When I’m drawing, I’m thinking about the skeletons within the bodies i draw, the separation of them all and making sure everything is clear. This didn’t feel like the right way to go in a piece about blurriness AS physical mass, so instead of taking out my sketchbook i went to the kitchen and made play dough. I wanted to have to focus on the exterior, on the blurry lumpiness that could only come from drawing something from its exterior. This also freed me up to do some cool angle stuff and play with lighting. I made some models, mashed them together, and ran with it until the piece felt complete.
Do you like horror (of course you do)? How about an almost entirely LGBTQ cast with LGBTQ developers (this is getting obvious)? Now let’s make it a visual novel with heavy sci-fi elements and maybe also a dating sim.
This is the concept of Love Shore. Taken from their Kickstarter, “Love Shore is a visual novel game that takes concepts we’ve always loved in sci-fi, action, and horror and blends them together to create something wild. It features a queer, diverse cast, a seemingly endless city, and a story of coming into yourself and doing what you think is right…with a heavy dose of drama and violence mixed in for good measure”.
A demo is available and they have met their goal for Kickstarter! However, that does not mean the work is over and we were able to get a chance to talk to Emmett and Son from the development team about the history of the game and where to go from here.
The streets of the city were never deserted. Eva may only have been at the university for a month but her newly found friends on the campus had already picked out their favourite eating and drinking spots and, in the interests of Anglo-Franco co-operation of course, had insisted she join them. She could hardly refuse and so each Friday night, she found herself sitting at their table in Coco Banane. Eating, drinking and looking intensely at each person, grim determination hidden in her smile, a façade and nothing more as she tried not to watch as the little creature, skin like tendons knitted into a misshapen form, wrapped its delicately boned arms around the performers neck. Copper-scented slick oozing from the gaps in its weave and sluicing onto the floor. Twisting its hands in a deliberate, flexing movement as it pulled the singers jaws apart and reached the spindle-like fingers towards their tongue.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Nor did the ancient dirt-clad woman who dragged herself upright from behind a log. Covered in a torn robe of hardened mud that was strewn with leaves and twigs, her face so wan that it glowed beneath her scowl, the woman’s eyes were of glittering coal and were fixed intently on a shadow in the trees. She lumbered forward toward it and her tattered robe hem dragged in the dirt. Her breathing was ragged, her steps slow and unsteady. As she passed in front of Eva she stopped suddenly, her robe faded and her skin collapsed to ground, a swirl of leaves. Her pale, etched face hung for a moment, her eyes viewing Eva with unconcealed contempt before falling to mix with the pebbles on the footpath.
In horror, queer women have always been subject to their own version of the virgin/whore dichotomy: predator or sex object. Colin Minihan’s thriller ‘What Keeps You Alive’ offers not only a burst of fresh air, but hope for a new generation of queer audiences.
In an era where acceptance and assimilation have an increasingly blurred boundary, The Stepford Wives becomes the tragedy of a generation of activists slain by those who call themselves allies.
Since its publication in 1972, the ubiquity of Ira Levin’s dark satire novel The Stepford Wives has been almost unquestionable. With millions of copies sold, two movie adaptations (one passable, one frankly terrible), and a permanent place in the vernacular with the term ‘Stepford wife’, Levin has inspired a generation of social horror and brought a very real sense of the terror of everyday prejudice into the limelight. With this political niche of horror growing in popularity after the success of 2017’s social horror masterpiece Get Out, we are reminded again and again that the patterns we see in fiction are replicated in society at large. The victims of horror are the victims in reality too. Social horror presents us with a tension marked by very clear social categorisations that are easier for many to ignore in reality: black versus white, men versus women, oppressor versus oppressed. Battle lines in horror are drawn clearly for those who choose to see them, and protagonists are left to deal with the messy in-betweens, the people they love, and the betrayals of trust involved. For those unfamiliar with Levin’s sinister suburb, The Stepford Wives tells the story of Joanna Eberhart, a feminist/photographer/mother/housewife who has moved with her family from a bustling city to the idyllic Stepford, a suburb with unassuming middle-class professionals and their submissive, carbon-copy wives. From the very beginning, it is clear that something is amiss in Stepford, and the novel tells the story of Joanna uncovering a conspiracy against Stepford’s women, coordinated by the men of the town. The novel has been lauded for its prescience, with Levin presenting a world in which perfection is the biggest aberration, where against the backdrop of the rise of second-wave feminism, these Stepford wives are the biggest abnormality, not the feminist protagonist who questions them.
Surreality is a web-comic about Jackie. It’s about more than just Jackie and her world though, it’s about dealing with identity on top of mental illness, on top of finding yourself. It’s about figuring out just where you belong (or don’t belong) in a world that doesn’t quite seem to want you.
Werewolves are a centuries old monster, representing everything from change to the animalistic tendencies of humans. Werewolves of some sort are seen in almost every culture across the globe. Shape changers are something that has captivated and horrified for years, so how does one create a spin on the time old story?
Coey Kuhn, an artist stationed out of Columbus, Ohio, has managed to not only change a key part of the werewolf lore, but also created a rather loveable monster in the process. Lucille is a short-form comic (available for sale in physical copies or through his Patreon) that follows the titular through the consequences of her attack and subsequent first transformation.
GenderTerror was lucky enough to interview the artist about not only Lucille‘s creation, but the deeper meanings to the work and Lucille’s special attributes.
The well worn path: the dirt and the ground and the sun and the sky and my feet following the path, onward, onward.
The mist was so heavy it looked like the rest of the world hadn’t loaded yet. All I could see were trees, and the path. Even the sky was white, the sun itself not strong enough to cut through the gloom.
And so I walked down the path, my backpack heavy, my brow furrowed despite the lack of sun, and things moved in shadows all around. Only rabbits, I thought (or maybe said). Only rabbits, despite knowing that bears roamed these woods. Nothing but shadows, stray noises.
TW for discussions of: abuse, sexual violence, forced institutionalization.
As I entered into adulthood, I didn’t have a way to name my dysphoria. I had three queer friends, one of whom came out as trans my senior year of high school. I remember feeling a little envious, wondering why I couldn’t be trans too. I spent hours trying to find information about medical transition, reading everything I could. Unfortunately a lot of what I found were trans-exclusionary blogs that assured me I’d want to detransition, and that I would be much happier as a cis butch lesbian. That, and bodybuilding forums. Even the supportive, useful resources I found scared me off. They often greatly exaggerated testosterone’s effects. Puberty sucked the first time. I didn’t want to go through it again. But I did know my body didn’t feel right, so I kept looking.
That was about the time that I discovered the body horror genre. It was inevitable that I’d run into it. I loved cult horror, I loved anything psychological and atmospheric, and I loved special effects. The genre scratched my itch for weird, unforgettable movies. In retrospect, my fascination made a lot of sense. The creeping horror of watching your body mutate, transforming into something improper, inhuman, and wrong is something I think a lot of people with dysphoria can relate to. I knew that horror from my own adolescence. And I was afraid I’d know it again if I transitioned. What if hormones and surgeries only made me hate my body more?
There’s always some kind of argument about what it means to be human. Empathy, for starters, makes you one. You’re empathetic and sympathetic to the plight of your fellow humans. That’s a human thing to do.
But this article won’t be about empathy.
Instead, it’s a speculation on humanity, a root cause, societal reactions, and as always, the love of the inhuman.
On a wide scale, mental illness isn’t treated well in media. Some get more positive light than others, but at the end of the day there’s one disorder that people talk about in hushed whispers, the one that supposedly breeds more killers and the one that’s arguably the most inhuman: Schizophrenia.
For some in the trans community, monsters represent a deep personal connection with the other and inhuman.
“Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared” –David Bowie, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
Grotesque. Violent. Terrifying. Misunderstood. Sympathetic. These are some words people use to describe monsters, depending on who you are asking and what the monster is. People’s perception of monsters and their existence is ever changing. Monsters often take the shape of the times, evolving to show the current fears and terrors of the world they come to life in. Frankenstein’s monster is much different than the slashers of modern age. The werewolf from an American Werewolf in London may share similarities with the teenagers of Ginger Snaps, but their raison d’être is quite different.
Stephen T. Asma, in his book On Monsters, describes monsters as “extraordinary beings”. Monsters encompass everything from phobias, to societal woes. They are both unimaginable and plausible. They encompass both the inhuman and human. Monsters are both literal and symbolic. The idea of a monster goes from one pole to the other, captivating and horrifying us. Society holds a very love-hate relationship with monsters and their attractive natures.
This duality of monsters, their appeal on a physical, psychological, cultural, and emotional level speaks to people. Monsters are seen across ages, across time, across the globe. However, the meaning of monsters for people are as varied as the monsters themselves. Even the same monster can mean different things to different people, all based on cultural and personal factors. For some people, monsters hold a deep connection to their very identity and how they see themselves and the world.
This piece will talk about story spoilers and various other game spoilers for SOMA. I suggest playing the game yourself or watching an LP of the game before reading this piece. You can also look over the SOMA wikia to inform yourself of the story and key events. Without this game/story knowledge, this piece may be confusing.
—SOMA SPOILERS BELOW—