ve bought all the different character arcs at this point, none of which are repetitive in the slightest.

That said, your choices as a character don’t really hold that much weight. There are really only a handful of endings waiting for you, so you won’t do much more than deviate the events in a minor way. I found myself sometimes wishing that I could respond in ways that weren’t offered, maybe smacking a little sense into characters that tended toward the misogynistic. If you’re looking for something complex, there are better dating sim options. However, if you’re looking for some mindless fun and romance, this is for you.

The showcase of the games is the art. There are lovely anime-style images used throughout, with special pictures for important parts of the story. Most games let you save these in a special gallery to admire later.

Bottom line: the premise is a little contrived, the prologue is rushed, the main character is kind of a pushover, and the writing isn’t the greatest. BUT, it’s fun. It’s silly and ridiculous and romantic.

Final Thoughts

Dating sims aren’t for everyone, but they can be a fun escape. If you’re looking for a story game you can play in your downtime, this is a great option. If you want something mindless to enjoy, I recommend it wholeheartedly. I mean, I always wanted to date a werewolf.

Music Review: The Blessing Way

The Blessing Way – From Empty Plates We Dine

This week on HorrorAddicts.net we’re taking a look at the latest release from the gothic metal band The Blessing Way. The Blessing Way released their full-length “From Empty Plates We Dine” on Mourning Light Records on the 21st of June, 2018, telling a chilling story of decay and the macabre, laced with the esoteric of gothic Victorian New Orleans. Haunting pianos and arpeggiated guitars sailing over driving drums and tortured vocals carry this panoramic release to the underworldly depths of despair painted by the band’s composer Ollie Gill.

Every song on the album is a unique story of death and decay, bringing listeners on a continued sonic journey through the catacombs of the mind of the diseased. Each composition features stellar orchestral songwriting reminiscent of the baroque era, harpsichords and pianos dancing over the relentless metal aspect of the music. The only element of the music compromised to influence and direct comparison with other bands is the vocals, reminiscent of 90s true Norwegian black metal such as Darkthrone and Emperor.

I would highly recommend this album to anybody who enjoys any form of gothic metal, black metal, and symphonic metal, or anybody who is interested in a horror story in musical form.

This release is available worldwide now through Mourning Light Records. You can order your copy at MourningLightRecords.StoreEnvy.com. You can also hear more of The Blessing Way on all major music streaming platforms.

Purchase “From Empty Plates We Dine” here!

 

Classic Horror Summer Reading – A Video Recommendation

 

Hello, Horror Addicts! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again on video, braving the sunshine poolside to chat about why you should be revisiting some Classic Horror Reads this Summer!

 

Press play for some thoughts on Dracula, Anne Rice, Shakespeare, Stephen King, The Bronte Sisters, and more!

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Chilling Chat Episode 156 Christine Verstraete

Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a little “scare” in her writing. She follows the murder trial and offers a twist on the infamous 1892 Borden murders in her book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. She also looks at the murders from the viewpoint of Lizzie’s doctorC.A. Verstraete in her latest, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen. Other books include a young adult novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, and books on dollhouse collecting and crafting. Christine’s short stories have appeared in various anthologies including: Descent Into Darkness, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Mystery Weekly, and Timeshares, Steampunk’d, and Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, DAW Books. She is an award-winning journalist published in daily to weekly newspapers, and in various magazines. Her stories have received awards from local and national newspaper associations, and the Dog Writer’s Association of America.

Christine is a smart and accomplished lady. We discussed historical horror, her writing style, and Lizzie Borden.

 

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Christine. Thank you for chatting with me today.

CV: My pleasure and thanks for taking the time to talk.

NTK: You have a background in journalism. How has this influenced your writing?

CV: It makes me more detail-oriented, I think. I’m used to looking things up and doing research.

NTK: Did this help you when writing Lizzie Borden: Zombie Hunter?

CV: I did do a lot of reading and finding research of the period. The real autopsy reports and crime scene photos actually inspired the book idea.

NTK: Wow! The autopsy photos inspired the plot?Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by [Verstraete, C.A.]

CV: If you read the autopsy reports detailing the injuries and look at the photos, it’s plausible (in the horror sense) to think why else were they hit in the head? It was an awful, brutal crime, so I guess this gives a better reason than the standard hate/greed/family dysfunction/dissatisfaction.

NTK: What made you portray Lizzie as a hero?

CV: Using that [zombie] premise, I thought Lizzie had to have a good reason to kill, other than being a monster herself. What if she was trying to protect her town and her sister from this unbelievable evil?

NTK: Were you influenced by some of the historical horror novels like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

CV: I hadn’t read ALVH until later, but loved it! I really enjoyed the movie.

NTK: You have an interesting take on the case and an interesting “What if?” Stephen King has spoken of how he uses “What if?” when thinking of an idea. Is that how you write? Do you look at a situation and say, “What if this happened?”

CV: I wish I was as prolific-thinking as him! My ideas seem to come out of nowhere, then I stew on them a bit and see what they develop into. I have to get excited about the idea to stick with it.

I guess I’m so structured in news-writing that fiction is looser—in the idea stage, anyway.

NTK: Your style is very crisp and direct. What writers have influenced you?

CV: It’s probably the news background. I know I don’t like reading or writing, long, meandering sentences. I loved reading Royko in The Chicago Tribune. Grew up on King who, of course, can be rather wordy at times. (Laughs) I went through different periods of loving different authors, classic and contemporary—Dean Koontz, Heinlein, loved Saul Bellow too.

NTK: I have to ask. Who do you prefer? King or Koontz?

CV: Probably King, as I’ve probably read more from him. I loved that he did a sequel to The Shining (and it did well.) The recent It movie was fun too.

NTK: Did King get you into horror?

CV: Well, I grew up on Creature Features on TV, the Crypt Keeper, Night Gallery, and reading King. (Laughs) Salem’s Lot is a favorite I still like to reread now and then. I just picked up a copy of Carrie to read again after many, many years.

NTK: Are these your favorite horror novels? What are your favorite Horror TV shows and movies?

CV: The TVs shows, I just mentioned are favorites.

NTK: Do you watch The Walking Dead?

CV: Yes—when I can. It’s addicting! [As to books] I also really liked reading I Am Legend and plan on reading Matheson’s other books. It’s writing that makes you savor the sentences. I love old creepy movies, even the corny ones—and, anything with Vincent Price!

NTK: Vincent Price starred in many historical pieces. Is that what got you interested in that type of horror?

CV: Most likely. He had that mesmerizing voice. I also liked Edgar Allan Poe. I still remember seeing The Tell-Tale Heart at the theater. One scary movie!

The older movies really got me hooked, classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and Bride of Frankenstein. And, The Wolfman of course.

I guess after all that; it made sense that I finally turned to writing creepy stuff!

NTK: What’s your favorite Edgar Allan Poe story or poem?

CV: The Tell-Tale Heart. I recently re-read The Black Cat, also very eerie and still packs a punch. Maybe, that’s why I like putting a little twist in stories, like I did in Lizzie Borden: Zombie Hunter and, the sequel, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall.Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall by [Verstraete, C.A.]

NTK: You write creepy things. Do you also create creepy things? You make miniatures. Have you ever built a haunted dollhouse?

CV: (Laughs) Yes, I’m that twisted. I do enjoy creating Halloween miniatures. I had fun doing my first Halloween dollhouse and thinking how creepy I could get. Far as I know, nothing has moved of its own accord in there…yet. I am planning another haunted house but less gory this time.

NTK: Cool! You spoke of Lizzie Borden and the sequel. Do you have other work concerning Lizzie and her time period?

CV: There’s also a companion novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, told from the viewpoint of Lizzie’s doctor and neighbor. He was the first official on the murder scene, and I wondered how could that, and the city’s bloody past, have affected him? It’s kind of a ghostly love story as well. I wanted to try something different and had fun writing it.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? Do you have plans for new work?

CV: Oh, the mind never rests, you know. (Laughs) I have a longer short story that I may re-edit and put out again. I was toying with some ideas for book 3 for Lizzie. I love writing about the characters.

The first book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, follows the trial and real-life events with the addition of zombies, of course. I had to follow more fictional events in the sequel to continue the story, but I liked coming up with a new weird angle to the story.

A big thrill was [when] the newspaper in Lizzie’s hometown did a story on the book when it first came out. That was fun.

NTK: Do you think the Lizzie in your universe is cursed?

CV: She’s fighting evil and learning that her father may have been part of that evil…you can’t get more cursed than that. That could be why she feels obligated to do what she can, even when everyone blames her for the horrors. Much like in real life, she was acquitted but still treated as a pariah and considered guilty.

NTK: As you know, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

CV: I do love the old gypsy curse in the classic Wolfman movie…Larry Talbot’s a monster, but you can’t help but feel his pain and feel sorry for him until the curse is broken…

NTK: That’s a terrific curse. Thank you, Christine. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you.

CV: I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you.

Addicts, you can follow Christine on Twitter at @caverstraete