Tag Archive: Horror


If you haven’t seen part 1, you can find it here.

With most horror films, sequels come about because the original premise brought in enough interest. Horror sequels are rarely done out of passion, and because of this, many of them end up turning out completely rubbish. And I mean serious garbage. If Paranormal Activity didn’t show you how money-grubbing sequels can get, another prime example would be the ever popular Friday the 13th series, which is blieved to have been made to capitalise on the success of the film Halloween. The first film, though poorly scored, has gained a cult following, and the series has churned out… how many films, again?

12 films

12 FILMS

NO

Bad Jason. And don’t drag Freddy into this, he knows what he did. At least he didn’t go INTO SPACE.

If there was ever a series that people begged to continue, I doubt it was this one. I think the major complaint for me going forward was this (Slightly gory, you’ve been warned):

I mean, really? Robocop goes bad? I appreciate that they tried getting away from previous films, an indeed, most slashers. But Robo-Vorhees? It’s like a borg got all pissed and a hockey mask a machete were all he had to work with. (I hope people know what a Borg is, or this’ll be awkward). The sheer humour of this, and the fact that it’s in space keeps the film afloat for about 5 minutes, at that point, I’m afraid the film fails at the first hurdle: It’s not even scary. It’s about as enjoyable as being shot into space. Which is the problem with the series as a whole. It’s not enjoyable, the repetition of it is astounding, never mind the change of scenery. It became ridiculous, and unfortunately, it suffered greatly for it.

I can’t stress enough how horrifically cheesy and awesome this is.

Now, a good sequel is easily possible, as long as the director (who is hopefully quite competent) puts a little passion into it. Films like Predator 2, Aliens, Silence of the Lambs (Yes, that’s a sequel), all off these films bleed character. They seem like everyone involved believed wholeheartedly that this project could succeed, and every inch of effort they had was put into it. It may not be the case, but with enough intelligent and well-crafted design, you can certainly make it look like it was a blockbuster.

This brings me along to my final example. One which pretty much incorporates a lot of the sins I despise to see in horror, and then some. A series which, to my surprise, people enjoy the hell out of.

Good old gory Saw.

It took seven films, but finally, we’re about to finish this monument to the elderly.

If you enjoy horror in any form, chance are Saw has popped up in the conversation at least once. 2 video games, a comic book, 7 films. I won’t lie though, I actually quite enjoyed the first film. Despite it getting trashed a lot, I think it gets bonus points for ‘innovation through limitation’. With it’s budget being relatively low for a modern day film, only a few takes could be shot, which resulted in some at-times bad scenes. However, scenes shot through still photography and surveillance cameras are examples of how good cinematography can be achieved with little money. And no matter the criticisms, I still enjoyed it.

Everything else in that franchise though? Lemme help you tear that down. I really don’t mind.

Perhaps 2 and 3, while still under the supervision of the original director, had their small merits. Perhaps. And that’s a big perhaps. After James Wan left, it was a bit of a nightmare, made even worse by the fact that Saw is so well known, Horror can be, at times, quite a niche genre, and Saw was extremely popular for something like it. I think it’s fame(or infamy, I dunno) is what kept the series alive for so long. It was always profitable enough to warrant more movies. Despite it’s very noticeable flaws (and for the life of me, I don’t know how this happened), Saw lived on for 7 films, each one adding a little piece to the lore, requiring you to have at least seen some of the previous ones to get the references, kind of like a torturous Easter egg hunt. That is, until you get to the last film, in which case, you ad to have seen pretty much all of them to have a complete an utter understanding of it all. You can fill in the gaps here and there, but many of the characters that appear only appear in select films. It’s a reasonably good payoff for die-hard fans of the series. For those of us who aren’t, sorry, you’re on your own.

Considering gall the damn notes I have on this franchise, I should just leave the rest for a whole other post, but anyway…

I like horror. really, I do. I sound so much like a crotchety old man in these posts, but I love the genre to death. Some people get thrills riding rollercoasters, I get mine from staying up at the dead of night watch terrifying films. There’s a point though where there’s simply too much of it. I don’t want to watch most sequels for the simple reason of, well, I’ve already seen the first. If there’s no progression, why bother? If there’s no innovation, the series stagnates, and at that point, there is very little hope for it.

BUT. (I’d put an image here for a corny ‘butt’ joke, but Google images is far too NSFW for some reason XD)

Like I said, a sequel born out of passion, done with the idea of improving the original concept through tweaks and changing it into something new, appeals to me. I’d love to see something like that. If only there was such a film, with which I could end this post on a generic cliffhanger for a future episode…

Hmmmmm…

-Fiachra

 

 

Advertisements

Since this is the first That’s Horror-ble for a while, I thought I’d start with something easy, something in horror that is universally thought as ‘not a good idea’ territory. Think the Twilight Zone of the movie industry, where bottles roll uphill and Shia Labeouf isn’t Indiana Jones’ son. This, my dears, is sequel territory, the wild west of filmaking, the true test of a director that will prove he’s able to hold up a series with good cinematography and interesting plots, rather than just sells outs to a broken and dead franchise.

Sequels, or as I call them, farm animals (because they’re just big cash cows. Geddit?), are a continuation of a story, a successor made to improve on the original idea while taking criticism and flaws into account. Sequels are natural, some stories are just made to be continued. Hell, even books dating back to ancient Greece had sequels (The writer Homer’s Odyssey expands upon themes and characters introduced in his earlier work Iliad). And if the Greeks did it, no doubt Hollywood would take a crack at it, with the first ‘film’ sequels being introduced in silent, black and white films. I’ll be honest, I can’t really bash sequels all that much. Sure, most of them are done for monetary gain, and many companies do tend to beat a dead horse. A whole herd of them, in the case of the Friday the 13th series. But a lot of sequels actuall do what sequels intended, and improve the films they were based on. Mad Max 2, Toy Story 2 & 3, Aliens, Star Wars Ep. 5, Terminator 2, Spider Man 2, the list goes on. All of them are testament to how to set up and keep a franchise alive. There are so many good films in So many genres.

Except for one.

Can you guess which?

I think you can?

Need a clue? It’s the whole point of this series, Einstein.

No, it’s not romance. Just go sit down, you’re not helping.

it’s horror, obviously.  In a genre usually so limited by budget, and so focused on the connection between it and the viewer used to scare it, sequels are, to put it bluntly, awful. More often than not, they’re just not scary, which to be honest, defeats the entire point of horror.  There are a ton of reasons why it just doesn’t have as many good, long lasting franchise compared to other genres. The main one being, as stated, lack of scariness.

The biggest sinner of all in this regard is Paranormal Activity. Even though the jump scares were plentiful, and the plot was simple, it reignited the public’s interest in found footage films. Supposedly, so scary that people left during the Cannes Film Festival, the film, love it or hate it,  brought tremendous success with limited tools, and being as successful as it was, well, it has to be at least reasonably good, right?

Then they made a second one.

And a third, a prequel, of course.

And a fourth.

And an unofficial spin off. Wait, counting those cheap ‘Mockbuster’ rip offs that company The Asylum creates, I think we can raise that to 3 spin offs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, after one whole year without a new film in the series, they’re launching into numero cinco, and a Latino spin off called The Marked Ones. Now, I’d like to know, at what point did this series drop off the relevancy chart? I mean, sure, I like found footage, I enjoyed Blair Witch, but seriously? Even the rip off got a sequel, the rip off!At this point, there is no innovation, there’s no fear, all the jump scares have worn off, and beating the dead horse is putting it gently. They bought a whole second horse that’s identical to the first one, and pummeled that one as well. The series is the prime example of what happens when you try to capitalise on the first of a series in horror without innovating. A sequel should be able to stand on its own as a title, be able to tell it’s story while improving on the faults of the first one. This, on the other hand, was done for money. I see no other reason as to why so many were created other than to capitalise on the success of the first Paranormal Activity, and because they were scared of changing anything for fear of losing fans, they stagnated completely.

It’s sad, but it’s a lesson you must learn in horror, or indeed in any form of entertainment: You cannot just slap the number 2 on somehing and call it a sequel. You have to be different. If you already have an established world, monster, villain, you cannot expect people to be interested if we learn nothing more about said world or monster, which is difficult with something like this, as an air of mystery is actually required. Nevertheless, expand upon your idea,give your audience a reason to want to go back to the world you’ve created, and you’ll have a successful sequel

Let’s talk survival horror, because it gives a good insight into another way horror sequels fail miserably, particularly in video games

Survival horror is a term taken from Resident Evil, and it describes a certain type of horror game.  In it, the player is given limited weapons ammo, or in some cases is left completely defenseless. Many of these games used clunky controls and what would be now considered bad gameplay to their advantage. Controlling the character and camera would be difficult, especially under times of pressure, adding an element of panic, which worked really well. As said though, nowadays, if one were to do that, given that we have such powerful technology, there’s no excuse, and it just comes off as cheap. Many series fell due to this, but Resident Evil, right up to number 4, really showed how well done survival horror can be done, even without clunky mechanics and gimmicks. the player had to stop walking to shoot, the camera controlled better but still added to the panic, and it was overall just a joy to play.

But here’s where things went downhill, as the next in the series, Resident Evil 5, received positive reviews, but fans of the older titles (myself included) didn’t enjoy it. Why? For the simple reason that it was not longer survival horror anymore. 5 had a lot more action, and gathered tension more from the adrenaline rush, of fighting of hordes of baddies, and things were generally more fast paced and exciting, which turned it more into an action-adventure game. It was no longer intended to have the same scare factor the others did. That’s alright to do, there’s nothing wrong with branching out of survival horror, a genre which really is dying. The only problem was that it didn’t completely cut it’s ties with horror. The player still had to stop moving to shoot, the game never paused, which meant enemies could attack you at anytime, and it still tried to freak you out with disturbing enemy designs. perhaps it’s just me, but when a game still holds on to tropes just for the sake of retaining some ties to a genre, it falls flat. Sequels need to know which ties to cut, which flaws to improve on, and what it needs to change genres.

Considering how long this post is, we’ll leave it at that for now, but stayed tuned for part two on sequels. Have an idea for a post or just want to leave feedback? Leave a comment letting me know your opinion. This isn’t YouTube, the comments section should be fine 😉

-Fiachra

Zombies, necromorphs, the walking dead, the dearly un-departed, voodoo men, the ‘infected’, dubstep fans. That guy from Miami.

A writer/producer’s greatest aid, and their worst nightmare.

I suppose the divide between hate and love for those that walk amongst the living is scarily even. On one end of the zombie spectrum, you have an army/horde of creatures who have tasted death, and have refused it’s full meal. Soldiers, animals, that will never tire, never complain, who ‘live’ for the next meal.

On the other, you have a bunch of shambling buffoons who smell like your grandmother.

Yeah, and everybody says vampires are uncool nowadays.

Surprisingly, zombies have managed to somewhat weather through the s**t-storm that horror failed to predict. It’s only been recently that zombies have progressed backwards, and even that’s putting harshly. Instead of being mocked directly, like most horror elements, it’s more about the SITUATIONS they’re put into.

Everyone likes a zombie, you may say you don’t, but come on, who doesn’t appreciate the idea of a zombie. Something so vile even hell is like ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that.’ a loved one, ready to be embraced by an ecstatic family member, and ready to sinks it’s teeth into aforementioned member’s shoulder

‘Oh sweet Marie, after all these years you’ve come ba…’(This is proceeded with screams and crunching, and… other… noises)

But for every pro, there is a con. Zombies don’t really have a place in horror. They serve too many different role, depending on the film, video game, book, etc.

However the biggest problem when it comes to zombies, for all their roles and variations, the trouble with zombies is: What do you you do with them? Wha… where do they go, I mean…

Look at it this way: Your writing a screenplay for a movie, or a book, you’ve set you undead creations loose on your fictional world and then what?

‘Well, you tell the story of the survivors, and how the…’

At that point, it is not about the zombies is it? You’re telling a horror story, sure, but the more focus you give your ‘survivors’ personality, depth, the zombies are out the window. They are now a trial, an obstacle to be overcome in the apocalypse. Whereas in something like, say, Left 4 Dead (I know they’re ‘The Infected, I’ll get to that) The survivors past and personality is hinted at, but it isn’t the main theme. The zombies and the world they inhabit are. If it was about the survivors, it would be a less-than-entertaining video game, wouldn’t it?

It’s more akin to ‘The Walking Dead’ at the point, which is about as much a comic book about zombies than ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is about bird hunting.

‘But zombies still feature predominantly in ‘The Walking Dead’. It’s even named after them!’

True, I suppose, but did you really keep reading after the first volume to see the zombies? Not to say that The Walking Dead is bad, its amazing, but as Rick would put it:

And this leads us back to the original argument: Zombies are just another piece in the puzzle, but they don’t fit anywhere. It’s always fun to unleash the horde, but at that point, it’s difficult to use them in any way that’s interesting. You have a pile of corpses, nowhere to put ‘em.

So then you ask yourself, if you don’t use them, then what’s the point of having them? Well, I suppose the best thing to do is to accept the inevitable: zombies are not able to support themselves as an element of horror on their own, so just make sure they do good in movies that don’t really focus on them. Evil Dead had zombie-type possessed, The Walking Dead is going strong. Zombies, however bad it may seem, are still popular.

As long as their in the corner of your eye, and not chomping on your neck.

If you want to explore the topic a little more, I’d really suggest you check out this episode of Extra Credits, a usually video game oriented show that had a little debate on zombies themselves. It’s worth it, trust me.

Well, it’s a new record, I made 2 posts, then decided to bugger off again for a week.

Nonononononononoooo, it’s not you, it’s me. Okay, it might be you, but it’s at least, 40% me. At least a fifth.

Sadly, I’ll be out of town for a week, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to upload something, even if it’s merely another old ‘That’s Horror-ble’

Oh, haven’t seen yet? My latest upload was from an old tumblr series I wrote on horror tropes, from zombies to found footage. It’s was pretty good, and I thought I would bring the series, cleaned up and re-written, to here, along with some new ones. Hopefully you guys’ll like it and not castrate me, and call me names, and all that jazz. The first one is about how horror had changed nowadays. Sadly, it hasn’t gone well, but maybe I can’t make things a little funnier as it spirals down the toilet.

Guess you could say I…

took the piss…

Lastly, do you like fame? Do you feel triumphant from crushing other contestants under you heel? Are you, like Charlie Sheen, fond of the concept of ‘winning’? Then do I have the competitions for you!

Several blogger friends of mine have decided to host several contests, and YOU CAN ENTER THEM ALL.

the contests and prizes are various, but I would strongly recommend you enter them, not just for your own personal glory, not just to promote healthy competition and make friends, but to batter each other down so that I can sweep in and claim glory for myself.

And I’m sure you’ll do a fine job too 😉

Catherine Ann’s Art Competition

alessergod’s Fiction-Writing Competition

Have fun, don’t send me the prize or anything…

-Fiachra

Dear Saul,

If a friend asked me the age old question ‘What things would you bring to a deserted island?’, I’d probably say ‘A friend who wouldn’t abandon me on a deserted island’, or failing that, ‘a laptop, and a boatload of horror films. And a boat’.

I’ve always adored horror, from the cheesy 80’s slasher’s to the piss-your-pants novels written long before I was around. And during my stint on tumblr, I wrote up on horror tropes in a series I called ‘That’s Horror-ble’ (Catchy, I know). Due to it being tumblr, a long post such as this didn’t work too well, and only a few were made. But I loved the series to death, and after a long time, I’ve decided to bring it here, because why not XD

While I’m working on the new ones, I’ll post up a few older ones alongside my regular talks with you, Saul. So please, enjoy tumblr Fiachra from 2012 🙂
-Fiachra

So you as a 12 year old walks into a video shop, maybe standing on your friends shoulders wearing a trench-coat and fake beard to fake your age, I dunno. And passing by the shelves you see it: Rise of the Unflattering Character from the Slightly Green Lagoon. Sneaking home into your room you put the DVD in and tune in to see:

  • More jump scares than a German coffee advert.
  • A college couple eaten by what appears to be a Neopet during… *wink *wink *nudge *nudge *cough *cough
  • Supposed Lost footage of the MacGuffin family during an attack by a spectral plant.
  • The trip of a life time to Daisy’s ‘Hey, we’re out in the middle of no where, come slaughter us’ forest walk
  • The group of teenagers who split up like they own the fricking Mystery Machine.

An overall, poor experience.

What when wrong then? You just saw a much better scary film the other day, it had you behind the sofa, even if it was an old film. So what went wrong?

Honestly, the genre has pretty much fallen into to the gutter with a bottle of malt liquor. it’s difficult to tell when this actually happened, but it’s easy to tell why. Sometimes, it can even be easily recognized through sequels in a series. Sure, somewhere in there are definite gems of horror film making, but do you want to search through the garbage to find those pearls.

I hope so, because you’ll be there for a while.

For god’s sake, even horror movies THEMSELVES take the piss out of the cliches made by cheap, uninteresting flicks. WES CRAVEN DID IT FOUR TIMES. Now Scream is getting weighed down by repetition.

So how did it all go wrong. How does a horror film turn a young, hopeful director into an Uwe Boll clone?

These are just a few of my guesses:

1. Terror & Horror

The most important elements in horror media are-and I kid you not- terror and horror.

Genius.

Hear me out. You may be wondering ‘Well, what’s the difference?’ That’s easy to explain:

Have you ever had a dream where you hear something veeeerrry close by, but you just can’t see it? Or when the door closes by itself? Or you walk into a room and a smell hits you that makes you just want to turn tail and flee?

That feeling of apprehension is terror.The fear of the unknown, the yet-to-happen, of the thing that goes bump in the night.

Whereas horror is more the heart pounding, wet yer knickers, AUGHGODITGOTLITTLESTEVIE moments. When the beast finally breaks down the door and you see it for all its grotesque majesty.

Yep, time to leave.

Terror is easier to do is writing than in film. In film, you are limited to using audio and visual elements to scare the viewer. While this makes full-on horror scares easy to do (and some filmmakers do them very well) build-ups and suspense become a chore, and are sometimes thrown out of the picture all together. In writing, you have everything: sight, sound, touch, smell, emotions, down to the tiniest detail. In the hands of the right person, words can easily become nightmares. Even then, full on scares require thought, and if done wrong, flop completely.

So what does this have to do with the genre now? Well, everything really. Having a balanced amount of the two is difficult. too few real scares and you eventually get used to the tension, and it becomes boring. Too many horror jump scares, and… well nearly every modern horror film is testimony to that.

Before high-budget flicks, movies relied on terror to produce good scares, so as to save money. Night of the Living Dead had a budget of $114,000, miniscule by today’s standards. Hammer Horror Films average budget was around $70,000.

So the excuse for today MAY well be ‘We have too much money’. They don’t really need to worry, so they use scary-scares to scare the scared, but don’t scare the not-easily scared, because they’re not scared by the scary-scares like the scared, who are easily scared by the scary scares.

2. Repetition

The cardinal sin of entertainment. The first thing you must avoid when making anything, a movie, book, t.v show, hell, a frickin’ smoke signal, is repetition. Because NO ONE likes repetition.

Because NO ONE likes repetition.

Easy joke, moving on…

But honestly, it’s a pain when you have to watch the same thing over, and over, with minimum change, especially in something that’s designed to frighten you. It ruins the immersion, and if it’s really bad, it turns the rest of the movie sour.

Repetition easily occurs within films of the same franchise, especially nowadays. Every major series, Saw, Hellraiser, Paranormal Activity, Halloween, Scream, Elm Street, everything at some point has suffered repetition at some point in their lives.

*Cough Living Dead series *cough

Sorry, bad coug… *Cough Films about exorcisms *hack

Should probably get that checked…

And don’t give me that ‘There are no more original ideas’ crap. Of course there are new ideas. Take an existing idea and mess around with it to create something unique. Old movies could keep things fresh, so there’s no reason why modern film can’t.

But the worst perpetrators are found footage films. A recent creation of modern horror started by a film about cannibals. Yeah, great start to a new genre. But Once Blair Witch became a hit, the shaky-camera floodgates were opened.

Some of them are fine. Blair Witch was good. Troll Hunter was good (I secretly adore Troll Hunter, but I don’t want to sound biased, so I won’t go on about it) and Cloverfield… well I shouldn’t get motion sickness when watching a film, but it was good. But it’s THE SAME PREMISE ALL THE TIME:

Troll Hunter: College mates go out shooting a documentary. They find nasty monsters.

Evil Things: College mates go out, one is shooting an amateur film. They find nasty people.

The Tunnel: Documentary team go into abandoned tunnels. Guess what? Nasty monster.

Grave Encounters: Reality t.v – turned – nasty monster-mania.

Project X: Teenagers. Documentary of party. Nasty people.

YES PROJECT X A HORROR FILM. SO BAD IT SCARED ME AHAHAHAHAHA.

Sadly, ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ aren’t words in horror. ‘safe’ and ‘easy profit’ certainly are. It’s sad how little directors are willing to risk just because they don’t want to lose money. Hopefully this will change soon. Even books on horror are starting to seem to familiar…

Uh oh, looks like she’s found out the cameraman’s drunk again. That, or she can’t find the plot.

3. The Villain

You’ve seen zombies, aliens, monsters, the whole shebang. These are common today, and in the past. But lemme ask you something: When was the last time any of them spoke?

This is more common than you think. So many of today’s horror films and video games have no proper villain. Sure, it’s scary having something monstrous and primal that you don’t understand chase you, but when was the last time someone or something had more charisma, or more of a personality than The likes of Norman Bates or old Freddy Krueger? (Not the ‘Your on Prime time!’ Krueger, thats for sure)

Something to be truly scared of is something that thinks, something that knows what it’s doing, and is proud of it. Something that gloats on how it will win, and you know it’s right. Bates has such a good personality (or personalities, if you’re feeling meticulous) and very few films can recreate him, just like with many popular 20th century killers: Hannibal Lecter, Voorhees, ghostface, and so on. Many try through reboots, remakes or straight-up new creations, but they just don’t have enough character to support themselves. Most just end up being 2-dimensional killers, or worse, not scary. Being hunted by something is the most primal fear of all and if a movie fails at that, then it doesn’t deserve the money it brings in.

And one other thing: Puppets and Food are not scary. I’m not afraid of something that I can either put in my mouth or something I can put my hand up into.

Wait that came out wrong.

4.- 50.
In the interest of length, I wanted to use just my main gripes with the genre, but there’s so much more I could argue about. Bad acting, poor design, plot holes, macguffins and deus ex machinas, generic and convoluted stories….

*Sigh…

I dunno, I just want the genre to get out of the gutter, and put down the malt. I want to be afraid of the dark again, not just afraid that the next advert I see is for K-fee. I want to have a reason to hide behind the couch again like a big girl’s blouse.

‘Who knows, maybe directors will start to realise that what they’re currently doing just isn’t working for anyone. They’re losing money, and we’re losing interest. Hopefully this is just a bad bend in the road to recovery. Maybe Hammer Horror will start putting out better films one day, and we can all be afraid once the sun goes down

‘till that day, I have plenty of things to talk about, so I’ll just keep writing to keep myself (and hopefully you guys) amused.

-Fiachra

I figured with all my blathering about me being a writer, I’d need some proof, so here it is. Part one of a rough draft of ‘Irvine’s Everest’:

 

These letters were received by Rebecca Langford, wife to Jacob Sacramento, renowned biologist and lead scientist on the Mt. Everest expedition of Patrick Jenneke, representative of Helix Biolabs in June 2013. What Helix Biolabs’, Jenneke’s and Sacramento’s reasons for climbing Everest is unknown, but the expedition had no known survivors. Helix continues denies any knowledge of the happenings on the mountain, saying Jenneke and Sacramento had been made redundant months ago. These letters, and what was found on the mountain, have been enough to charge Helix Biolabs with corporate espionage and unethical research.

Member’s of the expedition, several sherpas under Jenneke’s employment, and members of a Helix Biolabs security detachment have all been found dead on a path up the northern slope of the mountain, leading to a camp built by the expedition. Many sherpas looked to be in the process of fleeing, and were found to have been shot, most likely by the security force. Other sherpas and members of the expedition were found with contusions and heavy bruising caused by physical blows by a human arm, though considering the force of the impacts, this seems almost impossible. In the camp itself, Jenneke, along with the leaders of the expedition were found torn to pieces, as if attacked by a wild animal. Jacob Sacramento remains to be found. These are his last known correspondences to Rebecca.

1st June, 2013

Dear Rebecca,

The group has begun our ascent! We set off from Tibet to the Northern base camp, similar to Mallory and Irvine when they set off. I wonder, will we ever become as notorious as Mallory and Irvine, or Hillary and Norgay, or Shackleton and Crean? What we have the chance to achieve here would immortalise us in history forever. I know I’ve told you little, but I’ve told you all they’ve permitted me to. I couldn’t risk losing my position here on the expedition. As head scientist, I’ll be one step closer to fulfilling some of my wildest dreams, thanks to you and your perseverance. You pushed me into science as a kid, you pushed me into my research, and you made me agree to join Jenneke’s expedition on Everest. I can’t thank you enough.

Admittedly, the Northern ascent is worse to climb, but it’s easier to get through politically. Considering what we’re doing here, I’d rather not get stuck in Nepal right under the Chinese’s noses.

I’ll write again when we reach the Rongbuk Glacier.

All my love,

2nd June

Dear Rebecca

We met the sherpas at the base camp at the base of Rongbuk Glacier, rather than the ‘tourist’s’ base camp at the monastery. The sherpas were anxious about this, but more so about what we were doing. They haven’t been told what they’re carrying, though some complain of it’s weight. They have been forbidden to ask about or check the contents of their bags, and some have been threatened by the guards we’ve brought along. I find Jenneke’s taste in security to be sub-par. He relies on men with brute force as a skill: men not suited for a delicate procedure such as this, made even more dangerous by the threat of Mt. Everest’s climate

Originally, only 3 of the sherpa’s leaders were told what this expedition was for, and what was in the bags. 2 of them, with some persuasion, agreed to stay on, provided they keep their new-found knowledge a secret. The third was… not so willing. He refused to do so, and I haven’t seen him since we began the climb, where some of Jenneke’s men stayed behind to negotiate. They returned when we made camp today, saying he was unwilling to join, but agreed to keep quiet about the whole thing. How they managed to keep him silent is a mystery to me, but I’m far too concerned about the task at hand to think about it.

Any number of things could go wrong. If any of the sherpas find out our intentions, the whole convoy will know. We could have a riot on our hands if they disagree with the plan. On a mountain, this could prove disastrous for everyone. And there’s the matter of the tests we will perform. I oversaw the design, the testing, the approval of this drug and the equipment, but I still can’t help feeling this will go wrong. If it doesn’t, we’ll be credited with providing near immortality for the human race. If it does, we will be damned for our work. I pray I haven’t said to much already. Jenneke can be paranoid at times. Damn him for his secrecy!

Love,

Jacob

7th June

Dear Rebecca,

We’re at camp 5, after days of acclimatising, and only . I’ve barely noticed, but some of the security detail had to be moved down from the mountain, complaining of altitude sickness at camps 3 and 4. I doubt they’ll rejoin us. But this isn’t what concerns me.

A group of sherpas were spotted by Jenneke himself looking into their bags out of curiosity. It was all just medical equipment for testing brain activity, but it was enough for him to want to have them pulled aside, and taken over a snow bank, out of sight.

I think they’ve been killed. Jenneke’s a madman, he’d kill us all just so no one finds out. The men sent down from altitude sickness, the third Sherpa, they’re probably dead as well.

To hell with Jenneke’s secrecy. If this goes awry, and it may well, I need someone to know what we did here. Someone needs to know my work.

For 4 years, I’ve been involved in Helix’s Research & Development team. With the near unlimited resources of the Biolabs, we’ve had immense success. Organic prosthetics, reanimating dead tissue, the list goes on. But there was one accomplishment we all had are sights set on. The ability to reanimate and regrow dead glial cells and neurons (brain cells) and tissue. And we were able to synthesize something, something we believed could give humans new life, prevent cancerous cells from causing brain damage, prevent or even reverse necrosis, the list of possibilities was enormous. But we needed a cadaver. A perfectly preserved corpse, one with little damage to the nervous system and brain.

And then Helix showed us there greatest secret. The location of Andrew Irvine. No one had ever been successful in recovering his body, yet Helix had somehow found the location, with only he cold as his murderer. He was the perfect subject. It was wrong, inhuman, but if there was a chance it could save millions of lives in the future, is it so wrong? Only time will tell. I hope we can reach the second step, where Irvine rests, before the expedition descends into madness.

I love you, dearest Rebecca,

Jacob

Silence

Dear Saul

Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis holds a record for the world’s quietest room: -0.9 decibels. The longest anyone’s ever stayed in the room is an hour. After a while, your senses become more… ah, ‘sensitive’ to the sound your own body makes, such as your arteries and lungs.

Scary, isn’t it? Despite all the attempts at provoking horror, though books, movies, and t.v, using various sounds, shouts and screeches, the most terrifying thing to a human is the sound of their own body? All the quiet around us, and we focus in on the only sounds left, the ones we are making.

-Insert cheesy ‘Humans are the real monsters’ quote here-

The more modern ‘jump’ scares also get their effectiveness (there are some good jump scares) from this whole fear of silence. We as humans, crave noise. We have a city that never sleeps, filled to the brim with screams, shouts and blares, and not a single person cares.

But if New York went totally silent for a day, we would be driven mad.

Saul, the reason why I’m looking at this today is to kind of gleam a better look at a certain phrase: ‘Less is more’. In this case, it certainly is. And it’s an invaluable skill to have as anyone in the entertainment industry will tell you. The ability to create amazing content, without overdoing it or simply adding too much is surprisingly rare.

I’m looking at you, Michael Bay. If you set Mark Walhberg on fire while strutting towards Megan Fox in an explosion in Transformers 4 I will most likely stuff the script of ‘Armageddon’ down your throat.

If, Saul, we can be the quiet room, the room that does absolutely nothing but show more of a person than they’d like to see to scare them, then there is the potential for some top quality work. All we need do is make sure we don’t overdo it.

(Slightly belated) regards,
-Fiachra

The Cardinal

UCD's finest news source. Preaching the truth since 1854.

DEPRESSING DOUGHNUTS

"New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts"

softchap

A band. Plus the writing, poetry, and art of J.C. Grennan.

igotboredoftumblr

it's true, I did get bored of tumblr. Here shall be a hodge-podge of creative endeavours past, present, and future.

Jacob H. Baugher IV

Writer, Photographer, Musician

The Byronic Man

We can rebuild him. We have the technology... Drier. Hilariouser. More satirical than before.

If Books Could Blog

The written word is the only saviour this world needs.

feedmyreads

A place for authors, bloggers, illustrators, publishers & fans

After Dark Gaming

the red eye gamer

Tipsy Lit

the publishing imprint of author ericka clay

Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

lasesana

From my disorganized mind

Teens Can Write, Too!

Changing the world's opinion... as soon as we finish this math homework

The Life and Times of Sevner Red

A general blog about writing, games and all things tech

bloodoverithaca

We aim to amuse.

Lucien Maverick's Blog

The ramblings of a creative intellectual

Cut The Crap Movie Reviews

...for people who don't read movie reviews.

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

CURNBLOG

Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.