A scene from one of the trailers for Martha is Dead took me a little by surprise and disgust: it was that of a lady’s face being meticulously peeled open by an unknown assailant, with the killer nonchalantly whistling a tune. This sight is interspersed with more scenes of panicked escapes and that of a drowned body floating in a mucky river bank. The killer then puts on her skin like a mask, akin to the skin-wearing cannibal, Leatherface, of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
But instead of the grimy, low-budget presentation of the grindhouse classic, the trailer is wrapped in the inexplicably slick visuals reminiscent of modern, even AAA-esque, horror games. Then there’s the horror tale’s subject matter as well: it’s also ostensibly a story about the brutality and trauma of war and loss, set in the midst of the second world war—not the sort of tale that I would associate with the grindhouse milieu.
That said, Martha is Dead promises to be more psychological thriller than grindhouse at least, with more intense twists and reveals lined up for the game. According to its newest trailer, there’s also a photography element to the game as well. Not too sure how that plays out in the final release, however. There’s also some superstition and folklore stitched into the historical events taking place in the game, which feels like horror shorthand for supernatural spooks. It certainly doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary for a horror game, but it’ll be a fascinating twist if Martha Is Dead eventually embraces its slasher leanings and wallows in its own depravity.
Martha Is Dead is probably seeing a release sometime this year. You can watch these trailers yourself, but fair warning in advance if you’re a little icky about the gore.