Last modified: March 1st, 2021
Spooky’s Jumpscare Mansion, AKA Spooky’s House of Jumpscares, is a clever indie horror game with simple, adorable graphics that betray the genuinely horrific monsters that await you. Each new room you enter is randomized, and the goal is simply to make it through as many rooms as possible. In your way, however, are a number of otherworldly “specimens” that have different methods of slowing you down, pursuing you, and ultimately attempting to kill you. The SCP Foundation meets Thirteen Ghosts meets Cabin in the Woods in a super-cute kawaii art style!
Specimen 1 (Cardboard Cutout)
This specimen isn’t a real creature – it’s just a jump-scare cardboard cutout of a cute creature. These are literally just meant to startle you, they play a random sound effect ranging from a playful “boop” to a creepy wooden creaking. There are several variations, including a cute ghost, a spider, pumpkin, and skeleton. This tentacle jelly-blob is the first and most common, but later on, you will encounter versions that have seemingly been vandalized with a MUCH more distressing face painted on:
Specimen 4 ("Ringu")
This lovely lady appears in a school setting, making her a reference to Alessa from Silent Hill, Sadako from The Ring, and numerous other creepy long, dark-haired Japanese schoolgirl ghosts. She’s distressing enough on her own with that empty, featureless face, with its almost-pleasant smile, and hollow dark eyes, and those abstracted, almost tree-like red fingers. But even worse is her Endless Mode form:
Missing a lower jaw with her tongue lolling out (clearly a reference to The Grudge) and multiple malformed arms (perhaps a reference to Monoko from Yume Nikki?). The best kind of horror is the stuff that just doesn’t make sense.
Specimen 5 ("Bab")
Very clearly an intentional Silent Hill reference, this creature appears in a rusty, bloody environment with multiple references to obscure cult activity and creepy allusions to a “mother”. Bab is a wonderful design for an original Silent Hill creature – she has the texture of sticky, rotting old plastic that’s been abandoned in a hospital basement for several years. True to Silent Hill fashion, Bab is not necessarily fast or threatening, but rather causes the environment to change – the walls will become any number of pulsing, distracting bloody textures, and the room will fill with fog, making it extremely difficult to see where the door to the next room is.
Specimen 7 (Wall of Flesh)
I suspect this specimen may be a reference to American McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns, as you encounter it after talking with a cute Cheshire Cat-like kitty. This isn’t so much of a monster as it is a time limit – the wall of flesh slowly consumes the room you’re in, and you must outrun it or face instant death. I love the almost-playful expressions on the skeletons in its texture, which is FAR more distressing than outright horror imagery. It also creates distracting images on the walls of rooms it is consuming, such as this lovely little friend:
Specimen 8 ("Deer Lord")
Supposedly inspired by The Beast from Over the Garden Wall, this HORRIFYING deer deity only appears after a room full of carnivorous, fanged deer attack you and you must fend them off with an axe. The music that plays while he’s chasing you is named “Your Consenting Mind”, which is one of the best track titles I have ever heard in my life, and evokes a violin being played by Danny Elfman. This guy’s fanged visage and pinpoint eyes are simply incredible, and of course, when he opens his cloak, it reveals numerous screaming shadowy faces within! I also love that his antlers are not accurate, but rather a halo-like arrangement of antler-like horns.
Specimen 9 ("TAKER")
This monster is interesting, because it’s somewhat rare to encounter during the main course of the game, but later returns as a sort of final boss. Initially, you can only encounter Mr. Red Clay if you choose to walk down a suspicious, perfectly straight, increasingly-narrow hallway that sometimes appears in certain rooms. Eventually the hallway gets too narrow for you to proceed, and this blocky disembodied Play-Doh head rushes at you. Later on, however, it re-appears in a full-body form, having apparently rebuilt itself after being disassembled.
It’s interesting how much the creature’s head changes in this form – hollow, sunken eyes and a loose, gaping jaw are surprisingly creepy, though the body isn’t much to speak of. Just a red dude. But in the “Dollhouse” DLC…
….Holy YIKES. This is a WAY more terrifying interpretation of the original head, with completely black eyes and a malevolently delighted expression.
Specimen 10 (Alien Flesh Parasite)
Now THIS is a Silent Hill monster design! Ironically, this is the only monster in Spooky’s that is confirmed to be an extraterrestrial. This horrible bag of bloody flesh “opens” its flaps to reveal multiple layers of fanged mouth. This is presumably a human who was parasitized by the creature, because eventually, it assumes this alternate form:
A big, nasty flesh worm which is apparently just a tunnel of teeth. The monster only assumes this form if it’s having trouble catching up to you, so this is one creature chase during which running away is actually more dangerous than carefully avoiding.
Specimen 11 ("Food Demon")
This classic Hellboy-esque “devil” monster is encountered in a McDonald’s-like fast food restaurant, in which there are many references to the meat being strange, addictive, and overall suspicious. There’s also a wonderful area that resembles a Play Place plastic tunnel, but with blood-stained chains amid the claustrophobic bright plastic tunnels. I love this guy’s empty bleeding eye sockets and otherwise completely blank facial features. When he kills you, he transports you to a hallway of meat with a distorted fisheye camera, suggesting that you become trapped in some alternate meat reality. Also, it’s chase theme song is called “We Have the Beef”. Incredible.
Karamari Hospital DLC - Monster 2 (Body Bag)
There are few concepts more uncanny than a moving corpse. This monster is encountered in a long room lined with numerous identical closed body bags, but then you find one that is slightly open… and then it gets up. The corpse inside doesn’t move – it’s entirely possible that the body bag itself is the thing chasing you. Just horrific.
Karamari Hospital DLC - Monster 3 (Baby Head)
Absolutely NO THANK YOU. Babies are horrible enough WITHOUT being disembodied heads floating inside of abstract cube cages. Evidently this monster is inspired by the Flesh Lips from Silent Hill 2, a similarly abstract and caged hospital denizen. This baby head, though, has heavy overtones of H.R. Geiger and H.P. Lovecraft; it has an extradimensional sort of otherworldliness to it.
Karamari Hospital DLC - Monster 5 (Ghost Cow)
This creature is my absolute top pick for both creepiest and best design. It’s absolutely HORRIBLE and I love it. It’s a moving corpse, which of course is always a recipe for good disturbing horror, but it’s also upside-down and is attached to an abstract floating fanged mouth with an eyeball in it via a waterfall of tattered flesh. WHAT. Those piercing red eyes are soulless and distressing, and the broken legs just make it worse. It is being puppeteered by whatever the eye/mouth is? Is that an indicator of a “connection” to the other side? The wiki suggests that this monster is a reference to Mad Cow Disease, which is freaky enough on its own without bloody upside-down broken-legged demon-cow eyeball-flesh-mouth-monsters.
Endless Mode - Unknown Specimen 3 ("Spooper")
Spooper is a kid in a cute sheet-ghost costume. Too bad he blocks the door our of the room, making it necessary to kill him with your axe in order to proceed. Except… in the next room, there he is again, blocking the exit door. But now he’s a little bit different…
Uh-oh. He gets progressively bloodier with each room you kill him in, which leads to some truly disturbing visuals – the blood accumulates from INSIDE his ghost sheet costume, but there are no wound marks on his body. Eventually, you can see something… peeking through from behind the blood-soaked sheet.
Spooper’s costume eventually is completely destroyed, revealing that he was actually this cyclops floating head alien monster. Honestly, not a fan. It was WAY creepier when I thought the player was just repeatedly massacring this kid in a costume, who would come back for revenge just to stare at you, daring you to do it again. This is two separate monsters. Evidently, the revealed true form also can implant a parasite into the player, making you occasionally vomit up blood and these little alien fetuses:
Dollhouse DLC - Nightmares
Ohhh my god, yes??? Look at this thing! These guys aren’t really “monsters”, but rather are distracting manifestations of WWII PTSD that appear during a certain sequence of the game, but I LOVE this warped pseudo-human fused with a gun, complete with an intestine leading to the weapon like a bandolier of bullets. Really excellent, very psychological, love it, A+.