The Suggestion Box #55: Machines, and Murderers, and Monsters, Oh My!

Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.

Ben’s Movie Pick: In Search of DarknessWhile I’d most likely appreciate any documentary that takes a deep dive into 80’s horror flicks, the genuine enthusiasm of everyone involved in this feature makes In Search of Darkness even more enjoyable. It’s great to see that so many icons and legends within the genre still love their craft even all these years later. In Search of Darkness explores an exceptional decade of horror via classic heroic and villainous actors like Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise), Doug Bradley (Pinhead from Hellraiser), Nick Castle (the original Halloween’s Michael Myers), and genre-defining creators such as John Carpenter (director of Halloween, The Thing, etc.) Tom Holland (director and writer of Child’s Play) and many, many more. Each of them offers insight into the big shifts and changes that occurred throughout the genre in the 80’s (my highlights include the rise of the scream queen and the continuously evolving use of practical effects) and moments that they believe inspired the generations of horror filmmakers that followed them. If you are a fan of horror flicks, I urge you to check out In Search of Darkness. You won’t regret it!

Ben’s Movie Pick: The Thing (1982) – The Thing is a terrifying, perfectly-paced sci-fi horror masterpiece; no doubt about it. The fact that it has multiple scenes that easily rank among the most haunting in all of cinema is a testament to John Carpenter’s immense directorial talent, Ennio Morricine’s superb score, and Rob Bottin’s jaw-droppingly gruesome practical effects. The latter may be showing their age just slightly now, nearly four decades later, but the sheer creativity and originality behind them still manages to blow me away every time I rewatch the seminal monster movie. The Thing‘s cast is rock solid too, with talent like Kurt Russell and Keith David selling every ounce of tension and paranoia as they combat an extraterrestrial entity that, thanks to the aforementioned work from Bottin, is truly, genuinely scary. Few movies since The Thing have been able to match the body horror or psychological terror one experiences when watching it, and nothing else I’ve seen has yet to balance both so well.

Lauren’s Video Game Pick: Dead by Daylight I’ve watched streamers like Meg Turney and negaoryx play the survival horror game Dead by Daylight for years now, but have always been too terrified to play it myself until recently when a few friends decided to give it a go. For those who don’t know, Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer game in which four players attempt to get 5 generator’s running to power the doors and escape the map, all the while being hunted down by someone else playing the killer (ranging from DbD originals like the hatchet wielding Huntress and Plague, who has been affectionately nicknamed Vommy Mommy for her projectile attack, to big names from video games and films like Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head and Saw’s Pig, who can put reverse bear traps on a survivor’s head that will rip their face in two if not removed fast enough). In the 2 or so months I’ve been playing I have been jump scared countless times by murderers, but what truly gets the heart pounding is the anxiety that builds while trying to succeed at skill checks and keep your head on a constant swivel for any sign of an impending attack as you and your fellow survivors must work together if you have any hope of making it out alive. Honestly I don’t know if I could play this game on my own because the security blanket of having friends to talk to and strategize with makes the stress so much more bearable for me, but I’m a chicken. Don’t be a chicken like me; pick this game up immediately and try it out for yourself. You won’t regret it.

Ben’s Two Cents: I haven’t spent as much time playing Dead by Daylight as Lauren has, but it only took me a few rounds to see that everything you previously read is totally accurate. The different survivor/killer abilities can drastically change how a match will play out, keeping you on the edge of your seat at all times, and developer Behaviour Interactive’s passion for the horror films that inspired them to make DbD is easy to see in virtually every aspect of the game. From the absolutely brilliant gameplay mechanics like an audible heartbeat and musical chords that grow louder and faster if the killer is closing in on you to the surprisingly lengthy bios for every playable character, you can tell that this game was made with lots of love. And as Lauren alluded to earlier, DbD has earned enough horror cred to become a “Super Slash Bros.” of sorts (I am so proud of that moniker) by bringing in heroes, final girls, and murderous monsters from franchises like Scream, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, and more. I’m honestly ashamed that it’s taken me, someone who’s loved horror movies since he was far too young to be watching them, so long to jump into Dead by Daylight, as it’s only the second game I’ve played that truly feels like a playable horror movie (the other being Until Dawn). Seriously, this game deserves the support of anyone who loves horror movies and owns a console or computer that can run it.

Ben’s Video Game Pick: Horizon Zero DawnEven when comparing it against the Playstation 5 titles I’ve played, Horizon Zero Dawn is still one of the best-looking games I have on my new hardware. That’s a testament to both Guerilla Games’ own decima game engine (which was first used for Killzone: Shadowfall, another visually impressive PS4 title) and the outstanding open world that’s just begging to be explored as soon as you’re given the freedom to do so. Set in a post-post-apocalyptic world, players are put into the shoes of Aloy, one of the most memorable protagonists of the previous console generation, as she seeks to learn of her origins and how to stem the corruption that is affecting the wide variety of robotic animals that roam across the lands. Going up against these mechanical beasts is often daunting, leads to some of the most intense and rewarding unscripted combat in any open world game to date, and the battles that take place in the story or side missions are even better. It also has one of the most unique and memorable video game soundtracks from the past few years. Overall, Horizon Zero Dawn is a must-play for any and all PS4 or PS5 owners, especially when there’s a sequel on the… well, horizon.

So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!

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