Host Writer Says New Live-Action Horror Video Game Is ‘Scariest Thing He’s Ever Written’
Last year, I and so many other scary movie fans were left thoroughly spooked by the terrifying, innovative and extremely timely horror, Host.
Having previously believed I’d become fairly immune to the jumps and bumps of the handheld camera genre, Rob Savage’s creepy take on the pandemic Zoom party left me feeling genuinely chilled.
Now, the Host team are reuniting for their new project GHOSTS, a real-time, live-action horror video game in which the player steps into the shoes of a TV producer on a struggling cable channel. Just like Host before it, GHOSTS looks set to shake your nightmares up a bit.
Fans of Host will no doubt be pleased to see five of the actors from the film (Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Ward) returning to partake in a Most Haunted style show, with their new characters paying a visit to a house with a history of hauntings.
Writer and director Jed Shepherd – who previously served as writer and executive producer for Host – told UNILAD:
There are rumours on this street that as well as the scary things that have happened in this house through the years, there is the urban legend of a creature called The Long Lady.
She is said to appear in times of tragedy, looking through the windows of homes. Its said that if you see her face, you die. This is possibly the scariest thing I have ever written.
I took a peek at some photographs of The Long Lady when it was far too late at night and had to look at some wholesome memes afterwards to take my mind off her. Needless to say, she is much more horrifying than anything that has so far been captured on Most Haunted.
The creature design is helmed by Trevor Henderson (SirenHead), and fabricated by the iconic Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, a real plus for Shepherd, who describes himself as the ‘biggest Henson fan in the world’ who rewatches ’80s classic Labyrinth ‘every other day’.
Shepherd told UNILAD:
I approached Jim Henson Creature Shop tentatively as they’re busy, talented people. I knew it was a long shot, but because they are truly wonderful and just love interesting and new ideas, they said yes! It really is a dream come true for me.
According to Shepherd, the key difference between GHOSTS and the various other horror games out there is that ‘it will feel authentically real’.
Just as would be the case with an actual live television broadcast, gamers will have to play GHOSTS ‘at a specific time, with no pauses’, allowing them to become fully immersed in this eerie world.
This is set at 10pm. As you are the producer of the show, you need to keep your eye on the ball – to keep the girls alive when the bad stuff starts to happen.
In other full-motion video games, you might get words appearing, floating in the air to tell you which way to go, or perhaps a glowing door to point you in the right direction. Here, you have no such luck.
This is real life, your decisions are as open as possible. Also, most of the horror games are written by games companies, whereas GHOSTS is written by a working horror screenwriter, myself!
Shepherd revealed how the inspiration for GHOSTS was sparked by his own ‘love for the Full Motion Video games of the ’90s on systems such as the Sega CD’.
Regarded as ‘ground-breaking at the time’, Shepherd rediscovered his fondness for such nostalgic games over lockdown, feeling they were ‘always so unfairly maligned’:
I thought I would try to make one that had all of the charm of the Sega CD games, but with my precise knowledge of horror films.
Shepherd was also understandably keen to get the team together again after the phenomenal success of Host, the overwhelmingly positive response to which Shepherd has found ‘really hard to digest’.
It’s a film we made in lockdown with our friends. I had no idea it would become the behemoth it now is. I’m humbled and so grateful that people continue to watch Host and love it.
It made me realise that our idea of what horror should be is right, and there is a demand for it. If I can help fulfil that demand with films and games, then I’ll be a very happy guy.
Of course, making a horror game presents quite different challenges to making a horror film, a process Shepherd has described as ‘like writing and directing multiple horror movies at once to cover all of the options needed’.
I also want to do the most impressive stunts ever seen in a live action video game, mixed with the mortal fear you experience when being in real-life scary situation. Doing it on film is one thing, but doing it in a way that satisfies the gaming experience too is even harder.
Being the sort of person who thrives under pressure, Shepherd finds this sort of challenge to be ‘extremely exciting’ and already has plans to create another game straight afterwards.
He’s also spoken of some intriguing plans to transform GHOSTS into a feature film, saying, ‘the mythology I’ve created for The Long Lady is too interesting and sprawling to stay within the game’.
Although this is perhaps not for the faint of heart, I cannot wait to meet The Long Lady.
GHOSTS is a Kickstarter project and, at the time of writing, the page has raised more than £69,055 of its £165,000 goal, with 18 days still left to go.
Those who want to back the project, pre-order Collectors Edition games and get their hands on plenty of spooky goodies can do so here.
GHOSTS is currently in development and is set to be released on all formats in early 2022.
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