Hidden terrors in Dropper of Horrors
Hi Noxcrew Community!
I hope you all enjoyed Halloween week and didn’t get too spooked by the ghosts and ghouls running around! We had a lovely time watching spooky films, carving pumpkins and eating way too many sweets!
Despite it not being October any more (though it's always October in my heart) I’m keeping the terror (and the sugar high) alive for a little while longer as I look back at our only horror based map (for the time being) Dropper of Horrors and highlighting all the references to iconic horror films and characters (as well a few Noxcrew ones) hiding in the shadows.
I hope you all enjoy and I’ll see you all next week!
In 2017 Noxcrew set about making their first ever Halloween/horror map with Dropper of Horrors.
While technical issues prevented the map from actually coming out on Halloween, it was finally released around the 2017 holiday period. A love letter to the horror genre Dropper of Horrors (naturally) comes with a lot of references dotted around the map. Some are tributes to classic horror icons, some celebrate beloved tropes of the genre, others hinted at Noxcrew’s upcoming projects (well we thought they were upcoming at the time.)
So join me as I crawl under the bed and shine a light on all the creepy stuff hiding in Dropper of Horrors, just waiting to pounce!
Starting off with an easy one here, while all of DoH’s stories were original creations by head writer Andrej and skilfully narrated by Noxite, each story has references to classic horror stories or films.
The Howling Forest is, of course, a wolf/werewolf film with allusions towards werewolf classics such as ‘Universal’s The Wolfman’ or the incredible ‘Werewolf in London’ but it’s also draws from lost in the woods films like ‘The Blair Witch’ with Timmy and Ben heading deep into the forest, despite being warned of the danger, where they meet their eventual fate at the teeth of a terrifying wolf, rather than a witch.
Night of The Missing Pet is a pure blooded Frankenstein story, complete with spooky castles, mad scientists, body snatching and macabre resurrections, though also links itself to Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ where the deceased buried in a particular cemetery come back to life, but always come back changed. Thankfully Emmy returns to Zombie just as she was before, not as a terrifying demon cat.
The Wicked Pumpkin, with its’ spooky witch and transforming potion, shows shades of films like ‘Disney’s Hocus Pocus’ a personal childhood favourite with 3 evil witches trying to steal the youth of children and turn one poor victim into a cat. It can also be linked to the real life events of the ‘Salem Witch Trials’ where men and women were persecuted in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts for being ‘witches’ and causing trouble to the town, just like the witch in the story (Though our witch isn’t as innocent as the Salem victims)
The setting of Dropper of Horrors in an old run down theatre/cinema run by the greeter, who has renovated the screens to put players into the action.
Designed to emulate old school american cinemas that you see in the movies, mostly because they have a far nicer aesthetic than the cinemas we had in the UK as kids, the use of the theatre, while a great way to present the drops (if we do say so ourselves) is also an homage to numerous shows, films and comics that use the premise of a haunted cinema or theatre as a vessel to tell scary stories.
Predominantly, in this case, the shows that inspired us were ‘Grizzly tales for Gruesome Kids’ and ‘Goosebumps’ both of which were very popular kids shows while we were growing up, featuring morality tales where hideous kids got their just deserts, usually in ironic or twisted ways. (Between these shows and TV Gameshows you can kinda track Noxcrew’s sense of humour)
If you explore the foyer of the theatre there are plenty of references but this one can easily be missed.
At the very back of the theatre, near the creepy ghost girl (with the oddly familiar voice) you’ll see a closet up against the wall. Next to that, you’ll see a suspicious storm drain right in the middle of the wall surrounded by cobwebs. Don’t put your arm down there or the terrible clown that lurks below might just rip it off!
A reference to Stephen King’s ‘IT’ this version was inspired not by the excellent Bill Skarsgård, but by the original and wonderfully entertaining Tim Curry version of Pennywise, who terrified our childhoods back in the 90’s.
In slasher films the villain is often portrayed as omnipresent, always watching our fearless bunch of victims, ready to strike at any time. There’s nowhere you can run, no place to hide where they won’t find you and enact their grisly torment.
Not even the theatre is safe! Look up in the foyer, towards the skylights you might just spot him, a dark figure lurking above you. That’s Igor, the theatre’s ever so handy handyman. He’s also a reference to ‘Frankenstein’, despite not appearing in the book or the original Frankenstein film, but being introduced in ‘Son of Frankenstein’ but he also takes some inspiration from the ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ novel, which is far bleaker than the Disney film.
In the foyer of the theatre, much like in cinemas today, you can see advertisements in the forms of states for two ‘upcoming’ films covered in cobwebs, a giant adventurer and a spaceship hanging from the ceiling. These are both references to Noxcrew projects that were in production at the time of Dropper of Horrors’ creation. The adventurer is a reference to Tom Raider/Chad Venture, a project spearheaded by Epic_Landlord based on films like Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, which inspired one of the map’s names. (our maps can go through several names throughout development) It was set to be a puzzle map which saw the player explore an abandoned temple filled with different devilish puzzles. Chad Venture did made another brief appearance in our Creative Toolbox map, Movie Star as the leading man in our action-adventure movie but has yet to star in his own map.
The spaceship is, of course, a reference to ‘Escape from BLOZARK’ our yet-to-be-released epic space adventure map which was being highly teased at the time, even being demoed at Gamescom that year.
While neither map is currently in development we hope that, unlike these statues, both projects won’t be left gathering dust forever and they’ll be other to you all sometime in the future.
Another Noxcrew reference, and a bit less of a secret than the others, is the movie posters in the film corridors advertising Noxcrew maps such as Terra Swoop Force, Ninjas vs Samurai and Destructobot 5000.
While this can be seen as some clever advertising by us, their inclusion was actually inspired by the Noxcrew survival server. Our survival servers differ slightly from others in that they are completely role-play based with a specific code of conduct preventing 4th wall breaking and any actions that might break the role-play world (including a ban on castles unless you can have a good roleplay reason to make one!)
In this role-play world, Noxcrew is a company, but not one that anyone is employed by. They are an overarching entity whose reopening of the Gameshow factory brought people back to this new world. As such, Noxcrew maps and projects are not real life events (I mean people flying to the centre of the earth? That's absurd) but are films or TV shows that people watch and enjoy.
We took this concept of our maps being visual entertainment and brought into a map where the boundaries between visual entertainment and gameplay were blurred
A rare sighting in Dropper of Horrors but lurking in the corridors of the theatre, there are ghosts who throw popcorn at unsuspecting passersby and generally just get up to no good while people are trying to enjoy the show.
These mischievous ghosts, often called poltergeists in popular fiction, pop up in various forms of media. The most well known poltergeists are in the film aptly named ‘Poltergeist' where a suburban family is terrorised and their daughter kidnapped by the initially friendly ghosts who haunt their new home.
Another example of poltergeists in fiction is the trickster Peeves from the Harry Potter series. While never appearing in any of the films, Peeves is a constant annoyance in Hogwarts, with his tricks and pranks often being the torment of teachers, students and fellow ghosts alike. While not evil, Peeves can spoil the fun, just like these popcorn throwing pranksters.
A nice little easter egg added by the build team, if you look behind you when you first spawn into the theatre, in the street, you will see a white car with a red stripe.
This car is Ecto-1 the iconic car of the Ghostbusters!
Seen throughout the Ghostbusters series, this converted ambulance signals the arrival of the best combators of the paranormal ever put to screen. Which is pretty lucky, ‘cause they are plenty of ghosts lurking around this wreck of a theatre!