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A documentary feature film and web series dissecting the art, craft and community of horror video games.

Thanks for your support, everyone! We will return... Follow the project on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Pinterest

What the press said... 

"Exceptionally wonderful looking, yet fear inducing... This is a worthy documentary to fund, for a number of reasons." - Gamer Brew

"Reads like a who’s who in the world of horror gaming... I fully support projects like this and you should too." - Bloody Disgusting

"The pitch video above is brilliantly put together . If the finished documentary looks as good as this, we should be in for a chilling treat." - Den Of Geek 

"Horror gamers unite! Support PLAYING WITH FEAR… if you dare!!" - Ain't It Cool

"I backed the project straight after I watched the atmospheric introduction movie." - Survival Horror Online

"A spectacular list of horror games and their developers from all over the world have been confirmed for appearances in the film." - Indiestatik

"A documentary that focuses on the best of the genre sounds like an ideal way to see what I should be playing next." - Sitting Now

"If you have any love for the horror genre, and love watching stories about it, then you should pledge if you like what you see." - Kickstart Ventures

A brief overview of the history of horror video games (possibly NSFW!)... 

Nov 16: More game additions! We'll be exploring the development of Gamecube classic Eternal Darkness (and upcoming Shadow Of The Eternals) by Denis Dyack and Precursor Games, along with the work of Climax Studios (Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, beautiful-looking unannounced title, and more), and great-looking indie games Thanatophobia by Death Knell Games and The Last Cargo by Ehnenu

Nov 6: Silent Hill! With your support, Konami's classic survival-horror series will be explored in our film! We can't wait to delve into the history and development of these amazing games and meet some of the people behind them... 

Nov 4: We're excited to announce a number of new additions to the film! Rob Laderos and the team behind classic horror game The 7th Guest (currently Kickstarting a sequel), UK indie devs Sticky D Pad with Sole, and Team Junkfish with Project: Maize, as well as Agustin Cordes with Scratches and Asylum! Keep watching for more film additions, press, updates, and perks add-ons coming soon!

Playing With Fear is an independent exploration of the relentlessly creative world of horror video games. The project will shine a light on the stories behind the enduring classics, the ingenuity of the new harbingers of our digital nightmares, and the speed of technological innovation nurturing the global renaissance of interactive horror. 

Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Across 2014 we'll begin production on a candid celebration of the world's most terrifying and exhilarating releases, observing the community at the heart of the survival horror revival, and exploring the possibilities and potential the future may hold. Our goal is to make the definitive documentary about the horror gaming genre and the talented people dedicating their lives to scaring the bejesus out of us.

We'll be shooting:

  • Interviews and profiles turning the spotlight on the talented developers, designers, audio artists, innovators, technologists and specialists about their work and passions, their experiences and perspective.
  • Deconstructing the development process – the creative catalyst and journey to completed work, looking at concept art, soundscapes, game architecture, prototypes, plus testing and release for numerous games in development.
  • An intimate study of the best and most terrifying moments in horror gaming, the inspiration behind them, and the reactions of the fans who love them.
  • Visits to atmospheric locations that have both influenced horror game designers and given them indispensable audio-visual reference material during development.

  • We'll be celebrating the behemoths of horror and the onslaught of the independents - the ever expanding accessibility of game creation, funding and distribution tools has revolutionised the industry and ushered in the resurgence of survival horror.

We've confirmed the involvement of a variety of hugely talented game developers and artists from Sweden, Norway, Poland, USA and UK, among them:

INDONESIA

Use cameras to interact with Indonesian ghosts in a deserted town, in this terrifying new survival horror from developers Digital Happiness

SWEDEN

Amnesia: The Dark Descent and the Penumbra series are modern classics. First-person horror at its finest and notoriously terrifying, while Frictional's upcoming SF horror SOMA looks set to be just as mesmerising. 

Fran Bow is an absorbing point and click adventure following a young girl and her cat Mr. Midnight, created by versatile husband-and-wife team Killmonday, and based on artist Natalia Figueroa's own childhood struggles. 

Year Walk by Simogo is a beautiful and distinctive iOS horror-puzzle game based on Swedish folklore and released with an accompanying mini encyclopedia created in collaboration with ethnology expert Theodor Almsten

NORWAY 

Krillbite's superbly atmospheric Among The Sleep is a first-person horror seen through the eyes of a 2-year-old child. The sound design was recorded in a mausoleum and the game is compatible with Oculus Rift's immersive technology.

POLAND 

In The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter, a detective with supernatural abilities investigates the disappearance of a missing child in this unsettling weird fiction game currently in development by The Astronauts

Darkwood is an intense, surreal and non-linear survival horror from talented developers The Acid Wizards, inspired by old school top-down horror games and the works of David Lynch. 

See through your assailant's eyes as you are hunted in Paulina Pabispopular and panic-inducing strategic indie game Eyes.

USA

Matt Gilgenbach, fresh off his Kickstarter success, delivers a beautifully disquieting experience in Neverending Nightmaresinspired by the art of Edward Gorey as well as Matt's own battles with OCD and depression. 

Nevermind by LA-based Erin Reynolds is an ethereal hyper-reality adventure built around a biofeedback sensor challenging the player's own stress responses. 

UK

Lunar Software's Routine is a non-linear exploration set on a deserted moon base, with a sleek '80's SF aesthetic and an experience heightened by the threat of permadeath.

From The Chinese Room, the creators of evocative exploration Dear Esther and PS4 adventure Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs returns us to the unnerving dread of the Amnesia world.

Thomas Busse seeks to bring the eerie town of Innsmouth and its denizens to life in the upcoming H.P. Lovecraft's Dagon, based on Lovecraft's classic fiction.

Possibly the very first survival horror experience was Ant Attack, Sandy White's innovative 1983 ZX Spectrum game that saw the player fending off hordes of giant ants in the addictive isometric 3D world of Antescher.

Lone Survivor is an enthralling, emotive post-apocalyptic retro style survival horror by developer and composer Jasper Byrne, who has been writing games since he was 8.

Master Reboot from Wales Interactive is a psychological horror adventure set inside a future world where death is no longer final and memories can be revisited.

Mocapgames and Synertial are innovative hardware developers creating exciting new VR / controller systems and motion capture for the gaming industry.

There are many more beyond we want to include, and we'll be toiling tirelessly to convince them all to take part in the production. We'll be adding updates throughout the crowdfund...

There's huge scope to explore this subject and we aim to investigate the length and breadth: 

  • The influence of the wider world of horror: how history, legends, literature and folklore have shaped the lexicon of horror gaming across it's young, twisted life.
  • The impact and reception of horror games. Games - especially the scary kind - are demonised by many as blanketly negative, but horror games are often a different beast from the larger stigma of violent gaming. How much controversy is deserved? How much is a misconception? Is horror gaming beneficial?
  • The community of fans, modders and experts surrounding the genre, connecting with each other across continents and enriching the genesis of ideas. 
  • The pace of technical growth is reshaping the nature of interactivity across the entire industry. We'll be looking into the technologies available now, those coming soon, and the potential reverberations in decades to come.
Playing With Fear is a labour of love; we want the production to reach the highest calibre it can and to give this story the time and attention it deserves, entrenching ourselves in the industry, and spending enough time with the game makers to capture the rich and fertile terrain of their imaginations.

Year Walk development art by Simogo
Year Walk development art by Simogo

Being avid horror fans ourselves, we want to explore this subject fully. We love the medium of film, but knew we'd need flexibility beyond that, to do it justice. When I watch an interview with someone I admire, I'm hoping the interviewers will make the most of the opportunity. Being greedy, I want to know everything! I hope for something meatier than a few minutes, and fresher than the same old questions. 

That's our hope - to do more than squish so much down to 90 minutes, only shared at the end of production. What if an interview was fascinating, from start to finish? What if all of them were? What about breaking news or exciting developments? We'd have to wait to share that with our audience, for up to or more than a year.

Our priority is to follow the story down whatever rabbit hole it needs to go, giving the fans the best portrait of the genre. It seemed to us a cross platform project starting with a web series and ending with a feature documentary would be a great choice.

Among The Sleep concept art by Krillbite
Among The Sleep concept art by Krillbite

If this crowdfund is successful through your support, we'll be kicking off production in Jan 2014, or earlier if schedules are compatible. We'll be editing and uploading the free webisodes throughout 2014, culminating in a feature documentary we'll take on the festival circuit. It matters to us so much that all aspects of the production be the pinnacle of high calibre independent production, from the cinematography to the locations, from the music to the quality of research put into the profiles and interviews, and everything in between. The length and regularity of the webisodes will be based on how much amazing footage we're gathering, and how much the production is expanding! Our funding target above is the minimum budget we need for completing the international profiles we've currently confirmed. To be the best it can be, our ultimate goal is to feature the whole history, the AAA developers, and keep adding horror game projects starting up during 2014. 

Here's a break down of what's up for grabs. We hope there'll be something for everyone. If not, or you want to mix perks from different packages, drop us a line. We want to hear from you - give us your feedback about the crowdfund and the project; tell us what you're looking forward to.

  • International shipping is included at each price level!
  • All Blu-rays include a DVD copy!
  • The film will contain subtitles in a multitude of languages (including English)

1/11 UPDATE: All backers at the 'Regenerator' (£50) tier and upwards will also receive the Digital Artbook! (previously only available at the £175 level). 

  • Every backer's name and / or photo featured in a special horror themed End of Crowdfund Thank You short film to be released after the campaign. 
  • Shout out on Twitter, Facebook, and our website. 
  • HD download of the feature film. 
  • Your name included in the film credits.
  • Kickstarter-exclusive DVD with over an hour of additional material.
  • Kickstarter-exclusive Blu-ray with over 90 minutes of additional material
  • One of a kind postcard sent on our travels
  • Soundtrack by Dissolved (MP3 / CD) - 6-track EP + Full + Extended
  • T-shirts (multiple designs that backers can vote on).
  • Signed on set and on location photos.
  • Limited edition custom-made USB drive containing many extras.
  • Limited edition art book (digital and hardback).
  • Heavyweight A3 Art prints.
  • V.I.P. invite to Playing With Fear screening and other events.
  • A special mention on the film commentary.
  • Unique custom music creation by Dissolved.
  • Unique production mementoes accumulated on our travels.
  • Promote your creative project in the film's credits.
  • Be animated into the film.
  • Associate Producer and Executive Producer credits.

All funds will make it possible for the core team (Ant, Dissolved Paul and Dave, them up there ^) to start production and hire some more talented collaborators. The money will also cover essential equipment, travel and accommodation, legal fees, insurance, Kickstarter costs, and perks fulfilment for our backers.

Anthony Carpendale: Director - Camera Operator – Editor – Writer - Producer

Anthony is an award-winning film-maker currently residing in Brighton, UK. He has 15 years experience, often making low / no budget horror shorts (our pitch video being an example), music promos and TV comedy, with his and Dave Packer's recent work praised by the late great film critic Roger Ebert as “gobsmackingly brilliant”. A lifelong horror gamer, he discovered his favourite genre aged 9 during late nights hooked on the very first survival horror game - Ant Attack for the ZX Spectrum. His all-time favourites include Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly, Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, Silent Hill 2, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent - although he hasn't yet completed the latter as it's just too terrifying. Check out more of Anthony's film work here - http://www.vimeo.com/antcarpendale

Dissolved: Composer and Sound Designer 

Dissolved is a Scottish Electronic musician from Glasgow, formed in 1989. His influences are an eclectic blend of film soundtracks, drone and ambient, a love of classical melody and for the sound of early 90’s Warp and related electronic music, as well as all kinds of experimental underground music. This is tied in with a passion for art, the natural world, chemistry, games and horror films. As well as releasing music on his own label Dissolvedamberrooms, he also puts out music with Daddytank Records and the Section27 net label, does film soundtrack work and releases music under other pseudonyms. Dissolved will be creating an atmospheric soundtrack and an abundance of additional music for both the web series and feature film. Some of his all-time favourite horror games include Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Clive Barker's Undying, Eternal Darkness, and Resident Evil (Gamecube). 

Dave Packer: Animator and Visual Effects

Multi-talented mastermind behind Sheep Films, Dave has been creating clever, funny and creative live-action shorts and animations for over a decade. A versatile film-maker, he has created visuals for Peter Gabriel, LCD Soundsystem, and The Human League, as well as TV comedy 'The Strange World Of Max X' for Deutsche Welle (here's an episode Ant and Dave made together - Cat Controller). Dave created some great visual effects for the Kickstarter pitch video above, and will be helping to make this film look even better. 

This is an all-or-nothing campaign, if we do not reach our funding target the film may not see the light of day... We won't give up and will keep striving to find funding in other ways. Everything helps, big or small. 

If you can't afford to donate, please share this page as much as you can with anyone you think might be interested. If you can, vote for us on Reddit, subscribe to our behind-the-scenes blog, join us on Twitter and Facebook, and follow this Kickstarter page to be kept in the loop on the project and learn more about the fantastic game developers we'll be profiling...  

Fran Bow concept art by Killmonday
Fran Bow concept art by Killmonday

Special thanks for assisting on this project go to: 

Dave Packer for excellent visual effects work on the pitch video; Dissolved for feedback, horror gaming wisdom, beautiful music and sound design; The great Paul O'Connell, for the poster art for this Kickstarter campaign; Lisa Carpendale (finances, business, cabaret!), Luke Murray-Carpendale (ghost baby Myling in pitch video), and Steve Murray (for letting us use Luke as ghost baby); Noel Bateman for sterling voice-over work on the pitch video; Talented collaborator Terence Drew (lenses, tea, scowling); Helen 'The Black Widow' Dunleavy (proof-reading, cat wrangling, shouting); Joel Lim for lots of great PR info; Nic Ho Chee for great feedback and for keeping the TEFOSAV flame burning; Rely On Horror's CJ Melendez for excellent contacts. Last but not least, we'd like to thank the game developers for their support of the project and permission to reference them on the page. We can't wait to work with you! 

To all our backers, words cannot express what your support means to us and how awesome you are! As far as we're concerned:

 Thanks for your support! / Tack för ert stöd / Takk for din støtte / Dziękujemy za wsparcie / あなたのサポートをありがとう

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We anticipate that principle photography will take 9 months, but are setting a window of 12 months to enable mutually beneficial shooting schedules with the people involved. Many of the game developers to be featured are currently hard at work on new projects, so scheduling opportunities to see them in their own environments will be carefully managed. However, should any scheduling conflicts arise, we would adapt the use of funds and explore other methods to involve them (meeting them at events they are committed to, crew members switching responsibilities, hiring second unit or hiring proficient crew residing close to a team in their native country).

We will update campaign supporters on the project's progress every step of the way and alert them in advance to any possible delays so they know what is happening with their money. This is an ambitious project but each phase of production will be preceded by a carefully researched and meticulously planned phase of pre-production, to minimise adverse challenges and maximise our filming time. We are confident that with our production experience, adaptability and commitment we'll deliver a high quality and entertaining web series and feature film.

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    LURKER: Eternal Gratitude + Digital Production Art + Updates + Soundtrack EP ============================== Approx $10 / 7 Euros / 62 SEK / 57 NOK / 30 PLN / 949 Yen ============================== You'll get Twitter, Facebook and website shout-outs + 6-track digital soundtrack EP by Dissolved + Digital artwork including posters and wallpaper + Backer Exclusive updates. We'll also include your name and / or photo in a special horror themed Thank You short film to be released after the campaign. (Note: Currency conversions are correct at time of writing and may change)

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    HIVE MIND: The Feature Film + Early access to the web series + Soundtrack EP + Digital Production Art ============================== Approx $16 / 12 Euros / 104 SEK / 96 NOK / 49 PLN / 1577 Yen ============================== Digital HD download of the feature-length film + Opportunity to view webisodes before general release + All of the above

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    GATEKEEPER: Exclusive DVD + Full Digital Soundtrack + Early Access Backer-Only Production Videos ============================== Approx $40 / 30 Euros / 261 SEK / 241 NOK / 123 PLN / 3941 Yen ============================== All of the above + Kickstarter-exclusive DVD of the film including over an hour of additional material + Your name in the film credits + Early access in-production videos only released to backers at this level and higher + Full digital soundtrack album by Dissolved + Digital artwork including posters and wallpaper.

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    REGENERATOR: Exclusive Blu-Ray + Soundtrack CD + Postcard ============================== Approx $81 / 59 Euros / 518 SEK / 478 NOK / 247 PLN / 7924 Yen ============================== Exclusive limited edition Blu-ray featuring over 90 minutes of additional material + Soundtrack CD including signed and numbered art card by Dissolved + One of a kind postcard sent on our travels + Early access in-production videos + Your name in the film credits + Digital HD download of the film + Twitter, Facebook and website shout-outs + 6-track EP and full digital soundtrack by Dissolved + Digital artwork including posters and wallpaper.

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    THE GATHERER PACKAGE: Exclusive T-Shirt (Choose one of several designs to be voted on) ============================== Approx $121 / 89 Euros / 778 SEK / 715 NOK / 369 PLN / 11861 Yen ============================== Kickstarter-exclusive high quality T-shirt - choose one of several designs to be voted on by backers during production + Everything in the £55 tier (please specify Blu-ray or DVD preference)

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    THE CORRODER PACKAGE: Limited Edition Custom-made USB Drive + T-Shirt + Disc Pack ============================== Approx $160 / 118 Euros / 1042 SEK / 964 NOK / 494 PLN / 15765 Yen ============================== Limited edition custom-made USB drive containing: HD version of the film, Extended interviews and game material exclusive to this format, Game developer notes and designs, Additional commentaries, Special Extended Soundtrack, Additional production photos and film artwork + Twitter, Facebook and website shout-outs + Exclusive Blu-ray or DVD (please state preference) + T-shirt + Your name in the film credits + Soundtrack CD including signed and numbered art card by Dissolved. (Please note: none of these items will actually be corroded)

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    THE PYRAMID PACKAGE: Best of Dissolved + Art Book + Autographed Developer Images + USB + T-Shirt + Disc Pack ============================== Approx $240 / 177 Euros / 1564 SEK / 1445 NOK / 740 PLN / 23648 Yen ============================== 3 of the best Dissolved albums on limited edition CD and MP3 + 3 special game-related film production mementoes + Limited edtion art book containing additional game development art and production designs + Everything in the Corroder Package

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    PANIC MODE: Game Creator Promo Clip + Extended Soundtrack + Digital Art Book + USB + T-Shirt + Disc Pack ============================== Approx $401 / 296 Euros / 2606 SEK / 2409 NOK / 1234 PLN / 39423 Yen ============================== For Game Developers: Special Limited Promo Perk! Guaranteed 8-second clip of your indie game - all genres accepted - within the film's end credits alongside your name & URL + Everything in the Pyramid Package (Please note: Clips included at our discretion, must abide by community decency; no hate speech or anything illegal)

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    LEVIATHAN: Limited Edition Art Prints + V.I.P. Screening Invite + Extended Soundtrack + Art Book + USB + T-Shirt + Disc Pack ============================== Approx $802 / 592 Euros / 5210 SEK / 4818 NOK / 2470 PLN / 78826 Yen ============================== Two limited edition A3 heavyweight art prints (choose from 5 designs to be revealed during production) + Invite to special UK film screening and drinks reception (if you can't make it, we'll send you an invite to an alternate later screening in one of several countries) + A special mention on the DVD / Blu-ray commentary track + Everything in the Pyramid Package

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    HEAVY HITTER: Custom Music Creation + Art Prints + V.I.P. Screening Invite + Extended Soundtrack + Digital Art Book + USB + T-Shirt + Disc Pack ============================== Approx $1203 / 887 Euros / 7817 SEK / 7228 NOK / 3706 PLN / 118236 Yen ============================== LIMITED PERK: Unique custom music! Dissolved will create an individual piece of music for you to use however you wish: It could be a unique birthday tune, game level soundtrack, phone ringtone, unusual wedding march, or you could scare someone with a creepily personalized horror dirge... + Everything in the Leviathan Package

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    THE OPERATOR: Be Animated + Associate Producer Credit + Custom Music Creation + Art Prints + V.I.P. Screening Invite + Extended Soundtrack + Digital Art Book + USB + T-Shirt + Disc Pack ============================== Approx $2005 / 1479 Euros / 13024 SEK / 12043 NOK / 6177 PLN / 197035 Yen ============================== LIMITED PERK: Associate Producer credit (listed on IMDB) + One of our talented artists will animate a version of you in one of the film's animated horror sequences + Everything in the Heavy Hitter Package

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    THE MASTER OF UNLOCKING: Executive Producer Credit + Be Animated + Production Memento Mystery Pack + Custom Music Creation + Limited Edition Printed Art Book + V.I.P. Screening Invite + Extended Soundtrack + Digital Art Book + USB + T-Shirt + Disc Pack + Postcard ============================== Approx $5212 / 3845 Euros / 33859 SEK / 31310 NOK / 16059 PLN / 512197 Yen ============================== THE ULTIMATE PERK: Executive Producer credit (your name featured separately in opening and closing credits of the film, IMDB listed, and on all posters, you will also receive invites to key festival screenings and special events) + One of 5 unique packages containing special production mementoes from around the world + One of our talented artists will animate a version of you in one of the film's animated horror sequences + Limited edition hardback art book featuring designs from a variety of horror game artists + Invite to special UK film screening and drinks reception (if you can't make it, we'll send you an invite to an alternate later screening in one of several countries) + 3 of the best Dissolved albums on limited edition CD and MP3 + Limited edition custom-made USB drive containing: HD version of the film, Extended interviews and material exclusive to this format, Game developer notes and designs, Special Extended Soundtrack, Additional production photos and film artwork + A special mention on the DVD / Blu-ray commentary track + Twitter, Facebook and website shout-outs + Exclusive Blu-ray or DVD (please state preference) + T-Shirt + Soundtrack CD including signed and numbered art card by Dissolved + One of a kind postcard sent on our travels + Early access in-production videos only released to backers.

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