Our last entry looked at the DLC's spooky vampire castle, so now let's look at its spooky horror movie asylum, actually a secret research lab of the healing church and almost its own self-contained little horror game. Here you'll encounter hordes of former humans with huge, pulsating, lumpy blobs for heads, covered over in burlap bags. The majority of these are hostile monsters exhibiting no capacity for speech, but come in a number of subtypes of exceptions...

Some patients are more feral, and those that have discarded all their clothing show just how far their bodies have degenerated; they're taller than any normal person and have lost all traces of hair or reproductive organs, looking more like shriveled-up "grey aliens" than anything else. Even these naked specimens retain the bag over their head, but it almost looks permanently fused to their flesh.

More disturbing are the patients who have lost their legs and crawl around on the ground, because they don't even do that the way a human ever would, slithering around like worms or slugs with their arms bound to their sides. As soon as you're in range, these will rear up and attack with a bunch of meaty tentacles that burst from their sack!

Perhaps worst of all are the patients whose heads have separated from them altogether. Some of these detached heads have grown to massive proportions, but can only undulate and squirm in place until you're close enough for the tentacle attack, except for one that actually drops down off a wall and tries to engulf your head! Worse still is the fact that their headless bodies don't die, but can still be encountered wandering the halls. That is downright delicious horror.

The most unsettling thing about these beings, however, is that not all of them are just monsters. Some of them are entirely unaggressive and can even still speak, but the things they say are not, uh, normal. There's one that asks if you've seen her eyes, because she "dropped them in a puddle" and "everything is pale now." There's another that claims to be a "robin," then asks if she will "ever curl up and become an egg." Others repeatedly talk about water, the ocean, specifically the sound of it.

These speaking NPC's include a couple of the detached heads, who will also open their dialog with plip, plop, plip, plop or splish, splash, splish, splash.

So, in a central surgical floor of the labs, you'll find a more important patient with her own quest line: Saint Adeline. She's strapped to a chair, but she either doesn't mind or doesn't notice, looking for neither an escape nor a cure. Her only concern is that she doesn't want to lose "the sticky sound." The "extraordinary" "slip, slop, drip, drop" she believes to be "guiding" her mind somewhere. It terrifies her that this sound has begun fading, and to find it again, she needs you to fetch her some "murky, mushy" brain fluid. You can only retrieve this from those two harmless, innocent disembodied heads who clearly also hear the "sticky sound," and once you've given Adeline their goo, she'll become one giant head herself!

Adeline refers to this as her "baptism," and the last new dialog she offers - between bouts of giggling - is "I see a shape. My guide, I see your voice, clearly, as it bends and bleeds. My own relevation, just for me. Thank you. For everything. Really, I used to be nothing."

The Brain Fluid item itself is quite clearly a giant amoeba, and its description offers a peek into the lore of the patients. The Healing Church, at some point, determined that the Great Ones were connected to the sea, and the subjects of their "insight" experimentation were transfused with water in some way that accelerated their cerebral development, creating this living, amoebic fluid that "writhed inside the head" and allowed hosts to see The Eldritch Truth, whatever that may be.

The Clocktower Patients are by far some of the eeriest and most tragic characters in Bloodborne. The simple design of a giant, globular blob head makes incredibly effective horror, much moreso when its actual physical features are covered up, though conceptual art gives them many luminous spots (eyes?) glowing just under the cloth. I LOVE that their transformation eventually reduces them to heads alone, I love the implication that they're just gigantic brains oozing with a colony of amoebae, and I LOVE their dialog.

Bizarre ravings are a cliche' of cosmic horror that can easily fall flat, especially if it's the same babble we've all heard before from every knockoff Mythos protagonist, but the almost cutesy theme of the "sticky sound" is a much more original case. You can really feel from Adeline's whole spiel that the mind of a human being is opening up to something bigger and more alien, and something that feels wonderful to her, and maybe it is wonderful in the grand scheme of the universe...but unfortunately for us, that wonderful grand scheme may not have a place for humanity as we know it. Or, at least, not a place most of humanity wants to go.