On Writing: Aesthetic/Mood Boards

Part 1 of a Series on my Writing Process

Disclaimer: This is not a how-to guide, nor am I claiming myself to be an expert on writing. I am merely sharing some techniques that I employ in the process of developing characters, establishing tone, and maintaining the flow of a piece. I’m also not claiming to have invented these, at all.

It’s not required, but feel free to let me know if you tried any of these ideas and if/how they worked for you. I’d love hearing about it!

Aesthetic/Mood Boards

If you have visited blog sites, you may have come across groupings of images and (sometimes) text, meant to evoke the “feel” of a character, original or otherwise. The way I think of it is, say you could not show someone a picture that you have of the character, and you could not describe them verbally, you would use one of  these to at least ensure that the person has an understanding of what makes your character “tick”.

Essentially, they are a collage of pre-existing images, sometimes edited, that can describe a character that you have created.

When I sit down to plot characters for a piece, I consider a lot of things. Each character has a different name, and appearance, yes, but each one has different ambience, mannerisms, and yes, aesthetic. These boards can help me establish that aesthetic so I can use proper words to describe them in the piece, and keep them in character throughout.

Examples

Aesthetics Seire

Aesthetic Board for Seire, the Dawn Prince

Seire is the first “demon” that the protagonist, Celeste Jennings, encounters in the first part of the yet to be named “Demon-verse” compendium. When creating him, I wanted something that was strange and unusual, but also welcoming and familiar, as he is one of the most helpful characters in the work. The color pink is predominant because of its warmth and association with gentleness. This aesthetic board is also very textural; the glossy lips and jelly, the soft feather, the rough geode. All of these are aspects of the character’s appearance, without being blatant about the fact that he is rather monstrous looking. “Have Courage and Be Kind” is essential to the character’s moral fiber, as one of the most unambiguously good figures in this work.

 

Aesthetics Venaesectio Adhibendus

Aesthetic Board for Venaesectio Adhibendus

In stark contrast is the mysterious, strange, and grisly Fleshmender, Venaesectio Adhibendus, also from the “Demon-Verse”. This character’s morals are beyond human comprehension, as, unlike the demons that he repairs, he isn’t human at all, and never was, even in thought. Faded colors of browns, grays, and drying blood evoke his profession as the surgeon who pieces together the creations of The Powers that Be, but also create a sense of discontent. He isn’t pleasant to look at. He is even less pleasant if you wind up on his table several times. The “strangeness and beauty” applies to every creation of the Powers that Be, as well as the entities themselves, and pervades the work.

Aesthetics The Shadow

Aesthetic Board for Damien

Taking a break from the “Demon-Verse”, and exploring the tale of a young woman named Ruth as a world of monsters is laid bare before her after a ritual gone wrong is this board for the very first entity she encounters. Damien is gothic horror embodied; elegant, monochromatic, and grim; a tall, skeletal man surrounded by a flurry of black wings as he disappears without trace into the night as a flock of ravens. As such, I stuck with black and white for this image. Foreboding and mysterious, the quote is from Ruth’s perspective rather than his own. What will she discover about him as her journey progresses? Is there a heart hidden in the chill of death?

 

Aesthetics Ulrich

Aesthetic Board for Ulrich Haupt

The final board is for the love interest of my supernatural romance piece, Head over Heels. The color red is highly prominent here, in spite of not being part of Ulrich’s color scheme due to its association not only with love, but also with blood. I especially like the contrast between the horse and the motorbike; the uniform and the leather jacket; modern day and the 1700s.  Ulrich is a complicated character, being shy, but lonely; angry, but gentle. The quote I included is really an underlying theme of many “monster romances”, and I quite like it. Granted, other authors and screenwriters have given him quite the…ahem…reputation over the years, but the Headless Horseman has been interesting to write as a romantic lead.

 

Tips for Aesthetic Boards

  1. Try to refrain from using images of famous people/characters. It might be tempting, but it really won’t help you in the long run.
  2. Color is as important as the images themselves. What colors do you associate with your characters? What mood do these colors evoke?
  3. Also consider textures (fabric types, feathers, leather, etc.), environments, and any equipment that your character carries.
  4. Quotes or small blurbs can be helpful, perhaps something that a character lives by, or a way someone could describe them.

 

NEXT: Writing playlists: How Music can Influence Your Work

 

 

 

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5 Favorite Hammer Horror Films

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The first time in my life I leave the lights on to ease my soul.

Elegant.

Gothic.

Filthy.

Gory.

Wonderful.

These are just a few words that I would use to describe the horror films produced by Hammer, a British film production company. While still putting out films today, most notably Let Me In and The Woman in Black, it is the horror films of the 50s through the 70s that I enjoy the most. Known for oddly charming leads, dramatic soundtrack, and buckets of technicolor blood, it is no wonder that Hammer Horror Films are among my favorites.

“But BECK, why didn’t you write about it when you counted down your favorite horror films?” That is because I knew I was going to do a separate countdown, and truthfully, deciding on the placement of 1 and 2 was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Let’s face it, Hammer deserves a list of its own.

Honorable Mention: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

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The second Hammer film I have ever seen, it is also the only sequel on my list. It’s an honorable mention for a reason, as it’s really more of a guilty pleasure than anything else. I find it interesting, however, as it comments on the soul in relation to the body, and attempts to explore more metaphysical aspects of raising the dead. A somewhat silly tale of revenge, rife with gore and fanservice, it’s unique among the Frankenstein films.

5. The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)

This film is a particularly interesting take on the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While certainly not a successful movie, I find the general premise interesting enough to put it on my list. Unlike the original novel and most iterations of the tale, Mr. Hyde in this film is an attractive man. This is a comment on the allure of evil, and how anyone can be a monster without “looking” like one. The premise lands it on my list, but the execution places it at the bottom.

4. The Vampire Lovers (1970)

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Carmilla is a novella that many people are surprised that I have read and enjoy. Honestly, the story is more interesting than that of Dracula to me, and hey, lesbian vampires! There is a trilogy of films put out by Hammer that are inspired by the novella, but The Vampire Lovers has the closest semblance to the plot. It’s the raciest film on my list, but not without the trademark Hammer blood and gore.

3. The Mummy (1959)

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The top three films have two things in common; they star Peter Cushing and feature Christopher Lee as a monster. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with that combination. The Mummy is actually the highest rated Hammer Horror film on Rotten Tomatoes, with good reason; my own preferences aside, it is the most well-made of the classic monster films, and yet some people haven’t even heard of this one. If you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. I like it just as much as the 1999 version.

2. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

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Placing this movie as number two on my list was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. The original novel by Mary Shelley is one of my favorite books ever, and the monster is one of my favorite classic creations. What makes this film so utterly enjoyable to me is not the creature, which, while terrifying, merely exists to be terrifying and to kill people, but rather Baron Victor Frankenstein himself. Cushing’s Frankenstein is a schemer, a womanizer, and a complete monster, which is extremely different from the novel’s depiction of the character. However, it works and I love it. Definitely give this one a watch if you haven’t.

And my favorite Hammer Horror movie is…

  1. Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958)

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This is the film that most people think of when they think of Hammer Horror, and that’s because of how iconic it is. Christopher Lee’s Dracula is known for being terrifying and imposing, and Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing is undoubtedly my favorite portrayal of the character. This film has all hallmarks of a good Hammer film; a veneer of elegance over the vibrant red blood. It’s beautiful and garish; grotesque and grandiose, and it’s one of my favorite horror films ever. While, as I said, it was very hard to decide between this and The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula is one of those films that is firmly cemented in history. I’m sure people will still be talking about this one hundreds of years from now. If you haven’t seen it, what are you doing?!

Reflections on Being a Media Snob

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You would think I would get the damn picture…

Everyone has different tastes and different opinions on what makes good media, but some of us are just generally pickier than others. Pickiness can be good so you don’t run into time wasters. However, it is a double-edged sword that can keep you from discovering things that you might like. People that take pickiness above and beyond just being discerning are called Media Snobs, also known as Elitists also known as Enormous Douchebags.

I, unfortunately, am one of these.

I’m fairly down-to-earth and honest in normal social interactions, but for some reason when it comes to content- particularly anime and video games, I am the biggest fucking snob on the planet. I would blame it on being exposed to genuinely terrible shows by my overly enthusiastic high school and college peers. I would blame it on the weebs. I would blame it on popular series generally being either okay or “dear god turn it off my eyes are bleeding”.

I think I need to tone down the snobbery a bit because I have had two cases of the SAME THING happening in the past few months (Incident 1 in August and Incident 2 LAST WEEK).

The Items in Question?

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a9/Killlakillpromo.jpg/215px-Killlakillpromo.jpg

The Events In Question?

Both times the same thing happened- someone told me about something I previously thought was dumb for some reason. I thought Overwatch was dumb because it was a “TF2 Ripoff” with boring, uninspired characters and a boring, uninspired plot. I thought Kill la Kill was fanservice disguised as nonsense and marked the continued downfall of the branch off of Studio Gainax.

In each case a friend said “Hey, check this out, give it a chance. It has a character you might like.” Hilariously enough, in both instances, said character is a giant, loud guy who serves as a “shield”. I accused them of “preying on my preferences”, but they said I really should give them a second chance.

So I did.

And now I love both things…a lot.

Ironically enough, in both cases, while I do like said “giant loud guy” in each instance, I ended up naming the single goofiest looking character in each cast as my favorite (I blame Australia and Osaka, respectively).

What Have I Learned?

I have learned not to judge things based on my likely skewed perspectives. I need to not let my previous experiences shape my current and future ones. I need to branch out and explore new things rather than clinging to the few things that give me joy. I need to accept that being disappointed with something isn’t the end of the world and at most, I would have only lost a couple hours of my time.

In short, I need to stop being an Enormous Douchebag.

7 Monster Designs I Love From Games I Don’t

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It’s been a while, y’all…

 I’m extremely picky about video games, sometimes almost annoyingly so, according to my significant other. Sometimes I get hung up on things that turn a decent game into a slogfest, other times I stumble upon a real stinker. Regardless of the reason, the games listed here are all what I would consider to be “bad”. Still, there are redeeming qualities to each entry here…the monsters.

I LOVE unique monster designs, and anymore, find them hard to come by, and sometimes, these show up in some decidedly bad games. In no particular order, I will discuss designs that I like from games that…well…I didn’t. Horror games and non-horror games alike will be making appearances here. I have limited myself to a maximum of 2 designs per game, (although for some entries, I would put literally everything). Again, I will be using the numbering system for ease of categorization, but these are not ranked. They’re all pretty interesting.

Warning: This list contains some rather disturbing content associated with some pretty hardcore body horror. Viewer discretion is advised.

7. Arnold Leach (Clive Barker’s Jericho)

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If I absolutely had to pick a favorite on this list, it would probably be this, because of how striking it is. Demonic and angelic at the same time, this design is honestly too damn good for the sadly terrible game that was Clive Barker’s Jericho. Leach only shows up at a few poignant moments, but when he does, all eyes are on him. This design features all of the highlights of a fantastic creation of Mr. Barker; elements of bondage, twisted and stretched skin and flesh, gruesome looking piercings, the whole bowl of wax. I wish there were more designs in horror games that had this level of both beauty and horror. It’s the sort of gruesome where you are disgusted, but you can’t bring yourself to look away, and it gets progressively more disturbing the more you look at it.

6. Laura (The Evil Within)

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The Evil Within is probably one of the biggest disappointments I have ever experienced in gaming. It was SO hyped up and there were so many commercials showing people getting scared. However, I found the game to be too combat heavy for me to truly enjoy. A lot of the monsters also resemble Resident Evil rejects…all except for Laura. This screaming, burning, bleeding pile of limbs is one of the creepiest creatures with a spider motif I have ever seen. I think my favorite part of this design is how it moves. It brings to mind other disturbing long haired spirits that crawl all over the floor, especially Kayako from the Ju On series, but cranks up the nightmare fuel just a little bit by tossing in a few extra arms and legs for good measure. It’s pretty simple, but extremely effective.

5.The Monocle Man (Silent Hill Downpour)

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The “Monocle Man” is the guilt of a suicide victim doomed for eternity to oversee the location of his greatest failure and shame in life. This design is already emotionally loaded before I even consider how disturbing its design is. It kind of reminds me of Cassandra from Doctor Who, except more messed up. Facial horror shows up a lot in designs I like, but this is probably one of the more extreme examples. It is literally just a stretched amputated face with an illuminated monocle. Spooky. Although I dislike Silent Hill: Homecoming a lot more, none of its designs are quite as interesting as the Monocle Man. If only Downpour was a better game…

4. Guardian (Dead Space)

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Ah, Dead Space. I…really really don’t like Dead Space. It relies too much on “oo scary gorey gore gores!” for me to take it seriously. Some people say it’s Event Horizon the game, but it really lacks substance. However, I will not deny how fucked up this necromorph is. I love it. I love everything about it. It’s so wrong. While most enemies in this game are mindless gross drones, this thing is implied to still be entirely conscious and the human aware of what is happening to their body. The fact that it looks human makes it creepy, as well as the fact that it attacks by launching its guts out. I might not like Dead Space, but the “I have no mouth and I must scream” type of horror NEVER gets old.

3.King Minos (Dante’s Inferno)

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Little known fact about me; I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis on the poetry of Dante Alighieri and the influence of his ideas on the Italian Renaissance. As such, I despise the video game “Dante’s Inferno” with every fiber of my being. One thing I will say, however, is that the twisted and disturbing landscapes of hell are captured quite well. Some creatures, however, either push the disturbing button too far, or not far enough, but King Minos is just about perfect. Only described as being snakelike in nature, various artists have tackled the design of the tyrant turned judge throughout the years, and I feel like this is one of my favorite takes on him. I especially love that he is blind in this iteration. Justice is blind, of course. His face resembles a skull shaped candle covered in cooled dripping wax, which is interesting, when you consider that his mythological iteration was scalded to death. It’s a damn shame that such a brilliant design was wasted on a game that so utterly butchers its source material.

2. Katharina Stein/ The Queen of Sorrow (Doorways: The Underworld)

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Doorways is an absolutely fascinating little compilation of horrible, delightful environments within the minds of serial murderers, however, The Underworld is my least favorite of these. The fact that it follows the Auditorium, which is my absolute favorite part of the game and was hyped up to be the best yet, but ended up being frustratingly annoying made it even worse. However, in spite of dying repeatedly to literal doorways and the obnoxious sewer level, I do hold some appreciation for the psychopath of this chapter. Her design is both graceful and gruesome and she has a winning smile. I found it interesting that,within her own mind, the doctor depicted herself as a victim of her own experiments rather than lording over them. Rather than simply causing others pain and suffering with her machinations, she became pain and suffering itself. The fact that you encounter her in such a claustrophobia-inducing maze makes her even more threatening. Too bad the rest of The Underworld was so disappointing.

1.Bishop Maltheus St. Claire (Clive Barker’s Jericho)

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed that I can’t find a decent image of a boss in my life than I have with this one. He’s a stark contrast to the other Clive Barker’s Jericho boss here because of how subtle his imagery is. I like creepy overblown body horror, but I also like subtle vaguely unsettling body horror. The uncanny valley is one of my favorite concepts, and Maltheus lands smack dab in the middle of it, likely because the Pyxis took what was once a young bishop with leprosy and further twisted and changed him. I think in the case of this design, less is more. While I do generally like elaborate, twisted monsters, Maltheus’s simplistic design tells the player about his history in an effective manner, while keeping him somewhat troubling.

5 Favorite Undead Characters in Video Games

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BRAAAAINNNSSS~

Ah yes, the Undead…Zombies, right?! A mindless, brain-eating corpse, right? Wrong. So VERY wrong. Here, I define “undead” as simply a reanimated corpse. Brainlessness is not a qualification, being awesomely written is. Ghosts do not count, and they will have another list of their own eventually.

5: Cervantes de Leon- Soul Calibur Series

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Cervantes is one of my favorite characters in the Soul Calibur series. I mean come on! He’s an undead pirate! Undead pirates are badass! Basically the Soul series equivalent of Davy Jones, he sails around in a ghost ship seeking the Soul Edge and the great power that comes along with it. Nightmare might be the “ultimate evil” but Cervantes certainly has a lot more flair.

4: Pious Agustus- Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

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I love this game, so so much, and let’s face it, the weird and wacky events wouldn’t have taken place if it weren’t for one man. An ill-fated centurion, Pious becomes transformed into a lich by an artifact and becomes the main antagonist through the rest of the game. This corpse has literally clashed with centuries of people, and won…at least until Alex came along. Still, when it comes to persistent villainous corpses with authority…

3: Squigly- Skullgirls

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Squigly has one of the saddest stories in all of Skullgirls, as she and her family were murdered by the Mafia. The awakening of a new Skullgirl caused this adorable little lady to rise from the grave with the parasite Leviathan in tow. She’s quite heroic in the grand scheme of things and very likeable, which easily lands her a spot on this list. Best DLC EVER.

2: Aaron Covenant- Clive Barker’s Undying

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Undying is a seriously underrated game, in spite of being one of the best horror games I have ever played. The story follows a paranormal investigator as he solves the mystery of the cursed Covenant family. All of the siblings could qualify for this list, but Aaron is without a doubt my favorite. An artist in the vein of Salvador Dali, he would paint hellish landscapes and twisted forms after taking hallucinogens. At some point, he suffered a truly gruesome death at the hands of his twin sister, leaving him with two forms: a ghostly version of himself when he was alive, and his hideous, flayed, shambling corpse.

And my favorite undead characters are…

  1. The Dark Purveyors – Lollipop Chainsaw

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They are like potato chips: I couldn’t pick just one! Speaking of these characters, an updated ranking of them will be coming up soon! But enough about that. What I like about these characters is that each one is fleshed out as their own unique entity as well as representing an entire genre of music. Each one has their own quirks and traits that makes them special. While my favorite out of the bunch is, and always will be, Lewis Legend, I couldn’t just give this spot to him. The other Purveyors deserve it just as much.

10 Favorite Ritual Creepypastas

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Do you feel lucky, punk? Huh? Do ya?

Ritual creepypastas are a special variety of spooky because they dare you to do some rather unnatural things, usually alone, usually in the dark.Some of these are less severe than others, whereas others can cause fullblown panic attacks. Here are my personal favorites, including a couple that I have done, and ones I find to be very well written.

Excluded from this list are protection rituals against Japanese spirits and urban legends, because I feel like it doesn’t do them justice.

Honorable Mention: The Man in the Fields Ritual

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Most pasta monsters play fair. The Man in the Fields is NOT most pasta monsters. He does not want to give you a chance, he does not want to make deals, he wants you DEAD. Personally, I found the odds in this story to be near impossible. You have to go through a house in the countryside and close everything that could possibly be opened. Think about it…the leftovers in the fridge, the closet door that creaks open on its own, the box of cereal you bought a couple days ago. Still, the creatures themselves are interesting enough to make the list, in spite of how insane the odds are.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Man_in_the_Fields_Ritual

10: Blind Man’s Bluff

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Sometimes the unknown is creepier than something lovingly detailed. It is never explained who or what “They” are in this ritual, but you apparently do not want to see them, nor do you want them to know that you are afraid. It seems like an interesting enough game, but the disclaimer at the beginning takes away some of the intrigue that the author creates. You’re not supposed to TELL people you made it up.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Blind_Man’s_Bluff

9: The Midnight Game

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It wouldn’t be a ritual list without the Midnight Game! And a true account of what happened when I actually did this. Absolutely nothing, other than me jumping at noises outside my apartment and walking around like an idiot while holding a battery-operated candle. Guess that’s why I didn’t get “spook’d”, right? The Midnight Man HAAAATES technology. It’s still pretty interesting and memorable, having obtained a near cult following, so it belongs here.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Midnight_Game

8:The Dead Poet’s Game

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One of two games involving alcohol on this list, it involves going to a place where a poet died, drinking alcohol, and probably freaking yourself out. If there is one thing more entertaining than scaring yourself, it’s scaring yourself while you are plastered. Still, the concept is pretty interesting, and it was fairly creative when describing what can happen to you if you screw up. It’s one of the few “play a game with a spirit” type of stories that I actually enjoy.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Dead_Poet’s_Game

7: Doors of your Mind

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I have yet to play this one, but it is very interesting in that it seems more like a guided meditation than a “ritual”. You go into a trance and open doors of your mind in order to see what is inside and try to make sense of it. Of course, there are specific “dos” and “don’ts” but it seems less detrimental to one’s health than many creepypasta rituals. I would like to try this sometime. Seems like a good opportunity to freak out my beloved boyfriend.

https://theghostinmymachine.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/the-most-dangerous-games-the-doors-of-your-mind/

6: The Three Kings Ritual

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Also known among my friends as the “Chaoticneontiki is an idiot” ritual, this involves mirrors, candles, a cell phone, a religious object, and scaring the crap out of yourself in the the dark at 3:30 a.m. As I said in a previous list, I did actually do this. Nothing happened other than me clutching my Buddha bracelet and screaming at sudden noises outside of my apartment, but it surely is a good way to spend the night if you feel like not sleeping for a few days after…

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Three_Kings_Ritual

5: 11 Miles

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Just making the top five is an unsettling ritual consisting of the road trip of a lifetime…that might just end in eternal damnation. As someone who does not drive out of a fear of a potential accident or hitting an animal, this journey through what is essentially hell well…unnerves the hell out of me. Driving alone at night, as I have been told, is a creepy enough experience, so anyone that tries this has a good chance of freaking themselves out.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/11_Miles

4:The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp

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As both a lover of fine art and absinthe, I am, of course, inclined to like this ritual pasta. It involves going to a dingy bar in Paris, ordering the “best absinthe” and then traveling to a gallery most strange and macabre. What I find most fascinating is that it is unknown if the entire journey takes place inside the imbiber’s head, or if the gallery of a madman actually exists. It’s quite an interesting tale. If you’re traveling, why not give it a go?

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Gallery_of_Henri_Beauchamp

3: Greywater

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This ritual creepypasta is presented as a story, rather than as a list of steps, making it unique. It follows the story of a man who travels to the Greywater Gardens to deposit a secret. This is a very atmospheric tale, and you can easily visualize the gardens in your mind, along with the old man who lingers there. The ending to the story is like a punch to the gut, and really rounds out a tragic, but eerie tale.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Greywater

2: Macbeth

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Johann_Heinrich_F%C3%BCssli_019.jpg

The only thing I enjoy more than creepypastas with excellent atmosphere and storytelling are creepypastas grounded in reality. Macbeth is just that. It is unknown why this play became cursed, but many theater arts majors I have spoken to refuse to even say the name aloud OUTSIDE of a theater.The fact that this ages old curse has been adapted for a modern internet audience is utterly amazing to me. The fact that there are people who would actually dare refer to “That Scottish Play” by name in a theater for a chance at good fortune is utterly baffling to my theater friends.

https://www.wattpad.com/127435679-creepypasta-rituals-macbeth

And my personal favorite ritual pasta is…

1: He Waits for You

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Only ONE story could be chilling, unsettling, and twisted enough to outdo an ACTUAL ritual. This story evokes so many emotions in the reader, which makes it unique compared to the general sense of dread that these stories actually exude. What other creepypastas do you know of that evoke a sense of sadness and loneliness while also disturbing  you? What I find most interesting is that we never find out exactly what “he” is, other than perhaps the best example of “the grotesque” I have read in a creepypasta. This author does a fine job of evoking a sense of pity for “him” while keeping “him” still unsettling. The ending is the perfect chilling note to end on.

http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/He_Waits_for_You

10 Most Disturbing Silent Hill Monsters

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Through this fog they came along, dark creatures singing a terrible song…

Silent Hill is without a doubt my favorite mainstream horror series. Hell, I started this blog with a series of Silent Hill 4 booze recipes. It’s about time I return to this great series. Aside from the atmosphere (which I will get to in a later post) most of the scares come from the various twisted monsters you face in the town (or outside of it). This list features the monsters that I personally find the most disturbing, based not only on their appearance, but also what they mean. If you are disturbed by different things, great! Differences make the world go round.

Although I find them interesting, and one (*cough* Nineteen *cough*) has managed to scare the absolute crap out of me on a couple of occasions, the Ghost Victims of Silent Hill 4 are not going to be featured here, because they are not monsters. They are dead people, and do not have much symbolism to them.

Additionally, bosses are disqualified. I’ll do a SECOND list for them.

Honorable Mention: The Monocle Man (Silent Hill: Downpour)

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This monster only shows up during the train ride in Devil’s Pit, and yet it manages to be the single most memorable thing about the generally disappointing Downpour. Its appearance is hideous, but what it represents is also truly upsetting; the suicidal guilt of tour guide John Sater. The man does eventually commit suicide right in front of Murphy. That’s some heavy stuff. Too bad it only shows up briefly and in an otherwise unmemorable game.

10: Carrion (Silent Hill: Origins)

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Although monstrous animals are common to Silent Hill, it is the carrion that makes it to my list because of how WRONG it is. It is the representation of Travis’s guilt over killing animals with his truck in accidents. It also is one of the most upsetting creatures I have ever seen in Silent Hill as it represents a skinned, malformed cow. As someone who grew up near a dairy farm, it is understandable why it just makes my list.

9: Mannequin (Silent Hill 2)

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Mannequins are creepy as hell. Now take two lower torsos of mannequins, smash them together, and make them move unnaturally. Even CREEPIER. This creature represents James’ repressed sexuality and is one of the most iconic creatures of the second game. But they also represent the helplessness of women as they are often assaulted by Pyramid Head and are actually quite fragile enemies. It’s a commentary on James’ worldview, and its presence serves as foreshadowing of a sense…still…mannequins, man. Mannequins…

8: Needler (Silent Hill: Homecoming)

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/silent/images/b/bc/Needler.png/revision/latest?cb=20150322095944

I STRONGLY dislike Homecoming, so for me to even put something from it on this list means it made an impression. And WHAT a damned impression. It’s a visceral representation of childbirth and frankly, does “fucked up childbirth metaphor” better than even OUTLAST. If this game wasn’t so combat heavy and ridiculous, this really messed up creature would be even higher on this list.

7: Closer (Silent Hill 3)

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The first monster to show its face in Silent Hill 3 sets the pace for the rest of the game. It is disturbing, twisted, and loaded with symbolism. It represents physical abuse, stereotypical femininity, and the dark side of female sexuality. Of particular note is the fact that this creature’s face doesn’t stop twitching until it dies. It definitely belongs on this list because of how it moves alone and its ability to block doorways with its bulk.

6: Grey Child (Silent Hill game and film)

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/silent/images/3/34/GreyChild.png/revision/latest?cb=20150322090813

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/silent/images/d/d6/Grey_Child_Film.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131223182854

Without a doubt the SINGLE scariest thing in the first Silent Hill, grey children represent Alessa’s classmates who bullied and tormented her. As someone who was bullied, these creatures depict the relentlessness of children. But these creatures are also disturbing in that the sounds that they make sound like a child in pain, which is distressing to hear as an adult. These things were SO creepy, they had to be censored in some releases of the game. Special mention also goes to the Grey child in the Silent Hill film; one of the designs I actually like from it.

5: Pendulum (Silent Hill 3)

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The most visually unsettling creature in Silent Hill 3 that isn’t a boss, the Pendulum, like the mannequin, resembles two torsos smashed together…this time the upper portions. The way it moves is unsettling, but it also makes earsplitting noises. Like the Needler, it could be seen as a representation of childhood, but it could also serve as a metaphor for Heather’s constantly changing life being turned upside down. It is legitimately startling, which lands it the spot at the halfway mark.

4: Twoback (Silent Hill: Origins)

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This is probably one of the most disturbing representations of sex that I have ever seen in my life. The physical manifestation of Travis’s loneliness derived from his job and general lack of a sex life, this monster actually startled me when I first saw it. Although many people consider Origins to be one of the weaker entries in the series, this monster belongs so high up because of how disturbing it makes sex.

3: Twin Victim/Bottom (Silent Hill 4: The Room)

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/silent/images/d/d7/Twins01.PNG/revision/latest?cb=20100510221529

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/silent/images/6/65/Bottom.png/revision/latest?cb=20150515092514

These two share a spot because I couldn’t decide which was more fucked up.The Twin Victim monster represents two children that Walter Sullivan brutally murdered as part of his 21 Sacraments ritual. The fact that innocent children are represented as a hideous monster is disturbing enough in and of itself. Does Walter see them as monsters? Is he perhaps haunted by his murder of them? We never know, but they’re still creepy as hell.  The bottom on the other hand is disturbing in that it is a twisted up torso that literally attacks you ass-first. It supposedly represents Walter’s anger directed at his parents for abandoning him, which I’m not too sure about, but holy crap are these disturbing. Not bad for essentially recycling a model.

2: Abstract Daddy (Silent Hill 2)

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What is the absolute worst thing you can do to a person? Ask me that and I will always give you the same answer: rape. The Abstract Daddy is the physical representation of rape, even moreso than Pyramid Head, who actually sexually assaults other monsters. Instead of being born of James’ mind, this beast is a representation of all of the pain and suffering that Angela endured at the hands of her brother and father. Not only is what this thing represents horrible, but it is just so WRONG looking.

And the most disturbing monster in Silent Hill is…

1:The Baby (P.T.)

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The game that would never be happens to have the single most disturbing…thing I have seen in a Silent Hill game. Resembling a heavily warped fetus, likely Lisa’s aborted warped fetus, it wails and wails in the sink…and then it TALKS. It lectures the player character regarding his life choices in a deep, dark voice.  Instead of screaming or attacking as my reaction generally is to a monster, I just sat there, shocked and befuddled as the little guy spoke. Everything is wrong with this. Literally everything. And this is why it makes number one…and this is why I am disappointed that P.T. wasn’t made…

Ten Best Character Themes from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven

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More music, more fighting, more insanity.

I can’t say that I am in love with the plot of Eyes of Heaven, but again, the combat, characters, and of course, the music, is fantastic!

Again, this list isn’t based on how much I like a character, just how well the music fits them. I’m also not sure if these themes have names…so I will just list the character on this list. That being said…let’s begin.

Honorable Mention: Daniel J D’Arby

Oh yes. Daniel shows up in this game (WOOO!!!). Sadly he is not playable (BOOO!!!), but shows up as part of poker challenges…hence why I placed this at honorable mention, rather than higher on the list. It’s actually not half bad for a theme representing the master gambler. Now if only he were playable…

10:  Old Joseph

Sadly the Jojos are the ones that suffer from having poor themes in this game, and Joseph barely makes the list. It’s pretty generic, but it’s badass. For a badass old man! It’s a marked improvement over his ASB song, but it’s far from the best or most fitting in the game.

9: Gappy

Again, Gappy has a catchy, quirky, and adorable theme, but it felt like it was lacking in the badass quality that the first one had, and instead, sounds a bit too “strippery” at parts to me. That is not to say that it isn’t good, because it is…it just could use some work.

8: Diego Brando (Scary Monsters)

And to the best Dio goes the best Dio theme. This is actually very catchy and somewhat fitting given how pompous he is, but oddly enough, there are some hints of heroism in this, as Diego actually managed to do what Dio could not…make himself useful instead of mucking up everyone’s day. It’s not perfect, but it works.

7: Yukako Yamagishi

The OG Yandere comes with an appropriately Yandere theme. Move over Yuno, Yukako was here first. Although I don’t very much care for her character, I can’t deny that her theme is absolutely fitting, catchy, and captures both her ruthless side and her sweet and caring side. Well done.

6: Funny Valentine

It’s no “They are Those of Justice” but once again, the best main villain in Jojo has the best theme out of the lot of them. This dramatic, flashy, and over the top theme has a deeply heroic feel, which fits Valentine as he wants to be that hero for America. Valentine’s theme had to be moved back just ONE spot to make way for better ones, though.

5: Muhammad Avdol

Avdol’s themes are always awesome, but this one gets pushed back a bit because of how closely it resembles his from ASB. Personally, I still like the ASB one better because of how it sounded like the actual song was mocking the opponent. This still is pretty decently fitting, and enough to make it to the top 5.

4: N’Doul

The character that I was honestly the most excited to see on the roster, (seriously, I may have squealed). But, may I reiterate that this is not about how much I like the characters, but how well their themes fit. A mysterious, driving, but strangely heroic tune certainly fits N’Doul as one of the more human of Dio’s assassins. The only reason why he isn’t higher is because the theme that accompanied his introduction video was even BETTER.

3: Robert E. O. Speedwagon

Everyone was so excited to see that Speedwagon was going to show up in Eyes of Heaven, myself included. And his theme does not disappoint, it’s actually the best theme of a heroic character in the entire game. It’s catchy as hell, and captures both the badassery and the quirkiness of Jonathan’s number one fanboy.

2: Hol Horse

Damn Hol Horse and his earwormy character themes that fit his ridiculous personality and character so well. While not nearly as catchy as MEGYAN, it still is one of the best in the game, perfect for the closest thing that these games have to a joke character, considering his utter ineptitude. Still…it wasn’t epic enough to be number 1. Not by a long shot.

And the best character theme from Eyes of Heaven is…

1: Rudol von Stroheim

When Stroheim was announced I was excited…when I heard how fantastic and fitting his theme was, I became giddy. This awe-inspiring character theme begins with ominous militaristic music and quickly launches into nearly heroic guitar. I honestly cannot wait to prove that German science is the best in the world to this music!

10 Most Disturbing Shin Megami Tensei Demons

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Oh nonononono…

Yes. I haven’t done a Shin Megami Tensei countdown in a while. I did a list of favorite designs, but now I feel like I have to touch upon how disturbing this game can be. Personas are disqualified, along with Digital Devil Saga bosses, (it would be far too easy to just slap Pandora all over this list and call it a day). Some of the demon designs are fitting, others make no sense, and then there are some that just…aren’t right. Here are the ones that disturb and creep me out the most…

WARNING: Some designs are really not safe for work, or children, or your sanity.

Honorable Mention: Ometeotl

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Buttface. Facebutt. This amalgamation of the genders makes no sense at all. It’d be fine if it was two people stuck together from end to end, but of course, Shin Megami Tensei had to stick her bum on his face, and her face on his bum. It looks like a Mannequin from Silent Hill 2 that got stuck in a paint factory.

He…she…it…they…share an honorable mention with…

Honorable Mention: Noah

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Noah was a man swallowed by a whale. How did “whale” become “horrendous fetuslike blob with a former human’s face sticking out of it, taunting you”? The world may never know!

10: Ophanim

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Another word for Ophanim is “Cherub”. Yep, those cute little fat babies with wings. Does this look like a cute little fat baby with wings to you? Of course, the Ophanim loses points here, because this is exactly how they are described in Judeo-Christian myth. Enjoy the nightmares, knowing that if you are of the Christian faith…THIS is watching you.

9: Ancient of Days

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I feel like looking at this should cause my brain to explode. This looks like something Lovecraft would have dreamed up after going to church one day. Although God’s other form as a floating green head is strange, this is just…wrong. I honestly can’t even begin to describe this. And this is just the first of the fourth game’s designs to make it to my list…

8: Mishaguji

File:Mishaguji (Strange Journey).jpg

Gosh, that Mishaguji…such a Dick-head. Ha. And so begins the long list of horrifying penis monsters. Shin Megami Tensei is known for its horrifying penis monsters, so it only gets worse from here on out…

7: Master Therion

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Therion is a creation of Aleister Crowley, equated with the beast of Revelation. Well, this beast certainly is revealing a lot. I wonder what the thought process was behind this nightmare… “Alright, so a man’s head on the body of a skinned cat, holding a wand in its tail…and give it a giant dong! Giant dongs are awesome!” Speaking of which…

6: Mara

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You know this list means serious business when this damned thing is only number six. She…he…it…whatever the hell Mara is, is the “tempter” described in Buddhist myth. Of course, since Shin Megami Tensei is utterly insane, the artist decided to draw it as a giant disembodied penis…with tentacles. *shrug*

5: Tiamat

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In Babylonian mythology, Tiamat is the personification of the sea and primordial chaos. Well, this design is certainly…chaotic. And disturbing. Yet another one of those “what in the hell was Kazuma Kaneko on?!” designs, Tiamat cracks the top 5 because of sheer what the fuckery.

4: Rahu

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Since when did “frighteningly cruel Asura” turn into “head with dick growing out of it like some fucked up unicorn”? I don’t know. But it makes number 4 on this list, because of how damned creepy it is. It’s like its staring into my soul with all those eyes!

3: Rakshasa

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You all know from my previous mythology horrors list that Rakshasa are not something to fuck with. Shin Megami Tensei generally portrays these as badass looking demons…except for Nocturne. Then you get a human torso devoid of organs that then is used as a mouth…lovely.

2: Michael

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For years upon years, the angels of Shin Megami Tensei were iconic and anime-like in appearance. I didn’t mind these designs, and of course, the designs became popular. The fourth game decided to take these beloved characters and turn them into Eldritch Abominations. No one got hit harder with the ugly stick than Michael. I…I have no words.

And the most disturbing demon in Shin Megami Tensei is…

1:Arioch

AriochSMT

Arioch…bothers me on so many more levels than anything else featured on this list. In Paradise Lost, he is only described as a fallen angel, following Lucifer in his descent. Any explanation as to why he is basically the personification of blue waffle? None. At all.

5 Favorite Creepy Commercials

You probably won’t be able to after these…

Ah, capitalism. Without it we wouldn’t have such ridiculous, funny, or memorable commercials. But what happens when a commercial decides to dip into horror? Well, it catches your attention, that’s for sure.

This list excludes PSAs, as those are designed specifically to scare viewers. I also have excluded the K-Fee screamer ads because I’m not a big fan of poorly executed jumpscares. Remember, this is a list of favoritism rather than which ads are the scariest.

Honorable Mention: Japanese Kleenex Commercial

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r7yKaDxGvc

You know a commercial is creepy when people come up with urban legends about it. While I personally do not find the commercial all that unsettling, I can see why some people would. Among the various urban legends are that the actress gave birth to a demon baby, that people involved in the production died horribly, and that the commercial changes if viewed at midnight. The legends alone grants this an honorable mention.

5: McDonalds- Japanese Commercials

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niFCK-Pl3Vc

The only time that a fictional clown has ever freaked me out is in this series of commercials put out by McDonalds in Japan. A woman is gradually stalked by Ronald McDonald as each commercial ends with him singing some sort of theme song for the company. It is actually assumed that by the last commercial, he has murdered the woman. Yikes. Creepy enough to make my list, that’s for sure.

4: Playstation 2- The Third Place

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h28Kbdfmvbk

David Lynch strikes again in this legitimately disturbing ad. It also counts as a DADA ad as it only reveals what it is advertising at the end and makes absolutely no sense. Still, its trippy imagery and offputting themes allow it to make the list. Sadly, I find that this ad is underappreciated compared to the next three…

3: Autoway Tires- Ghost Woman

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54U6BgYuJMY

Who would have thought a Japanese urban legend would have a part-time job selling snow tires? This commercial actually has a HEALTH WARNING before it shows because the unexpected appearance of the Slit Mouthed Woman is rather jarring. It is a surprisingly effective jumpscare and does get its message across: Be careful driving on snowy, desolate roads at night.

2: Little Baby’s Ice Cream- “This is a Special Time”

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erh2ngRZxs0

This commercial is infamous by now for being so unsettlingly creepy, but you know what? It actually WORKED for me. I really want to try this ice cream, and honestly, their flavor selection is quite interesting. However, that does not mean that I wasn’t creeped out the first time I witnessed an ice cream man eating himself. It’s still a bit…offputting.

And my favorite creepy commercial is…

1:  Metz Schnapps- “The Judderman”

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/UffWeaFpU9U/maxresdefault.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byhIvmw8Ai0

Of course an alcohol commercial would come in at number 1 right? Well, it’s not just that. This advert was actually voted as the scariest in Great Britain some time ago. This commercial piles on the dark  and twisted fairytale charm along with some genuinely creepy imagery. The marionette Judderman at the beginning is particularly unsettling, as is the idea of being lured to a dark fate with alcohol. The dark implications abound! “Beware the Judderman, my dear, when the moon is fat.”