You Should Play Midnight Scenes
There are two broad, distinct categories of horror: one is the strain of hair-raising, pee-in-your-pants terror that causes intense heart palpitations, and the other the creeping unease of more discomforting fare; those that get under your skin and gnaw at your insides. Midnight Scenes, a point-and-click series comprising two short, macabre tales about supernatural happenings, is decidedly in the latter category.
These tales, depicted in an entirely black and white veneer that’s very Twilight Zone-esque, subsist on the inexplicable questions of cosmic horror, with subtle shifts in reality that veers just a little from the mundane. The first episode, “The Highway”, puts you in the shoes of a young lady named Claire driving along the highway. Her route, however, is impeded by a collapsed utility pole, with live wires and puddles of rainwater preventing her from shoving these aside safely to get across. To find a way around this obstruction, she has to look for help or seek tools from a seemingly abandoned house nearby. What she discovers inside, of course, only gets increasingly unnerving the more she learns about the family who once lived there.
Episode two, “The Goodbye Note”, was released a year later, telling another tale that also draws from the same unsettling atmosphere of the first. As a scientist named Richard, you’re recounting the ghastly events of a terrible workplace incident to your wife in a letter, your words tinged with panic, sorrow and regret. The conclusion to this story is appropriately sombre and fatalistic, a harrowing reminder of our utter–and very human–helplessness against occult and extraterrestrial forces beyond our comprehension.
These black-and-white vignettes may only be around an hour long each, but they’re also tightly focused pieces of storytelling, the bizarre and untenable reality mostly obfuscated even till the episodes’ conclusion. You won’t even get the satisfaction of knowing what’s going on. In the end, only your imagination–and your brain’s inclination to manufacture half-truths–can offer some sense of closure to these disquieting stories.