Showing posts with label Lovecraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lovecraft. Show all posts

Friday, May 13, 2022

Plays Well With Others: Horror in Space (BlackStar)

In space no one can hear you scream
It's Friday the 13th! Something of a holiday here at the Other Side.  

May is SciFi month and for the first two weeks here I have dedicated it all to Classic Traveller. I find myself at a bit of a crossroads.  Do I continue with the Classic Traveller OR do I go along to the progression from Classic to Mega Traveller and beyond?  Choices. Choices. 

In the mean time since today is the scariest day outside of October 31st (well, than and Walpurgis Night) let go to a discussion you all know I LOVE and that is horror in Space.  In particular, the Mythos flavored Cosmic Horror of Lovecraft AND the exploration of Space ala Star Trek.

Since I am going to look a few ways to do this I am going to put it under the banner of Plays Well With Others.

My "Star Trek meets Cthulhu" campaign is known as BlackStar and I have detailed the ideas I have had here.  

The game started out as a combination of various OSR-style games because that is what I was playing a lot at the time. But as time has gone on I have given it more thought and explored other RPG system options.  Every combination has its own features and its own problems.   Let's look at all the options I have been considering.

Basic Era/OSR

The first choice was the easy one really.  I went with the two main books for their maximum compatibility, Starships & Spacemen and Realms of Crawling Chaos.  Both are based for the most part on Labyrinth Lord.   This gives me a lot of advantages. For starters, and the obvious one, there is just so much stuff for this.  If I don't like the Cthulhu monsters from Realms, I can grab them from Deities & Demigods, Hyperborea, or so many more.  The Lovecraft/Cthulhu stuff is covered.  The "Weakest" link here is Starships & Spacemen.  Well, it's not weak, but it is not my favorite set of Trek-like RPG rules.

Starships & Spacemen & Shogoths

Given the rules, I could add in bits of Stars Without Number. That *might* fill out some of the rough spaces (for me) of S&S.  There is a lot, I mean really a LOT I can do with all of this.

It would also make running The Ghost Station of Inverness Five much easier. 

The Ghost Station of Inverness Five

D20 Systems

I'll admit it. I like d20. I enjoyed d20 games. There are LOT of options if I want to go 3.x d20.

d20 Games

Pathfinder, Starfinder, d20 Call of Cthulhu, Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos.  All of these are great and at least 90% compatible. Again, I am sick with riches when it comes to Cthulhu/Lovecraftian materials here. Starfinder is good...but it is not Star Trek.  In fact my preferred Sci-Fi d20 game is the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars.  I know. I am strange.  

Certainly, the d20 Cthulhu books would be easily converted to OSR, but they already have analogs in the OSR world.   But having all of these is certainly helpful.

Since my weakest link seems to be Trek-like rules, maybe what I need is a good set of Trek rules.

Star Trek RPGs

Currently, my two favorite flavors of the Star Trek RPG are the classic FASA Trek and the newest Mōdiphiüs' Star Trek Adventures.  Both are great. Both are really fun. AND there is even a Mythos/Lovecraftian game using the same system, Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20.  Now this game is set in WWII, but that is not a problem. 

Trek and Cthulhu

Here I have exactly the opposite issue.  There is a LOT of great Trek material and limited on Cthulhu/Lovecraft material.   I could add in material from Call of Cthulhu as needed. Also, I have the PDFs for Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 but none of the physical books. The 2d20 system is also much newer for me and I don't know it as well as some of the others.

Traveller

I have been talking about Traveller all month long and it would remiss of me not to try something with that.  Thankfully things are well covered there.

Traveller and Chthonian Stars

So I have not even touched ANYTHING yet regarding the Cepheus Engine or new Traveller, but to jump ahead a bit there is a game setting for Traveller Chthonian Stars. It takes place in 2159 (a date I can use!) and there is a lot to it, but the basic gist is Humankind has begun to explore the Solar System and that is about it.  Then we introduce Cthulhu Mythos material to that!  Sounds a bit like BlackStar: The First Generation.  I'll get a proper review up later in the month, but there are a lot of great things in this setting.  Reading over it it really makes me want to try this using just Traveller.  They really make it work well.  Plus I could still use the Classic Traveller system, more or less.

This provides me with a solid sci-fi game with great mythos support too. The publisher has since updated this game to their more inhouse version called The Void. Not sure if it uses the same system as their Cthulhu Tech RPG or not. 

The Expanse RPG
AGE System

I really love Green Ronin's AGE system. I also LOVE the Expanse.  So I grabbed their Expanse AGE-based RPG and am hoping to do a lot more with it.  So imagine my delight when they ran a Kickstarter for Cthulhu Awakens an AGE-based Mythos game.   The Solar System spanning of the Expanse is nowhere near the Galaxy spanning of Star Trek, but maybe I could run it as a "Prequel" game.  Get a ship out to Pluto to discover something protomolecule-like but instead make it mythos-related.  A prequel to my Whispers in the Outer Darkness.  A Star Trek DY-100 class pre-warp ship would fit right in with the ships of the Expanse.  I should point out that the Expanse takes place in the 2350s, the same time frame as my proposed BlackStar campaign in the Star Trek timeline. 2352 for the launch of the Protector and 2351 for the Expanse RPG.

Maybe this "First Mission" might explain why Star Fleet is building its experimental ships at Neptune Station and not Utopia Planitia.  There is something they discovered on Yuggoth/Pluto that makes the Warp-13 engines work. There is my protomolecule connection!

It is possible I could retweak my "At the Planets of Maddness" for this system/setting. Though in my heart I really wanted Shoggoths and Elder Things for that adventure.  Pluto and Yuggoth clearly imply the involvement of the Mi-Go.

--

I have all those choices listed above and that is also not counting games like Eldritch Skies that also combine space travel with Cthulhu/Mythos.

Chthonian Stars might have an answer for me.  What if this story is not being played out over a single campaign, but multiple lifetimes?

I could do something like this.  Note, this is only a half-baked idea at this point.  

Victorian Era:  Scientists work out the means of travelling the Aether to the stars. (Ghosts of Albion*, Eldritch Skies, Space: 1899. Using Ghosts to make the Protector connections a little clearer).

1930s: Scientist found dead with brain "Scoped" out. Investigate. (Call of Cthulhu)

2150s: Travel to Yuggoth discover an advanced civilization was once there.  Items from 1890s and 1930s are there. (Expanse, Chthonian Stars, Cthulhu Awakens)

2290s: Star Trek Mercy (this one is pure FASA Star Trek). Maybe this can be the one with the Klingon Skelleton ala The Creeping Flesh.

2350s: These are the Voyages of the Experimental Starship Protector. (OSR or Mōdiphiüs 2d20)

I could even do an epilogue in the far future of the Imperium.  

And some other stuff to include all my BlackStar adventures.

Maybe all of these are tied to the "Black Star" an artifact that makes space travel possible and is at the core of the Asymetric Warp-13 engine?  Some was found on Earth but there is a bunch of it on Pluto.

Too many ideas, too many systems.  Gotta narrow it all down at some point.  But one thing is for sure, the system used will depend on what sorts of adventures the characters will have. Mōdiphiüs 2d20 is best for adventures and exploring. OSR games are good for monster hunting. FASA Trek does a little of both.  AGE would be suit the New Adventures in Space theme well.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Adventure! Romance! Chaos! Horror!

Lots of new Kickstarters out there.  So many in fact. Let's have a look!

Mini-Adventure #1: Shadow of the Necromancer 1E/5E & Box Set

Shadow of the Necromancer


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marktaormino/mini-adventure-1-shadow-of-the-necromancer-1e-5e-and-box-set

Mark Taormino and Dark Wizard Games has another gonzo adventure for us, this time for both 1st Ed and 5th Ed D&D. As always it looks like great fun.

Swords & Chaos

Swords & Chaos

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackspirefantasy/swords-and-chaos

Swords & Chaos is powered by the SIEGE Engine, the same system in Castles & Crusades. Looks like it is cut from the same cloth as AS&SH or Barbarians of Lemuria.

Tome of Adventure Design

Tome of Adventure Design

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventuredesigntome/tome-of-adventure-design

A revised and updated Tome of Adventure design for 2022.  I have the original and it is really useful to whip up something in a pinch.

An Unexpected Wedding Invitation (5e)

An Unexpected Wedding Invitation (5e)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/midnight-tower/an-unexpected-wedding-invitation

A bit of change here is a Jane Austin-ish-inspired wedding mystery for 5e. Looks like a lot of fun.

Shield Maidens: A New Viking/Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG

Shield Maidens: A New Viking/Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1990654819/shield-maidens-a-new-viking-cyberpunk-tabletop-rpg

Ok, this one sounds interesting.  Mixing cyberpunk, pre-apocalypse, and Norse myth.  There is also a free preview to get your first shield maiden built.  It is its own system, but it still looks fun.

The Art of Ménage à 3

The Art of Ménage à 3

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pixietrixcomix/the-art-of-menage-a-3

Now for something completely different.  Ménage à 3 was a fantastic webcomic about three roommates hopelessly in love with each other.  But that did not mean things worked out! It also launched the career of  Gisèle Lagacé.  This has art from the comic and new pieces.

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/old-gods-of-appalachia-roleplaying-game

Dark weird folk horror from Monte Cook? YEAH! Sign me the hell up! It is the Cypher system and you know the production values will be high.

FAST Core Rulebook - Multi-Genre RPG System

FAST Core Rulebook - Multi-Genre RPG System

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563681582/fast-core-rulebook-multi-genre-rpg-system

A new multi-genre system that looks like it has a LOT of potential.  I like multi-genre systems since I tend to mix a lot of things together in one game. 


Swords of Cthulhu

Swords of Cthulhu

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brwgames/swords-of-cthulhu

Another cool one from Joseph Bloch who has a stellar Kickstarter track record.  This one brings the Lovecraftian mythos back (or back again) to AD&D/OSRIC.


Lots of choices!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

This week Other Side Favorite Green Ronin is up with a new AGE game and a new Mythos game.  Lucky for me they are one and the same!

Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenroninpub/cthulhu-awakens-roleplaying-game?ref=theotherside

Funded in 40 minutes it is currently sitting at about 6x its funding goal. 

This game, powered by their A.G.E. system (ModernAGE, The Expanse, Blue Rose) covers "The Weird Century" from the 1920s til today.  And the mythos talked about in stories and tales are only a part of the picture.

Do we need another Cthulhu/Mythos game?  Maybe, maybe not, but I do like what I see here and I find this more exciting than some of the Mythos-related RPGs that have come out in the past. 

For my home games I can see us using this a lot. For starters there is all the new background details and I like having new life breathed into my Mythos every so often.  Sure I do my own stuff, but it is nice to get a fresh perspective.

My son plays FantasyAGE so I am sure I'll do something with that.

I have been trying out The Expanse (spoiler I love it) and I love mixing space travel with the Mythos (see BlackStar) so what if the protomolecule is related to the Old Ones?  It could be the start of my BlackStar game! Or at least give me some fun ideas. 

The design team for this looks great and I am looking forward to seeing what they can come up with.

Friday, October 22, 2021

BlackStar: Whispers in the Outer Darkness

Soon after I posted my discussion on Aliens and Horror for use in sci-fi horror and in BlackStar in particular I found a wealth of information.  Here are the fruits of those findings.

Whisperer in the Outer Darkness

I see this as the "second" episode of the season after the two-parter "The Stars Are Right" that introduces the Cthulhuoid Horrors we share space with. 

The crew gets new orders from Starfleet.  They are to pick up a professor Alyson Wilmarth.  While setting up a new subspace relay on Pluto the Starfleet Corp of Engineers uncover two startling discoveries.  The first is the remains of a Tellarite survey team that dates back to the early 20th Century, circa 1930-31.  The second is what the Tellarite's were investigating.  The remains of a small outpost of any unknown civilization that dates back to 12 million years ago.  Among the remains are a frozen Danuvius guggenmosi, a human ancestor from the Miocene.   Artifacts from the civilization bear a resemblance to other artifacts found on Earth in the Andes, Appalachians, and Himalayas mountain ranges.  Dr. Wilmarth is an expert on these.

Naturally, Starfleet contacted Tellar Prime about this to see what they knew, and maybe figure out what they were doing on Pluto in the 1930s.  This puts Dr. Wilmarth in contact with Dr. Akeley, her counterpart in the Tellarite College of Exoarcheology.  Dr. Wilmarth was scheduled to take a sabbatical and head to Tellar Prime when the term was done.  Dr. Akeley, in typical Tellarite fashion claims he can't wait for her and takes their data and heads out to a remote system he thinks has the answers.

Once on Tellar Prime, we learn that the Tellarite name for Pluto is Yuggoth, though they claim that name was not one they made up, but what they were able to decipher.  Much like Earth, there is evidence of this unknown species having lived on Tellar Prime, the 5th planet on the 61 Cygni/Tellar system.  The Tellarites wanted to know how artifacts from Yuggoth got to Tellar Prime.

The crew, with Dr. Wilmarth still in tow, head out for the remote system discovered by Dr. Akeley.

<<I'll add some bits about getting to the planet, the tech on the planet here.>>

They discover Dr. Akeley, but he is acting with a flat affect is very polite to everyone (should be a dead giveaway that something is wrong).  He claims to have been in contact with the civilization, the Mi-Go, and they are friendly and only wish to share their secrets of over 70 million years of space travel with the Federation.  Akeley of course has stayed hidden in the shadows this whole time.  When he is confronted they will discover the entire back of his skull has been opened and "scooped" out.  His brain and eyes are gone.  The look is similar to the original Tellarite masks on The Original Series that made their eyes look like they were missing.  Only a tiny device is left in his otherwise empty skull.  It is apparently "piloting" the body.

Here the ship is attacked by Mi-Go.  They can't appear on sensors and are only known by the gravity they displace when they land on any deck with artificial gravity. 

I am certainly going to use some ideas from Forbidden World even if it is just to model a Mi-Go creature from the movie poster.  I like the idea of a human/Mi-Go hybrid that can talk.  Maybe it will have Dr. Akeley's or even Dr. Wilmarth's face.  Recreate the poster art, but not the movie, Galaxy of Terror.

I still need to come up with a resolution for this. What do the Mi-Go want? How does the crew "defeat" them? Still need to work out those details as well.

This will be a good test of Star Trek Adventures mixed with Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 both from Mōdiphiüs.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
This would have done well with all my Dagon / Deep Ones movies last week. It certainly fits in with the whole humans becoming sea monsters theme.  I am a little surprised I had never seen it to be honest. It's a fairly notorious Corman flick, know more for him adding more gore and nudity after director Barbara Peeters was done with it.

Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

A small fishing village is dealing with the scarcity of fish and the prospect of a new canning factory moving into town.  While fishing a couple of fishermen catch what appears to be some sort of monster.  His sun falls into the ocean and something kills him.  The boat then explodes. Yes there is a reason, but this is Corman we are talking about. 

Later something is going through the village killing and mutilating all the dogs.  Oh, and there is not so casual and fairly overt racism to the village's Native American character.  Also, why is Dr. Susan Drake referred to as a "great little scientist" especially since actress Ann Turkel stands at 6'0" easily towering over everyone here?  We are a third of the way through the movie and we have had more racism and sexism than we have had of monsters.  Or when Doug McClure's Jim Hill is asking for men to help him and Ann Turkel volunteers? "No, I don't need you." Well, it was the 1980s, but even this one seems a little more than the usual stuff.  

Speaking of explosions. Why does one Molotov cocktail blow up an entire cabin?  Oh and cars. When they hit the sea. 

We learn that Dr. Drake has known about these creatures for a bit.  They are caused by the growth hormones that Canco (did they spend all day coming up with that name?) has been injecting into salmon.  These salmon then infected other fish till they "evolved" to humanoids.  They are driven to kill the men and mate with the women.  Totally makes sense.

There is the local Salmon fest going on that night and as expected the sea monsters attack, killing and raping their way through town.  The gore scenes are fun, some special effects people must have had a blast doing this one.  Kudos to Sally, Miss Salmon, for the wherewithal to bash a rapey fishman in the head with a rock.

In the end the monsters are dead (we think) and Peggy who had been raped before gives birth, well..., a monster cuts its way out of her.

So it dawned on me that there is a whole sub-genre of Fishmen movies that I have never really explored. I mean I have had no reason, but I kinda wish I had before running Isle of Dread to the Shrine of Kuo-Toa. Maybe I should check more of them out. I mean I have not seen any so far that I am like "yeah, that's my new jam" but maybe someone, somewhere did one right.

I could not find the 1996 remake anywhere to watch.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 26
First Time Views: 13

Saturday, October 9, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Army of Darkness (1992)

Army of Darkness (1992)

Tonight is a Horror Movie Challenge AND a Swords & Sorcery & Cinema Night.   Since it is also my H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest there is really only one movie that can fit the bill for all three themes. Is it Horror?  It's close enough.

Army of Darkness (1992) is just one of those movies I can keep coming back to and mine for more gold. 

Of course, I did Army of Darkness for this once before WAY back in the early days of this blog.

I have also done Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2.  Not to mention all the coverage I have given the RPG with stats for KISS, Xena and Gabrielle, and even a Keep on the Borderlands conversion.

I would put it in my list of "Top Ten Gamer Movies." 

I suppose I should figure out what the other nine are.  Off the top of my head?  Highlander, Star Wars, Monty Python's Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, Heavy Metal, Excalibur, and some more.

Sounds like a future post really.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 16
First Time Views: 6.5

--

Tim Knight of Hero Press and Pun Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim along with myself are getting together at the Facebook Group I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters to discuss these movies.  Follow along with the hashtag #IdRatherBeWatchingMonsters.


October Horror Movie Challenge: Island of the Fishmen/Screamers (1979/1980) & Dagon (2001)

Screamers (1980)
I wanted to get in some Innsmouth action this October, but I wanted to get them in tonight.  Up first is Island of the Fishmen from 1979, but the version I found was Sreamers, the re-edit from 1980.

Screamers (1980)

While this one is sold as a "Lovecraftian" movie, the only thing it has going for it Lovecraft-wise is that the Fishmen of the title were once humans.  The movie is part "Dagon" with Innsmouth now closer to the Bermuda Triangle, and little bits of Atlantis, and The Island of Dr. Moreau and some bits of voodoo thrown in for good measure.  The movie does have Barbara Bach in it, so that is a nice plus. 

I can't help but get a strong Isle of Dread vibe from this. The creatures in this, the fishmen, look a lot like the Kuo-toa and Locathah from D&D. Even though neither of those creatures appears in the adventure. 

The plot works well for a Victorian-era game.

Dagon (2001)
Dagon (2001)

I watched this one back in 2010 but I was in a pretty bad mood.  I remember it now while rewatching it.  This is the problem I am running into, most of the movies out there I have already seen.  Though watching it again I recalled/noticed a few things.  The Innsmouth/Imboca people really have the Deep Ones look down. It is actually quite better than I remembered.  Also, Ezra Godden as our protagonist Paul looks a LOT like Jeffery Combs circa ReAnimator. Sounds like him too in many places.  Not a huge surprise since one of the producers is Brian Yuzna. If this had been made in the 80s or 90s then Combs would have been in it.  Likely this is because he was doing Star Trek Enterprise at the time. 

The movie is better than I remember.  Not great mind you, but still better. I am not sure I remembered Paul wearing a "Miskatonic" sweatshirt, but it is a nice touch. 

One thing is certain. If I ever run Isle of Dread again it is going to be more Dagon and less King Kong. 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 15
First Time Views: 6.5

Friday, October 8, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Color Out of Space (2010, 2019)

The Color Out of Space (2010)
Two different attempts at the same story.  One I have seen already and one that is new to me. 

The Color Out of Space (2010)

This one is a German film set in 1975. Part of the movie is in German. I was lamenting recently that I don't get to speak German enough, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  

The movie is in Black & White, which is a neat touch I admit. It is a bit slow but very moody.  The b/w cinematography is used to great effect when the titular "color" reveals itself. 

The story is moved from the eerie woods of America's North East to the equally eerie woods of Germany's Black Forest. 

I have to admit, nothing is lost in the retelling in German. While the special effects are not great, they are used to great, well, effect. The CGI purple "color" against the black and white film could have been cheesy, but they make it work here.  Plus this is one time where CGI feeling out of place is perfectly fine, even expected.  

While it doesn't follow the letter of the story, it follows its spirit I feel.  It could have used a bit more editing though, some parts dig drag on longer than needed.  But really quite fun.


The Color Out of Space (2019)

The Color Out of Space (2019)

This is the Nick Cage one from a couple years ago and I watched last year. In fact almost last year to the day. 

I don't have much more to add, save I wanted to rewatch it for this Lovecraft film-fest and see how it compares to the 2010 version. 

While this one is far more polished and more explicit in it's horror I do feel maybe, maybe something is missing that the 2010 version was able to capture.  Of course I think the 2010 version gets closer to Lovecraft's style of storytelling of "show less, imagine more."

Though I stick to my original opinion of Nick Cage in this.






2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 13
First Time Views: 5.5

Thursday, October 7, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unnamable (1988)

The Unnamable (1988)
I started watching 1988's The Unnamable tonight thinking for sure I had seen it.  Started it, couldn't remember it, then realized I had seen it.

The Unnamable (1988)

So there must be an unwritten rule that all modern adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft must take place in or around Miskatonic University and/or Arkham. After all, it makes good sense and if I were a filmmaker it is what I would do as well.  Of course, it doesn't mean you always have to do it.

Case in point there is almost more about M.U. here than there is about the titular monster/character here.  We get glimpses into the undergraduate life, the student body (and bodies), even people majoring in things other than medicine and the dark arts.  But all of this is just fluff for the main story.  Again a common problem, how to make a full-length movie out of a short story.

This one features Lovecraft's reoccurring protagonist Randolph Carter (this time played by Mark Kinsey Stephenson).

It is typical late 80s fare. Lots of gore. Lots of implied sexual antics.  

In this second viewing (or third, who knows) I can help but think Randolph Carter here is kind of a jerk. By the time he comes around to helping anyone half the cast is dead. Yeah, it's a horror flick people are going to die, but his laissez-faire attitude borders on sociopathic negligence rather than a cool distance.

I wanted to also watch The Unnamable II but I can't find it anywhere.  This is also a problem I am having with other Lovecraft-based flicks.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 11
First Time Views: 4.5

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)

The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)
Ok. I can already tell that a Lovecraft film-fest is going to be rough.  Lovecraft's writings rarely translate well to the screen, this one is no exception.

The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)

This one looks like it was a student film, except everyone looks too old to be a student. 

The story sort of follows the Lovecraft short story, updated to modern times.

The cast is all unknowns. For most of them, this is their only film credit.  

The filming has an odd sepia tone to it that I thought was more than a little annoying. It certainly gave it a solid straight-to-video vibe about it. 

Again this video commits the worst sin a horror movie can; it was boring. I made it halfway through and ended up fast-forwarding to the end.  I am sure I missed nothing.   But given that I can only give myself half a point.  


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 10
First Time Views: 4.5

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: From Beyond (1986) & Banshee Chapter (2013)

From Beyond (1986) might have been the very first Lovecraft-based movie I ever saw.  I remember having the poster of it hanging in my room until I went off to college and then my brother had it in his room.  I was pleased to also find a new movie based on the same Lovecraft short story and this film.

From Beyond (1986)
From Beyond (1986)

I have been re-watching Star Trek: Enterprise, so I have been getting a fairly constant dose of Jeffrey Combs, but he looks so damn young here.  Incidentally, the doors in the psych ward make the same noise as the doors on classic Trek. 

This movie reunites Combs with Barbara Crampton, director Stuart Gordon, and producer Brian Yuzna.  Gordon wanted a core set of actors he could work with to do a bunch of Lovecraft's stories.  It's didn't quite turn out that way, which is too bad really.  Crampton and Combs have great on-screen chemistry; especially considering they have no scenes where they are "romantically" linked.  This is also the best of the batch of the Lovecraft movies.  Having Barbara Crampton as Dr. Katherine McMichaels, a strong woman as a Lovecraft protagonist is fantastic.   Combs does a great job as Tillinghast and you never once think of him as West from Re-Animator.  Ted Sorel was also fantastic as the mad Dr. Edward Pretorius. 

The movie holds up really well. The only things that seem "dated" in it are the hairstyles and technology.   Even many of the special effects are still great. 

I think I would have rather had a sequel to this one more so than Re-Animator.

Banshee Chapter (2013)
Banshee Chapter (2013)

I sort of got the sequel in Banshee Chapter.  This one combines the Lovecraft tale with the CIA's MK-ULTRA program. It features Katia Winter (who I adored in Sleepy Hollow), Ted Levine (from Silence of the Lambs and more recently The Alienist), and Michael McMillian (formerly of True Blood).

This features some "found footage" material, used to great effect in Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity and I think it works well here too.    In this movie, the dimensional shifting abilities are from a chemical created by the CIA, and some short-wave radio broadcasts over Number Stations.  I will tell you this, if you don't like jump scares, avoid this movie.  

The mixing of Lovecraft's base story, secret CIA programs, weapons-grade hallucinogens, and creepy urban legends makes for an attractive mix.

Katia Winter plays Anne Roland, a journalist searching for her missing friend James Hirsch (McMillian) who filmed himself taking some of MK-ULTRA's super-LSD (DMT-19) and has now disappeared.   She investigates the mystery and stumbles upon a recording of her friend picked up by a short-wave radio hobbyist who also happened to have worked for the NSA.

Ted Levin brilliantly plays Thomas Blackburn, a Hunter S. Thompson-like character.   This is getting better all the time.

Anne views some CIA footage on the effects of the drugs. She watches one of the patients/test subjects get attacked by some creature in the dark.  She also learns that DMT-19 is extracted directly from dead human pineal glands. 

Anne finally gets in contact with Blackburn and they do some DMT-19 created by Blackburn's friend Callie (Jenny Gabrielle).  Callie, who took some DMT-19 earlier, begins to show the same behavior that James did on the tape.  They see creatures that they normally could not see.  Much like how the Resonator does in From Beyond.  At one point we see Callie, all white-skinned and black eyes, vomiting up a ton of blood. It's a lot of fun.  

Monique Candelaria also appears as "Patient 14," one of the CIA test subjects.  She would later make another contribution to Lovecraft media in "Lovecraft Country."

Maybe it is my ears, but I found it helpful to have the Closed Captions turned on.

We learn after some scares and a run in with Callie that Blackburn never gave Anne the drug. Though she can hear and see the creatures.  We also find out the drug can be transmitted via touch and Blackburn was a subject of the CIA experiments when he was a teen.

Pretty good flick, but it sort of fell apart at the end.  I read the director ran out of time for filming and you can kind of tell.  But still, it was fun.  They even name drop Lovecraft in it.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 9
First Time Views: 4

Monday, October 4, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Re-Animator (1985, 1991, 2003)

Re-Animator (1985)
I can't do a Lovecraft film fest and NOT do the Re-Animator series.  Yeah, it is so loosely based on Lovecraft's Herbert West, but it left a long shadow, for good or ill, on all future Lovecraft film adaptions.

Re-Animator (1985)

The first thing I notice about this is how freaking young Jeffery Combs is.  Secondly how much gratuitous nudity there is in this.  Third, re-animated humans are SUPER STRONG!

The scene where they reanimated Rufus the cat has stuck with me for years. Pretty much everyone in this is a little forgettable, save for Jeffery Combs as Herbert West and David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill.  Yes, Barbara Crampton is in it as Meg doing what she does best, screaming and getting naked. 

The version I just watched on the Midnight Pulp did not have the infamous "head giving head" scene, nor did it have the scene where West is injecting some of the reagent into himself like heroin. That might be in the sequel.  Which is for later tonight.  Though this one ends fairly definitively with West, Hill and Meg all dying in the end.  Yeah...I know the title of the movie here.

I have seen this movie, I don't know now, maybe three dozen times.  Never fails to amuse and entertain.  Though it has been a few years since I last saw it and I am surprised which parts seemed to new to me.

I might need to get one of the newer Blu-Ray releases of it.  Though that could just be my tired brain talking.

Bride of Reanimator
Bride of Re-Animator (1991)

Taking place after what is being called the Miskatonic Medical School Massacre, Herbert West and Dan Cain are still working on perfecting the re-animation process.   

This movie, along with the first, completes the Lovecraft short story, more or less. 

This one is also less campy than the first, which is interesting since the camp was one of the main features of the first one.  Although West seems a little more unhinged in this movie.  Almost out of character really. 

There is also far less gratuitous nudity and blood in this one. Of it's there, just not the same as the thirst movie.  I am getting the feeling the director and writers were trying to make a more serious horror movie.  The scenes where the "Bride" is reanimated are very reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein with Else Lancaster. The lightning and the rain in the scene helps that feeling. 

David Gale is back as Dr. Carl Hill, a fantastic bad guy to have really.  This also marks one of his last roles before dying due to complications from open-heart surgery.  Hill as a bat-winged flying head is really one of the joys of the film.  

The ending though is pretty campy and crazy.

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)
Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Oh, I am going to be dragging in the morning.  I knew of this movie but did not recall it until I went looking for Bride of Re-Animator on my streaming services.  I found it and figured, let's make a night of it! Plus I need a new watch for this challenge.

This one is different from the other two even if it is supposed to be a direct sequel.  We begin with the last night of the last movie. Young Howard Philips (hehe) is camping out in a tent with a friend when they hear someone go into their house.  They investigate only to find his older sister, but they are quickly attacked by a zombie that kills his sister Emily.  Wandering out of his house he sees the police take Herbert West into custody. West drops one of his re-agents and Howard picks it up.

It's13 years after those events and Herbert West is in prison experimenting on rats. Dr. Howard Philips has joined the prison hospital as the new doctor.  

The movie was made in Spain and sadly has a less than polished feel about it.  I was not surprised to hear it was direct to SciFi production, though I guess it was in some theatres overseas.  The presentation is SD, not HD.

They try for a "Silence of the Lambs" feel to the prison, Arkham State Prison.

Elsa Pataky, aka Liam Hemsworth's wife, appears as Laura Olney a journalist who starts an affair with Dr. Philips.

Philips and West set up a lab space in secret to continue their experiments.  Meanwhile, Laura keeps investigating West's background. The use of the original music for the research/investigation scenes is a nice touch.

West has discovered that the reagent is only half the solution, there is also this "Nano-Plasmic Energy" that jump starts all the cells.  They try it on a pet rat and it comes back to life and 100% fine...well almost.

Laura goes to interview the prisoner that West revived, but is discovered by the Warden. Who promptly gets his ear ripped off. Laura refuses the advances of the Warden and he kills her too.  They bring Laura back to life and use the Warden's NPE to make her normal, but it has some weird side-effects, like making her homicidal.   West also brings back the Warden, but he manages to escape and steal the reagent.  He starts killing prisoners and guards to bring them back to experience death over and over.

A prison riot breaks out and prisoners and the reanimated are all locked in together. 

SWAT teams rush in to stop the rioters. We also learn what happens when a living person injects the pure reagent.  Spoiler, it's messy.

This one ends with Herbert West walking out of the prison into the night.

It wasn't great, but it was fun.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 7
First Time Views: 3

Sunday, October 3, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Dunwich Horror (1970, 2008)

The Dunwich Horror (1970)
The Dunwich Horror is one of Lovecraft's most enduring tales.  We get the demented and evil Whately family.  It is the story that gives us the most information on the Old One and Outer God Yog-Sothoth.   There have been a number of movies based on it, but tonight I want to focus on two, both starring Dean Stockwell.

Double the Dunwich Horror and double Dean Stockwell!

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

So from the start, this movie is not 100% sure if it wants to be Lovecraftian horror of more typical 70s occult-themed horror.  

I do love how the Necronomicon is given to a coed to return to the library like it was a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Dean Stockwell is Wilbur in this one.  He is really young and does a good job acting, BUT he is not a good Wilbur.  That is due to the script really, not the acting. I guess they needed someone to charm Sandra Dee, and a deformed 10-year-old would not do the trick.   Ed Begley (in one of his last roles) is our Dr. Armitage and he brings the right amount of pomposity to the role. 

The biggest crime here is that the movie is so slow. The Whateley home in this movie is far nicer than it ever was in the Lovecraft tale.  

The effects are not great, but fun.  The image of Wilbur's brother is kind of cool. 

There is a lot of conflating of the Old Ones with some sort of satanic aspect, which is fairly irritating, to be honest.  But is it more irritating than Wilbur getting a "love interest?" Hard to say.  

Among other things, this movie is notable for a very, very rare, blink and you will miss it, Sandra Dee topless scene. This was also near the end of her very prolific career. She would only appear in a few more TV episodes. 

The movie ends with Dee's character, Nancy Wagner, pregnant with Wilbur's baby.  I guess he would be in his 50s now.  Sounds like a sequel to me!  The Bride of Dunwich!

The Dunwich Horror (2008)
The Dunwich Horror (2008)

This one has also been called "Witches: The Darkest Horror" and "Witches: The Dunwich Horror." This time the story moves to Louisana. 

Dean Stockwell this time plays Dr. Henry Armitage.  The movie is really not good, to be honest, but it is kind of fun.  It watches like a Call of Cthulhu adventure; exotic locales, strange artifacts, old evil tomes, guest-starring Jeffery Combs (as Wilbur no less).  Even John Dee, Olas Wormius, and the Knights Templar get name-dropped here.  Olas even shows up in a swamp for some reason.

Moving the location to the far south is an interesting one. I am sure in Lovecraft's time New England had its share of strange locales, but now on a larger scale the same "other place" is served by the backwoods southern parts of the country.  Or I might be giving the filmmakers too much credit.  I also can't tell if the effect of Wilbur being "slightly out of this dimension/time" is interesting or irritating. 

While it is not Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror and it is not very good, it kept me watching to the end.

So where are we at now?  I think it is time for another Dunwich Horror movie, this time make it closer to the Lovecraft tale and get Dean Stockwell to play old man Whateley! 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 4
First Time Views: 2

Monday, October 12, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Underwater (2020)

Underwater (2020)

I was looking for a change of pace tonight and this one showed up as recommended.  Sure. Why not.

This one turned out to be rather fun to be honest.  Not great, but not bad either.  Kristen Stewart was actually pretty good in it. It was pretty much like every other deep-sea monster movie; man ventures to places where he is not supposed to go, sea monsters attack. 

This one had both "humanoid" sea creatures and a great big mother-like, kaiju creature.  It would not be a stretch to think of her as Mother Hydra from the Dagon myths.  Or even Cthulhu.
There are Cthulhu symbols drawn on the various maps, so there is that.
The director has even said the creature is supposed to be Cthulhu himself, but I think Dagon or Hydra works better.

This only reminds me I need to do a Lovecraft Filmfest one month.

Don't go to this movie looking for great insights or deep plotting.  But if you like sea monsters then this is a fun romp.

It does have T.J. Miller (Deadpool) and Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones, Iron Fist) in it as well. So those are pluses.

Watched: 22
New: 14


NIGHT SHIFT and BlackStar Content:  A few notes.

A giant underwater creature is a little harder to pull off in a Night Shift or Old-School game.  But I am still thinking about my cross-generational game.  Maybe there is a London 1968 chapter, an Earth or Mars 2087 chapter (or even Enceladus which could be a vast Ocean), in any case, what is found here in 2087 on an under-water drilling base is a human, or near human, skeleton.  Then this leads to the mission in the 23rd century.  All horror.

So many good ideas really.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Color Out of Space (2019)

Oh. Now this was fun.

I have heard that some people didn't care for this one, but you can't watch it thinking it is a Lovecraft movie.  Lovecraft never translates well on screen.  Watch this one thinking it is a crazy Nick Cage movie.

Sadly I did not see this one when it came out, but I had heard a lot of good (and bad) about it.   Well the movie itself did not disappoint.  I mean really, Lovecraft, Nick Cage?  This has disaster written all over it but it gets pulled together well.

So the movie follows the story rather well. Well, as can be expected.

Our narrator, the unnamed surveyor, becomes Ward Phillips a hydrologist played by Elliot Knight.  I have to admit I did enjoy that the narrator, our POV character, is played by a mixed-race, Nigerian-British actor who is very active in gay rights.  Lovecraft would be so happy.

Nick Cage is at his Nick Cage best.  Super serious when he needs to be, and bat-shit insane with an accent when the movie needs that.  He reminded me of his characters in  Vampire's Kiss and National Treasure. And let's not forget, Cage has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award.  He is great as troubled Nathan/Nahum Gardner. 

The sons are changed and there is a daughter, Lavinia played by Madeleine Arthur (who has some solid geek cred with credits in "Supernatural", "Legends of Tomorrow", "Tomorrow People", "X-Files", "Magicians", and "Spooksville").  Oh, and Lavinia, who plays a Wiccan, also has a copy of the old 1980 Simon Necronomicon.  That made me rather happy to see, to be honest.

And Tommy Chong.  Seriously.
Tommy Freaking Chong playing the "crazy man" Ezra/Ammi Pierce.

The hardest thing I think is to capture the horror of Lovecraft on film.  I am not sure how many half-failed attempts I have watched over the years.  In fact, I think the only good ones have been "From Beyond" and "Re-Animator".  Maybe, MAYBE, 1970 The Dunwich Horror with Dean Stockwell.

What I REALLY enjoyed about this was I watched it with my two boys.  We all love Lovecraft and we all love Nick Cage movies.  So this was a nice treat.

This is supposed to be the first of a shared universe of Lovecraft films, but it did rather poorly in the box office.

Watched: 7
New: 7

NIGHT SHIFT Content

What NOT to use here?  Might need to grab my 5e Cthulhu Mythos book and give this one a go using the Night Shift game.  The characters can play the parts of investigators to the scene.  My kids would LOVE that.




Friday, September 18, 2020

One Man's God: Melnibonéan Mythos

Elric by Jeff Dee

Getting back to the mythos in the Deities and Demigods proper I want to take a look at one filled with demons, elementals and other creatures of the multiverse.  The Melnibonéan Mythos of Michael Moorcock.

The Melnibonéan Mythos is one of the two expunged mythoi from the D&DG, the other being the more popular Cthulhu Mythos.  I talked about those myths and some of the controversy around them in a previous installment of One Man's God.  I'll also talk a little more about that at the end, but first, Gods and Demons.

Elric of Melniboné was my gateway to Cthulhu.  I had done all the high fantasy that was popular in the 80s and Tolkien in particular.  But I was looking for something a little darker, something that also appealed to my same frame of mind that loved horror films.  Elric then was the logical next step.

Maybe as much as Tolkien, the works of Michael Moorcock laid down the foundation that was going to be the lens of D&D.  The alignment system, the multiverse, champions of Law and Chaos, all these things came to D&D via Moorcock.  Though in truth for this piece I could also just say Elric since these are the mythos we are discussing today.


Melniboné and Demons

The tales of Elric and Melniboné are overrun with creatures called demons. Everyone from Arioch on down is referred too as a demon in fact.  Elric's own ancestor, Terhali, also known as the Green Empress, ruled Melniboné for 605 years a thousand years before Elric. Her long life was attributed to her mother, who was a demon.  Other creatures in the books are also called demons. Arioch himself appears in many Medieval grimoires as a demon and in Milton's Paradise Lost, Book VI, Line 371.

Whether or not these meet the AD&D Monster Manual criteria for a demon is to be decided.  Let's explore some other details first.

Law & Chaos, Good & Evil

The battles in Elric's world(s) are not just of Good vs. Evil but of Law vs. Chaos. Chaos is shown to be a destructive, and often evil force.  Elric and his kin are all dedicated to the Lords of Chaos and have pacts with many of these lords.  So the "alignment" system of Elric's world view is the same as that as D&D really.  It's where we get it in fact.  So this does free up one issue; creatures described here as being Chaotic Evil are likely appropriately described in their own world and an AD&D one.  We are not going to run into issues here of Chaotic Evil creatures that also protect mothers like in the Aztec myths for example.

Lords of Hell and Demons

The Elric saga takes a "multiple hells" view on the cosmos.  There is more than one hell and they ruled over by Lords of Chaos.  Some of these Lords are also explicitly demons. They are called such in the text.  In many ways, One Man's God and my own games have evolved to be more like this point of view. 

Demons vs. Elemental Lords

There are many creatures of power in the Elric tales (and Moorcock's books as a whole). Some are explicitly demons. Others though are classified as Elemental Lords. These creatures do not see to differ very much the Princes of Elemental Evil first seen in the Fiend Folio.  In the 4e cosmology they would be called Primordials and the Titans and Giants are their offspring.  This also fits in well with the mythology Gary was building in the GDQ series.  So there are at least some relationships between these Elemental Lords and the Demons.  But that is for another day.  Though all of this leads me to two conclusions:

  1. Many demons/creatures/lords of the Elric saga are very much like the demons of AD&D. Or maybe it is the other way around.
  2. Elric might be listed as a "Magic-user 19th level" and "Cleric 10th level" but what he really is, using the current term, is a Warlock.  In fact he might be the exemplar from which we draw from.

But more on that later.

Elemental Lords & Animal Lords

Before I get to the Demons, let's look at the various Elemental Lords Elric has pacts with or is able to summon. We can compare them to other examples in other AD&D works.

In the Melnibonéan Mythos, we have Darnizhaan (NE, Earth), Grome (N, Earth), Kakatal (CN, Fire), Misha (N, Air), and Straasha (N, Water).  Generally speaking, these creatures are more powerful than the Princes of Elemental Evil found in the Fiend Folio. Which would track if these are the "Kings" and the others are just "Princes."

Elemental Lords are not the only creatures Elric encounters. There are also the various Animal Lords, or Master Types.  These are almost taken verbatim for the Monster Manual II Cat Lord and in the later editions of AD&D/D&D.  Among the Animal Lords are Fileet (Lady of Birds), Haaashastaak (Lord of Lizards), Meerclar (Lady of Cats), Nnuuurrr'c'c (Lord of the Insect Swarm), Nuru-ah (Lord of Cattle), and Roofdrak (Lord of Dogs).  Back in the 80s we treated Meeclar as the Cat Lord before the "current" Cat Lord and Bast as the one before Meeclar.  Gary would go on to support our claim in the 90s when he made Gord the new Cat Lord.  all of this fit into our worlds very nicely.

The Demons

Let's get to the demons.  There are lot of creatures in these myths are weird and Chaotic Evil.  BUT, does that make them an AD&D demon?  Well, some fit perfectly, others, we might need to file off some of the edges to make them fit.

Arioch (and Xiombarg)

Let's address the Chaos Lord in the room.  Arioch.  In the books he is Elric's patron.  I believe he is even described as a Patron Demon.  He often referred to a Lord of Hell, a Lord of Chaos and it is said he is worshipped as a god in many worlds.  But is he a god? He is certainly very powerful. On the side of a God is the fact that he can have many avatars on multiple worlds (though in D&D 3 and beyond this would be called an Aspect), on the side of Demon is the fact that he can be summoned, sometimes even against his will. It is possible that Arioch (Knight of Swords), as well as Xiombarg (Queen of Swords) and Mabelode (King of Swords, and not in the D&DG) are Demons, they are just very, very powerful ones on the level of the Arch Dukes of Hell.  

I am inclined to make them powerful Demon Lords/Princes.  Their power is such that would disrupt the hierarchy of Hell (the AD&D Hell), but in the Abyss they can plot and scheme all the like.  Again they have never been described as anything but Chaotic Evil.  I would also argue that their stats in the D&DG might be a touch high. Elric did kill Arioch in the end.

Assassinator of the Gods

Back in the AD&D days we always combined this creature with Ma Yuan of the Chinese Mythos. Though they were not exactly the same.  In this case, I am inclined to make this a completely unique creature. 

Clakar

Chaotic Evil winged apes that can be used as guards.  A bit like a summoned demon, but nothing about them screams demon to me.

Elenoin & Grahluk

These two are in a perpetual race war against each other. Not demons. I always thought of them as the female and male of the same species in a division that has gone very, very wrong.  I say every few years both races have a "pon farr" like time where both are compelled to mate.  While both can be summoned I took this more as they were responding to some other pact made. So they are not demons, but likely commanded or ruled by demons.

Kelmain

Humanoids from Limbo.

Mist Giant

More of a monster than a demon.

Mordagz

Now here is an interesting character. A former Lord of Chaos, he has been "demoted" to a Storm Giant. He could qualify as the classical definition of a demon; a former god reduced in power and status.  His alignment though is Chaotic Neutral.

Pyaray

Now this guy. Lord of the Ocean Abysses. Looks like a demon. Commands a flotilla of sunken ships manned by undead sailors. his soul is stored in the blue crystal on his head like a demon amulet.  Yeah, this one fits the demon description rather well.  His 250 hp makes him a bit more powerful than Demogorgon, but otherwise he is a good fit. We also know that Pyaray and Straasha are bitter enemies. so if Straasha is an Elemental Lord, we can have Pyaray be a Demon Lord.

Quaolnargn

Ok. This one is explicitly called a "demon from the Abyss."

There are more creatures in the tales, but these are what appear in the D&DG.

Elric as a Warlock

The big surprise here is not that there are demons and elementals in this mythos, but that Elric might be better represented as a warlock rather than a wizard, or as he is described in the book, a sorcerer.  We see Elric using magic, but mostly we see him summoning creatures to do his bidding. We rarely see him use the sorts of magics that one might expect of a 19th level magic-user/10th level llusionist/10th level cleric/5th level druid. However, all this magic can be used by a warlock. 

I did a quick build with Elic for the 5th Edition warlock. I made him a tiefling to cover his demonic ancestry and it worked out well.  But a better choice might be a Demonic Pact Warlock using some old-school rules.


My Warlock book for Swords & Wizardry would be a good fit here since I also re-classified the various demons to work with multiple "hells" and planes.

Elric of Melniboné

19th level Warlock, Demonic Pact (Melnibonéan)
Tiefling Male 

Strength: 6
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 17
Dexterity: 17
Constituiton: 3
Charisma: 20

Invocations: Arcane Blast, Agonizing Blast, Arcane Mastery*, Arcane Mastery (Greater)**, Arcane Mastery (Superior)***, Beast Speech, Eldritch Sight, Minions of Chaos, Pact Blade, Thirsting Blade

Spells:
1st: Black Fire, Charm Person, Command, Detect Magic, Mage Armor, Obedient Beast, Spirit Servant
2nd: Agony, Burning Gaze, Cause Light Wounds, Clothes of the Emperor, Grasp of the Endless War, Magic Circle Aganist Spirits, Share my Pain
3rd: Astral Sense, Circle of Respite, Clairsentience, Fiend's Shield, Lifesteal, Summon Winged Steed
4th: Arcane Eye, Call Imp, Divine Power, Fear, Spell storing
5th: Blade Dance, Conjuration of Elementals, Extend Spell (Greater), Song of the Night, Ward of Magic

*6th: Invisible Stalker
**7th: Conjuration of Demons
***8th: Symbol

I rather like this. 

And Arioch would fit rather well in my Warlock book too.


And finally,

The "True" Story of the Melnibonéan and Cthulhu Mythos in the D&DG?

Up first an article from DM David.

https://dmdavid.com/tag/the-true-story-of-the-cthulhu-and-elric-sections-removed-from-deities-demigods/

And a video from Seth Skorkowsky on "The Notorious Deities and Demigods (Ft. Sandy Petersen)"

Both are worth the time to go over.