We Switched Names…Again

Image result for face palm meme

That’s right. Hopefully, this will be the last time.

Getting back into the swing of things here at (now) The Kat at Night, we will be exploring this blog as it transitions into a discussion about writing dark things, particularly my affinity to doing this. We’ll also have the odd discussions here and there about other things dark like films and music, cats, coffee… you know… generally dark things.

The purpose for all of this tom-foolery? Rebranding is hard. I had, at one point, hoped that I might be better at reaching out to the writing community and possibly get others to post guest blogs or be able to connect on a more vast scale with writers of every genre. Those are pretty big goals to achieve on a fledgling blog that gets very few views because of intermittent posts by its only author.

Returning to a more simple, practice of sharing myself with the writing world is more my speed, and definitely more up my alley.

So, here we are with The Kat at Night.

I’ll be posting at night (of course) on subjects relating to dark fiction and my approach to it and soon enough, others approaches to it, too. I had thought maybe I would have the workings for a podcast here but decided against the latter. We’ll start with a blog and move on from there.

Until our next (actually first) post under a new name,

KSilva

Horror-FAVE Friday: Downfall Remake

I am very particular about my horror. I’m not always a fan of gory films, books, and games. I usually avoid many of the cookie-cutter slasher types, and the bad excuses to parade around guts and blood. I do, however, really enjoy a good psychological horror where the protagonist isn’t entirely sure that everything their seeing is real.

I was introduced to a game called The Cat Lady a few years ago, made by Harvest Games, and immediately fell in love with the story, the protagonist, and the overall feel of it. Not too long after, I discovered their first game, an indirect prequel to The Cat Lady, titled Downfall. It follows the story of Joe Davis, a troubled man who has taken his wife, Ivy, on an impromptu romantic getaway to the Quiet Haven hotel. After a falling out and a twisted dream, Joe awakens to discover that Ivy has disappeared and that Quiet Haven is not all that it appears to be. That’s where the game gets really, really good. The game follows Joe through the mysterious rooms of Quiet Haven, into places that seem more nightmare and dream than real. Behind it all lurks the mysterious entity of Sophie, a creature who Joe must kill four memories of in order to save Ivy.

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Horror-FAVE Friday: Lisa: The Painful RPG

Imagine you live in a world where all of the women and children have ceased to exist, where the land is teeming with gangs of men, some depraved, some violent, others just trying to find a place to hide, and remember the world the way it used to be. This is the world of Olathe in Lisa: The Painful RPG, created by Dingaling Productions a.k.a. Austin Jorgensen. In the game, we follow the story of Brad Armstrong, a down on his luck ex-martial arts teacher who has survived in the post-apocalyptic land of Olathe alongside his childhood friends. One day, he comes across a baby lying on the ground, but not just any baby; a baby girl. Realizing the implications of finding the only girl left in their world (and trying to atone for a mournful event in his past that involves his loathsome father, Brad brings the girl home and raises her. Eventually, word gets out about Buddy (the girl’s name) and she is taken from Brad. He sets out to find her and therein begins the strange, beautiful, and often times, perverted story of his quest to find her.

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Inspiration Through Music: Arvo Pärt

(image borrowed from Orthodox Arts Journal)

In my opinion, the most moving of music is always the music that contains no lyrics. Unless they are vague, lyrics tend to force a certain set of images into one’s mind when listening to a song. They set a theme, they set a story, and a character and really put walls up. They box in your ideas for what this song could be about and who it’s written for. Instrumental music is freer. There’s no male or female vocalist, there is no particular story being told other than the one the instruments tell, and you can feel anything from pain to pleasure as you listen. While I’ve had inspiration from a handful of songs with lyrics while working on books, I primarily listen to instrumental, soundtrack, or ambient music and can dive into a story so much deeper this way. As of late while working on my apocalyptic novel, The Wild Dark, I have fallen in love with a particular composer who I had not had the pleasure of listening to before: the wonderful Arvo Pärt.

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Inspiration Through Music: alt-J

I love a band that can inspire me no matter what genre I’m writing. Presently, I’ve found my mind leaping across three different writing projects in the last few weeks, trying to get work done on all of them and not go crazy at the same time. Between doing that, working full-time, and writing weekly blog posts…well…let’s just say I like to stay busy. alt-J has provided numerous opportunities to immerse myself in the story, no matter what the genre, and to get right down to business. This has been the case with a certain travel comedy sequel I’ve been planning (you’ll know the one), a short story directly linked to my latest book “Memento Mori” and my coup-de-grace of projects, my untitled apocalyptic novel. There is something undefined about alt-J’s style. Certainly one could imagine blazing across the country in a car, the wind in your hair from the open window as “Left Hand Free” blasts, or trekking along a deserted road in the wake of a catastrophe to “Hunger of the Pine”. That’s how amazing and diverse their music is and why I’ve been listening to them so much. Today, I’m going to share with you a few of their songs and describe what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy!

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Horror-FAVE SATURDAY – Tormentum: Dark Sorrow

I cannot say enough good things about this game. It’s just…kind of perfect. The artwork is phenomenal, the atmosphere is grim and depressing, the characters multi-faceted and intriguing, the plot easy to follow and engaging, and the music…is absolutely divine!

While Tormentum: Dark Sorrow isn’t strictly in the horror genre, it does have some dark fantasy elements to it and definitely features some horrifying plot-points and imagery. It tells the story of a nameless protagonist who finds himself caged by an empire set on making people suffer for the sins they’ve committed, often through gruesome torture. The protagonist doesn’t remember what he’s done, nor does he remember his life before being captured. In addition to seeking an escape from his captors, he seeks to understand what led him down this dark road, often encountering tests of his morality along the way.

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Inspiration Through Music: Johann Johannsson

A couple years ago, I was introduced to a short animated film called Varmints. This 24 minute film covers themes of deforestation and urbanization in a touching and inspiring narrative. While I was impressed with the film, its music, composed by Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, was what I truly enjoyed about it. The kind of music that is subtle and dark and lovely in its composition because it’s not trying too hard to be noticed. It complimented the imagery on screen and hinted at the darker themes that the film was highlighting. I kept an eye on his other projects and was excited to see that he composed for the film, “Prisoners”, a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. Both protagonists in their pursuit for justice and understanding, begin to slide down a blurring path or morality and find themselves doing things they never thought they’d be capable of. As of late, Johannsson has won a Golden Globe Award for his work on the Stephen Hawking biopic, “The Theory of Everything”.

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Inspiration Through Music: Neverending Nightmares Soundtrack

Neverending Nightmares Soundtrack cover art

Greetings! It’s been a while since I came out with another Inspiration Through Music, but this Halloween season I’ve found more than a few incredible pieces of music to share with you. The first and foremost will be the soundtrack from indie horror game “Neverending Nightmares” created by Matt Gilgenbach. I had seen a trailer for this game sometime ago and instantly fell in love with the Edward Gorey-esque artwork, dark plot, and ambient music. For those of you that have been following these music blogs for a while, you’ll know that I have a particular affinity for ambient music and definitely video game soundtracks. Neverending Nightmares never disappoints with its mixture of low melodic tunes, spine-tingling children’s cries, and haunted music box lullabies.

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Inspiration Through Music: The Last of Us Soundtrack

Once again, we find today’s subject of Inspiration Through Music is a story-driven, emotional, and beautifully designed game. The Last of Us, which debuted last year for Playstation 3 by Naughty Dog, is among one of my top favorites in video games. The story of a childless father and a parentless girl as they cross a post-apocalyptic America, hiding from people and frightening creatures is portrayed so realistically that it locks you into the gameplay and immediately makes you care about the characters and their journey. And of course, like every other game I’ve mentioned, the music adds an extra layer of immersion to this stunning game. They couldn’t have picked a better composer than Gustavo Santaolalla, who can pinpoint even the most difficult human emotion to emulate through music and make it dig right into you.

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