The first Wednesday in December has arrived, which means it’s time for the final installment of our “Nightmare Presents” series for 2017. As you’re no doubt aware, each month we feature a story from Nightmare Magazine’s current issue; and our December selection is “Which Super Little Dead Girl™ Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out!” by Nino Cipri. If you prefer, you can also listen to the podcast version instead.
We hope you enjoy it – see you next year for more!
Which Super Little Dead Girl™ Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out!
Everyone knows and loves the Super Little Dead Girls™! These feisty girls are all gutsy, gallant, and gung-ho about fighting monsters and undead menaces, but they’ve got their distinct personalities, too. Take our quiz to find out which Super Little Dead Girl™ is your super alter-ego!
(1) On a Friday night, where could a potential murderer or evil spirit most likely find you?
- At a sleepover at your friend’s house, painting each other’s fingernails and listening to that new boy band you’re all obsessed with; you don’t think about the open window, how the curtains flutter in the summer breeze like a beckoning hand, how the lamplight shines like a beacon in the dark night.
- In bed, covers pulled over your head and a flashlight tucked into the crook of your shoulder, a book of ghost stories resting on your legs. All of your attention is on the fictional horrors captured in printed text and inky drawings, and none is on the arcane ritual that’s begun in your basement.
- In the graveyard by the train tracks, and yes, you know this is a bad idea, and yes, you know that Becky and her little clique were probably lying when they said they’d spent the whole night here. You’re not going to back down now, though, not when she bet you five dollars that you were too chicken to do it.
- Underground. You’ve been sleeping in the dirt for far more years than you ever walked above it.
(2) What do you hope your last act as a Living Girl would be?
- Bargaining with the killer, telling him he can have you if he lets your friends go.
- Writing out the name of the cult’s leader in your own blood. Not that it’ll do you much good; the Sheriff is in on it, too.
- Not peeing yourself when you see the red eyes glowing in the dark.
- Forgetting. You do not wish to remember your life, and you flinch away from the shades of memory that still haunt you.
(3) What’s your secret weapon?
- You can raise other Little Dead Girls out of cemeteries, lonely roadsides, shallow graves, basements, and abandoned refrigerators. They crawl out and fight alongside you when you call them.
- You can run your fingers along one of the spells carved into your skin, as if the scars are Braille that only you can read, and activate it. You’ve called down storms and ravens and blood-hungry mists to fight your enemies.
- You transform. The sight of your scales, claws, wings, and teeth will send most bad guys running—though you like it better when they don’t run.
- Your voice. You speak above a whisper and it will shatter a man’s will to live. You speak louder than that and it can shatter his skull.
(4) What’s the first thing you do after becoming a Super Little Dead Girl™?
- Storm into the courtroom where Old Mr. Larrieux is being tried for your murder, and tell everyone who the real killer is.
- Burn your parents’ house to cinders. They traded you for eternal glory in the afterlife, so they should get their reward as soon as possible.
- Eat Becky. You warned her to quit shoving you, or something terrible would happen.
- Scream. You thought it was finished. You did not want to come back. Your grief levels the ghost town where you were buried more than a century before.
(5) What’s the second thing you would do as a Super Little Dead Girl™?
- You want to hug your parents and your little sister. Instead, alone, you lead the police to where you were buried. You tell them the name of the man who did this to you. You narrate what he did to you in cold detail, and where they can find him. And then you tell them to leave you alone in that ugly patch of trees off the highway where he buried you. They’re too frightened to disobey. You sink to your scabby knees and dig your fingers into the loose dirt and gravel that covered your body. It feels like a thunderclap is building in your chest, and when you open your mouth, it tears out of you, echoing down the long, lonely road.
- You’re nearly to the Sheriff’s house when you hear the call, and the symbols carved into your palms start to glow. You try to ignore it, but your revenge suddenly seems small, less important. Someone needs you. You write the Sheriff a quick note on his garage door before taking his car. Your blood is tackier and harder to write with than when you died, so it’s just one word: Soon.
- You come back to yourself with your fingers wet with Becky’s blood, and your belly full and distended. Oh my god, you whimper. Salt and copper coats your lips. You get up and start to run, impossibly fast, not even realizing that something is guiding your steps, bringing you all together.
- You accept that it’s happening again. You believed it was over, that you had earned your rest. You had hoped and prayed and fought for this to never happen again. But when you hear the call, you begin to make your way towards your sisters, feeling them like warm light on your cold, papery skin.
(6) What do you have instead of eyes?
- Crushed daisy petals and Skittles.
- Shards of obsidian. Sometimes they fall out like sharp, black tears.
- You actually still have eyes, but the pupils are X-shaped.
- Windows to the Void.
(7) What’s your worst subject at school?
- Math! UGH.
- Gym! THE WORST.
- English! GAG.
- Lunch. Even the other Super Little Dead Girls hate watching you eat.
(8) What’s the worst thing about being a Super Little Dead Girl™?
- Your parents haven’t been super accepting of the new you. Actually, they can hardly bear to look at you. Whenever she sees you, your mother clutches at her chest like it’s splitting open, like she has a gaping wound there that matches yours. Your father actually fainted when you came into the courtroom during the trial, and his face goes gray and sweaty whenever he sees you. They won’t let your little sister see you at all, though your mom allows phone calls now. You know that they’re scared of you; that they can’t look at you without thinking of what happened to you. You want to scream at them sometimes that you’re still you, you’re still here. But while your screams raise the dead, they don’t do much for the living.
- You don’t like that you’re always going to be a little girl. You had plans for getting older. They were sort of vague before you died: famous scientist, fabulously wealthy, married, et cetera. But since you were ritually sacrificed, those plans have gotten clearer, even as they’ve drifted firmly out of your grasp, like when your mom set a cooling pan of brownies on a shelf you couldn’t reach. You can see the woman you were going to become; the no-nonsense haircut and the sensible shoes you’d wear to the lab, the home you’d build with your spouse, with few rooms but lots of land where you could walk the dogs you would rescue from the pound. It feels like the longer you’re dead, the more you know about the life that you could have led, but never will.
- Definitely the paparazzi. These creeps follow you from school to home and even to the Super Little Dead Girl™ secret hideout. They sneak up on you and shout HEY FREAK and IS IT TRUE YOUR MOTHER HAD SEX WITH THE DEVIL. They think you’re a fake. Then they think they’ll outrun you. Then they think they’ll be able to reach you and call you back, the sweet little girl that’s still buried somewhere deep inside. They don’t realize that you’re not buried; you’re in bloom, in control the entire time. But ugh, paparazzi taste terrible and they give you wicked farts.
- You can feel the void reaching for you, trying to drag you back to your shallow grave. You long for it as much as you dread it. You reach with one hand for your new sisters, and with the other back towards the dirt where you belong. You want to rest again in that cool embrace of the grave, but your work is not yet finished.
(9) What’s the best thing about being a Super Little Dead Girl™?
- Your friends, for sure. They’re your family now.
- Having friends. You were kind of a loner before. (Also, the library at your secret hideout is huge.)
- Friendship, duh. (Also, free pizza from corporate sponsors.)
- Good company. You do not walk this path of suffering alone. (Also, the music of this century is wondrous. Rihanna and Sia “give you life,” as the saying goes.)
(10) What are your future hopes and dreams as a Super Little Dead Girl™?
- You want to protect people; not just other little girls, but not-so-little girls, boys, and even grown-ups. You really wish grown-ups would do better at protecting other people and not, like, making more Little Dead Girls. That would make your job a lot easier.
- You want to know why you’re all here, and how this happened. You’ll never grow up to be a famous scientist, but that doesn’t mean you can’t run experiments on your own. And you want to understand all the spells on your body, especially that one between your shoulder blades that you can’t quite reach.
- You’re going to Disneyland! No, seriously, you want to go as soon as the Super Little Dead Girls™ lawyers sort through the liability issues, and you’re taking the other Girls with you. You all deserve a vacation from fighting evil every other day.
- Your job is to prepare your sisters for what is coming. They think they know horror; that they know betrayal; that they know the shadowed depths of their souls. They don’t, not yet. You have read the signs, and you know the Darker Days are returning. They must be ready for when the war begins again.
You are Sadie! The undisputed leader of the Super Little Dead Girls, you have a quick temper but a big heart (which everyone can see, since your killer sawed open your ribcage). You would do anything to protect your friends, and choose justice over revenge—most of the time, anyway.
You are Madelyn! You’re the brainiest of the Super Little Dead Girls, and usually the smartest person in a room. You’re more cynical than some of your friends—finding out your parents are part of an evil murder cult will do that to a girl.
You are Akemi! You never have and never will back down from a challenge. You’re the brawn of the Super Little Dead Girls, and the one that stretches the “Dead” part of your group’s name to the limit. You’ve still got a heartbeat, after all; three of them, even!
You are Jane Doe! You’re the oldest of the Super Little Dead Girls, the most mysterious, and indisputably the deadest. You don’t open up easily, not even to your closest friends. You won’t win any beauty contests, not with most of your face rotted away and all those strange extra teeth, but you’re fiercely loyal and scared of nothing.
Be sure to share your results with your friends, and sign up for our newsletter to get your daily dish on the cutest and fiercest team that ever faced down necromancers, demons, and school dances. And remember: friendship never truly dies!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nino Cipri is a queer and nonbinary/trans writer, currently at work on an MFA at the University of Kansas. A multidisciplinary artist, Nino has also written plays, screenplays, and radio features; performed as a dancer, actor, and puppeteer; and worked as a stagehand, bookseller, bike mechanic, and labor organizer. Nino’s writing has been published by Tor.com, Fireside Fiction, Interfictions, The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, and other fine venues. You can connect with Nino on Facebook and Twitter @ninocipri or on ninocipri.com.
Nightmare Magazine is edited by bestselling anthology editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy). This month’s issue also contains fiction from Tamsyn Muir, Matthew Kressel, and Lisa Morton. We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” and of course we’ll have author spotlights with our authors, plus the latest installment of our review column by Adam-Troy Castro. You can wait for (most of) the rest of this month’s contents to be serialized online, or you can buy the whole issue right now in convenient eBook format for just $2.99. You can also subscribe and get each issue delivered to you automatically every month for the discounted price of just $1.99 per issue. This month’s issue is a great one, so be sure to check it out. And while you’re at it, tell a friend about Nightmare!
Such Sights to Show You – 02/21/18
What’s in a name? In this latest edition of Such Sights to Show you’re about to find out a great deal, that’s what! Read on for the usual cartoon shenanigans.
Kevin D. Clark is a cartoonist from Scotland who grew up watching classic monster movies, cartoons and wrestling, as well as reading comics. He started drawing at an early age and hasn’t stopped since. His sense of humor is a veritable cornucopia of the wacky and weird inspired by the likes of Monty Python, Mel Brooks, “MST3K,” Rab C. Nesbitt, as well as his older brother.
Kevin was diagnosed with Aspergers and because of that, he tries to push himself to work as hard as possible. Kevin also has a self-published comic book and helps run a film club for autistic people. He has recently earned a degree in cartooning from the London Art College and he’s pretty sure that he could take an octopus in a fight.
Machine of Death: The Game of Creative Assassination – Last Meeple Standing Game Overview and Review
I’m going to kill you. Well, actually, me and few friends are going to snuff you. We are going to use… ummmmm… a bunch of old socks, a bucket of lighter fluid, and a piece of quartz to do it. Believe it. This is all because a machine that took a drop of your blood told you your cause of death would be “Blaze,” whatever that means. As assassins, it is our job to see you shuffle off your mortal coil in that manner (somehow, no matter how vague) using only a random assortment of items to force that death upon you. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. And we LIKE our job. It makes us laugh, you see.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Hahn
In the world of Machine of Death: The Game of Creative Assassination (MoD for short), a device has been invented that uses as single drop of your blood it takes when you stick your hand in it to predict, in VERY vague terms, how you are going to die. The catch lies in that vagueness. When the machine spits out the card with your cause of death, it is going to be one or two words that may or may not make any sense to you. For example, the card that pops out of the machine might say “Elephant.” How the hell is an elephant going to kill you if you live in Modesto? Just avoid circuses and trips to Jakarta, right? Wrong. What about that billboard for Elephant brand tires that falls off a four-story building and squishes you into strawberry jam?
MoD puts players in the role of killers whose job it is to make sure the Machine of Death pays off in…well…death. The problem, and the fun, of the challenge is that you HAVE to use a randomly drawn assortment of items to send your victim on to the next life. If MoD didn’t have such a dark theme, I’d call it a party game. Wait…fuck it. It IS a party game. Who am I kidding? It is hysterically funny to try, within a limited amount of time, to bring about the timely end of your target.
Shall I start drooling all over this game right away? Yes! Commence drooling. The hefty, glossy game box comes packed with goodies: a huge pack of Death Cards, the cards that pop out of the MoD; a big box of Black Market Gift Cards, the items used to kill the victims with; a pack of Specialist Cards, bonus cards you can be awarded with to aid in our murderous adventures; a book of Target Intel Sheets, slips where you list various important traits for your victim; a wooden Fate Coin, which is flipped at various points in the game to help with decisions; a Mission booklet; and a nifty, red, custom die with a skull symbol for the “1.” All of this schwag is top-notch, high-quality stuff. The art on the cards is whimsical and very functional. The Death Cards look like those cards that used to pop out of the Fortune-Telling Gypsy booths on the boardwalk when you put a quarter in. The Black Market Gift Cards are designed to look like credit cards on one side with cute iconography identifying the item in question. The Specialist Cards have really fun artwork depicting the helpers you are awarded with if you kill particularly well. Lastly, anyone who frequents this column knows I’m totally nutty for custom dice, and this game scores with theirs. An embossed skull? Yes, please!
Separate out and shuffle the Death, Black Market Gift, and Specialist Card decks, and place each deck nearby face down. Draw one Death Card face down to the table. Count out 20 of the Black Market Gift Cards face down as your “shopping budget” for the game and put the rest away. Create your victim on an Intel slip using the tables in the rule book or select one from the Mission booklet. This will give the players some important and helpful insight into the target, allowing them to manipulate both their tools and the target for the kill. Turn over the Death Card and draw three Black Market Gift Cards face up in a row. Put the sand timer nearby, and you are ready to annihilate the victim.
It is important to remember that the game is more about fun storytelling than beating the dice. The more the players work together to come up with good stories, the better the gameplay is going to be. If you lose, so what? The game sets up in moments and is ready to go again, with fresh people just lining up to visit with Death.
Each game lasts for four rounds (four assassination targets). Each round you will do the following in order:
- Generate a target.
- Make an assassination plan.
- Attempt the kill.
If you fail at any kill, you lose. Too bad, so sad. If the kill is successful, you stand a chance to earn bonus Specialist Cards before moving on to the next assassination.
To generate a target, you use a series of simple tables and basically answer questions Mad Libs style to come up with Name, two pieces of intel (such as likes, dislikes, fears, beliefs, etc.), and a location for them. This meta-game is sorta fun all by itself. Making up goofy characters to slaughter shortly thereafter is a good time, right?
Next, the players look at the gift cards that have been turned up and try to come up with a way to use them to bring about the demise of the target. Keep in mind that these gifts are not going to be simple, single words, like: chainsaw, acid, or rifle. More than likely, they will be something like “something red.” In this case you could say, for example, it is a pile of bricks, a red dump truck, or a red baseball bat. String together a story of sorts from all of the items you have to form the death plan. If you had the cards music, something red, and batteries, you could come up with: “We’re going to block him into an alley with a red dump truck, confuse him with loud Skinny Puppy music so he doesn’t try to escape, and then pour battery acid on him from above.” All is good and well, but now you have to, as a team, try to assign a difficulty, from 2 (easy) to 6 (hella hard), for each of the three parts. How hard is it to accomplish each part? You might say that backing the truck block the alley is easy, so a 2, but getting enough battery acid together to kill the person might be hard, so maybe a 5.
To attempt the kill, you turn over the sand timer and get started as quickly as possible, because once the timer runs out, it’s game over, man! Starting with the first item in your plan, select a player to roll the die, in an attempt to roll the decided-upon difficulty level or greater. If you succeed, move on to the next item! If you fail, discard that item card, draw another, and revise you plan using the remaining items. The remaining items can operate the same way they did before, or you can create new uses and new difficulty levels for them. Then start over, attempting to succeed with all three items in your plan. If you roll greater than the difficulty level you set for all three items, your assassination is carried off for that victim. If you still have time on the clock, roll the die and consult the Aftermath table, which will let you attempt to flee the scene, establish an alibi, cater the target’s wake (really), etc. by drawing one item card and attempting a plan against that item. Win and you get to roll again, draw again, and try again if there is still time on the timer. For each successful roll, you get to draw a Specialist card and set it aside for the moment. These cards allow you to switch them out for item cards on subsequent assassination attempts, basically giving you more options of a unique and interesting kind (e.g., “water into wine,” “killer solo,” or “flying saucer ride”).
You win by successfully killing all four targets. Good job. You’re a serial killer. You lose if at any time you run out of both Gift Cards and Specialists before all four targets are dead. You also lose if you fail to kill a target before the timer runs out. What? You think you get a lifetime to snuff anyone you want? Guess again, killer!
By now, my enthusiasm for this game should be self-evident. I fricking LOVE MoD! The components are great, but the gameplay is even better! You’ve got a winner already, but I’ve been holding some info back from you, readers. This game is based on two awesome books of short stories delving into the possibilities of the wicked machine: Machine of Death and This Is How You Die. Both of them are chock full of hysterical…and creepy…stories of the fates of folks who fall victim to the machine. Not only that, but the website dedicated to this game, machineofdeath.net, is packed with bonus goodies for players: an Intel randomizer, timer music albums you can use in place of the sand timer (fun!), more missions, and target Intel blank sheets. Wow! The website also has pins, patches, posters, death certificates, t-shirts, etc. for fans to pick up if they love the game, which I suspect they will. Mind you, I’m not trying to sell you anything here, but WOW! What a bunch of cool-ass stuff! But wait, there’s MORE, and this may be the best part: there is a gigantor expansion for MoD. The Side Effects expansion includes more than 600 additional cards to plan deaths with: Death Cards, a Genre Deck, Intel, and what they call “Web Pals + Chums,” cards designed by famous Web personalities and illustrators (these cards are particularly awesome, according to ME).
There you have it…one of my favorite games in my collection. I’m happy to admit I have pretty much everything available for this game. Yes, I love assassination THAT much! This game is perfect for nights when you need a break from heavier games but are still in the mood for some mayhem and murder. I’ve rarely played MoD in public without some random stranger begging to please sit in on the next game. I strongly urge all of my readers to take the time and effort to find a copy and pick this up as soon as possible…or my friends and I will kill you.
Designer: David Fooden, David Malki, and Kris Straub
Artists: Kris Straub
Players/Playtime: 2-4 players/30 min
Suggested Player Age: 15+
Last Meeple Standing is brought to you by Villainous Lair Comics & Games, the ultimate destination for board game fanatics in Southern California. For more information visit the official Villainous Lair Comics & Games website, “Like” the Villainous Lair Facebook page and be sure to follow Villainous Lair on Twitter and Instagram.
Exclusive: Killer Klowns Live On in This Hell’s Kitty Clip!
At this point, I think we’re all in agreement that the 1988 sci-fi horror/comedy Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a beloved cult classic, adored by horror fans the world over. Fans have been clamoring for a sequel for years and it always seems like one is right over the horizon but never quite within grasp.
While I can’t give you the sequel news you’ve been waiting decades for, I can give you a fresh taste of Killer Klowns with this exclusive clip from the upcoming horror/comedy Hell’s Kitty in which Charlie Chiodo himself dons the coulrophobia-inducing suit!
Hell’s Kitty tells of a covetous feline that acts possessed and possessive of his owner around women.
Hell’s Kitty is written and directed by Nicholas Tana, based on his own comic, and is produced by Denise Acosta. It stars Doug Jones (The Shape of Water), Dale Midkiff (Pet Sematary), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Courtney Gains (The Children of The Corn), Lynn Lowry (Cat People), Kelli Maroni (Night of The Comet), Ashley C. Williams (The Human Centipede), Barbara Nedeljakova (Hostel), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), and John Franklin (The Addams Family).
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