For horror fiction fans, the stories written by Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft will forever be among some of our favorites. Now, you can fully immerse yourself into the dark and twisted mind of these authors in a series of apps that are perfect for reading in the days leading up to Halloween.
Bringing classic literature back to life for the modern tech-savvy reader, the apps, created by iClassics Collection, combines the author's original text with illustrations, 3D graphics and audio to create an immersive and interactive experience.
"[Technology] has changed the experience of reading," iClassics Collection CEO Efrén García told Tech Times, revealing that they began working on the apps to provide the most popular tales we grew up with to a new generation, the generation of iPhone and iPad users. "We say that it's like a mix between reading a book and watching a movie," she added.
iClassics Collection previously launched three apps as part of the iPoe Collection, which include the author's most famous horror short stories, such as "The Oval Portrait," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Raven," "The Black Cat" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" — just to name a few.
Now, the company just launched its latest app, iLovecraft, which features three creepy tales from author H.P. Lovecraft that include "Dagon," "The Hound" and "The Window," with a total of 180 illustrations and 50 animations by David G. Forés and a spooky soundtrack by Miquel Tejada.
García revealed that they chose these authors based on the fact that they are popular in the U.S. and because the length of short stories translates well for readers who are using the app on their smartphones. Instead of spending hours reading from small screens (depending on what you call "small" with the size of current smartphones), they can easily complete a short story while commuting. "We picked stories with horror or mystery because they fit the best with music and effect to make a unique experience," García said.
The user can jump to any page using the table of contents, and the page memory functionality allows you to leave the app and return to the same section, perfect for reading while on-the-go.
The motion book combines technology with high quality art, allowing the user to feel like they are in the stories. The user can tap on the realistic animations to watch them move in the creepiest ways — daring you to keep turning the pages — while proving anything is possible when in the world of Lovecraft.
"My graphic and visual references are really endless. I deeply admire painters from late 18th-beginning of 19th century like Alphonse Much as well as contemporary illustrators such as Frank Frazetta. But I really have a soft spot for comics," Creative Director and main illustrator for the iPoe and Lovecraft apps David G. Forés told Tech Times in an email. "I also get inspired by the classical pulp magazines such as 'Weird Tales,' and terrific comics such as Mike Mignola's Hellboy. Lots of people say my illustrations remind them of leading figures such as Tim Burton, because of the grim look and the use of shadows. But obviously, as any other illustrator, I try to find and define my own style through all my work."
Forés revealed that he starts the illustrations as a pencil drawing, which is then scanned and painted digitally. He said it could take two to three hours for close-up images to be completed, depending on the illustration, and can work up to two or three days for whole pages that include detailed illustrations.
"It is a complex process because when I am coloring I also need to think about all the layers the illustration should have so it can be animated afterwards. I also need to consider all the backgrounds that are not seen in the illustrations but may be visible in the animation, the different states an illustration can have depending of the movement and so on," he said. "Once I have got everything, I forward it to the animator and the programmer, so they can start working on animation, video and interactivity.
Of course, the most important thing is deciding what parts of the text should be illustrated. Plus, Forés must also think about the other interactive elements to ensure the user feels like they can really "interact and decide the pace of the story," which are the basics of iClassics. The programmer at iClassics Collection uses Coco2d to create the apps, starting first with the basic skeleton of the app, much like a house starting with the foundation and slowly added illustrations, animations, music, etc. with each new level.
It may be impossible not to vividly imagine the decaying fish and the monstrous creature that comes out of the water on the island in "Dagon," but Forés' illustrations will bring these scenes to life in a way that seems as if they were plucked right out of the imagination of Lovecraft himself. There's no denying the monsters in these stories like the ancient ghoul in "The Hound" will leave you terrified — especially when they start to move.
If the illustrations weren't enough to leave you spooked out, then make sure you have your headphones on high, because the soundtrack has an eerie feeling, with tempos that pick up and and slow down, pacing and moving the story as you travel into these dark tales. With its mystical and ghoulish sounds from the piano and accompaniment in "Wandering on the Cemetery," the audio alone is enough to leave chills down your spine, and "Suddenly it Grows" makes the user feel like they are walking through the gates of hell.
"The music goes with the reading, but it doesn't interrupt it so that you do not lose your concentration and cannot focus on the text," García said. "It's just like announcing the beat, but just to enhance the experience and not to distract."
At the end of the page, an animation or a "scary moment" sometimes appears, which is timed in sync with the music.
iLovecraft is available in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, and will be available in the App Store just in time for Halloween for $4.99.
iPoe Collection 1, 2 and 3 is available to download on iOS for $4.99, as well as iDickens, with the next authors set to get their own app including Oscar Wilde and Conan Doyle ("Sherlock Holmes"), with many more to come. iClassics Collection also has plans to have all their apps available for Android as well by the end of the year.