At Game Sandwich, we love when gamers go above and beyond to create new, beautiful stories to celebrate their fandoms. One of the biggest fan communities out there — especially for younger generations — is Five Night at Freddy’s (FNaF). Players instantly fell in love with the concept of this adorable Chuck E. Cheese-esque venue and its defunct animatronics going full slasher.
If you’re looking for a fresh take on the FNaF story, we’re elated to introduce you to Five Nights at Freddy’s: Lost Souls, a webcomic from Chiwwy Dawg that exemplifies the concept of “wholesome horror.”
Follow a rabbit to find a bear
Lost Souls is a reimagination of the FnaF world where the animatronics of Freddy’s Fazbear’s get a new origin story. This origin paints the main FNaF animatronics (Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, and Foxy) in a much more sympathetic light. Trapped in a local amusement park, the four Fazbears spend their days spooking locals away to protect them from a mysterious, deadly purple fog that shrouds the park at midnight. While many of the animatronics grow tired of this and miss making kids happy, Freddy promises it’s better and safer if no one ever stays long.
That remains the status quo until a precocious pair of siblings follow a white rabbit into the amusement park and meet the Fazbears. This leads to a series of strange events, suspicious time skips, people ominously disappearing or returning, and a building pile of questions about what brought the park to such supernatural ruin. Will the kids and the Fazbears be able to solve the mystery before the fog comes for them, too?
The warmth of childhood
Lost Souls’ appeal isn’t because it’s the most revolutionary piece of media that’s ever been made. Admittedly, Lost Souls’ story and characters start off pretty basic. Smart kids who feel like outsiders. Spooky, abandoned amusement park. Misunderstood monsters. Mild plot contrivances to get people to the wrong place at the right time. All typical elements for a horror story with a bit of found family flair.
However, as the comic goes on, the characters display a lot of heart and charm that make the story worth reading beyond that early simplicity. In particular, the best thing about Lost Souls is its explorations of family and loneliness. The animatronics and children — both let down by their parental/authority figures — find comfort and acceptance in one another despite the growing tension of the plot. And as things become more dire with the mysterious purple fog, it’s heartwarming how they all come together and fight to protect each other, regardless of the mounting threats around them.
Joy in wholesome horror
If you take a kinder lens to horror, looking past the gruesome monsters and deranged murderers, fear is often about feeling lonely and trapped. Both things are very human and especially easy to relate to as a child. Lost Souls takes that classic nostalgia horror lens of FNaF and takes the time to develop it through the lens of a child: where adults won’t tell you enough of the truth and you’re trying so hard to follow the rules that you end up feeling lonely and unseen. In a way, Lost Souls and its thoughtful lore are a natural evolution of FNaF’s nostalgic frights. It’s the epitome of wholesome horror — where in a frightening situation, lonely characters find comfort and family.
Lost Souls proves how much range fandom can have. FnaF is a dark and threatening title, but it evolved from a camera-focused survival horror into a suite of games, a litany of cosplayers, and enough fan art and fanfiction for a lifetime. This horrific video game has made such a big impact on its fans, giving them cool artistic designs and a solid creepy story to help them express their own childhood traumas and fears. It’s no wonder the video game has spread as it has, even getting its first major motion picture on October 27.
If you love FNaF but want a little more comfort than the night shift can offer, this Lost Souls comic is the perfect, cozy, spooky read for you.