Last month, I had the privilege of interviewing Abby Howard and Tony Howard-Arias of Black Tabby Games. We spoke primarily about a string of tabloid articles centered on Scarlet Hollow, one of their games. You can find the full interview for The Escapist here.
The final article was too long to include the section below, but I had a lot of fun listening to Abby and Tony talk about some of their favorite horror movies and games. They have great taste, so give these titles a try if you haven’t already!
Influences and recommendations
Many examples of horror and horror-adjacent media that Howard and Howard-Arias admire align with what they hope to accomplish in their own work. “Martyrs, just the whole movie, definitely. The Fly, especially the relationship between [Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife], and her having to watch him decay… just somebody you love being torn apart from the inside. Plus, the goop is just great,” mused Howard. “I also really love Guillermo del Toro. The way he integrates gore is something I very much vibe with. Take Nightmare Alley, for example, which is mostly a crime drama, but then you have these moments where something real happens — like somebody gets punched in the face — and it shows you what that actually looks like. It’s not just the person passing out; it does damage. I think violence gets underplayed a lot, especially in action movies, whereas I think [del Toro] really understands the fragility of the human body.”
“The ones that really stand out to me are brief flashes where a character who you think is safe is just taken away from you,” said Howard-Arias. “A seminal one for me was the first Terminator movie, where it keeps playing around with, ‘Well, who is the Sarah Connor who you’re supposed to be rooting for?’ You just keep thinking, ‘Oh, this person’s going to be the protagonist,’ and then it’s just stripped away. It adds this layer of suspense and unpredictability that makes the movie scarier.”
For fans of Scarlet Hollow, Black Tabby Games recommends several titles by other independent developers. “There’s Red Candle Games. They made Detention and Devotion, which I think are two of the best horror games ever made,” said Howard-Arias. “The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow [by Cloak and Dagger Games] was also excellent.”
“I love The Mortuary Assistant. I think that one’s really fun. I love a game where I have a job to do, and stuff keeps trying to get in the way,” said Howard. “Also, The Hungry Fly. It’s really abstract, unsettling horror.”
As for whether it’s appropriate to play these games on an airplane, that’s for you — and possibly thousands of internet strangers — to decide.
Hoops, Jessica. “A Talk with Black Tabby About Their Game That Triggered a Moral Panic on an Airplane.” The Escapist, 17 Apr. 2023.
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