Five Nights at Freddy’s – The Jumpscare King

Help Wanted

539Family pizzaria looking for security guard to work the nightshift 12 AM to 6 AM.

Monitor cameras, ensure safety of equipment and animatronic characters.

Not responsible for injury/dismemberment.

$120 a week. To apply call:
1-888-FAZ-FAZBEAR

6 games, a book, a movie, and an absurd amount of merchandise.  Five Nights at Freddy’s has firmly planted itself among the legends of horror.  It crafts its story behind the scenes of the games, but up front it presents you with a very simple premise: stay from midnight until 6AM and keep an eye on some buggy animatronic animals.

That want to kill you.

The game explains this as them seeing you as an endoskeleton without a costume, so they want to put you in one.  But that would kill you.  So already they’re dangerous because of their programming.

Because the story of this game is widely known and understood, we won’t be covering it.  If you’re interested, the Youtube channel The Game Theorists has a series where they work to piece the story together.

Instead we’ll be focusing on the visual and audio elements of the animatronics and the environment around you.

First beginning with the appearance of the machines themselves.

Meet Chica the Chicken, Bonnie the Rabbit, and Freddy Fazbear.

freddy_fazbears_pizza_band

Now meet them again.

fnaf-bonniefnaf-freddufivenightsatfreddys-05

By the light of day they’re are only vaguely unsettling.  But at night, when you’re the only one in the building with them and they’re moving toward you, they are terrifying.  The machinery is visible between their joints, their glass eyes glint in the limited light, and the teeth of their endoskeletons show in their throats.  They were designed to be for kids, but ended up like this.  And we haven’t even touched on foxy.

foxy-peeking

Every time an animatronic appears in a camera’s view, the shot is framed fantastically.  Whether they’re right in front of the camera, or at the end of the hallway, looking down it, they are either the full focus of the shot, or just hidden enough that you have to look for them.

But looks aren’t the only thing that these monsters have on their side.  They all have their ambiance that they employ on their way to your office.  These can range from the sound of someone singing “dum-dee dum” to the sound of someone choking, barely being able to breathe.  The most well known of these would be the slow, deep laugh from Freddy himself.

While on their own, the animatronics are scary, it doesn’t stop there.  The game displays a massive talent for fucking with the player.  As the nights go further and further, weirder and more disturbing things start to happen. The animatronics twitch in your camera views.

Sometimes details of areas are changed, such as posters of a crying face appearing on the wall view of one camera, newspaper clippings replacing a poster, telling a disturbing story that has since become the most well known thing about the game, or the changing poster seen below.

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Flashes of an eyeless Bonnie with the cryptic phrase “it’s me” will sometimes fill your vision.  And of course, Fazbear’s Golden boy with the power to crash your game.

golden_freddy_death

Five Nights at Freddy’s is a game that never lets up with the panic.  As you progress, the animatronics become more and more aggressive.  You have a set amount of power that you have to manage throughout the game.  Everything takes away from it.  The doors, the tablet you use to check your cameras, everything.   From the resource management nightmare of the later nights to the constant ambiance and hallucinations, there’s never a break until your shift is over, and shortly after it’s right on to the next night.

But of course, FNaF is known for one specific type of scare.  The jumpscare.  A normally cheap tactic to get a rise out of a player is elevated to an art form here.

If you run out of power, the lights go out.

nopwoer

You are stuck with this until:

freddy_spook

The classical song “Toreador” plays as if out of a music box.  Then it all goes black.  You can only wait.  You know it’s coming, it’s had the grandest preamble that anyone could ever expect.  But the time it takes is always random.  So you wait, and you wait, and you wait.

freddy_fazbear_jumpscare

Boo.

This by no means covers all the elements.  The story of Phone Guy in this game and the over-arching story told in the background are two other wholly unsettling elements that are massive parts of the game’s atmosphere.

In effect, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a tower defense game with jumpscares.  But the execution of the animatronic designs, the framing on each image, and the sheer amount of buildup crafted around a jumpscare all forge what is little more into a jumpscare-avoidance course into a fantastic horror game.

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