Content Warning: This could’ve, perhaps should’ve, gone atop every Spooktober entry. Many horror genres are ableist at their core, some ageist or sexist, etc. I’ll be less scrupulous about ableist language in this post than my blog’s usual rules.
Spooktober is a 31 day event of coming up with original horror ideas based on prompts my writing group argues over. This should be last post on the topic this year. The voting left a trail of bodies in its wake – prompts that did not win. Ranked by the number of votes they received, with the most popular first, they were: Psycho-Biddy, Devils & Demons, Ghosts, Killer Toys, Wintery / Snow, Home Invasion, Mad Scientist, Possession, Backwoods, Folklore, Mutants, Giant Monster, Noir, Psychological, Splatterpunk, Alien / Space, Dark Web / Technology, Killer Animal, Body Horror, Body Snatchers, Creepy Kid, Creepypasta / Urban Legend, Mummy, Psychic, Stephen King, The Swarm, Teen, Comedy Horror, Holiday, Kiddie Horror, J-Horror / Asian Horror, and Anime. As I use the prompts below, you’ll see the name of it appear in parentheses.
SPOOKTOBER DAY #33? — Bonus Spooks
TITLE: Weird Blade (ウイーアド ブレード)
PREMISE: A three-part anime (Anime) OVA called “Weird Blade,” inspired by the structure of Cyber City Oedo 808, which had three main boys, and each had their own special episode. The setting is a futuristic Japan (J-Horror) in a smaller city near a spooky forest.
Episode One: Sukeko the Lady. Sukeko is a purple-haired trans gal, hacker, and party girl. (She’s the one in the pic with the high pony tail.) In a club scene we meet her friends Chisaku and Kurochimaru. Chisaku sleazes on her and every other lady in anime rake fashion, Kurochimaru just likes to play with his yo-yo and dance.
But that life is just her time outside the house. At home she has to take care of a mean old grandma (Psycho-Biddy), and stay closeted to her. She has a sense of obligation based on some childhood experiences, being cared for by the crone before she turned mean. Little does she know Grandma is a mad scientist (Mad Scientist), a hacker in her own right, who has married the world-wide web to the underworld of ghosts (Ghosts) and devils (Devils & Demons). Every time Sukeko leaves the house, Grandma slips on the VR goggles and gloves, and cyber-stalks her wayward grandchild.
Snow begins to fall on the city. Grandma and Sukeko have a very tense conversation over food, like, “you’re poisoning me!” “you’re nuts, eat your porridge,” that kind of thing.
Grandma calls her Sukeko instead of the deadname, and Sukeko realizes she knows. The conversation shifts to that, with Sukeko cautiously optimistic this will be a “I know you’re queer and accept you” situation. It is not, and they stomp out of each other’s presence. Grandma jacks in and runs “possess.dmn” file to hAx0r Sukeko’s brain (Possession).
Sukeko has to abandon her own VR rig and flee the house in a panic. She runs up a snowy trail (Wintery / Snow) into the woods. Close to dying of cold, she finds a cabin in the woods (Backwoods).
The cabin-dwellers are nice, but Grandma hacks their brains and makes them try to kill Sukeko. She holes up in the computer core of the cabin, with the possessed trying to beat down the door. In a cold-blooded and frosty state of mind, Sukeko jacks into the computer core, assuming the avatar of a yuki-onna (Folklore). She sneaks past grandma’s home defense, riding the hack signal back to her house.
There she remote controls grandma’s doll collection to become murderous (Killer Toys) home invaders (Home Invasion). Grandma tries to run and hide, but ultimately she gets got.
The yuki-onna melts into Sukeko and she has a little cry as a virtual projection into the crime scene. But she has a weird vision – the doll that killed Grandma is a one-eyed girl from the club scene, Noriko, and she’s holding a weird blade. The club girl flies away, leaving just the doll with the letter opener.
Episode Two: Chisaku the Bullet. Chisaku is an aqua-haired hard-boiled PI and typical anime perv. He narrates his part of the story (Noir). A sexy lady comes into his office and gives him a case. Her dad, mom, and uncle were all killed by animals, but how? Doesn’t make sense to her, though the police closed the case.
He investigates the scene of the crime – the cabin where Sukeko had fled. Did she do the murder? The audience has to wonder. Chisaku finds a clue she was there and he calls her up. She says to meet her on the Dark Web (Dark Web / Technology). On his way out of the cabin, he is set upon by feral dogs (Killer Animal) that almost kill him, but he shoots ’em all. He is a The Bullet.
At the cyber-den of a trusted ally, suspecting both his home and his office won’t be safe, he jacks in to do the meetup. Sukeko is in yuki-onna mode in a virtual cafe, says she didn’t do that murder, leaving open the possibility she did others. Chisaku doesn’t press the matter, but he begins to suspect this isn’t Sukeko. “Are you really Sukeko?” “Are you really Chisaku?”
Oh shit, he thinks. She hit him with an existential crisis virus, that makes you not know what’s real (Psychological). “Nice try toots, but I don’t know what’s real on the best of days.” He jacks off. I mean out. I mean logs off. It was bravado, but there was some truth to it. He knows the only way to fight the doubt is to take everything he sees at face value, and has the presence of mind to give that a go – at least until he can get the virus cleared.
The world is weird. His friend is mutated into a techno-organic mess with his own computer core. Outside he sees the dogs from before have come back from the dead as mutants (Mutants), and tracked him to the cyber-den. He shoots them again, and hustles through the streets. Since his friend can’t clear the EC virus, maybe actual Sukeko can.
The dogs come back again, mutated into a giant monster (Giant Monster), assisted by passers-by on the street, who seem to have become part of the menacing force that is loose in the world (Body Snatchers). Old shop ladies twist their heads around and trip him as he runs, that kind of stuff. At Sukeko’s house the gate is locked but he gets over the wall, leaving the snatched bodies outside. But the giant dog-thing gets over the fence and he has to kill it with every gardening implement he can find (Splatterpunk). Where the blood and gore splashed on his arm, he starts to mutate, the flesh merging with his gun so he can’t put it down (Body Horror).
Inside he finds Sukeko looking like a cosmic horror, but talking very calmly, trying to pretend everything is normal. “Grandmother is upstairs, she is not feeling well. You shouldn’t be here, Chisaku.” He explains he got the virus and she helps hack it out of him, and the world goes back to normal.
They stand in the doorway looking at the lawn. Was there a murdered dog, or worse, a murdered person? Noriko is in an action hero crouch over a pile of dead dogs, a weird blade in her hand. She does back flips high into the air, disappearing into a flying saucer that zips away (Alien / Space).
Episode Three: Kurochimaru the Blade. Kurochimaru is a dark-green-haired martial artist and dropout. At the club, the girls all want to get with him because of his physique and his fun-loving nature, but none of them make the cut. Noriko tries to make a pass at him and whiffs. But before he leaves, she gets his attention with something.
“I found something I think you should have. It’s the ghost of a ninja’s sword. I’m a humble space alien, it should be in the hands of a real Japanese martial artist.” He takes the weird blade, like, “Uh… thanks?,” and jets.
His home is on the waterfront, a community straight out of Stephen King, where folksy accent-having salt-of-the-earth types rub shoulders with generically named middle class people, and everyone has dark secrets or weird gross sex stuff they do behind closed doors probably (Stephen King).
The blade feels weird in his hand and he takes it to an antiquarian’s shop. The weirdo there is a secret mummy (Mummy) who monsters out and tries to get him into suspension bondage, and he cuts the bandages to escape. This is played for laughs, as is the whole of this episode. When something horror happens, it’s mixed with pratfalls to keep the spirit light (Comedy).
Out on the street, he’s like, “Now how will I find out what’s up with the weird blade?,” then sees a sign outside the high school that says “occult club meeting tonite” (Teen). He goes inside. A spooky janitor points him to the art room where the weirdos meet. The Occult Club kids are annoyed that he busts up the seance. They have stereotypical high school interactions with each other about it. Probably a secret hot girl is wearing glasses that camouflage her hotness, I don’t know.
The scoobies decide to take him to the neighborhood psychic kid (Psychic, Creepy Kid). Guy has the Shining, perhaps. The kid looks like a miniature version of a character from Mob Psycho, and after Laurel & Hardy-ish shenanigans, gets his hand on the blade, to do a psychometry.
When he touches the sword, he activates its power, and starts chasing Kurochimaru and the kids around with the sword and an army of bugs and frogs and such (The Swarm). The teens are all killed in Goosebumps-esque ways (Kiddie Horror), until just the hot girl and Kurochimaru remain. Then the kid appears, fully transformed into a Jeff-the-Killer-esque edgelord form, blood coming out of his eyes (Creepypasta / Urban Legend).
They get to a mall which is doing the Japanese version of crimbo festivities (Holiday). Sukeko and Chisaku are there on a date, wearing santa hats, but looking haunted by previous events. The mall is attacked by the swarm and the creepy kid, turning into a violent free-for-all. Chisaku spots Noriko dressed like a sexy elf, and Sukeko uses hacker powers to run “exorcism.exe” on the weird blade.
With the magic of the ghost sword dispelled, the alien loses interest in the world and leaves again in her UFO. The three heroes walk through the devastation in shock. Kurochimaru starts playing with his yo-yo again.
HORROR ELEMENT: The horror of shoehorning as many concepts as possible into as small a space as possible. Wasn’t easy!