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Top Winter/Cold Stories


What with the “snowmageddon” and whatnot going on, perhaps now is the best time to look at some of the top winter based stories across the media.  The rule of thumb here being that christmas stories don’t count as they are really their own category.

Movies

John Carpenter’s – The Thing

This is probably one of the best alien invasion/body horror films to ever grace the screen.  A classic film about a group of scientists/pilots/and other workers at an Antarctic research station who are confronted with a shapeshifting alien lifeform.  This takes the premise of being trapped with an unspeakable horror that you simply have no means to escape from.  The tension in the film is only added by the fact that the creature can replicate dna and appear to be anyone or anything.  One of the other aspects that makes it such a good film is that the mystery develops more and more as the film goes on and even at the end we are left with unanswered questions.  These questions actually get answered a bit in the video game which was also fantastic.  Perhaps another thing that makes this work so well is that the team knows that they can’t let the creature get back to civilization and they must find out who it is and stop every part of it.  I’m just glad that this film came out at a time when horror films were about normal hard-working people.  I just can’t really enjoy horror about stupid people, teenagers, or people who deserve to die.  But that’s a whole nother article.

Comics


30 Days of Night

While this could probably fit better in a top vampire stories list, it’s winter and ice theme is what makes the premise work so well.  You take a story that already returns us to the glory of evil and monstrous vampires, and to it this element of being trapped that was stated so well in The Thing.  We have a story about an Alaskan town that is approaching winter where the sun will set for 67 days at a time.  This poses an answer to the great issue of vampires and avoiding sunlight.  With all this time they can simply wait out and relax with their prey.  It’s this element that works so well in the story.  Here we have a group of predators that normally must hunt and are instead provided a situation where their food source will basically have to present themselves to them.  By cutting off power and other resources, the people of the town will be unable to just hide out in their homes.  They will have to leave to find food, warmth, and perhaps a means of escape.  The story really tries to emphasize the idea of the cold blooded killers that welcome the cold and ice and the villagers who represent warmth and life even in the coldest of places.

Video Games

Lost Planet

While not necessarily a winter based story, it does take place on a planet in the middle of an ice age.  The basic premise revolves around an amnesic man who is working to uncover his past while battling insectoid aliens that rule the planet he awakens on.  Perhaps one of the things that makes this work so well is that the cold itself is one of the enemies in the game.  Simply being out in the extreme freezing temperatures drains your warmth.  When it gets to low you start to freeze and will die.  The only way to save yourself is to harvest warmth from the enemies that you kill or from various stations scattered around.  This proves exceedingly difficult as the game progresses and it makes you have to really focus on every battle.  It heightens your senses because you want to be perfect so as to not waste any time/warmth fooling around.  The world is captured beautifully and the idea of really having no way to escape the cold just helps convey that message further.

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  1. 5yphon
    February 24, 2010 at 2:29 am

    You know when ET came out, my mom thought that it sucked. Guess what I got dragged to when I was a wee lad instead of ET? The Thing.

    You know what? I still haven’t see all of ET. I just can’t get past the 1st 20 mins. But every time The Thing is on TV, I have to stop to watch it.

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