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Video Game / Dead Secret

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Dead Secret is a Point-and-Click Game with horror themes, developed by Robot Invader and released for PC through Steam in 2016.

Kansas, 1965. When the body of Professor Harris Bullard is found dead in his home, it's ruled to be due to natural causes and his ex-wife inherits the estate.

Wanting some gossip on the scandalous rumors surrounding the professor and his young, live-in assistant, reporter Patricia Gable is sent to the scene of the crime by her supervisor. But she is intent on taking this story seriously and proving her gut instinct that Harris Bullard's death was actually a murder.

While investigating the house, she finds out more about the professor and his research on neuroscience and also begins to get stalked by a Japanese demon-masked stalker...

The game was ported to PlayStation 4 in 2018. A sequel, Dead Secret Circle, was released in 2018, continuing the adventures of Patricia Gable as she investigates another mysterious case, while also dealing with returning echos from the Bullard affair.


The original game provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Graham Wellington from everything we learn about him was a conniving piece of trash, so it's hard to feel bad for him when he gets murdered. Also, Bullard may be one himself, since it is implied he murdered Rosanna Turner to keep his secret safe.
  • Bookcase Passage: In this case, a passage built behind the wall of Josie's wardrobe.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: One turns up in a dream sequence, then in the house itself, and again in a Jump Scare.
  • Dark Secret: Harris Bullard is being blackmailed by the Woodcutter because of one.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: James Lowry took on the identity of Harris Bullard, another soldier of his squad that had died.
  • Death by Pragmatism: Bullard realized somebody was stalking him and planned accordingly, advising Josie to do the same and taking several precautions whilst planning to leave his home forever. Too bad Josie was the killer.
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  • Disappeared Dad: Josie Herrera's father left for the military and never came back, presumed to have died in service.
  • Easily Forgiven: Patricia has the choice to save Josie from the burning building despite this person having spent the entire game trying to murder her.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the first things Patricia finds is a story about a young man who meets a mysterious woman who murders his father by freezing him to death. He later settles down and marries, only to find out his wife was the woman the whole time. The woman Bullard was living with, Josie, is the murderer, and killed him by locking him in the freezer. Josie herself may have learned that the man she'd thought might be her father had murdered her mother.
  • Handicapped Badass: Patricial Gable, who investigates a crime scene, solves puzzles and evades the Woodcutter by jumping out windows, all while having a broken arm in a sling.
  • Happily Adopted: Josie Herrera loves her adoptive parents.
  • Invisible Writing: A couple of the game's many, many documents appear as blank paper initially.
  • Jerkass: Bullard admittedly wasn't the nicest guy around.
  • Locked in a Freezer: This is the cause of death and explains how hypothermia can occur in a hot summer.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: The reason why Josie Herrera was so intent on moving in with Harris Bullard, after he retired, was to figure out whether he is actually her father.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Woodcutter always wears a Japanese Noh mask, has killed Harris Bullard and Graham Wellington and is implied to kill Patricia, if she is caught. On the other hand, the spirit of a man, implied to be Harris Bullard, repeatedly appears wearing a Japanese Oni mask. However, he is not a danger and more serves to give spiritual clues.
  • Mirror Scare: Your first glimpse of the masked killer.
  • Multiple Endings: Five in total, given Rank names from S to D.
    • Ending S: The True ending. The house burns down and Josie is revealed to be the Woodcutter. Patricia helps an injured Josie and the two leave the house, with Josie being arrested for the murders of Harris Bullard and Graham Wellington. Harris Bullard's documents and research burn down along with the house. Patricia's story of the events was a big hit and she soon begins a new job with the Chicago Tribune. Dead Secret Circle seems to indicate that this is the canon ending.
    • Ending A: Similar to Ending S. Except Patricia does not help an injured Josie, who ends up dying in the burning house. Patricia still publishes her story of the events and will start a job at the Chicago Tribune soon.
    • Ending B: Patricia ends up in a snowy area and ends up lost. A newspaper gives a brief report on how the search for her has been stopped after two weeks.
    • Ending C: Patricia leaves Bullard's house before solving the mystery and remains in her dead-end job. This ending can be obtained as soon as the game begins; simply click on the front door until Patricia decides to exit.
    • Ending D: A glorified Game Over, this one is obtained if Patricia is caught by the Woodcutter at any point.
  • Never My Fault: Cynthia Peckman blames her ex-husband Bullard for her debts, when it is in fact her own gambling addiction which is to blame.
  • Nice Guy: Bobby Sawyer seems like one. And he is one, being the only suspect with absolutely nothing to hide.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The game runs on this. But then The Woodcutter is always around...
  • Police Are Useless: And apparently chalk a guy dying of hypothermia in the dead of summer up to 'natural causes.'
  • Red Herring: Much is made of Bullard's research, and he concludes it is The Woodcutter's motive. It isn't.
  • The Reveal: When Patricia finds a certain piece of evidence, she concludes Graham Wellington is The Woodcutter and the person who's been stalking her. Then she finds his body...
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Woodcutter is Josie Herrera.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: The fifth ending, which can occur halfway through the game if Josie follows a certain onscreen prompt. She flees from the farm, escapes from the Woodcutter, and goes back to her job as a gossip columnist. She lives out a safe, boring life and never leaves her Kansas town. But she always regrets not seeing the murder story through to its conclusion.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Bullard may or may not have murdered Josie's mother, and took her father's identity after he died in the war, denying her any sort of closure. Graham Wellington was also a sleazy prick who was trying to blackmail Bullard.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In one instance, the only save hiding spot for the reporter is inside the tube of an unknown machine, with a glass window in it. And the Woodcutter is fully aware that she is in there.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Most people think that Harris Bullard is sleeping with his assistant, Josie Herrera, since she lives with him. It's untrue.
  • Survivor's Guilt: James Lowry blames himself for the real Harris Bullard's death, because he asked him to take James' place on the submarine on the day it sank.

The sequel provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: It is left up in the air how responsible Colm is for his own actions. His disease has caused him to undergo some marked neurological degeneration and his brother openly admits to manipulating him.
  • Anyone Can Die: Rose, Hubert, Colm, and Bram are all dead by the end. For the record, that’s about half the cast.
  • Beneath Suspicion: The Laughing Man Killer is Bram Halloran’s seemingly invalid brother Colm.
  • Big Bad: The Laughing Man Killer, this time around. Later revealed to be false, as the killer is just a pawn in the true mastermind's game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early on Patricia can literally find Bram Halloran’s gun sitting on his desk. He uses it in the final act to murder his brother and to attempt to murder Patricia.
  • Continuity Nod: Most of the characters from the last game's fates are addressed in this one. Bobby Sawyer finally become a successful mystery writer, Bullard and Graham Wellington are still dead, Josie is in an asylum, and Patricia got a job working for the Chicago Tribune. (A job she recently lost due to her decaying mental state)
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The Woodcutter from the original game only killed two victim(s), and even then the motivation was largely personal. The Laughing Man Killer is more of a straight Serial Killer.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The opening of the game actually has you play as The Laughing Man's most recent victim, before switching POV over to Patricia.
  • Dirty Coward: The true Big Bad, Bram Halloran, is one. He has his mentally handicapped brother do all of his killing for him. The only person he kills himself is Colm, and even then he had a gun (whereas Colm only has a straight-razor) and the element of surprise. He also plans to shot Patricia, an unharmed, completely helpless woman, dead to tie up the final loose end.
  • Evil Is Petty: Bram is using Colm to kill not only everyone involved in his treatment, but also the people Bram feels 'denied him his distinction.' It's basically the equivalent of some loser murdering everybody who was mean to him in high school.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first time Patricia astrally projects herself to the apartment building where the majority of the game takes place, the Laughing Man only attacks her once she reaches the second floor, rather than the fourth floor which later turns out to be their hideout. The second floor of the apartment building is where the killer lives.
    • Arguably the biggest piece of evidence towards the true villain's identity and motivations is the letter Patricia finds in Bram Halloran's apartment from one the previous victims calling him a hack writer.
    • Colm Halloran used to be a renowned surgeon before his degenerative disease left him permanently bedridden. In retrospect, his surgical expertise is a rather big warning sign pointing to Colm as the murderer.
    • The first time Patricia visits the apartment block in person, Bram is the only person who invites her into his place and seems interested in actually speaking with her. At first it seems he just wants to talk about how he's a writer, too, (and about how great he is) but on a second playthrough, it becomes clear he is pumping her for information about why she's here.
  • Hate Sink: The villain for this game turns out to be this. Bram's motivations for the murders are incredibly infantile and smack of Never My Fault, since he blames his sick brother for his lack of career success and others for trying to 'deny' it to him. He murders his own brother just about as soon as he's done using him, having had Colm ritualistically kill anybody who happens to be unlucky enough to have been involved in Colm's treatment. He's a craven who for the most part refuses to do any of his own killing himself and his protests about having to give up most of his personal and professional life to take care of Colm are ultimately revealed to just be a case of It's All About Me. Even The Woodcutter from the last game was comparatively sympathetic.
  • Hidden Depths: Most of the people at the apartment building have them.
    • Rose loves movies and is actually quite the movie buff.
    • Janet is a very talented artist, and the child she is taking care of by herself is actually her sister's. (Who is currently in prison)
    • Edmund comes off as a Jerkass, but he really does seem to care about his few tenants and goes out of his way to accommodate them.
    • Bram privately admits he resents his disabled brother for all the sacrifices he's had to make to take care of him and feels that this makes him a bad person.
    • Hubert is actually a chemist.
    • Colm used to be a surgeon before his condition left him unable to continue as one.
  • Hypocrite: Bram privately talks about how he sometimes resents Colm for getting sick, necessitating Bram to take care of him. Bram uses his brother to murder basically anybody who has happened to piss him off, and then kills his brother with zero hesistation.
  • I Owe You My Life: Implied to be the reason Woodcutter saves Patricia at the end, because Patricia went out her way to save Josie from Bullard's burning house in the last game.
  • Lack of Empathy: Bram shoots his brother Colm dead and is chillingly unfazed by it. He then proceeds to bad mouth Colm and talk about what a burden he saw him as.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Bram is just about to murder Patricia when Josie intervenes. Also, had Patricia not pursued the case to begin with, it's almost certain Bram would have gotten away with everything.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Under the effects of the special serum that Bram gives him to keep him alive, Colm is actually fully ambulatory... and capable of venturing out to commit murder.
  • Serial Killer: The Laughing Man Killer already qualifies before Patricia ever tracks them down. Although she does find there is something linking all of the victims together...
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Bram shoots Colm dead with what appears to be a .357 Magnum Revolver.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Patricia figures out The Laughing Man Killer's true identity and goes to confront them. Alone, without any kind of weapon or protection, in the apartment building's gated off basement...
  • Villainous Rescue: The Woodcutter appears in the final act to rescue Patricia from Bram. Although to be fair, the Woodcutter doesn't actually do anything particularly 'villainous' in this one.
  • Wham Shot: There's arguably three.
    • When Patricia finds that one of the apartment residents has painted Woodcutter, confirming their presence.
    • When Patricia enters Colm Halloran's room for the final time and finds that it is empty.
    • When The Laughing Man Killer has Patricia cornered and he is shot dead by his brother, Bram, who reveals himself as the true villain.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A minor example, but the fate of every suspect from the last game is confirmed in this one except for Cynthia Peckman, who is never mentioned even once.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Bram takes time to lecture Patricia about how clever he is before trying to shoot her. This is arguably justified because Bram is clearly a Narcissist who loves talking about himself and once he kills the unarmed Patricia, there is seemingly nobody left who knows the truth and could stop him from getting away clean.


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