Issue 9 : November 2017 'Fear'
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Things are getting strange - p4
The voice of popular culture by young creatives FILMS | PHOTOGRAPHY | BOOKS | MUSIC | POLITICS | TRAVEL | GAMING | AND MORE
contributors JAMES NORMAN – FEED editor culture p6
MIKE TAYLOR – sport p16 A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Worcester, Mike hopes to achieve a respected journalism career by being a reliable source of information, providing social commentary and creating cutting edge content.
JADE DAWSON film and tv p6
AARON JONES – books p20 Criminology graduate and Disney lover Aaron catches bad guys by day, and retires into the world of fantasy-fiction at night.
HANNAH MORSE film and tv p8 Part-time film reviewer Hannah is an avid collector of movie memorabilia and music – mostly vinyl, and her stack of DVDs is taller than she is.
CAMERON COOPER – student p22 Long-suffering West Brom fan Cam is a third year Journalism student at Coventry University, freelance sports writer, massive video game nerd and a grown man who regularly watches professional wrestling.
WILL SCHWARTZ film and tv p10
Will is an English student entering his final year of university. In his free time, he enjoys following sports, binge-watching TV and all forms of writing.
JOSHUA WOOD gaming p24 Joshua is an English Language graduate who divides his time between playing video games and moaning about them on the internet. He was once nearly eaten by a pack of wild dogs.
LUKE ALEX DAVIS – film and tv p12
PETE MORSE – FEED designer
A Maths graduate and writer with an affinity for both numbers and words, James writes novels and screenplays in his spare time and hopes to one day sell a story that someone will actually read.
Jade is 22, has a love of travel and spends of her free time watching sport (or Netflix).
Luke Alex Davis is a music producer and writer. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tennis, modernist architecture and playing Pokémon.
GOT WHAT IT TAKES?.... Are you interested in becoming a contributor to FEED Magazine? We are always on the lookout for talented creative writers and photographers. Email us at email@example.com
Graphic designer, web designer, facilitator, musician and all round good guy!
Contents film & tv
................................................................................ 4 Things are getting strange
Feed Magazine is an outlet for young creatives to get their voices heard without distortion or pressure. We are always looking for new talented writers and photographers to join our team. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved.
...............................................................................14 Tackling the horror of aggressive challenges
...............................................................................18 The veils of fantasy fiction
...............................................................................22 Paralysing post-Uni fear
The nightmare before Christmas
note from the
Hallowe’en makeup and wandering zombies. Burning effigies and explosions on Guy Fawkes night. Losing an hour of sleep for daylight savings. It’s a scary time of year. Humanity turns orange in October to match the pumpkins, and then the world turns orange in November because all of the leaves fall off the trees. And that’s scary enough. As such, this month’s issue of Feed magazine is about fear. We asked the writers, ‘what scares you?’ and the answers varied. From a night in with some spooky Netflix shows (page 6), or an old-fashioned horror flick (page 12), to the frightening, paralysing stress of post-University life (page 22). Elsewhere, we hear stories of fantasy novels (page 20) and a seven-year-old accidentally stumbling on Resident Evil (page 24). JAMES NORMAN - Editor-in-chief
next issue out in December
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Film and tv Things are getting strange
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Netflix and Thrill
American Horror Story
I’m a wimp. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. I'm not big into Halloween and I don't think I've left my house on the 31st of October (other than school/work of course) since about 2005. One thing I do enjoying doing though is watching Netflix, who doesn't? So, I thought I'd take a look at some of the best things on Netflix to get people into the spirit of the season. Starting with something that freaked me out hideous amounts – yes – we're starting scary. American Horror Story From my introduction you're probably thinking why I'd even watch something with a title that pretty much tells me I'll need to sleep with the lights on. Well, I was bed-bound after an operation and had already watched about 15 different shows on Netflix and fancied a change... Where to start with this show... With American Horror Story, each series is a different standalone story, but told with the same actors. If you're into the paranormal side of scary there's Murder House and Roanoke to satisfy that little craving. Prefer something a bit more sadistic? Asylum has that covered. Circuses get you going? There's Freak Show for that. Not a fan of Emma Roberts' acting? You'll get nightmares from Coven. Oh, and if you're into vampires and sex then Hotel might be worth a watch. See there's a season for everyone, and all of the above are currently on Netflix and 100% worth a
watch. The newest season Cult isn't on Netflix yet but I've heard some great ratings about that too and can't wait until I can catch up on that. American Horror Story isn’t for everyone, and there's lots of aspects that might be difficult to watch for people but it's definitely the creepiest thing I've watched in awhile. There's not a massive amount of gore either if that's something that puts you off.
Stranger Things A lot of people have raved about Stranger Things and when you watch it, it's understandable why. With season two coming out just in time for Halloween this could be a great watch on the night of horrors -- as long as you don't live in a cabin in the woods near a government testing facility, anyway. Stranger Things is scary, there's no denying it. I've got high hopes for season two and the posters alone are pretty disturbing. My biggest issue with Stranger Things is the lack of seasons, and as a rule I wouldn't watch something
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with just one season. But, as previously mentioned, I had a lot of time on my hands over summer so gave it a go and certainly wasn't disappointed with the show itself; purely the lack of quantity, so I am going to recommend it. Just don't blame me if this creepy, 80s-based show of nightmares leaves you wanting more.
For a show that is essential set around Snow White and Prince Charming having a daughter that ends up in ‘our’ world because of Snow White's evil Stepmother, it's far more gripping than you'd expect. It's also seven seasons deep so if you want something that you can have a really substantial binge-watch of, I can't think of anything better.
However, if you're a Peter Pan fan, you may not like it so much because it completely puts you in turmoil over which characters are truly your favourite – not as much as the Peter Pan books though, they can ruin a childhood.
From the creepy to the comical. Yes, it is as cheesy as the name suggests. No, it's not as terrible as the name suggests. Bear with me on this one, you might watch the first episode and think 'what on earth is this?' And that's totally understandable. I too was not convinced when my colleague told me about it, but I gave it a go and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's light-hearted, fun and ridiculously addictive. (Oh, and Netflix adds episodes weekly. Bonus!) One negative is that it may put you off energy drinks for a while. But then again, I'm sure your heart will appreciate that. So, if a show about zombies getting flashbacks from the person whose brain they've eaten appeals to you, get watching. It has a quirky comic book theme throughout which I really enjoyed. It's not as action-filled as Arrow or The Flash but Netflix removed those so I can't add those to my list of suggestions. In its own right though, iZombie is definitely worth a watch. And if I haven't sold it enough already, Rahul Kohli plays an incredibly witty and delightfully funny British morgue worker, what more could you want?
Once Upon A Time Halloween covers fantasies too, right? No, I'm not suggesting Fifty Shades of Grey... I'm talking about your favourite childhood stories coming to life. As far as Disney Princesses go, I'm definitely more of a Merida so I didn’t expect to enjoy a show that is pretty much a live-action mangle of utterly bonkers Disney storylines, but I did! I enjoyed it so much that I got extremely irritable at the wait between seasons four and five, and I quit it for about two years. But now I'm back into it and completely engrossed.
But, if you're not a Peter Pan superfan and want something that's going to last and make you question why the real world is so boring and why we can't actually get to Storybrooke, Once Upon A Time is the show for you.
Hot Fuzz Many may question how I can possibly link this show to Halloween, and, well... it gave me nightmares so it's on the list. Also, it's a film rather than a TV show and I wanted to stick at least one of those on the list. Shaun of The Dead would have been a much better choice had it been on Netflix but Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are absolutely fantastic in this film too. It also has a creepy cult of locals who are overly obsessed with their small town and will murder anyone who they don't think is doing the best for the community. It's crazy, it's funny, it's jumpy and at times pretty gory. Hot Fuzz – and any Pegg and Frost film for that matter – is a great film to put on when you want something you don't have to take too seriously and just need a cheap laugh. I realise there are a lot of far more scary things on Netflix that people may think would go more with a Halloween theme than those I've suggested here, but this article is Netflix-and-Thrill, not Netflixand-having-to-sleep-with-the-lights-on. Get the popcorn out, put your phone on silent and get bingeing! JADE DAWSON
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Netflix has just released Season 2 of Stranger Things, and have amped up every aspect from Season 1. (Some spoilers for the Season 1 and hints to Season 2 ahead)â€Ś
When Will arrives home, something is lurking in his backyard, and it has a taste for blood.
Stranger Things became a smash hit last year, with an estimated 22 million streams worldwide. It pulled viewers in with its delicious 80s beats, mysterious government cover-ups and compelling characters. The show begins its journey with four best friends and selfproclaimed nerds: Will (Noah Schnapp) Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin).
The fear of the unknown can make us feel fascinated, and at the same time, mortified. In the context of television, a world like Hawkins can be built up slowly, with a mystery slowly unravelling. What first seems like a standard creature feature becomes so much more, once the air of conspiracy seeps in. Will is gone and his mother Joyce (the superb Winona Ryder) is beside herself with worry, and calls on old high school pal turned cop Jim Hopper (David Harber). Meanwhile the boys bump into a girl, who we learn to be known as Eleven (Millie
After a group game of Dungeons and Dragons, the boys split and head to their own homes.
Why do we enjoy being scared?
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Fear comes in all different forms, and growing up can create a whole new level of fear in many folk. Your body is changing. You aren’t a child anymore, but are nowhere near adulthood. You feel the pressure from school, your parents and your friends. Sounds pretty horrendous right? Well imagine you had to face bloodthirsty alien beings from another dimension, intent on breaking through from the other side! Welcome to Stranger Things. A world set in the 80s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, where creatures truly go bump in the night.
Bobby Brown), in the forest whilst on the hunt for Will. Eleven has broken out of a lab nearby and is more than reluctant to go back. Season 2 goes even deeper into the complexities of this world and its inhabitants. Set a year later in 1984, it appears things have calmed down a bit. The boys are focused on their Halloween costumes, and they have their sights set on the new girl, Max (Sadie Sink). However, something is not quite right with Will. A year after his stint in the upside down, he is still withdrawn and clearly suffering from some form of post-traumatic trauma. Eleven is still AWOL, much to the dismay of Mike, and let’s not forget the absence of Nancy’s best friend Barb. (#justiceforbarb)
Stranger Things is indeed drenched in nostalgia, and some critics have marked it down for this, but it is much more than that. It is acted, directed and written with careful craft and deliberation, focusing on characters and their relationships. It studies the idea that the scariest things in this world aren’t the poisoninfested monsters, but that gut-wrenching feeling that everything we love the most could be cruelly taken away from us. HANNAH MORSE
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James Franco - The Deuce
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Throughout my childhood, I was told numerous horror stories regarding just how bad the state of affairs were in Manhattan during the 1970s. This was hard for me to believe. Following Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s clean-up of the city in the 1990s, New York City’s central borough has been a relatively safe and clean place to live. Yet, to my parents, these new developments are a far cry from how things used to be. Back in the 70s, you couldn’t walk through Central Park after sundown without being brutally mugged. You couldn’t go down the street without spotting multitudes of crack vials and heroin needles. You couldn’t stroll through Times Square without seeing the army of pimps and prostitutes that inhabited the now bustling tourist attraction. It was a scary time. These downright ridiculous happenings never quite made sense in my head. That is, however, until I watched The Deuce. The show, which was created by The Wire head writer David Simon, contains all of these narratives. Crime, drugs, prostitution and pornography are the bread and butter of its thematic attributes. Whether it be the mob-connected twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino (both played by James Franco), Maggie Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of a lone sex worker named Candy, or the slew of pimps and prostitutes attempting to navigate the world’s oldest profession; New York City’s formerly seedy underbelly is put on full blast throughout The Deuce. This comes as no surprise. After all, the man who created The Wire would be expected to produce a similarly gritty depiction of the struggles that certain urban dwellers underwent in any new show of his. However, while The Wire focuses primarily on class struggles and inner-city poverty, The Deuce contains subject matter that is significantly more all-encompassing. Rich or poor, gay or straight, black or white, cop or criminal; everyone living in Manhattan in the 70s had some sort of story to tell. In his latest project, Simon explores the interactions that occurred when all these
alternative demographics crossed paths, and the underlying effects that such had on the entire city. In particular, The Deuce explores the psyches of those living in New York City in the 1970s, and why some of these individuals would be drawn to a life of crime in the first place. Many of the main characters who are involved in criminal activities, such as Vincent and Candy, are not inherently bad people. Both have kids, are liked by mostly everyone they encounter, and constantly fixate on the immoral natures of their current occupations. However, motivated by a desire to survive and thrive in the harsh realities of their environments, they are constantly digging deeper and deeper into their own holes. As the show progresses, Vincent transforms from a loosely mob-affiliated bar owner to the main proprietor of a brothel, while Candy graduates from street-based prostitution to the early onset of the adult film industry. Overall, while The Deuce isn’t quite on the same level as legendary shows such as The Sopranos and The Wire, it is an absolutely fantastic addition to HBO’s formidable repertoire of all-time great television. From the gripping action, to the character development and writing, to the in depth portrayal of an infamous period in American history, The Deuce possesses all the tenants of a brilliantly executed work of art. It is a notoriously difficult test to take a cast full of A-list actors and create a show that focuses less on their star power and more on the actual story that’s being portrayed. In this instance, Simon passes with flying colors. And while I never lived through the 1970s, at least now I’ll have some semblance of understanding the next time my parents begin to reminisce about the scary old times in Manhattan. WILL SCHWARTZ
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What scares you? Nightmare on Elm Street
What scares you? What makes you so afraid that it lingers in your mind for days, even weeks? For me, that’s a good horror movie. It’s my least favourite genre but I have a morbid curiosity when it comes to scary films. I’ve lost sleep over the years and still can’t handle certain movies (I will never watch American Werewolf in London). My parents weren’t fans either so I was never knowingly exposed to the genre. Moving to America in 2000 changed all that. US television didn’t have a watershed, so horror movies were viewable in the middle of the afternoon. I chose a sunny Saturday afternoon to indulge my curious nature. The film was Mutant, a 1984 flick about a weird virus that swept through a small American town. It’s the usual mystery illness Z movie you’d expect from the mid-80s but one scene stuck with me. Two doctors were working in the night trying to find out more about the virus. The male doctor didn't look healthy while his colleague ignored his deteriorating condition. Little did she know he'd contracted the virus and was transforming
into a violent Mutant. Between his purple ashen skin and bubbling face, I froze with curiosity and blind fear. The scene ended with the doctor’s reverberating scream. I called that my cue to turn the channel and try and scrub the movie from my mind. It still shocks me that a horror movie was on at 1pm. I was 9 years old and it was the scariest thing I’d ever seen. I cried in bed due to fear and my mum gave me a prayer to recite. Did I learn my lesson? I was a child, of course I didn’t. The next afternoon scarefest was around Halloween. This time it was Nightmare on Elm Street. I managed to catch the scene where a tank-
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topped Johnny Depp got sucked into his bed and expelled onto his ceiling in a deluge of blood. Years later, back in the UK, I watched Pet Sematary (in full) at a more reasonable time of 10pm. More zombies and a special guest appearance of Herman Munster. There was a top 100 scariest moments show on Channel 4. Some weren’t that scary, others were. That was my first introduction to American Werewolf in London and the famous transformation scene. It was intended to be more tongue-in-cheek than shocking horror but it freaked me out and does to this day. But it’s not always beasts and zombies that get inside my head. The film adaptations of Stephen King movies hold more psychological fear. Carrie took two weeks to get over, due to the harrowing prom sequence, the scene where she kills her mother and herself, and the shocking finale. I developed a brief obsession with Sissy Spacek which dispelled the fear and helped me move on. Whatever it takes, right? Christine was chilling too, not least for the transformation of Artie, the car’s owner. Needful Things had no real frights but it depicted the Devil as a man with claw-like nails in one scene. As I’ve grown older, my curiosity hasn’t waned but my fear has. One of my favourite horror movies (yes, I have one) is The Thing. There were plenty of transformation scenes in that but not enough to put me off watching. I enjoyed the raw cabin fever mentality of the crew and Kurt Russell’s reluctance as leader. That took away from the terrifying alien ‘births’, although those were visually spectacular. I recently saw an article claiming we’re in a Carrie
‘golden era’ of horror movies. I don’t seek them out so I can only go on the trailers I’ve seen on TV and they don’t add up to much. A formulaic approach worked better in the 80s because it was a new formula. Slasher movies grew in prominence thanks to classics like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. But nowadays, the paranormal POV subgenre is a saturated mess. The only time you jump out of your seat is to recover from bum numbness. I'm still affected by movie scenes with a psychological intent. But I'm old enough to appreciate their captivity. That could be why I kept watching scary movies I knew I shouldn't and paid the price. The 70s and 80s were perfect for those shit-your-pants films for so many reasons. I could watch most modern horrors by myself with no trouble. With the lights on. And the doors locked. Just in case. LUKE ALEX DAVIS
Sport Tackling the horror of aggressive challenges
One Horror Challenge The Premier League is renowned for its physicality, aggressive challenges and strong players. Every gameweek promises crunching tackles, crowd uproar over overzealous challenges and pundits arguing if a player is ‘that sort of player’. It’s no wonder the Premier League has seen so many horror tackles. Aaron Ramsey suffered a near career-ending leg injury from Ryan Shawcross’ reckless challenge, Hatem Ben Arfa was ruled out for almost a year following Nigel De Jong’s dangerous tackle and most famously, Roy Keane’s high-boot contact with Alf-Inge Håland's knee effectively ended the Norweigan’s career.
But some horrific injuries have wider significance, namely the one sustained by then-Arsenal striker, Eduardo da Silva. The Croatian-Brazilian striker signed for the Gunners in July 2007 from Dinamo Zagreb and quickly found his feet at Arsenal. He became known for his instinctive runs, delicate touch and skilful control which yielded 12 goals in all competitions by February 2008. On 23rd February 2008, Arsenal faced Birmingham City at St Andrew’s Stadium and saw themselves five points clear of second placed Manchester United. The away side were the pundits’ choice for the league title and Arsène Wenger’s men were on a 10-game unbeaten run, a run that included wins over Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City. Eduardo led the line against a Birmingham side struggling to stay in the Premier League. Two minutes into the game, Eduardo tracked back to receive a Gael Clichy pass, turned and started to dribble towards goal. Fabrice Muamba was pressurising an advancing Eduardo but Martin Taylor saw his threat and lunged in and hit the striker’s leg. The tackle looked dangerous and immediately you saw the impact. Referee Mike Dean blew his whistle and showed an instant red card to the Birmingham City defender while Cesc Fabregas frantically gestured towards Gary Lewin, the chief Arsenal physio, to come onto the pitch. Both sets of players looked visibly distraught about what they had just seen and the crowd collectively held its breath. After seven minutes of treatment, Eduardo was stretchered off the pitch to a chorus of applause. Stunned by their teammate’s injury, the Arsenal players persevered with the game but drew 2-2. Club captain William Gallas refused to leave the pitch at full-time after conceding a late penalty and Arsenal’s confidence was shot. Scans showed Eduardo suffered a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of his left ankle, causing him to be out of action for nearly a year.
His injury was significant – not just for the striker but also Arsenal. It sparked a five-game drawing streak and Chelsea and Manchester United capitalised on the Gunner’s lack of confidence. Their once commanding lead slowly dwindled and later finished third, behind Chelsea and champions Manchester United. Had the injury had not happened, Arsenal’s wait for another league title following their unbeaten 2003/04 season may have been shorter than expected. It was clear the moment affected their title challenge – not just in terms of points dropped, but the squad’s confidence and mental strength. With tackles against Diaby and Ramsey causing near-career ending tackles, Arsenal players became restrained and focused less on aggressive tactics and engaged in slick passing possession. This mentality and tactic is still used today, with many claiming Arsenal’s squad lacks aggressive players who endorse a physical approach. For Eduardo however, things looked hopeful. After surgery, rehabilitation and training, Eduardo returned to the Arsenal first-team 51 weeks after his injury, against Cardiff City in a FA Cup fourth-round replay. The Brazilian scored two goals in front of a buoyant Emirates Stadium crowd and promised to be a ‘soft reboot’ of his Arsenal career. While his leg recovered, his Arsenal career failed to do the same, with Robin Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner ahead of him in the pecking order. He was eventually sold to Ukrainian club, Shakhtar Donetsk in July 2010 after scoring 20 goals in 67 appearances. Had it not been for that injury, maybe the Croatian could have played further and become a key figure in many of Arsenal’s various trophy hunts. MIKE TAYLOR
Books The veils of fantasy fiction
My First Time I remember my first as if it was yesterday; a whirlwind of romance, a rollercoaster of emotion that took me on a ride that I have never forgotten. Such fond memories of mystery and magic which still leaves me breathless today. I am, of course, talking fantasy... the genre of books and not the... well you know what.
t all began at the age of eleven, with my uncle giving me a copy of his favourite story, a tattered old book by Raymond E. Feist called Magician. I picked this up and didn’t put it down until I’d absorbed tall of the 864 pages. I was utterly captivated, never had I read a story with so many different plots, twists and turns and a spectrum of sub-genres. I argue that no other genre, with possible exception towards sci-fi, incorporates a wider spread of topics; politics, war, love & romance, gangs & crime, religion, horror and more are all given life in a fictional world from the imagination of the author. I consider it astounding the ability to create an entire universe, with its own lore, history and language and weave a tale of intrigue. It is crazy to me; the amount of detail these writers put into so much of what they create, the copious amount they are required to learn to give that air of reality yet stooped deep in the veils of fantasy fiction. I appreciate this genre may have you thinking that it should be left for the children. “Tales of Knights, Dragons and Magic? Where is the intrigue for those of us with a more mature disposition to that of make believe? I want a story more grounded, driven, something that relates to me and who I am.” My answer is this; deep down, very deep down in some of you, Fantasy does relate to who you are. It offers you those dreams you had as a child and even as an adult, dreams which you can never realise in your everyday lives, in your current professions or next holiday adventure. At the very least, I am confident you would have unknowingly enjoyed a fantasy movie or programme, Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, for example. A bit too obvious? How about Harry Potter or the Wizard of Oz, all fantasy, all wonderful creations in their own right. My point is that these are the kind of books that can spirit you away to a different place, without the worries or stress of mundane life. There is a story for you out there, one which can be your old tattered version of Magician, one you can call "My Precious".
Recommended Reading List The Riftwar Saga Raymond E. Feist • Magician • Silverthorn • Darkness at Sethanon
The Inheritance Cycle Christopher Paolini • Eragon • Eldest • Brisingr • Inheritance
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Tad Williams • • • •
The Dragonbone Chair Stone of Farewell To Green Angel Tower: Siege To Green Angel Tower: Storm
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien • • • •
The Hobbit The Fellowship of the Ring The Two Towers The Return of the King
A Sword of Shadows Julie V. Jones • • • • •
A Cavern of Black Ice A Fortress of Grey Ice A Sword from Red Ice Watcher of the Dead Endlords (Yet to be released)
The Harry Potter Series J. K. Rowling
Paralysing post-Uni fear
They don’t tell you just how terrifying the real world can be once you actually have to enter into it. Before University started, I was completely disillusioned with education as a whole. Sixth form was a genuinely impressively bad time which was akin to basically just a two-year-long kick in the chutneys. And, after essentially being shepherded into applying for and going to university by teachers and people called ‘careers advisors’, I wasn’t exactly champing at the bit to have to flush another three years as well as pretty much 50 grand down the toilet in full-time higher education. I quickly realised I’m a big idiot and all I can think about now is how lovely it was. It was the best three years of my life, absolutely no question. I drank, I slept an embarrassing amount, I woke up at
stupid o’clock the majority of the week and came out of it with a fancy piece of paper meant to help me get a job and pretty much every single second of the whole experience was utterly wonderful. Speaking of getting a job however, the post-University comedown was pretty instantaneous and very scary. After initially being fairly optimistic about my prospects, a few weeks turned into a couple of months and I realised just how much of a minefield the
so-called ‘real world’ truly is. Rejection emails and letters were rapidly piling up (I mean… letters? In the year of our Lord 2017? Come on). My student overdraft was being slowly eaten away and, as someone with a tendency to overthink things, I was almost paralysed with fears of becoming overdrawn or having to wait so long that I’d end up thinking that was ever going to hire me. Sounds silly, I know, but sitting at the computer for ages while my inbox filled up with rejections was a terrifying period of time for me, as I’m sure it has been for countless others. And then there’s the
other questions... even when you get a job, what if you start and everyone there is a massive turd? It’s daunting, it really is. I’m in there now however, and it’s actually pretty good. I’m working doing something I don’t hate; I’ll probably retire in 40-odd years and spend the rest of my sentient days bouncing around in a Wetherspoons somewhere. Absolutely buzzing. Without wanting to sound condescending; just be patient. It can be terrifying, it can seem unforgiving, but the real world is alright when you give it a chance. Welcome 2 The Rat Race. CAMERON COOPER
The nightmare before Christmas Video games and horror go together like spoonfuls of Nutella and low self-esteem. Games are so perfectly suited to the genre because they force the player to confront their fears, to progress despite their instinct to stay, freeze, to peek under the bed even though they know there’s a monster below. looked at the back of the box, I may have been too young to even appreciate what I was looking at if I had. I only remember going into the game in blissful ignorance of what was about to unfold. I was seven. Years of TV, movies and real life were waiting to desensitise me to the point of sheer nihilism but at that time I was bright eyed, optimistic and innocent.
Think about how many times during a film you’ll think (or shout, if you’re *that* guy) “Don’t go in there! No don’t do that, that’s totally stupid! You deserve to die”. You can laugh at the poor soul who’s about to be shanked from behind the curtain because it’s not you, it’s some hapless idiot who really should have known better. In games you take the place of that total moron, slowly and inexplicably tiptoeing into the darkness. So, given the spooky time of year I thought I’d share a story from my own life where horror and video games combined perfectly to both underline my point and properly shit me up. It was December 1996 and I was 7 years old. We had gone to the shop hoping to get a copy of Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi (an altogether very different kind of horror show) but I had misjudged the release date. The kind, yet wildly irresponsible retail assistant instead recommended the Capcom classic Resident Evil: The Director's Cut instead, and in doing so underlining the industry’s laissez-faire approach to suitability standards at the time. I clutched the game, ultimately happy to not walk away empty handed. I don’t remember if I
There I sat, controller gripped, 17-inch CDT television roaring with bristling, static life. The PlayStation span up and we were off. The original ‘Resident Evil’ lays its cards out quite early when just before the title screen, with the perspective of the transgressor we witness a man being attacked from behind. He lets out a blood-curdling scream as the screen fills with blood. Off to a flying start, lads. I was trembling. I was transfixed as the opening cinematic played out; July 1998 in Raccoon Forest. An OriginalPlayStation era landscape appears and Captain Exposition gets underway explaining what the shit is going on. Bravo Team, who were sent to investigate reports of people being eaten, have gone missing, presumed munched. Zombie protocol is a well-established phenomenon in 2017 with most people being vastly more prepared for an apocalypse of that nature than say, a mild flood. Yet in 1996, preparedness was at an all-time low, especially for seven-year-old me. At that time, I didn’t really know that if you’ve got reports of folks getting chewed on and then disappearing then chances are you’ve got a case of the undead. Alpha Team chopper in to Bravo’s last known location and start wading through some long grass, hoping to happen upon a clue as
to their colleagues’ mysterious disappearance. Miraculously, considering it was the middle of the night and pitch black, one member of the team (apparently named Joseph Frost) finds a gun with a hand still wrapped around the grip, what happened to the rest of the body left very much to the player's imagination. Mr Frost calls for the attention of the team, which instead attracts some passing zombie-dogs to use his face as a chew toy. Joey summons every ounce of his special forces training by firing erratically in the darkness before eventually being shredded by the carnivorous canines. The team do try and help poor Joe but are too late. The helicopter that brought them into this mess flies away, just in time for those zombie dogs to come back for round two. The team legs it to a nearby house to take shelter and the game begins* *I say the game begins, there’s also a hilarious additional intro sequence where the cast list is read aloud, and each character strikes a pose. Its magnificent. Chris Redfield lights a cigarette in a way that only someone who has never lit one before in their life would do so. At this point my heart was absolutely racing. I’d selected to play as Jill Valentine, because the game had told me this would be easier. After a quick chat with Barry, part-narrator-part-DeusEx-Machina and Albert Wesker, Dickhead-inChief of Alpha Team, I found myself on my own again. The cavernous mansion lay before me, the heavy silence punctuated by Jill’s impossibly loud footsteps and the periodic sound of a door slamming. This combination of eerie stillness and the constant sense that you were not as alone
as you felt played together perfectly in scaring the living shit out of me. And this is where I return to my initial point about video games forcing you to progress. Every instinct I had at that point was to turn off the PlayStation and never return to the mansion in Raccoon Forest. And yet instead I ploughed on, followed the immediate path the game takes you on without incident. The critic in me now appreciates that for the first 10 minutes of Resident Evil nothing really happens, you solve a puzzle and walk through some halls. But tension is building, everything is too quiet. Then it happens. You follow a corridor to the end and turn a corner. The game stops and transitions to a cutscene. The first thing that hits you is the sound; a slow, wet munching sound characterised not by a ferocious rush but instead a disturbing calm. A figure is bent over, the view behind it obscured, its head bobbing in time with the sound of flesh being chewed. Then the unidentified being stops and, alert to your presence, turns its head. The creature is undeniably human but its pale grey skin, sunken eyes and blood-stained mouth create a truly iconic and disturbing image that never really leaves you throughout your time at the mansion. 7-year-old me by this point was white with fear, I was barely able to grip the controller. I think I lasted 15 minutes into my first play through before finally turning it off in terror. The twisting and turning mansion, the camera angles that hide every littered threat, and the possibility that at any moment some bastard dogs could come crashing through the windows. It was pure horror because the tension built over time, it was composed and crafted to allow extended periods of nothing before snapping with some perfectly timed jump scare. The atmosphere made it unbearable, but somewhere deep down I was hooked. It was my first experience of an adrenaline rush I hated but couldn’t get enough of. I would never complete the game but the ice-cold fear and the struggle to summon the courage to progress through the opening stages stayed with me much longer than any horror movie. JOSHUA WOOD
The voice of popular culture by young creatives
firstname.lastname@example.org www.feedthemag.co.uk ÂŠ2017 JACN
The voice of pop culture by young creatives.