May 16, 2020

Little Nightmares: Puzzles, Dreams, and Horror

Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares is a true gem in Bandai Namco Entertainment’s sale here at IndieGala. And sure, I wrote about several horror games before on this blog. Games that range from survival horror like Metro Exodus, to open-world survival horror games Dead Rising. Not to mention the remastered horror classic Resident Evil game and the always fun slasher game Camp Sunshine. We have a rather good selection for sure.

But for now, let’s focus on Little Nightmares.

Little Nightmares: What’s it all about?

Developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Little Nightmares is a puzzle-platformer horror adventure game. Released in 2017, the game quickly became a hit among the fans. Praised for the graphics, atmosphere, and sound. The game is truly dark, and much like the title suggests, nightmarish and scary.

Your main job in Little Nightmares is to help Six. She’s a little girl dressed in a yellow raincoat, that’s trying to escape the Maw. A rather vast, mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking for their next meal. Wonderfully creepy and engaging at the same time. Hey, even one Steam user describes it as a „Silent Hill meets Spirited Away“ type of a game.

Do you agree with that statement? Tell us in the comment section below.

Oh, and fans of Little Nightmares rejoice. A TV adaptation of Little Nightmares is currently in development. That’s right. Dmitri M. Johnson and Stephan Bugaj along with the Russo brothers are developing the TV adaptation. The legend and stop-motion virtuoso, Henry Selick is selected to direct the TV adaptation. There is no additional info regarding the cast or the release date, but one can only hope that it’s going to be good. And to stay true to the original material.

Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares and puzzle-platform games

However, before we touch the movies, let’s try and refresh our memory on the sub-genre itself.

Puzzle platformers (as they’re also sometimes called) use the platform game structure to drive a game whose challenge is derived primarily from puzzles. Doki Doki Penguin Land was one of the early pioneers of the sub-genre, while The Lost Vikings is one of the most popular games ever.

Why do we love horror movies so much?

First and foremost, horror movies are an acquired taste. Not everyone likes them. Secondly, horror movies are a vast and diverse pool of sub-genres. And also have dozens upon dozens of elements. For instance, some may feature zombies, vampires, evil clowns, while others have ghosts, werewolves, monsters, and serial killers. The possibilities and themes are endless.

However, while most movies can evoke nightmares, some of them have them in the plot. Similar to the Little Nightmares, indeed. But why exactly do we love watching horror movies?

In the most basic term, people like the feeling that they have when they’re scared. When we see a scary scene, our entire body reacts to it, not just our minds. Moreover, it’s not that often that we get to encounter a serial killer in real life. Or an evil clown for that matter. And certainly, none of us will even see ghosts, evil monsters or vampires for that matter.

Frankly, since the beginnings of the genre itself, horror was downplayed, overlooked and underestimated. And to this day, not a lot of people know how to do horror movies properly. The over-reliance on jump scares sometimes can cheapen the movie, but the genre itself deserves much love.

Little Nightmares

Nightmares in horror movies

But what about the nightmares in horror movies? Well, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street dealt perfectly with the theme of nightmares. In a scary and unnerving fashion, I might add. Why? Because it had Freddy Kruger killing his victims in their dreams, and to this very day remains one of the best villains ever.

Dreamscape is a fantastic underrated 80’s movie that mixed dreams, horror, and adventure. While on the other hand, Neil Jordan’s 1999 movie, In dreams had a different take on nightmares. While it’s not the best and well-known movie on the subject, it deserves attention nonetheless. Annette Bening plays a suburban housewife who learns that she shares a dreamworld connection to a serial murderer.

Another thrilling movie that dealt with nightmares and nightmarish creatures is Before I Wake. Coupled with great performances from Thomas Jane and the young Jacob Tremblay, Before I Wake is the perfect pick for this post. A child’s dreams (and nightmares) manifest physically as he sleeps. A great psychological horror, don’t you agree?

The Cell is a masterpiece

And last but certainly not least, The Cell. I just couldn’t help but put it in this post. It’s one of my favorite psychological horror movies of all time that perfectly blends horror with SF. Fantastically directed by Tarsem Singh, The Cell features three eclectic actors. Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, and the one and only Vincent D’Onofrio.

Leave it up to Vincent D’Onofrio to portray the best villain imaginable. And just how good are the make-up, visual effects, and costumes? Perfect. Even the great Roger Ebert awarded the movie with full 4 stars in his review. In addition to the accolades, The Cell received an Oscar nomination for the fantastic makeup. 

The Cell centers on an experimental VR technology. It allows the psychologists to enter the mind of the deeply comatose people. One of those people is a deranged serial killer (Vincent D’Onofrio), so time is ticking for the police. They have to find out his next victim before it’s too late.

But, what’s fascinating about the nightmare themed movies is the fact that they mess with our sub-conscience. They torment us in our moments of peace, and the horror comes from our dreams.

GIF the cell movie jennifer lopez - animated GIF on GIFER - by Thoril

Your thoughts And Picks

What is your thought on Little Nightmares? If you haven’t played it yet, you might want to check out the complete edition. And what are your favorite nightmare themed movies? Is it the classic horror A Nightmare on Elm Street? Or perhaps a more modern and SF take on the story like in The Cell? Hit that comment section. Tell us all about them. We’d love to know.

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