I am a somewhat avid dreamer. In the sense that I dream quite often when I sleep. Couple that with a hobby in video games and the dreams can be quite interesting. Usually the dreams are pleasant. I’m commanding troops like in an RTS, I’m adventuring in far away lands like in an RPG, or I’m with a particular female character having … *ahem* a good time. But there was one game that made me dread going to sleep. One game with stories and visuals so wretched, it could twist metal.
From psychopathic clowns, to narcissistic bride’s maids. The stories presented in Twisted Metal Black were horrific to my young mind. I once had a dream that I was falling into the ‘game over’ spike pit of Mortal Kombat. But with Twisted Metal Black, the nightmares were frequent and persisted for some time after I had stopped playing the game.
Horror stories that tend to scare me the most, are the ones that seem possible. In film an example would be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Crazy dude with a chainsaw running around? Could totally happen. Psycho? The name says it all. The Exorcist? You may not think it’s realistic, but as a kid growing up in a somewhat religious environment, it might as well have been a dude with a chainsaw. Friday the 13th? Maybe at first, but the immortality angle kind of ruins it. Same with Halloween. But as terrible as Halloween Resurrection is, this scene will always be special to me.
Twisted Metal Black has a plethora of characters, all with their own stories with one thing in common: Calypso. A character who represents something infinitely more sinister than the musical genre. The game’s characters come to meet calypso, usually when he comes to visit them in a supermax insane asylum, and he offers to grant them a wish if they compete and win his car combat contest. These wishes, once granted, tend to backfire on the wish maker. Sound familiar? A lot of the characters say some version of “How could I refuse?” as they agree to play.
Some stories made me think about myself, and what actions I would take, if placed in a similar situation. Am I as good of a person as I think? The story of Billy Ray Stillwell, the Junkyard Dog comes to mind. After attempting to murder him, he killed his cheating wife and her love. Afterwards he realized how good killing people made him feel. I’ve never killed anyone, I think it’s wrong. But if I ever did, would I enjoy it? I sometimes think about what I would do if someone were to murder a loved one of mine and I could have my way with the murderer. I always come to the same conclusion. The last thing I would ever do is kill them. I will make absolutely sure that they continue to live very long lives. That’s all I’ll say about that.
The Vietnam veteran, Mr Grimm, who during the war was capture by the vietcong along with Benny, a fellow soldier and friend. Benny got shot and was dying. The vietcong adviser starved them before throwing a knife into their hole and told him that if he wanted to eat, he’d have to make due with what he could find in the hole. “It’s amazing the things you’ll do to survive. I think Benny would have understood.” Then you hear him bite down… Ugh, that sound... Later he confesses that he’s been craving more ever since. I’ve obviously never eaten human flesh, would I enjoy it? German cannibal, Armin Meiwes, describes the taste being similar to pork. Pork chops are my favorite…
I wasn’t exactly in the dating game back when I was playing this game. In fact I would argue that I’m still not. But I am not a risk taker. I will do almost anything to avoid taking risks that aren’t absolutely necessary. Spectre, the Bloody Mary made me realize the risks of being in a romantic relationship with someone. People you get involved with are essentially strangers. I don’t know what’s going on upstairs. I remember telling my previous girlfriend about this. Falling asleep next to anyone takes trust. I could wake up to her chopping me to bits.
Brimestone, the Preacher. The first half of his story was especially unnerving for me. I grew up in a place populated by 85% roman catholics, that includes my family. Certain individuals around me did not hesitate to tell me every single horrifying detail they could think of about what the underworld and the master of the house would be like. As an adult I’m not a particularly pious person and my personal philosophies have evolved since then. But I’m sure you’ve noticed my efforts to avoid mentioning a specific name just now and when talking about Calypso. It’s been beaten into me I’m afraid. Saying it, reading it, writing it, and of course seeing depictions of it are easy ways to make me feel uneasy.
Sweet Tooth, Needles Kane. Flaming head of hair aside, just a scary ass dude who loves to kill. Dreams about it, fantasizes about it, fetishizes it, and probably gets off on it. His crime scenes no doubt have blood and semen all over the place. “I was out like the dying heartbeat of a little girl.” This man doesn’t even have a semblance of a conscience.
It is unlikely that a corn farmer is going to survive a blast of pesticide and go on a killing spree. It is unlikely that a Vietnam war veteran is going to eat me alive. It is unlikely that I’ll be hooking up with a woman anytime soon, let alone a homicidal narcissist. I’ve already been baptized once, so I’m not getting ripped to pieces by a preacher. I’m also not gonna run into some white dude wearing a suit in the middle of a crossroad. But everyone has the capacity to kill. Any stranger you meet can potentially be a real life Sweet Tooth.