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E3 2017: A Maddening First Look into Call of Cthulhu

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Call of Cthulhu

For how much Lovecraft has inspired eons worth of horror, with endless tendrils of influence creeping into every medium, video games have been surprisingly lacking. Titles like Amnesia can certainly track their sanity warping monsters to a Lovecraftian origin, but the last time I remember a major title pitting me against legit eldritch monsters was 2005’s Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. While well received by critics and fans, the game was not a great commercial success. If this were a thesis on the overly reactionary nature of publishers stifling innovation before the audience has a chance to adapt, Dark Corners of the Earth would be front and center in my talking points. Digital distribution has changed things, with low-budget fan projects bringing the world all manner of otherworldly creations. Just scroll through the Steam store and try to get through three horror games without seeing, “Lovecraft inspired” in the headline. “Lovecraftian” is its own classification tag.

It’s been 12 years since Dark Corners of the Earth‘s financial flop, and Cyanide Studio is ready to take the chance again on a brand new Call of Cthulhu game. If you didn’t see our trailer reveal article, check it out again here:

The people at Focus Home Interactive set up a behind-closed-doors presentation at E3, where I got to see about 20 minutes of the game in action. I was expecting something akin to the fishmen blasting Dark Corners of the Earth, but what I saw was much closer to a mix of Phoenix WrightVampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Based on the 1981 pen-and-paper RPG by Chaosium, the people at Cyanide are styling Call of Cthulhu as an RPG-Investigation game. Now what that means is a bit complicated, but fans of the original will be familiar with the focus on story over combat. Monsters are few and far between, but pieces of their influence can be found if you look hard enough and know what to look for. Just be careful, as the secrets you uncover might cost you your sanity.

Call of Cthulhu

To translate this into gameplay terms, you play as Private Detective Edward Pierce. As with every Lovecraft story, Edward’s seemingly mundane assignment reveals itself clue by clue to be a terrifying tale of otherworldly horror. At your disposal are nine different investigative skills, broken down into three different brackets based on schools of knowledge. You have your conversational skills, your detective skills, and your higher learning like medicine and the arcane arts.

Call of Cthulhu

You’ll improve these skills by leveling, gaining experience by finding clues and overcoming the game’s challenges. Correctly navigate your way through a conversation with a groundskeeper, and you’ll be granted access to the mansion and an experience boost. Fail, and you’ll have to find another way in. The dev team stated that there are several ways to solve each puzzle, so you will never be blocked off from finishing because you didn’t put enough points into forensics. But forbidden knowledge comes at a price, meaning you might have to spend your sanity to progress.

Now when you aren’t sleuthing out clues and delving deeper into the hidden profane foundation of our universe, you’ll be sneaking around and avoiding abominable horrors. What we saw in the demo was a brief chase through a gallery of the occult, the centerpiece a painting with sinister depths. As a macabre creature crawls from the canvas, Edward is forced to take refuge in a nearby cabinet. Unfortunately, his newly developed claustrophobia causes him to panic. Stay in the closet too long, and you run the risk of having a heart attack. The phobia mechanic will alter how you play the game, and develop based on pivotal events in the story. It’s reflective of the phobia mechanic in the pen-and-paper game, where strong breaks in sanity would result in a permanent debuff.

Call of Cthulhu

In an attempt to thwart the beast, Edward grabs the dagger and runs to the painting. Driving the dagger deep into the canvas, the monster similarly thrusts his mandible through his chest. Tough break, Edward. I guess you have to solve the puzzle a different way. The team told me however that the way to solve it certainly isn’t through combat. This isn’t the same as Dark Corners of the Earth, you won’t be blasting your way through your problems. This is a puzzle game.

Call of Cthulhu

So there you have it, your first look into the forbidden world of Call of Cthulhu. With the recently released Conarium, I’m stoked on the future of Lovecraftian horror games. I personally would like to go back to shooting cultists and splinting my broken leg, but I’ll take what I can get. What about you folks? Excited for this new take on Call of Cthulhu? It’s not slated until late 2017 for PC and consoles, so there’s plenty of time to see how this shapes up. Until then, enjoy yet another art gallery!

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Which Monsters May Be Making Their TV Debut in Junji Ito Collection?

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Studio Deen’s highly-anticipated anime anthology Junji Ito Collection has been building buzz, especially since its new teaser dropped weeks ago. Eagle-eyed fans who are well-acquainted with horror mangaka Junji Ito’s body of work will spot some familiar faces in the new trailer, brought to the small screen by showrunner Shinobu Tagashira.

So, who among Ito’s famous menagerie of monsters may be making an appearance in the show when it airs next year?

Oshikiri Toru

Oshikiri is the morally-questionable highschooler who begins to question his perception of reality in Hallucinations, a series of some loosely connected one-shots. Oshikiri’s a little on the short side, with an even shorter fuse. One thing he’s not short on is moneyas evidenced by his impressive, albeit creepy, mansion. We’ve yet to see which of his adventureswhich range from murder to parallel dimensionswill be his television debut.

Yuuko

The once-chatty Yuuko falls ill and sees her worst fears come to pass in Slug Girl, the famous one-shot whose brand of body horror is sure to feel like a distant cousin (or maybe a predecessor?) to Uzumaki‘s “The Snail” chapter. It offers little in the way of answers but is best enjoyed in all its bizarre glory.

The Intersection Bishounen

In Lovesick Dead, one of Ito’s longer standalone stories, an urban legend causes a rash of suicides when young girls begin to call upon a mysterious, black-clad spirit called the Intersection Bishounen. The custom catches on quickly among teenagers, out late and eager for him to tell them their fortune in life and love, since his advice is to die for. Literally.

Souichi Tsujii

A long-running recurring character in Ito’s manga (probably second only to Tomie herself), you’ll know Souichi by the nails he sucks on or sticks out of his moutha strange habit borne out of an iron deficiency. He’s an impish kid whose fascination with the supernatural makes him the odd man out in an otherwise normal family. The morbid pranks he likes to playfunny only to him—don’t do much to endear him to his peers or relatives, either.

Fuchi

The titular character in Fashion Model, Fuchi works as a professional model for her, shall we say, unique look and Amazonian stature. When she and another actress are hired by a crew of indie filmmakers, Fuchi shows them that she doesn’t like sharing the limelight. She also makes a cameo in a couple of Souichi’s stories, and in them he finds her genuinely attractive. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

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Nemo Rising Signing Happening at Dark Delicacies on December 23

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Author C. Courtney Joyner will be signing copies of his new book Nemo Rising at Burkank’s Dark Delicacies horror store on Saturday, December 23 at 4pm. You can get the full details of the event and directions on Dark Delicacies’ website.

Nemo Rising will be a sequel to Jules Verne’s 1870 masterpiece Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and will see President Ulysses S. Grant recruiting the notorious Captain Nemo to destroy a gigantic sea monster which has been responsible for sinking ships. The gigantic eight-tentacled mollusc can be seen on the book’s cover below, and it looks like Nemo will have his work cut out for him.

Joyner also worked on the screenplays for the Full Moon films Doctor Mordrid and Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys, whilst his previous books include Hell Comes To Hollywood and the Shotgun series. If you can’t make it to the signing, Nemo Rising will be released in the US on December 26, and in the UK on January 13.

Nemo Rising Dark Delicacies Signing Details:
​Nemo Rising will be released on hardcover from Tor Books on December 26th, 2017.

JUST ANNOUNCED: On December 23rd at 4:00 PM, C. Courtney Joyner will sign copies of NEMO RISING at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, California!

C. COURTNEY JOYNER is an award-winning writer of fiction, comics, and screenplays. He has more than 25 movies to his credit, including the cult films Prison, starring Viggo Mortensen; From a Whisper to a Scream, starring Vincent Price; and Class of 1999, directed by Mark Lester. A graduate of USC, Joyner’s first produced screenplay was The Offspring, which also starred Vincent Price. Joyner’s other scripts have included TV movies for CBS, USA, and Showtime. He is the author of The Shotgun western series and Nemo Rising.

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Mill Creek Celebrates Shadow Stalkers and 100 Years of Horror in February

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Mill Creek Entertainment is kicking off the new year with a couple of collections that have nothing but giving you the shivers on their agenda!  Read on for the details of both Shadow Stalkers and 100 Years of Horror!

Shadow Stalkers – February 6, 2018

Let the nightmares begin with this freaky film collection filled with creepy clowns, masked killers, and maniacal murderers.

Out of the Dark – 1988 – R – Karen Black, Bud Cort
Happy Birthday to Me – 1981 – R – Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford
Eyes of Laura Mars – 1978 – R – Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif
Don’t Answer the Phone – 1980 – R – James Westmoreland, Nicholas Worth
Nightmare in Wax – 1969 – R – Cameron Mitchell, Anne Helm, Scott Brady
Bloody Pit of Horror – 1965 – R – Mickey Hargitay
Silent Night, Bloody Night – 1972 – R – Patrick O’Neal, Mary Woronov, John Carradine
Funeral Home – 1980 – R – Barry Morse, Kay Hawtry
Don’t Open Till Christmas – 1984 – R – Edmund Purdom, Belinda Mayne
The Driller Killer – 1979 – R – Abel Ferrara

100 Years of Horror – February 6, 2018

Hosted by Christopher Lee, 100 Years of Horror is the first show of its kind ever produced; it chronicles the history of movie horror from the earliest experimental chillers through the unforgettable golden age of movie monsters and on through today’s terrifying fright films.

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