Despite the date in the GIF, 98DEMAKE initially denies the game will be out on December 1st before walking it back with a teasing ‘maybe?’
SEPTEMBER 1999 came out earlier this year and made waves with its short, but effective run time. It was 98DEMAKE’s second game of 2018 after the trippy OK/NORMAL. Previously he was famous for producing retro demakes of modern games including PT and Bioshock.
Do you enjoy films with needlessly confusing premises, poor performances and even worse writing? Well look no further than LEAVE YOURSELF ALONE, because it is all that and so much more.
Producer/director Nicole Eckenroad finds abandoned documentary style film footage of Nicole Grace, a 19 year old girl pursuing her undeniable passion for acting. Two young filmmakers follow her entire journey and LEAVE YOURSELF ALONE is a reenactment of the footage Eckenroad found. So you have an actress playing an actress who is trying to be an actress? Ooookay…..
Nicole Grace was born and raised in Los Angeles. For an aspiring actress, this should give her a strong advantage over the rest of her L.A transplanted peers. Well, not even that upper hand can help Nicole because of a stupid mistake she made that has basically black listed her from working in L.A. Her next move? She embarks on a very cliche, underwhelming road trip with her best friend to the next best place for actors, Philadelphia. Wait… what? Now, I’m no entertainment industry expert but…Philly??? What kind of acting opportunities could possibly be in Philadelphia? Ever heard of New York City? Hello?!?!
Much like this movie, the trip she takes with her best friend was unbearable to watch. Nicole brings the mood down when she asks her bestie why she was late to her birthday party? Give me a break. WHO CARES? A grown ass woman asking “why were you late to my birthday party a year ago?” The friend’s answer is as cringe worthy as the question. She had hooked up with her teacher for a good grade and Nicole’s reaction is judgmental and harsh which really annoyed me too. Get over it. If you are going to be late to my birthday party in order to graduate, then please, by all means handle your business. Also- shout out the 2 documentarians in the backseat THE WHOLE TIME because there’s no way in HELL anyone would last 2 minutes filming my best friend and me, let alone filming an entire cross country road trip. We would drive any sane person bonkers.
Her relationship with her best friend Jackie (Joanna Pickering) displayed a bit of distance. Nicole said shes a “closed book” and it was infuriating. No one is closed off with their best friend that is WHY they are your best friend!! The whole friendship dynamic was ridiculous. She would whine, “…but you’re my best friend…” but ignore her calls, keeps secrets and acts like a total bitch most of the time. If only Nicole Grace worked as feverishly at being a better person as she did at being a star…wait…did I just write a better story line?? Basically anything would be.
Nicole Grace arrives to Philadelphia and moves into this massive home. It’s run down and needs some maintenance, sure. But it’s clearly over 1500 square feet and she complains the whole time. Listen, I would be DIYing the fuck out of that place. Find a handyman and make that shithole a home. Also, I was just thinking, “look bitch, my apartment in Hong Kong is 50 sq feet so spare me the dramatics, you’re in a huge space, it’s not that bad, make it work.”
This girl’s character is so annoying I could kill her myself. She’s privileged, closed off due to some traumatic past event and it seems like there was zero creativity involved in this film.Her agent in Philly gets her a gig and Nicole’s loses herself in the roles she is playing. The character she is playing has dealt with some trauma Nicole herself has personally experienced and it causes her to completely lose her shit. Where is the method acting if you’re playing someone whose deepest darkest secrets are the same as yours?
Nicole is really hellbent on approaching this role with method acting, for better or for worse. She makes her real life mimic the life of the dark character she needs to portray. She goes overboard, cuts off her family and friends and becomes a different person. I get method acting and how it can be an effective tool for developing a performance but she takes it too far and it is ultimately her demise.
Nicole Eckenroad was giving me serious Allison Williams vibes the whole time, but not in a good way. When she would talk, she sounded like Williams. The only difference being Williams can actually act. Oh and of course this character thinks she can sing too. There is this one part of the film where she is doing karaoke and it just sounds sooo edited and filtered. Why not just sit down and do a decent performance and showcase that you can sing? Or perhaps that editing is a cheap mask to make a non-singer, sing well. It was almost disappointing watching her because I would so much rather be dialed in on Williams.
“Leave Yourself Alone? More like leave this movie alone. Major waste of time.”
Wicklow, Ireland: October 31, 2018, marked the surprise release of Weird Pretty Pictures latest cinematic outing; In a Stranger’s House. Centered on the strange and horrific goings-on of a man housesitting in the middle of nowhere, the found footage film sets the nerves on edge as the situation gets more and more harrowing.
The sophomore outing for World of Death director Richard Waters, this film focuses almost exclusively on one character and the claustrophobic intensity of the experience he is going through. Bar some brief appearances by other actors, the entire production, from camera work to acting to editing and sound design and release was handled by Richard alone. Speaking about the unique production of In a Stranger’s House, Richard elaborated:
“The film started out as a challenge for myself. After The O’Briens [Waters’ first feature], I’d been burned by a lot of potential opportunities and was needing something to get that fire inside me going again, and this was it. I did the one scene, where strange things happen with a doll, and I was so happy with the results that I decided to just plow on and keep building up this entire film until I had this whole world and something I could stand behind and go ‘Yup, that’s mine’.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love working with others and making films with my regular collaborators, but what happened to me was what happens to a lot of indie filmmakers; you end up sitting around waiting for someone to give you the go-ahead they promise is coming but never follow through on, and you end up wasting your time and energy on pipe dreams. That must have happened with a dozen different projects, so I had to take control! And the fact I love horror and found footage, particularly more realistic and raw films like Blair Witch Project, Creep, The Borderlands and Willow Creek, this became a challenge that became a passion.”
Along with boasting a driving production by one person, the film also features an unbroken 21 minute elaborate take that has to be seen to be believed.
Previous to this, Richard’s work in the horror genre has included his short film Video Nasty, which appeared as a part of Bloody Disgusting’s popular World of Death series and was released to Blu-ray, and his current short film Life’s a Wish and Then You Die is currently doing the festival rounds. Along with producer and collaborator Alison Scarff, he also took part in the inaugural New Blood programme at Frightfest 2017 in London.
In a Stranger’s House is available now worldwide from irishhorrorfilm.com and in the US and UK on Amazon streaming.
Weird Pretty Pictures release this film following the success of their previous feature, Sodium Party, which came out on DVD earlier this year and recently saw the score being released on a highly sought after vinyl by Spun Out Of Control Records. A DVD release of In a Stranger’s House is expected 2019.
Dead of the Nite is a 2013 British horror feature film written, edited and directed by S.J. Evans. The movie stars Tony Todd, Joseph Millson, Cicely Tennant, and Gary Mavers.
“When a group of ghost hunters investigate the infamous Jericho Manor, they soon realise it’s not just ghosts that go bump in the night! As people get murdered, the survivors need to discover who or what’s killing them before it’s too late….”
Reviews [may contain spoilers]:
” …its experiment of dabbling in multiple formats never fully succeeds in creating an enveloping experience. The whodunit mystery is so-so and the final third lingers nearly to a standstill while the momentum does the same. With respectable acting and respectable value for the budget, “Dead of the Nite” is above average, but unremarkable.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt
” …a mundane piece […] The eventual revelation of the killer’s identity comes with a reasonable surprise […] Todd is clearly playing into his latter day role as horror icon and hams it up, giving the part the full force of his mellifluous basso voice.” Richard Scheib, Moria
” …a tight story with decent cameo and cheesy acting does not a film make overall. Dead of the Nite is flat out boring and uneventful – even the death scenes are pretty bland. There are some things done right with this hooded/masked figure, but ultimately I’m not impressed.” The Other View
” …with a £20,000 budget it was really well shot, with great use of sound especially in regard to the whispers and understated noises that came from the house. The cast are all solid in their roles and although Tony Todd has only a cameo, he does tend to give the film a certain authority…” Dave Wain, The Schlock Pit
” …the film is creepy in all the right spots, features plenty of shocks, tension and suspense scenes, and keeps the audience guessing about the goings-on until the very end, when the killer isn’t pulled out of a hat though but presented with a proper motive and all. Plus, the movie’s very nicely acted by all involved.” Mike Haberfelner, Search My Trash
“Whilst there aren’t any true gore scenes and the mystery is easy to figure out, Dead of the Nite has enough in its briefcase to at least deliver the odd moment that is worthy of praise. I wasn’t expecting much, but I enjoyed the few jolts and the attempt to make the stalking sequences as scary as possible.” Luisito Joaquin Gonzalez, A Slash Above…
Human Hibachi is a 2019 American found footage horror feature film written and directed by Mario Cerrito III (The Listing; Deadly Gamble). The movie stars Wataru Nishida, Andrew Hunsicker and Zachary Pun Chung.
A man documents his girlfriend’s 35th birthday on his phone. What he captures throughout the night are the most disturbing human acts imaginable…
Cast and characters:
Wataru Nishida … Jin Yamamoto
Andrew Hunsicker … John Mitchell
Zachary Pun Chung … Aikio
Carley Harper … Meghan Cole
Elizabeth Gaynor … Katie Williams
Sopheaktra Theng … Reo Suzuki
Carmine Giordano … Brian S.
John Campanile … Phil Maxwell
Stafford Chavis … Bobby Shields
K. Andrew Deffley … Police Officer
Jeff Alpert … Doug Patrick
Kathryn Drewes … Boutique employee
Lauren O’Brien … Hair Dresser
Jeanette Pacifico … Bartender
Anthony F. Cicali III … Diner manager
The Reef, Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Mantua and Riverside, New Jersey, USA
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Heilstätten is a 2018 German found footage horror feature film directed by Michael David Pate (Potato Salad; Gefällt mir) from a screenplay co-written with Ecki Ziedrich. The movie stars Nilam Farooq, Farina Flebbe and Sonja Gerhardt.
In Heilstätten, a remote and gloomy former sanatorium near Berlin, a group of YouTubers illegally access the ominous surgery block for a 24-hour challenge they hope will go viral. However, they learn too soon that they are not alone and not welcome…
Afraid is a 2014 American found footage horror feature film directed by Jason Goldberg (creator of Punk’d) from a screenplay by co-producer Nick Kreiss. The movie stars Alanna Masterson (The Walking Dead; Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), George Byrne and Luke Baybak (American Horror Story).
George (George Byrne) takes his girlfriend Alanna (Alanna Masterson) to a weekend retreat at cabin in the mountains. However, their romance getaway morphs into terror, when they realise their every move is being watched by the owner of the cabin they are staying at…
Reviews [may contain spoilers]:
“The idea of an entire house being under surveillance was seen in Hangman, and the drama is so underplayed that it’s ineffective. Afraid may be of interest to fans of The Walking Dead, as it features future series regular Alanna Masterson. Otherwise, you may be better off simply watching your neighbors.” Mike Long, DVD Sleuth
” …the cinematography is dreadful. The entire film is a bit blurry and distant, I know they were going for a look as if it was filmed from the security videos, but in the end, it just looks bad. Afraid is painfully slow. There are a few attempts at jump scares, but even they fall flat.” Horror Fuel
” …this invasion of privacy film has no suspense whatsoever, the boring conversations we sit through with the couple as they lay about the house doing nothing lead up to absolutely nothing in the end, the “big reveal” was not so much a surprise as a “oh come on, really?”, it actually made me angry.” Ken Kastenhuber, McBastard’s Mausoleum
Afraid was released on digital and DVD by Well Go Entertainment on October 2, 2018.
Paranormal Highway is a 2017 American supernatural found footage horror feature film directed by Forrest Peterson, Brent Peterson and Stacy Peterson from a screenplay co-written with executive producer Chris Conkling. The movie stars Roger Floyd, Sean Heslep and Trini Kirtsey.
On a peaceful October day a college team and their coaches depart on a three day journey to a national championship. From the start strange things happen on their creaky, rented bus.
Just after midnight on the third day, they hit something on the road. For the next six hours in the dead of night thirteen people face their ultimate terror…
Paranormal Highway was released on DVD in the USA on October 9, 2018, by Wild Eye Releasing. The movie is also available on Amazon Instant Video
Cast and characters:
Roger Floyd … Detective Jack Scott
Sean Heslep [as Sean Morris] … Conner Wagner
Trini Kirtsey … Josh Martin
Lance Flint … Devon Rogers
Alana Bullard … Aleisha Carter
Carla Brown … Jaiden Martin
Alberto Martinez … Carlos Montoya
Cassandra Giles … Madison Jakowsky
Tawatha Valentine … Gail Stevens
Sharon DeRidder … Emily O’neill
Paul Waterman … Ron O’niell
Stacy Peterson … Shane Walker
Alan McKee … Dj Brown
Brittany Levinson … Kim Martin
Allisun Zagar … Julie Jorgensen
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For five minutes and thirty seconds, SEPTEMBER 1999 invites you to give up agency and surrender to the swiftly escalating horror.
In the found footage-style game from OK/NORMAL developer 98DEMAKE, players watch as the scene in the two hyperrealistic rooms around them become increasingly macabre. The whole game is presented in the aesthetic of a fuzzy VHS tape.
While exploring 98DEMAKE’s work, it quickly becomes clear that the developer has an affinity for the 1990s. In addition to the retro-inspired games, 98DEMAKE regularly uploads videos of modern games redone with PS1 aesthetics to his eponymous YouTube channel.
We spoke briefly with Toni Kortelahti, the man behind the moniker, about the process of creating those videos, the development of his games, and why the 1990s is a particularly haunting decade.
BD: On your YouTube channel, you upload ’90s-inspired re-imaginings of modern games like Minecraft, GTA V and The Last of Us. Your work as a developer, on SEPTEMBER 1999and OK/NORMAL, similarly, has the feeling of watching a VHS or playing a PS1 game on an old CRT. What is it about the 1990s that inspires you? Is it nostalgia or something more?
Toni Kortelahti: I guess a lot of it is just pure nostalgia, but I also feel like the fuzzy low res look of a VHS tape, or the pixelated PlayStation look of OK/NORMAL, does wonders to adding a certain atmosphere.
Both styles obviously reduce the clarity of the image, which leaves more to the player’s imagination, since before you get close to objects, you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at.
In September 1999, the VHS look also brings an extra layer of realism to the already realistic graphics. It looks familiar (if you’ve ever watched a VHS tape that is), which makes it feel more real.
OK/NORMAL is 98DEMAKE’s previous retro-styled horror adventure.
BD: Building on that, OK/NORMAL and SEPTEMBER 1999 are both horror games. This year’s Paratopic also drew on the aesthetic of the 1990s to create an unsettling experience. What is it about that era that works so well with horror? Does it work especially well with indie horror, where players are less likely to expect realistic graphics?
TK: As far as the PS1 look goes, it’s obviously far less demanding for the developer. If you build say, a house, in the PS1 graphics style, it’s going to be a few days of work to have a nice base up and running. If you build said house in a photorealistic fashion, it’s going to be at least a few weeks of work before you have anything resembling a realistic house.
It’s also just what I said above, nostalgia and that feeling of “what am I looking at here”. Gamers who played on the original PlayStation or N64, are a big crowd these days, and can appreciate the lo-fi graphics, in addition to feeling a special sense of dread — the kind of dread you felt playing horror games as a kid/youngster.
BD: Speaking of photorealism, as AAA games get closer and closer to bridging the uncanny valley, do you think something is lost? What do the fuzzy, polygonal character models of 1998 have to offer players today?
TK: Again, I’m gonna go with the feeling of “what am I looking at here?” The amazing visuals we have today leave a lot less work for the players imagination. You see a monster in high-definition, you see every nook and cranny, every little detail of the monsters horrifying deformations, and that’s it.
For example, when you saw the Licker in Resident Evil 2 for the first time, you went “What the hell was that thing?” You only saw that it’s this red, fleshly thing, and your imagination would start racing.
That’s some powerful stuff.
BD: Your first 98DEMAKE video—an evocative panoramic version of a scene from The Last of Us— went up about a year ago. Had you begun development on OK/NORMAL or SEPTEMBER 1999 yet at that point? Which came first, the 98REMAKE chicken or the OK/NORMAL egg?
TK: The videos came first. I never really intended to do as many videos as I did, and actual game development is more of what I really love doing.
The amount of attention the videos received was staggering, and really telling that there’s still a lot of love out there for graphics like that. Then at some point, when doing just the videos was starting to get a bit stale, I started development on OK/NORMAL.
BD: What’s the process of video creation like? Your videos often look like Lets Plays of old games. Are you building small playable demos each time you make a video or is it purely animation work?
TK: Most of the videos are just pure animation, either done in Blender or Adobe Animate. A few of the later videos — Mirror’s Edge, P.T. and Big Rigs — are all running in Unity, so they’re small playable demos that I’m playing while recording.
BD: The process of playing through SEPTEMBER 1999 is mostly wandering around a couple of rooms until the game moves you on to the next scene. What’s the desired effect from removing the ability to drive forward progress from the player?
TK: The initial idea I wanted to do with September 1999, was to create a found footage styled game. I looked at other games done in the same aesthetic for inspiration, but felt like they were far too “gamey” and that the VHS look was more of a gimmick, rather than an actual part of the gameplay.
Now if you’re watching a tape, do you have control over what’s happening on that tape? Obviously not.
However, given that this is still a game, the player had to have some role in the process, hence the ability to move around. If you choose to stand still for the 5 minutes and 30 seconds, it’s just a tape of someone filming at walls. If you move around, it’s something entirely different. This idea is something I want to expand on — giving the player a larger role, yet taking away the ability to consciously move the events in a certain direction.
BD: Building on that, you’ve tweeted about Steam reviewers complaining that your game is not, in fact, a game. Where do you think this impulse—to call something “not a game” if it deviates from certain norms—comes from?
TK: I, of course, knew this conversation would come up, just like it does with every “walking simulator” out there, but it’s still a stupid conversation we probably shouldn’t need to be having any more.
People are accustomed to games working in a certain way, being interactive and, most importantly, fun. To classify as a game, there, of course, needs to be a certain degree of interactivity, but that doesn’t mean having a gun, objectives, or collecting whatever it is you’re collecting. Games also don’t need to be fun at all.
If a movie isn’t fun, nobody’s screaming “This isn’t a movie!”, yet it’s a conversation that pops up all the time in video games.
If experimental games aren’t your cup of tea, that’s completely fine, but you shouldn’t try to cast them out for that. My game is just as much a game as the next AAA title — it’s just a different kind of a game.
BD: You released OK/NORMAL and SEPTEMBER 1999 in fairly quick succession, with the first coming in April and the second releasing in September. Were you working on them concurrently or are you just a quick worker?
TK: Both are fairly short games, and simple as far as the game mechanics go, so I guess I’m just a fast worker!
BD: Do you have any plans for your next project? Should players expect more 1990s-style horror or do you plan to go in a different direction?
TK: Players should expect something very similar to September 1999, but bigger, better and more fleshed out!
So stay tuned and stuff!
SEPTEMBER 1999 and OK/NORMAL are available now on PC via itch.io and Steam
Paranormal Farm is a 2017 British found footage horror feature film written, directed by and starring Carl Medland (The Spiritualist). The movie also stars Lucy French and Darren Earl Williams.
A sequel, Paranormal Farm 2: Closer to the Truth, was released in 2018.
A middle-aged couple living on a remote farm put out an advert for a paranormal investigator after their daughter went missing in the woods. Since their daughter’s disappearance, nothing has been the same around the farm. We see what Carl Medland captures on camera…
” … due to the earnest intent of the filmmakers and a basically sound story, the few moments where it does lag a bit quite often lead to bits of humour and irony, which also work well within the context of the film.” Jane Foster, Britflicks
“Paranormal Farm is everything a great found footage film should be; an experience of simulated reality to lose yourself in, only to be scared shitless by fantastic classic scares. It’s a whispered ghost story put to film and I thoroughly enjoyed it!” Horror Fuel
“It is testament to Medland just how impressive an experience this was considering the very indie stylings of it. The performances of the three main actors are very very good indeed and that adds so much to the film, it elevates it from the dense layer of awful found footage horrors out there.” Daniel Simmonds, The Rotting Zombie
The film was shot in just two days on an iPhone fo £200.00.
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