There’s certainly no shortage of Halloween-themed apps in the iTunes App Store. Search “Halloween,” and nearly 200 apps show up. Now, the connection to Halloween with some of these is dubious at best (adding pumpkins to a child’s math game or dressing your “hotties” in “sexy” “pirate” “costumes” doesn’t automatically relate your software to “Satan’s feast day,” as a billboard in Lima, Ohio once called it), but that’s still a lot of material. The question is, how many of these apps are actually scary? Not many, but if you do enjoy a good scare on Halloween, I’ve found a couple that will do the trick.
iPossessed may not make your iPhone hover above the bed or puke up pea soup, but it’s still pretty good for startling an unsuspecting victim. The trick is that you either have to install it on someone else’s phone or be clever with your placement. Using a timer delay (up to 999 seconds), you can set up the app to suddenly scream, rattle, whisper in a low, demonic tone, and more. This can either be accompanied by a pentagram or by a blank black screen. Unfortunately, because Apple won’t allow background processes, you can’t have it go off unless the iPossessed app is open and active. This makes the gag a bit harder to pull off. Whether you’re hiding it in someone’s purse or slipping it onto someone’s desk, that’s not as effective as letting him or her discover it during normal phone use.
I do like, however, that touching the screen won’t actually shut the program off. When the person finds it, he’ll have to know to hit the home button in order to stop the wailing, rattling, or whichever of the 10 sound effects you chose. It’s a decent way to have some fun at the expense of others, and isn’t that worth 99 cents?
- Buy iPossessed
Silent Hill: The Escape
This one’s more for giving yourself the creeps. Silent Hill is a console horror/survival game franchise that has made the leap to the big screen. Its iPhone iteration is not as ambitious as its predecessors, but is still good for delivering scares. It’s set in an abandoned hospital where—wouldn’t you know it—the doors are all locked and you have no keys. No good asking the nurses for help getting out; they have no faces. You could relax in a wheelchair as you seek your escape, but they tend to move on their own. So, armed with a flashlight and a pistol, it’s up to you to explore each many levels of the labyrinth to find the key and door.
That’s pretty much all there is to the game. No real story, no puzzles to solve, you just walk the dark, creepy hallways and try to avoid ghosts while seeking the exit. You will find bullets along the way, which you’ll need to shoot down the numerous ghosts out to get you. If they touch you, you die. Controls are a decent mix of the accelerometer and touch that require a level or two of use to feel comfortable with, but those levels are fairly easy, anyway.
Silent Hill: The Escape doesn’t deliver a true Silent Hill experience, but it does deliver Silent Hill scares. The graphics and audio are exceptionally creepy. Combine them with the constant fear that something is lurking just beyond that corner, and you’ve got a game that will keep you unsettled throughout. The game itself is quite long, and allows you to play through as different characters (with different weapons) once you complete it.
There are some good scares here, so if that’s what you’re after, Silent Hill: The Escape is definitely worth the money.
Seller: Blue Tree Interactive
Price: $0.99 (a free, lite version will be available)
Age Rating: TBD
My last suggestion will seem kind of lame, as it’s not even available in the iTunes App Store yet. I know that makes this article somewhat useless, but keep this suggestion handy. Blue Tree interactive submitted the app back in September, and it became my inspiration for this article. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t approve of their APIs, so they weren’t able to get Freaky Fotos into the store in time for Halloween. That’s okay, though, because it will be most effective when delivered on an unsuspecting audience.
Quite simply, Freaky Fotos adds ghosts to your photos. You can either take a photo or use one in your library, then use the program to place ghostly images over it. When taking a photo, you can select from 22 ghosts (on the paid version) and actually see it overlaid on the photo you’re about to take. You can resize and rotate the image accordingly to make it fit in your shot.
I’m not sure if you can adjust the transparency, so we’ll have to watch for that. I do know know, however, that you can’t place the ghost behind the subject of your photo. The developers have worked around this by allowing you to just place a head, an arm, etc.
Now, how do you make this scary? Don’t acknowledge it. I can see myself taking five or six images of my kids, and uploading them to Facebook. First, though, I’ll insert a very subtle ghost image into just one of the pictures, then invite my friends and family to check out the album without even hinting that there may be a ghost in one of them. Let them find it themselves. Much scarier. If they don’t acknowledge it, take another photo in the same spot a few weeks later, and put that ghost back in there. Good times!
That Blue Tree wasn’t able to get this app up in time for Halloween may hurt their sales, but it really will help you get better scares with it. The more unsuspecting the audience, the better. When this app is available for purchase, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Obviously, any of the other 200 Halloween apps could be worth your time, even if they don’t provide good scares. To help you sort through the rest, check out these articles from our friends at Appmodo and Go! Go! Mob.
- Appmodo’s Top 10 Halloween iPhone Apps
- Trick or Treat: The best and worst iPhone games for Halloween
Happy Satan’s Feast Day!