Sunday, 7 May 2017

DARK WEB: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA - PART 33: JASON THE TOYMAKER

THIS FEATURE FIRST APPEARED AT UK HORROR SCENE HERE. ALL SUBSEQUENT CHAPTERS WILL APPEAR THERE FIRST.

There are a number of sites online that have become breeding grounds for Creepypasta.
As well as the obvious (creepypasta.com, the creepypasta wikia), there are some others that are regularly responsible for some of the most famous online horrors, such as the nosleep and creepypasta subreddits.
Another of these — one which offers the fantastic opportunity to incorporate detailed visuals into the storyteller’s products — is DeviantArt.
There has been a real surge in the creation of original characters (referred to as OCs by the pasta community), with plenty of users trying to create the next web horror icon.
With literally hundred of fascinating monsters to choose from, this is an area that I’m sure I will return to again and again, but for now, I’m going to look at a character (and a story), that best encapsulates the good and the bad of DeviantArt fandom, Kristantyl’s Jason the Toy Maker.




The first image of Jason appeared on Kristantyl’s DeviantArt page back on 11 November 2014. Several other images of the striking Jason followed. Jason boasts a visually arresting design, with a decidedly Japanese/anime feel. Jason’s stylish and intimidating look quite closely resembles the sort of character that might play a boss role in one of SNK’s Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting or King of Fighters series of games.
Kristantyl’s art is, putting it mildly, pretty damn brilliant and with each subsequent image she honed the feel of the character, plus added supporting characters, such as Jason’s toy sidekicks Liquirizia (a wind-up toy mouse that acts as Jason’s spy), Red Mouse (a dangerous weapon, an explosive wind-up mouse) and Mr Glutton (a gigantic stuffed toy snake).
Of course, these characters all suggest a far deeper backstory, one which Kristantyl herself told over at her DeviantArt journal. You can read the story over at Melindiaden’s page here.


It’s a fascinating and very well told story. The first thing to remember is that Kristantyl’s first language is NOT English, so it’s unfair to blame any clunkiness in the translation on her. Instead it is better to focus on the eerie, dream-like feel the story conjures up.
The story follows a young adopted girl named Maggie and the curious phobia she feels towards her toys. Haunted by dreams with a mysterious and possessive entity, Maggie along with her close friend Daisy, comes to realise that her life has been inextricably bound to that of a mysterious and otherworldly entity — Jason.
And Jason is not prepared to share her with anybody…




I’ve spoken before about how the subversion of the innocence of childhood is an effective and powerful horror tool. By bringing back the irrational fears we felt during our most vulnerable period, childhood horror is deeply disturbing. It is precisely this warping of the familiar and comforting memories of our youth into the terrors we all felt as children that explains the tremendous success of Disneypastas such as Abandoned By Disney and Suicide Mouse, as well as Lost Episodes such as Dead Bart, Squidward’s Suicide and even Candle Cove.


Like these Pastas before it, Jason soon became a very popular creation among the community… sadly, a little TOO popular. With his pretty-boy good-looks, Jason soon acquired more than his fair share of obsessive fan girls. Much like the Jeff the Killer fans who took their idol a little too seriously, they soon became aggressive towards anybody they felt misrepresented the character — including Jason’s own creator, Kristantyl. Fed up with the abuse from overzealous fans, and a little sickened by the slow metamorphosis of her creation from horror icon to teen pin-up, earlier this year Kristantyl removed all Jason related art from her profile and posted an announcement.


She wrote that, since the disrespectful ‘fans’ of the character had caused her significant harassment and distress, she was taking a break from creating Jason-related art, instead entrusting the character to her good friends and fellow DeviantArt users Euphobea/Mayheem and Jesterca/Discordea for the foreseeable future.


Of course, just because Kristantyl is no longer producing character art for her creation, that doesn’t mean that he’s fallen off the face of the earth. Creepypasta fans are still producing plenty of art (especially over at DeviantArt), including the now ubiquitous Mr Creepypasta reading (albeit a somewhat edited version), which he posted to his channel on 15 August 2015.
Jason the Toy Maker even has his own official Facebook page, and an official Ask.fm page where fans can get the diabolical Jason to answer their questions. Furthermore more there are multiple unofficial sites, such as this blog over on Tumblr.




However, none of these works, official or otherwise, could have existed without that initial image and story from Kristantyl, and it’s a real shame that she is currently no longer working on the character. Yet be that as it may, Kristantyl was kind enough to speak to UK Horror Scene about her creation.
Our interview follows below.


HICKEY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS: The most obvious first — In your own words, tell us a little about Jason the Toy Maker?
KRISTANTYL: Jason Meyer is a toymaker who hides his true face behind the mask of the good guy. He deceives people with this, thereby earning the trust and affection of his chosen one.
What makes him different from others is that he doesn’t kill for fun.
Over time Jason makes the existence (of his victims) more oppressive.
He wants total control over everything and leads the individual to isolate himself slowly from the rest of the world.
If there are people who ruin his plans it’s not a problem, Jason kills them without the chosen one knowing it. He can get rid of the parents without feeling any remorse.
If you behave badly and you're not a good friend, Jason will fix you and turn you into a beautiful wax doll.
The old wax dolls, after a long time, end up inside Mr.Glutton’s mouth.
He is driven by his selfishness and every bad feeling that lurks in all of us.
Jason reflects what we are inside, what we feel when we suffer, or when we are angry.
He isn’t immortal, his weakness is a music box that he hides inside himself and, in contrast to what people think, Jason is a human being.
I could create a ghost or another supernatural creature, but I think the only really scary monster on this earth is the human being.
Everything that builds can take life. Something gave him his extraordinary ability to be a toy maker, but a beautiful dream can turn into a nightmare at any moment.
HHoH: What was your inspiration for the character?
K: I’m often inspired by my thoughts that later lead me to create a character. I spend my days drawing drafts, choosing the name and designing the personality.
Sometimes I create the characters for satisfying my desires or to make them intended to have a story, like Jason.
With him, however, it was completely different because I had not only to create the design but also a story.
When I was a child I loved my puppets but at the same time I was scared of them. I believed that they were alive and that stared at me with their eyes. I remember I was spying outside my room’s ajar door trying to see them while they were moving but, of course, I failed.
The toys changing their appearance depending on the identity of Jason, becoming horrible, creepy and seeing everything, are based on my childhood’s memory.
This is my favourite feature for the toymaker.
HHoH: Which idea came to you first, the image or the story?
K: This question is difficult to answer because it's been a long time. I think the first thing that came to my mind was the image of this character.
Jason has made many transformations because, in the vast world of creepypasta characters, I was looking for a role that had not already been taken.
At first I imagined this ventriloquist in search of the perfect puppet, but not having enough inspiration for the story, I decided to choose the Toy maker.
HHoH: Are you a fan of Creepypasta? If so, what is your favourite Creepypasta by a creator other than yourself?
K: I really read many Creepypasta and I met a lot of characters but no one has been able to impress me as much as The Puppeteer by BleedingHeartworks! The sound of broken bones and their abnormal movements always bothered me.
I believe that at least one Creepypasta character in your life can touch your weakness just as The Puppeteer did to me.
HHoH: Which writers, horror or otherwise, do you consider yourself a fan of?
K: I'm not really a fan, but I like reading Stephen King’s books. The last one I bought it’s titled Black House but I'm already planning to buy IT.
Also, since we are talking about this topic, I really loved the book by Stefano Pastor, ‘Il Giocattolaio’ (The toy maker). He is an Italian writer who, in this book, was able to keep me glued to the pages filled with suspense and horror. Wonderful book.
HHoH: What work of your own are you most proud of?
K: I'm never proud of my works. I can be satisfied, but I use this word very rarely for my works. I think it is never enough, I have to give my best and I’m never satisfied.
I'm the worst critic of myself.


HHoH: The fans are very passionate about the character. Are there any examples of fan art, such as images, films or readings, in particular that have impressed you?
K: Every time I am amazed that Jason fans create something and spend their precious time just to pay tribute. Cosplay, video tributes etc. I see it all. I don’t have a preference, each gift has the same value and ends in my folder dedicated to the gifts for him.
HHoH: Earlier this year you made an announcement in which you handed over ownership of the character to fellow DeviantArt users Euphobea and Jesterca, citing a part of the fanbase as the cause. Would you care to explain what happened?
K: Before I answer this question I would like to point out one important thing: I didn’t transfer the ownership of my character to Euphobea and Jesterca. I’ve just entrusted Jason to them, but I am still the owner.
Meanwhile Jason started to become well-known and this caught reader attention in some naughty children. I witnessed many things: the insults, the meaningless comparisons and many other things but then my patience ran out.
I think everyone agrees with me that it is quite EMBARRASSING and STUPID offending someone over a fictional character.
I spent too much time on this story and I didn’t realize that I was losing sight of my true goals. I'm sorry, but Jason is not my project and for this reason, I had to make a choice.
I couldn’t keep up with the fans and the haters, I am no longer a 15-year-old girl with so much free time. Right now I have priorities.
I want to publish the story of my comic and I can’t do it if I continue to waste my time.
This decision was very difficult, but it was also the right one.
The haters weren’t important. What bothered me the most were the fanfictions written by people who had no respect for Jason or for me.
Some stories made me angry, because they were ruining the toymaker by turning him into a heartthrob or into a gay who likes orgies. Roleplaying is worse!
I have said it many times that Jason was born to be only a creepypasta character and that his role had already been established, but it was useless.
I don’t want to tell people what to write, but I ask just for a little respect and less arrogance. These people have no idea that by doing these things the real Jason's intentions are misunderstood and that later I have to pay the consequences with the insults.
Someone admires Jason’s false beauty, just like a perfect prince, but all of this is wrong. Jason is horrible, he is a sadistic, selfish monster.
I've seen everything.
After the decision to entrust Jason, I have been insulted by some "fans" who have called me ‘bastard’ and I want to repeat once again how all of this is ridiculous for someone who doesn’t exist.
I don’t live for Jason and I don’t live for others. I live for my own life and for my own dreams!
I want to say that Jason gave me a lot of satisfaction and he will continue to do it, but he's not my real project. He is only a hobby.
Jason is a proof that anyone can get to where I did and may even go further.
The haters instead can just grumble. :)
HHoH: Your artwork is incredible. Where did you learn to create such evocative images? How do you get inspiration for the creative process?
K: I've always drawn because I like it. I never stopped and this has almost become my job.
I haven’t been able to attend an art school because my parents never supported my abilities, this is something I will never forget for the suffering it has caused me ... but it didn’t stop me.
The inspiration is subjective, I can’t give a precise answer. What I can tell you is based on my point of view, as I said earlier, and my inspiration comes from my thoughts or the feelings.
HHoH: Will you ever return to the story of Jason in the future? And what else can your fans look forward to from you in the days ahead?
K: Of course I will! I'm writing Jason's origin story lately because there are many things to tell and probably I will do other things with him.
HHoH: Finally, is there anywhere I should send my readers to see/read more about Jason?
K: The fans can follow Jason at his official Facebook page or on DeviantArt into the profile of my dear friend Mayheem.


As sad as it is that the popularity of Jason has caused his creator anguish, much like both Mr Angrydog and PastaStalker64’s versions of Jane the Killer, there is a silver-lining to this creepypasta cloud. Pasta IS becoming more and more popular.
Sure, some fans may resent the fact that the artform they love is becoming more mainstream and accessible to the masses (as is often the case with indie music or film-making), but what this means is that creators of Creepypasta are given more exposure, more support and, dare I say it, even a financial incentive to continue to create the best possible web horror stories they can.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with the very special, very exciting exclusive interview I have lined up for you all next week...

Monday, 3 April 2017

RAW REVIEWS: GETTING SCHOOLED

There has been a real resurgence in nostalgia-tinted, Eighties throwback horror movies as of late.
And when you're talking Eighties Horror, was there any sub-genre more indicative of the time than the slasher movie?
One of the latest movies to join the swelling ranks of retro-slashers is Chuck Norfolk’s Getting Schooled. I was alerted to the film by Circus of the Dead director ‘Bloody’ Bill Pon (did I mention that you can catch CotD on iTunes now and that the DVD/Blu-ray is available for pre-order? Just checking…) and after doing a little research, was pretty hyped to see it.
After voicing my interest, the very cool guys over at Lucky Chucky Productions were kind enough to send a screener my way.
So is this a slasher that's too cool for school?
Or would I have to mark this one an ‘F’?
Read on…


GETTING SCHOOLED (2017)



Dir: Chuck Norfolk
Stars: Mayra Leal, Tom Long, Roland Ruiz, Jake Byrd, Susan Ly, Morgal Tyler, Ron Jeremy, Nick W. Nicholson


SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here, but continue at your own risk.


The year is 1983 and a ragtag group of High School students are put into Saturday morning detention, including spoiled princess Hillary (Tyler), knife-packing delinquent Rusty (Ruiz), smart nerd Shelly (Ly), strapping jock Mike (Byrd) and social misfit Julie (Leal). When new substitute teacher Mr Roker (Long) enters the classroom, the wheelchair-bound Vietnam vet makes it clear that he’ll take no shit from any of them.
As the group uneasily settle in with each other an accident occurs, rendering the teacher unconscious. The students panic and try to revive the man, however, when Roker comes to he experiences violent flashbacks to his war days and proceeds to attack the teens with ruthless and ferocious abandon.
Barely able to subdue him, they lock Roker in a supply closet and try to work out what to do next.
However, little do they know that Roker is former Black Ops and now, in a state of paranoid delusion, he has mistaken them for Viet Cong adversaries and he is prepared to use every last trick he learned in combat to take each and every one of them down…



THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): When creating a throwback horror movie, one of the most important aspects is nailing the feel of the era. This is something that Getting Schooled manages admirably.
It’s not just in the fashions and soundtrack, the characterisation and dialogue is straight out of some long-lost John Hughes Bratpack movie. This is only fitting for a film that plays out like some kind of bastard offspring of The Breakfast Club and Friday the 13th — with a little Full Metal Jacket thrown in for good measure.
This might sound like a bizarre mix, but it really runs with the premise, delivering a fun and at times frightening product.
The writing by director Norfolk, as well as Steven Scott Norfolk and Tim Norfolk is sharp, clever and, most importantly, feels like a real love-letter to the multitude of slasher flicks that packed the shelves of video stores back in the Eighties.
The dialogue sounds authentic, while the characterisation manages to conjure recognisable genre stereotypes (jocks, badboys and brainiacs among their number), but still make them individuals that you actually care about by the time the blood starts flowing.  
Of course, it helps that the film has collected a fine cast of very good actors, including adult film star Ron Jeremy in a very humorous turn as the school's cynical janitor.
At its core the movie is anchored by a trinity of sterling performances.
First, the very pretty Leal is a perfect fit for her character. She’s likeable and manages to give Julie a fine mix of toughness and vulnerability. She has a number of horror credits to her name already and I’m going to be sure to look up more of this talented actress’ genre work.
Second, Ruiz is clearly having a ball as badboy Rusty, which makes his performance all the more enjoyable for us, the audience. He nails the bravado and swagger of iconic slasher tough guys like A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Rod. It's hard work balancing the dickishness of such a character without just making him utterly unlikeable. To his credit, Ruiz pulls it off.
The final part of this successful and important triumvirate is Long’s barking mad Roker. This is a very tough role as Long is faced with the unenviable task of making a character who is unable to walk seem a legitimate threat to a cast of young characters depicted as being in their physical prime. However, much like the immense Stephen Lang in Don’t Breathe, Long delivers such a ferocious, no-nonsense performance that soon any and all doubts about the danger he might lose are soon dismissed.
He plays the role pre-breakdown like a tough teacher who is clearly not one to take any shit. Post-breakdown he becomes utterly unhinged, a savage, violent monster without mercy or morals.
In short, Long is utterly brilliant.
Of course, the cast are only as good as the material with which they work, and the plot of Getting Schooled, while very simple, delivers a solid, no-frills thriller, with a surprising amount of heart. The set-pieces are pretty nail-biting, while the gory kills are shockingly violent and often particularly gruesome, for those of you who like a horror to boast some splatter (and who doesn’t appreciate a little bloodshed in their slashers?).
It is in each of these scenes that we are also treated to a demonstration of cinematographer John Hale’s skills, as he and Norfolk show some real flair in bringing the horrific to life in a visually striking manner. The colour palette accurately reflects the films of the era to which Getting Schooled so clearly pays homage, but it also creates a captivating look for the movie in its own right, especially during the climactic moments.  
Yet as good as the film looks, I keep returning to its heart. The closing moments of the movie are surprisingly poignant, and may even elicit the odd tear.
I know, genuine emotion in a throwback slasher! Who’d’ve thunk it!?



THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): As great as Getting Schooled looks, it is worth reiterating that this is a lower budget indie movie. If you’re used to slick, polished, Blumhouse-style wide-release horror movies, you may need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
These budgetary constraints, on very rare occasions, affect the production values of the film, hampering some effects shots for example, but they also have a knock-on effect throughout the movie. 
For example, some of the cast are relatively inexperienced, which means that some line delivery can be a little rough around the edges. Take into account that budget restrictions often also come with time constraints and you can see how how some scenes may not hit as hard as others. It’s clear that the cast are all very much invested in their parts, it’s just that sometimes one or two of them slightly misjudge moments. Luckily these moments are few and far between and only add to the throwback Eighties Slasher feel.
However, I do want to add that the team behind Getting Schooled have clearly worked very hard to get this movie as slick as it can possibly be and they have done a pretty damn good job with the movie.
It is that throwback feel that works as both a blessing and a curse to the movie. In short, if you never enjoyed Slasher movies during their heyday, I very much doubt Getting Schooled is going to convert you to the cause. However, if (like me) you are a child of the Eighties (and in particular, a fan of Eighties horror movies) I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.


THE VERDICT: What a pleasant surprise Getting Schooled turned out to be! It manages to be a familiar homage to the slasher classics of yesteryear, while still displaying some imagination of its own. But perhaps more importantly, it’s fun and frightening, with some tremendous performances and real emotional weight and pathos.
Pardon the pun, but Getting Schooled is a real ‘class’ act!

If you want to check the movie out, it’s currently on Amazon Prime here; Vimeo hereVudu here or on Googleplay or iTunes. So what are you waiting for?

You can read more about Getting Schooled over at its official Facebook page here. Give it a like while you're there too, these guys deserve it!

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.