Outlast, Bad Moon Rising

While seeking out videos promoting the return of The Walking Dead last weekend, I stumbled across one trailer that featured a haunting rendition of Bad Moon Rising. Written by John Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bad Moon Rising was originally released in April 1969 as a single off of the Green River album.

Bad Moon Rising has been recorded by no less than twenty artists in the forty-five years since it was first released, but it’s the original that has stood the test of time. Widely considered the best, and certainly most popular version of the song, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising is among my all-time favorite songs. In fact, long before I christened this blog Horrorlust, I wrote on the topic of horror and haunted houses under a different name, Hallowblog. It’s worth noting that before I settled on Hallowblog I very strongly considered titling the blog, Bad Moon Rising, as an homage to the song.

So it was with more than a small thrill, that when I happened across a particular trailer for the aforementioned The Walking Dead, I was treated to a foreboding arrangement of the old favorite. Performed by a group called Mourning Ritual, this latest cover is punctuated by the raspy voice of the lead singer and a slower tempo than the original. The overall effect creates a much darker, ominous tune reminiscent at times of Lauren O’Connell’s cover of The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun. Appropriately, that cover was also used in the promos for another popular television horror series this season — American Horror Story: Coven.

If you haven’t heard either cover I would strongly recommend giving each a listen. I wouldn’t suggest that either topped the original — that would be blasphemous — but each has put a fresh spin on a powerful classic and are capable of standing on their own. As for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing the originals, smack yourself.

outlast-terror

RUN OR HIDE

My love of all things horror extends also to the video game medium and, oh boy, has a new entry come to the world of survival horror! My brother called me last week to tell me about a game he had downloaded on PS4 called Outlast. Released to PC last September, the independent title developed by Red Barrels was made available on the PS4 earlier this month.

The plot of the game is centered on Miles Upshur, a freelance journalist. An anonymous tip has brought him to the formidable Mount Massive Asylum, a psychiatric hospital where Miles will soon discover that things have gone horrifyingly wrong.

Exhibited on a 64-inch screen, complete with surround sound system the startling effect of the game was rendered in full force. The player progresses through the darkened halls from a first person perspective armed with nothing more than a video camera equipped with night vision. Use of the video camera is not optional — this mode ratcheted up the tension and created a claustrophobic sensation close to panic.

Miles’ task is to covertly search the building for evidence of what has taken place here and throughout the early stages of his journey we were treated to some brilliantly timed jump scares that yielded shouts of terror and colorful expletives. Ah yes, I should mention that Miles is almost entirely incapable of defending himself if assailed. As the player you have but two options: run or hide. It brought us back to 1998 when we first experienced Resident Evil 2 — the first title that made us question playing a video game alone in the dark.

I won’t be surprised if Outlast is soon on the short list of most frightening video game titles ever released, nor should the expert sound design be lost on players or industry insiders. The game is scary and presents an interesting twist on the survival horror genre. I’m definitely looking forward to delving deeper inside Mount Massive Asylum.

Several trailers of the game can be found at the developers website: Red Barrel Games 

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