Friday, October 21, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Devil's Plaything (1973)

The Devil's Plaything, or "Der Fluch der schwarzen Schwestern", is one of those notorious movies I have always heard about but never seen.  I got ahold of a copy, but only the R rated version.  There is one that is 18 mins longer that contains more graphic sex, many of the actresses were Swedish porn actresses, but sadly that won't help the plot of this one.

The plot, such as it is,deals with bringing back to life a dead vampire baroness, her lesbian lover and to kill the descendants of those that killed her.  She has her own cult with high-priestess and acolytes that I guess have to dance around in the nude all the time.

The actors and actresses are speaking English, but it is obvious that this is not their first language.  Add that to a terrible script makes this almost a yawner.

I think it must have the fairly graphic scenes of nudity, sex and implied incest that put this on the notorious list.  I have seen DVD copies at Half-Price Books go for a $100.  Don't waste your money.

If you are really curious the scenes that were cut are here.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 21
New: 16

Kickstart Your Weekend: Old-School Style!

Have some great Old-School influenced Kickstarters today so get to it!

First up is +Stacy Dellorfano's Swords & Wizardry 3rd Printing

Now. I have been on record before about not liking this cover.  I have over the last two weeks had a change of heart.  But the bottom line is I am NOT the target audience for this.
Besides I love the idea of this book, I really want it to succeed.  The team that Stacy is rock solid and I am just dying to see what +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul will be doing for this. She is great.
So yeah, they might not need my support at this point, but they have it.

In more old-new-Old School news we are also are getting a new edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

I really, really love this game.  Just such an awesome vibe about it.  +Jeff Talanian did a fantastic job with the first edition boxed set and this new 2nd Ed hardcover is something I have been wanting for years.

I mentioned this one earlier in the week, but it can be repeated.

Chill 3rd Edition Monsters.  This should also be a great book.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unwanted (2014)

The Unwanted came up in my search for different sorts of vampire movies.  This one is a retelling of Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla".  In this one Carmilla is the daughter of Millarca and it takes place in Georgia and not Austria.

Of course given that I should have guessed the ultimate fates of both Carmilla and Millarca, but no such luck. True it is closer to the original story this way but would it kill us to make something a little different once in a while?

William Katt plays the father in this with much creepiness.
Christen Orr and Hannah Fierman are both rather good as Carmilla and Laura respectively.

I was hoping for much better to be honest.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 20
New: 15

Reviews: The Children of Chill

For years now Goblinoid games has been rolling out Pacesetter branded products thanks to their acquisition of the Pacesetter rights.  In fact, they have been publishing Time Master longer than Pacesetter did.  Time Master was fun, but the Pacesetter game that I enjoyed the most was Chill.  But you all knew that.

Goblinoid Games has faithfully recreated the horror feel of Chill in three different and compatible games.  I am actually going to talk about these with the newest one, Cryptworld first.

Ethics in reviews statement: I purchased the PDFs and softcover versions of these books myself.  Though I was given special thanks in Cryptworld for some advice I gave on some early drafts of the game.  All links are affiliate links which allows me to buy more games.

90 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
Authors: Daniel Proctor (+Dan P) and +Tim Snider.
Cryptworld is the spiritual and brand successor to the first edition Chill game.  In many ways it represents what Chill could have become if it had not gone down the path of 2nd Edition and Mayfair games.  The Jim Holloway cover is very much in line with the original Chill boxed set.  In truth it is less "iconic" but I like it better.
The rules for the game are distilled down to their very essence.  This is for all purposes a "retro-clone" of Chill.  But it is more than that too.  Where Chill 2 was about fighting all sorts of creatures organized into the Unknown and Chill 3 is a modern monster hunting tale of SAVE; Cryptworld takes it back to basics of humankind versus the monsters.  This Kolchak the Night Stalker, Tales from the Crypt, Friday the 13th (TV Series), and all the wonderful tales of monsters and horror from the 80s.
Character creation is faster than I recall it being in Chill 1 or 2.  There are still plenty of options to create anytime of character you might want.  Like all versions of Chill you are not going to make Harry Dresden style characters (that's for Majus), but making the Winchesters is easy.
Goblinoid Games did not get the rights to SAVE, but that is fine really.  There is a section in the book covering other organizations that characters can belong too and all are worthy replacements for SAVE.  In particular, I want to run a game where all the characters are reporters for the Weekly Inquisitor.  That would be a blast really.
There are plenty of monsters, especially all the old favorites. There is also not a lot of duplication of monsters from other products so that is a nice value add.
There is also a great section on running games for the "Crypt Master" or CM. One of my favorite names for a Game Master ever.
Crypt Master is not just a spiritual successor to Chill, it is a worthy one.  If you have any materials from 1st or 2nd edition of Chill you will find them largely compatible with this game.

Monsters Macabre
64 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
This is a monster book. For use with Cryptworld, but also compatible with Majus, Rotworld and yes even Timemaster and 1st ed Chill.
There are so many good and new monsters here that it is worth it just for this alone. Really, there are such great things as the Mongolian Death Worm, the Batsquatch and plenty of old favorites.
The book is more than just monsters. There are plenty of great ideas on how to play and use these monsters in your game.  These sections are great for nearly any modern horror or urban fantasy game.
I rank it right up there with "Chill Things" in terms of utility for my games.

100 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
Author: Michael Curtis
Majus came out before Cryptworld and after Rotworld.  It uses the same Pacesetter system that all three games share with Time Master and 1st Edition Chill.  Majus though takes a different path and gives us a world of mages, magicians and high magic.  So in sense, everything I have always wanted in my own Chill games.  Like Cryptworld and Rotworld, the Pacesetter system is revised here to be quite easy to use.
What seperates Majus from the Cryptworld is not just the magic the characaters can now wield, but also the tone.  This is described as "Magic Noir" so think hardboilded detective stories mixed with a global magic conspiracy.  Whether you want to use this or not is upto the individual CM (in this case "Cabal Master") but I think you would be missing out on a really great feature of the game.
This game can also provide new background, magic and ideas for your Cryptworld games as well.
The monsters in this game are largely a different sort that what is found in Cryptworld, so buying both games will give you extra monsters and features.  There is some overlap, but that is mostly system related material.

64 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
Author: Daniel Proctor
Rotworld is one of the first of the modern horror games using the Pacesetter system from Goblinoid Games.  It is very much of the vien of humans vs. zombies found in All Flesh Must Be Eaten and shows like the Walking Dead.
Rotworld uses the old Time Master system that Proctor bought from Pacesetter. He did not however buy Chill, so he can't say it is compatible with Chill 1st Edition. But with some work it is and that is why I picked it up. I love Chill and plan to see what sort of goodness Rotworld could add to a Chill game. OR the other way around. Either way this small game (65 pages) packs a punch and shows that "Old School Gaming" is more than just making the next retro-clone of Holmes Basic or AD&D 1st ed.
There are not a lot of monsters in this book, outside of zombies, but there is plenty of text on character creation, combat and skills. There is a good Game Master section (Corpse Master, CM again) about how to setup and run a game. Rotworld is a fine game. It won't unseat AFMBE as the premiere Zombie survival game out there, but it is a lot of fun and great for an evening's distraction or even gathering up a bunch of friends with fond memories of gaming in the early 80s. For the price it really can't be beat. Actually it would still be a steal at twice the price.

I have the softcovers of these books but I am thinking of printing out the PDFs to put into a binder so I have everything I need in one place.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Full Circle / The Haunting of Julia (1977/1981)

So with a book by Peter Straub and starring Mia Farrow you would think this would have been a hit.  It actually did quite poorly in the UK as "Full Circle" in 1977 and equally poorly in the US as "The Haunting of Julia" in 1981.

I remember this movie and thought I had seen it, but I didn't.  It came up while I was doing a serach about the ghosts of children for the Chill RPG.

Mia Farrow was, well, Mia Farrow in this.  The story is spooky, but could have been a lot more scary.  Though if it were made today there would have been more victims of the child ghost, Oliva.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Samantha Gates who plays Olivia is the same girl that appears on the cover of Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" album.

The daughter of Mia Farrow's character was played by a young Sophie Ward who later went on to be in "Young Sherlock Holmes".

This might a good one to read one day, but the movie is a little slow by today's standards.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 19
New: 14

Vampyres: Chill 3rd Edition

Back in the earliest days of this blog I did a week-long deep dive into the characters of Fran and Miriam from the 1974 version of Vampyres.  I worked them for a number of games, including Chill 1st Edition.

Well 2015 gave us not only a new edition of Chill but a new version of the Vampyres.  I thought it might be fun to update them.

For starters, we see some more "classic" vampire abilities from both women.  No fangs, but they can't be photographed. Fran also shows that she is very strong, stronger than humans, and can jump or fall from very high distances.  Both women are also really fast.  We see them avoiding sunlight and mirrors, but not sure if these cause them harm or not.
These vampires also do not seem to have a supernatural form, but one could argue that they can shift into a black mist.  Also, there is a sequence at the end where Miriam's eyes glow and Fran looks like she has wings, but this could also be part of a dream that Harriet has.


EWS: 105 (Deadly)
REF: 70
STA: 80
Injury: Superficial, Minor –10, Serious –20, Major –30, Critical –50, Lethal
Disciplines: Change Form (fog), Confuse, Dreamsend, Influence, Time Stop (Unique - Chill Core)
Aspects: Bane (mirrors), Parasitic, Special Weakness (sunlight, wood), Supernatural Speed, Sustenance, Unkillable, Unliving

Fran must rest eight hours to regain Stamina. Fran prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold.

Fran needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she often does.

In combat, Fran uses a straight knife. She can attack once per round.


EWS: 100 (Deadly)
REF: 75
STA: 80
Injury: Superficial, Minor –10, Serious –20, Major –30, Critical –50, Lethal
Disciplines: Change Form (fog), Confuse, Influence, Time Stop (Unique - Chill Core)
Aspects: Bane (mirrors), Parasitic, Special Weakness (sunlight, wood), Supernatural Speed, Sustenance, Unkillable, Unliving

Miriam must rest eight hours to regain Stamina. Like Fran, she prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold. Miriam is a light sleeper and can wake herself at the slightest noise.

Miriam needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she prefers to do so.

In combat, Miriam uses a straight knife. She can attack once per round.

Figuring out their stats is difficult since they don't do much to separate themselves into proper characters.  As the nominal "leader" I gave Fran the Dreamsend EWD since she is more often the lure for their victims. Both get the unique (uhh...ok) power of Time Stop, but I am going to rule that they can only use it together.

They avoid sunlight and sleep in a wine cellar, but I am unsure if sunlight harms them. I will say they can not use any of their of EWD while in sunlight.  They are still fast and strong, but can't use any other disciplines.

Given the upped level of violence in the new film I am not sure if my "Mayfairs" concept would work for them.  BTW a lot of people online are saying the newer movie has "upped the eroticism" over the 1974 version. I disagree. I think those people have only seen the edited version of the 1974 film.  

In the 1974 version, Fran and Miriam are more than just two women with a shared goal, they very much were partners.  In the 2015 version, I am not getting that vibe at all.

I am certain we will get more Evil Way Disciplines in the upcoming Chill Monster book.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Horror Challenge: Vampyres (2015)

It is not often I get to watch a horror movie when they first come out. Let alone on the day they are released.  But this is my day today (tonight).  The remake of the notorious 1974  José Ramón Larraz cult classic Vampyres was released on video today.  To my knowledge, this never was released in the US in the theaters, just in Spain.  The movie was also filmed in Spain, though it is supposed to be set in England.

Marta Flich and Almudena León take on the roles of Fran and Miriam respectively. Now maybe it is just my nostalgia speaking, but I find the original actresses, Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska, more attractive.

The movie starts out in a similar fashion to the original.  Our heroes (Fran and Miriam are the heroes right?)  Our new Harriet is a photographer and not a painter as in the original.

Also at nearly 70 Caroline Munro still looks good and having her in movie gives it an air of authenticity, it is too bad that her talents are wasted here.  She is a better actor than most of this cast.  Though to be 100% fair I am pretty sure that English is not their first language save for Munro.

The movie doesn't really get going in terms of our Vampyres till about 20 minutes in.  The dialog is very similar to the original as well. Sadly though many of the plot problems have also been retained. Not to say it is a scene by scene remake, there are some differences and some improvement.  The shower scene from the first movie has been replaced with a bath-tub and a Bathory-esque shower.

This Fran and Miriam are much crueler than in the original.  In the original film you got the feeling that two innocent women had been killed and cursed to come back as vampires.  These two new ones are just killers.  Plus Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska had more on-screen chemistry than these two actresses.

One could almost, almost, see this as a sequel of sorts to the first.  The fact that history is repeating itself some 40 years later is just one of those things that happen when you have a lot of vampires around.

In the end, I didn't like it as much as the original, but again it is more to do I think with nostalgia for me and maybe giving the edge out to the 1974 version only because I first saw it at a very impressionable age.

On it's own merits the movie is still fun.  Plus when was the last time we had a good female vampire movie?  Feels like forever.  If you are a fan of the original then see this one too.

I could not help but notice that one of the production companies for this film is "The Other Side Films".

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 18
New: 13

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