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Horror

Last Friday

Last Friday

Some legends never die…

After having a good binge on Scythe for the last few weeks, we felt it was high time we learnt a new board game.  As huge fans of Sub Terra and Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, Last Friday was quick to catch our eye – a horror survival game about a group of campers fighting to stay alive with a murderer on their tail.  If it sounds familiar, then you’ll be pleased to know it has drawn its inspiration from some much-loved horror classics.

The game is split into four chapters, beginning with the person playing as the murderer hunting campers around the board, in the hope of killing them before they unlock the cabins and get to safety.  Every few moves, the murderer must reveal their position, but has the option of throwing the campers off their scent to hide their tracks.  Come chapter two, the campers fight back, and the murderer must hide as the campers team up to pursue them.  This role reversal element was enormous fun, but it requires every character starting each chapter in a new position, which does affect the feeling of continuity in the game.

Last Friday

We managed one play-through today, where I was the murderer and my friend a camper.  The game does state that two-player gaming is an option, but we did conclude that at least three players was ideal, allowing campers to strategise as a team and split up when hunting the murderer.  Our game concluded when I managed to catch up with my camper friend outside the graveyard in chapter three.  I think we were both ready for the game to end at that point – I don’t know how thrilled we would have been to have rolled over into chapter four.

Saying that, it is a relatively quick game.  We managed to set up, learn and finish the game in about an hour and a half.  And even though it wasn’t a perfect game, it was great fun, and actually a lot more enjoyable than Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, with the added bonus of lots of cardboard tokens, providing that tactile element that I love in a good board game.  One for the Christmas list, I think!

Do you have a favourite survival horror board game?

Emma

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November 10, 2017
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Book Review: ZOO by Otsuichi

Zoo by OtsuichiTitle: ZOO

Author: Otsuichi

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories, Horror

Source: Net Galley (I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review)

“Love and death are not different things, they are the front and back of the same thing.”

INFO | Goodreads

BUY | The Book Depository


Review

ZOO is a translated collection of short horror stories by Japanese writer Otsuichi.  Don’t be fooled by the bright and cheery front cover – many of the stories focus on death, and will shock you, or at the very least get you thinking.

Otsuichi adopts a minimalist writing style throughout the collection.  Sometimes this works better than other times, but mostly I enjoyed using my imagination to fill in the gaps – this works particularly well with horror I think.  The stories range in length from half a dozen chapters to just a couple of pages, but they all have one thing in common: they all challenged my preconceptions of the horror genre.  There is a brilliant quote in the afterword by Amelia Beamer that sums this up well:

“So here’s what I know about horror: it’s a genre without rules.”

That’s definitely what it felt like reading through ZOO.  Otsuichi was making up his own rules, with such interesting results.

Most of the stories in the collection are very well written, and most of them have a twist or two!  One of the first stories is ‘In A Falling Plane’, about two passengers haggling over the price of a euthanasia drug while their plane is being hijacked.  I particularly enjoyed the slither of humour with the rolling can that keeps tripping up those who try to tackle the gunman.  That’s an element of the collection that I feel is very unique – most stories have an injection of humour into them, which makes for an interesting contrast alongside some quite gruesome themes.

My favourite story was ‘Song Of the Sunny Spot’.  I would say it is more science fiction than horror, and is about a synthetic being who is created to care for a dying man.  As time goes on, the android develops through experience, aned begins to understand what death really means.  It was an exceptionally good and thought-provoking short story, and I didn’t see the twist coming at all!

Following on from this great story is another favourite of mine, ‘Kazari and Yoki’.  It is a sad tale of twins who are not equally loved by their mother, which ends in tragedy – though not how you would expect.  This was a gritty story of abuse in the home and though it can’t be considered horror in the traditional sense, it is still a chilling tale of inequality.

The collection is not for the faint-hearted.  Some stories made me flinch, others I simply had to tell someone about, as they were just too awful to keep to myself.  It isn’t a perfect short story collection, and there were a few stories that I skimmed through, and one that I didn’t finish.  Nevertheless, ZOO definitely stands out, and I recommend it to any horror fans out there who want to tackle something a little different.

Star Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Thank you so much to The Geek Undergraduate for recommending this one to me!

Emma

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June 28, 2016
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Book Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya's GhostTitle: Anya’s Ghost

Author: Vera Brosgol

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

“You may look normal like everyone else, but you’re not. Not on the inside.”

INFO | Goodreads

BUY | The Book Depository


reviewFeeling lonely and unpopular at school, Anya isn’t too impressed when a ghost follows her home and wants to be her friend.  But maybe things aren’t too bad – Emily offers her boy tips and style advice, and even Anya’s grades are looking better.  When Anya swears to solve the mystery of the ghost girl’s death, she uncovers more than she bargained for.

The story was very enjoyable, though I think some parts of the plot could have been expanded.  For example, I think Elizabeth and Anya could have developed a friendship after their conversation at the party, but that all seemed to end quite abruptly.  I was surprised that the main theme of the book was more about Anya settling in at school and finding herself than of the supernatural – but I actually quite liked that.

I wasn’t as keen on the style of art compared to some other graphic novels I’ve read recently (Nimona, for example), but the drawings and colour schemes do seem to fit the mood of the story.  It also makes the scenes in the well and Emily’s ghostly presence pretty spooky.

Speaking of spooky, I actually found the ending quite scary as I read it alone at night; it certainly does its job as a horror story.  There are a fair few creepy scenes actually, and Emily’s wide empty eyes reminded me a bit of Coraline in terms of style.  Though these details were drawn well, I felt other parts, like the character Siobhan, looked sloppy in comparison.

Star Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5/5)

Emma

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June 21, 2016
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