Alan Wake was in development for nearly ten years, which usually isn't a good sign. Just ask the Duke Nukem Forever development team about that. However, the game has managed to surpass just about every expectation, and it's sparked a renewed interest in old school, spooky horror. The kind that makes you afraid of bumps in the night and the odd creaking sounds your house makes at 2am.
If you're anything like us, now that your Alan Wake experience is over, you're looking for fodder to keep yourself in the same headspace. You want some thrills and chills, but aren't sure where to turn. We've got you covered with this Alan Wake Companion Pack. Just nab something off of this list, and you can continue giving yourself night terrors for the next few months.
The Secret Window: This movie is based on the Stephen King, Secret Window, Secret Garden novella where an author suffering from writer's block and dealing with a cheating wife finds himself encountering some strangeness, possibly from his very own pages. Johnny Depp plays the writer, and John Turturro plays a creepy guy who may not be what he seems to be. It has more twists and turns than a disemboweled set of intestines, and it'll have you guessing at the ending.
The Shining: Although Stephen King purists don't count this 1980 film as a faithful adaptation of the novel, you can't deny the genius of Jack Nicholson in this movie. This classic mindboink movie gives you an insder's view of a writer slowly descending into madness, and Alan Wake pays homage (and gives credit) to the famous door-chopping "Here's Johnny!" scene.
Naked Lunch: For a dose of the truly bizarre, check out this David Cronenberg directed, semi-autobiographical film that details writer William S. Burroughs' trips through a drug-induced world of weirdness. It also pulls off an intricate origami trick and folds back in on itself, and you realize the movie is about the writing of the novel itself. It is extremely trippy, and features a great performance from Peter Weller, fresh off of Robocop 2 which didn't require much in the way of acting.
The Twilight Zone: There have been a handful of horror-leaning, quirky anthology shows about weirdness like The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Night Gallery, but The Twilight Zone was the one that started it all. If you haven't seen the episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" starring William Shatner, then you're missing out. Alan Wake's world of Bright Falls has its own show inspired from this classic series called Night Springs. It even has a Rod Serling-sounding narrator.
Twin Peaks: David Lynch is known for his bizarre, off-the-wall storylines. Just ask anyone who's seen Mulholland Drive. What the hell is that blue box supposed to symbolize? Anyhow, that movie is nothing compared to Twin Peaks, a show that ran for two seasons on ABC from 1990 to 1991. It was about an FBI agent investigating the death of a girl in Twin Peaks, a remote town in the Pacific Northwest. A town so creepy that you'll feel like you're right back in Bright Falls.
The Prisoner: Although recently remade by AMC and starring Sir Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel, the original 1960s version of this strange British television show is still the best. Patrick McGoohan stars as a British secret agent who resigns his job, and then wakes up in a strange (and luxurious) village from which he is unable to leave. He's also stripped of his name and given a number, as is everyone in the village. It's a slow desecent into madness as Number 6 tries to escape and figure out what's going on.
Edgar Allen Poe: Poe was known for his gothic horror (and even some early science fiction), and he went on to inspire just about every horror writer you can think of, including H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, and probably even Alan Wake. Two of his lesser known, yet still recommended works are "The Gold-Bug" and "A Descent into the Maelstrom." "The Gold-Bug" tells the story of a man who is bitten by a golden scarab, which his servant fears is driving him insane. Poe incorporated secret messages and cryptography (he was a fan) into the story. "A Descent into the Maelstrom," is about an enormous ship-swallowing vortex that drives men mad, drowns them, or both. One man survives to tell the tale, but the experience has aged him into an old man.
H.P. Lovecraft: Lovecraft is one of the pillars of written horror, and he has inspired many modern day writers in the genre, from Alan More to Neil Gaiman to Stephen King. He's responsible for creating the entire Cthulhu mythos, providing an entire universe that can spawn enormous, shambling creatures that can drive you mad. Speaking of mad, his novel At The Mountains of Madness is highly recommneded. It's about a geology professor who is writing a book in an effort to stop an expedition to Antarctica. He's already been there with a group of researchers and found horrific and terrible things in some ancient ruins. You know, the kind of things that shouldn't be messed with.
Stephen King: You may have noticed a lot of Stephen King on this list, and that's because this game wouldn't exist without his influence. Thankfully the creators of the game acknowledge this right off the bat as the game opens with a quote from King himself. Wake is clearly meant to be a writer at King's level of fame, and the plot of the game will feel somewhat familiar to King fans. Recommended reading: King has numerous standout books, including The Stand, It, and The Dark Tower series, but "Word Processor of the Gods," a short story about a word processor that has the ability to change, and delete anything in the real world, really ties in to Alan Wake. Originally published in Playboy, you can find it in the King short story collection Skeleton Crew.
Every episode of Alan Wake ends with credits and a song, just like you've seen an episode of a television show. There's even more music scattered throughout the game in the soundtrack and occasionally on the in-game radio station, and if you purchase the Limited Edition of the game you'll get the game's atmospheric soundtrack. But if you want these episode ending songs that come at powerful moments in the story, you'll need to burn this playlist into your brain because they aren't included.
Episode 1: "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison
Episode 2: "Haunted" by Poe
Episode 3: "Up Jumped the Devil" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Episode 4: "The Poet and the Muse" by Old Gods of Asgard
Episode 5: "War" by Poets of the Fall
Episode 6: "Space Oddity" by David Bowie