Posts Tagged ‘horror’

The Instructions for anyone with Excel 95?

1. Open Excel 95 with a blank work sheet
2. Go down to the 95th row
3. Select the whole row
4. Tab over to coloum B
5. Goto Help/About
6. Hold down ctrl-alt-shift and click on the tech support button
7. A window appears call “Hall of Tortured souls”
8. At the end of the hall and all the programmers names
9. Do a 180 turn and type excelkfa. Walk thuorgh the wall and see the pictures.

The internet and world of silly meme’s was taking its foothold in the childhood states of the mid 90’s and along with that came silly e-mails and the nonsense websites. So perhaps if you ever saw rumours of Microsoft Excel 95 having a mystery realm called The Hall of Tortured Souls, you may well have browsed on by, unless of course like me you were a bored student and simply had to abuse the hours in class you were given.

The Hall was like a mini-game of creepy chambers where the walls fell away to reveal pixellated pictures of real people, the thing is that this is not a rumour and it really did exist. So by following the above instructions you would get a pop-up that bore the header of the Hall of Tortured Souls.

It was one of the Easter Eggs that Microsoft hid in their products during that decade but this was a pretty darned creepy one.  The reality is however it was more of a credit roll for the developers with a little elaboration.

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So for a Halloween treat I decided to hire a random film from On Demand. Flicking through I spotted it, expecting the usual cheesy rubber monster or bad CGI but at least it was going to be something new to waste some time on.

I didn’t really have a clue about what the plot was, I’ll try not to spoil anything in this review but I apologise if I inadvertently should. Basically the premise is that a bunch of
teens end up taking a somewhat dodgy tour around Pripyat, the nuclear plant explosion is well known so a quick youtube search will give you amply footage (or check my previous blog for more details about it).

For one reason or another, the tourists and their guide go via an alternative entrance to the area. They find themselves bypassing a rather freaky looking fish on the side of the contaminated river and then land in the town. The history the guide gives is brief but pretty much a quick bite size low-down to tell you how it ended up abandoned. Pripyat footage is stunning in this; I thought the location was a great one including a scene where the Reactor in the background is pointed out from a window in a block of flats. There was a little jumpy bit at the river with the fish but it’s not until things start to go wrong that it kicks into real “life” suspense.

Now I know a lot of people love to give massive criticism to the influx of these types of horrors but firstly, it’s not done in that overused Blair Witch/Cloverfield style.  Personally however I have to say I liked Cloverfield too, but the camera angles are mixed and the lighting used in what I thought was a clever approach of claustrophobia and strange noises. To begin with it looked like it was nature fighting back, dogs in the area scavenging a rather fun section with a bear and then it started to kick into live going very wrong for everyone involved.

My plus points on the film? Okay the fact you don’t see stupidly created models that make it all too fake, no arbitrary bloody scenes of gore that meant nothing in the face of the fears they were supposed to be enacting. The scenes with the dark lighting and the confusion from their actors when they are without a guide and the slow decline of health of the party all made it feel very scary. (I was alone with the lights out too, go me!)

The downsides? Well I guess some parts of the acting weren’t too strong as I didn’t really get too attached to the characters or their stories. The dark shots got a bit annoying at times as they were pretty dark, I am sure I could adjust the settings on my TV but that would have made the other scenes too bright. The ending felt a little bit rushed but I guess the counter argument to that would be that it was meant to be that way due to the events of the story.

Overall I think I’d watch it again if it came up and I wouldn’t put this down as a bad movie, and yes I have seen some terrible ones. I think if you like that type of film you’ll probably enjoy it like I did but if you are already looking at it from a downside you’ll just pick holes and flaws with it. My opinion for a mark out of 5 would be 4/5 purely because when I watched it on my own I did jump a couple of times and the things chasing them were far more realistic than a rubber costumed robot.

Martha was murdered August 7th 1888 and does not belong to the “canon” 5 Jack the Ripper victims however she is included as one of the potentials and so I’ve decided she should get a mention due to her having been considered by some as a forerunner to the main event.

Martha, in her late 30’s, hung around with another prostitute the night before, known in the local area as Pearly Poll. They met two guardsmen and headed off around the local pubs of Whitechapel Road. At some point in the evening the four broke off into couples and after bargaining their prices for their services they took off. Martha took her john over to the arch that led to George Yard (for travelling tourists this is now Gunthorpe Street) this isolated area would be a good spot for a quick service, often known as four-penny knee tremblers. There were cheap apartments nearby at the George Yard Buildings for the poor, and the lights out at 11pm made the dark area perfect for the prostitutes work.

Mrs Hewitt was the wife of the buildings superintendent and she saw nothing on her way home from a celebratory evening with friends. This is hardly surprising though as the area is unlit, there was nothing to see, quite literally. At half past three that morning a taxi driver, Alfred George Crow, spots someone lying on the landing but thought no more of it, the area meant nothing would have been too unusual about it. After 5am John Saunders (labourer) saw her and this time was able to see that there was a pool of blood. He found a patrolling policeman (Constable T Barrett) who sent for a medic. She was pronounced dead having been brutally murdered.

The victim had 39 stab wounds from her throat to her lower abdomen. There were two blades used and it was ruled out that rape was the motive. There had been no sexual assault, it was vicious and without sound, the latter part being very unusual given the wounds inflicted. It was savage and shocking, but it is debatable if she was a ripper victim though investigating officers at the time felt that she was.

Taking the details at face value it doesn’t necessarily suggest she was due to the missing aspect of the mutilations. However there is some commonality in that she was attached in her throat and abdomen as the ripper had been identified to do on the other five accepted as canonical. I also think it is worth bearing in mind that as with many serial killers it has been found they escalate with their crimes and poor Martha may have been the “test run”.

Oh yes he’s probably one of the most famous killers in history and there is no way I could do this justice in one post but I have decided to at least get a little down on paper for now.

1888 London, Whitechapel was by no means a nice place. In fact a hovel of debauchery, poverty and crime the one thing it has done is raise the profile of how awful it was to be poor during the period. With lavish inventions, curious contraptions and plays that sparkle in the eyes of the rich, just like many cities London was not exempt of the darker side. Indeed London’s underground scenes and rough streets make some of the most lucrative aspects of art and film in the modern ages. Not least of those subjects is Jack the Ripper, depicted by many famous parties in film, games and literature… the serial killers past is so clouded with mystery and intrigue that it’s hard to pass him by.

The name comes from a letter, widely regarded as a hoax, which was signed Jack the Ripper admitting to the hideous crimes but another name for Jack is Leather Apron. Both of which relate to the crimes of prostitutes that were viciously attacked and murdered with abdominal mutilations being the part that really sticks out as his signature. He has never been identified as a specific person and so the theories continue to be debated, perhaps this is the true essence of why he is so fascinating, we truly have the opportunity to play armchair detectives as there’s plenty of theories to test.

Whitechapel itself leads to a brilliant backdrop for the crime and it’s subsequent mystery of exactly who Jack the Ripper is, after all with an estimated 1200 prostitutes and 62 brothels in the area Jackie-boy had a brilliant selection and plenty of opportunities to plan his escapades. And there wasn’t just a problem with the ladies of the night, there was a terrible element of racism, class division and those of higher station merely regarded it all as immorality.

Five of many victims of the time are listed as his canon murders, due to the way in which they were found and mutilated though the true number could be far more and there are at least seven listed as part of the Whitechapel murders. Those considered canon (canonical) are Mary Ann Nichols, Anne Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. I’ll be focusing on them in other posts as they really deserve more focus than a summary paragraph in my view.

What is interesting about each one is that whilst there was no identified sexual assault in terms of the murder being met with rape he had penetrated them with the knife and left them on display, suggesting the act perpetrated on females was still perhaps sexual in nature. It’s hard to disagree with it having some form of sexual motivation when considering their professions.

There have been numerous adaptations of this theme but I am going to comment on the ones I enjoy most. Certainly I enjoyed “From Hell” the name of which was a letter received by George Lusk at the time, the letter was signed From Hell. Johnny Depp plays the aspiring detective Aberline and it is dark enough to be interesting without turning into a terrible slasher like so many seem too. Another take comes from Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) a manga which has been adapted into anime, in which the murderer is a grim reaper working on behalf of a woman who can no longer bear children. A modern retelling came to the British TV in the form of a mini-series, a Jack the Ripper in the modern night replicating the details of the murders is hunted down.

Previous entry regarding the Slenderman has brought me to decide to bring a new game to the attention of the bloggers/readers passing by.

So the short game is this one: SLENDER 

Firstly I would like to let people know I am by NO means a pro-gamer, nor will I ever care to be. Horror gaming is something I have enjoyed as yet another additional to the “OMG that’s scaring me”

Don’t expect amazing graphics, do expect to crap yourself. If you turn off the lights and concentrate you’ll soon be immersed. The simplicity is actually what makes this highly addictive. A bit like pacman, who didn’t love just running around trying to avoid the ghosts? And if you’ve never played pacman you may wish to google it to understand what I am talking about (on and make me feel old).