Sexually-charged or erotic horror lurks with its brethren among the thousand offspring of the horror genre, that monster umbrella that gives us everything from slasher’s teenage morality to torture porn’s revolting screams and arterial sprays. All in all horror is the most diversely subgenrefied (and among the most studied) categories of fiction. And among the least commonly used subgenres within it is erotic horror, because it’s hard hard hard to do. So we’ll have to see if Atlus succeeds with Catherine, a game that so far appears to play to all of Atlus’s strengths while adding a major dallop of “suggestive” to the pot.
Atlus, of course, is behind Persona, the third and fourth installments of which revel in the use of disturbing imagery to draw themes of romance, sacrifice, and teen suicide. Persona was – if such a thing exists – “social networking horror,” wherein maintaining friendships and keeping up in school was as important as battling evil. It was quite brilliant.
And now we have Catherine, a game the team has said will be “as suggestive as possible,” but appears based on the trailer to definitely turn in some bizarre horror elements as well. Erotic horror is kind of new to the games world, and I’m glad it’s Atlus taking the plunge.
For some reason, Catherine’s style of horror reminds me of the underappreciated Rule of Rose, which like the Persona games walks forbidden territory: children begetting violence upon children, cruelty to animals, and underage sexuality. It was disturbing as hell.
No word yet on whether Catherine will come to these shores, but frankly I’d be surprised if it didn’t. When it does, it might be worth a look, if you don’t mind hot chicks, people who turn into sheep, and heaping helpings of gore.
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