Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Saturday, October 19, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Dead Don't Die (2019)

I caught my first 2019 movie tonight.  The Dead Don't Die. It was a lot of fun.  I have been a Bill Murry fan since I first saw him on SNL and Adam Driver is a completely underrated actor (and also funny as hell).

The truth though, I'd sit through anything to watch Tilda Swinton.  To watch her with a thick Scottish accent and wielding a katana while cutting through zombies?  Yeah, that is worth the price of the rental alone.

There are a ton of people in this movie too. Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, RZA (working for WUps!), Carol Kane, Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Tom Waits, and Iggy Pop!  I mean really. This is crazy.

The movie is hilarious, with lots of callbacks to other zombie and B-Horror movies.
The ending left a little to be desired to be honest, but I don't expect a lot from zombie flicks.





Watched: 24
New: 17




Friday, October 18, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Daughters of Darkness (1971)


It's strange. All these years and I have not done one of my favorite movies, Daughters of Darkness.

Some of my earliest opinions on what Elizabeth Bathory acts like as a vampire come from the 1971 movie Les Lèvres Rouges, known here in the States as "Daughters of Darkness" (not to be confused with the movie Vampyres, which also had been called Daughters of Darkness).

Delphine Seyrig really helped form the idea of vampire Bathory as a timeless aristocrat so convinced that what she was doing was right that there is no sign of psychosis at all. She was a royal and therefore all others exist to serve her.  Now I will contend, just based on the reports as we know them, that Bathory was not a lesbian but rather a sexual sadist that happened to have targeted young girls.

That all being said, she is most often represented in movies, like she was here, as a lesbian and one that does not care much at all for men.  Of course, credit goes to Delphine Seyrig and her portrayal of the immortal Countess.  This movie presents Elizabeth along with her companion Ilona (Andrea Rau).  Elizabeth begins to prey on new bride Valerie while sending Ilona out to tempt her new husband Stephan.



There is nothing really subtle here.  Stephan is portrayed as a useless thing that later can only consummate his marriage by beating Valerie.  When he kills Ilona in an accident in the shower he is portrayed as incompetent and something to be discarded.  All the while Elizabeth holds court and seduces Valerie away.  The ending is jarring,  more "Celluloid Closet" style vengeance maybe? Valerie, with Elizabeth's voice, is now off picking up a new couple to continue her immortality with.

There are traces of we will later see in The Hunger here.  The cool, sophisticated, European, woman. She might have some royal blood in her somewhere (pardon the bad metaphor) and she is certainly worldly.  She has companions, maybe male and female, but it is in her female companions she lavishes the most attention on even if I dare say it, the most love.    This is not the rampaging monster of Dracula or even Orlock. Carmilla, Bathory and later Miriam Blaylock are exotic creatures almost unique to themselves.

This is still one of my favorite movies.

It should be no surprise then I want to bring her over to NIGHT SHIFT.

Elizabeth Bathory
Vampire Lady
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
AC: 2
Move: 50ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities
XP Value: 1,400



Ilona
Vampire Spawn
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 4
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite),
Cannot mind control. Do not gain “strong and fast” bonuses. Cannot polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP Value: 900


This movie may have fueled more game ideas for me than any other.

Watched: 23
New: 16




Thursday, October 17, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Mark of the Witch (1970)

Enough TV movies for now.  Reading Anita put me in the mood for some movies about witches.  And I never say no to that!

Up first is Mark of the Witch from 1970, but it looks more like the 1960s really.  We don't quite have that 70s vibe here yet. 

This move covers similar ground to Black Sunday; a vengeful witch killed by witch hunters comes back 100s of years later to exact revenge.  Only this time the witch possesses a young college coed.  She proceeds to kill off other college kids for...I am not quite sure why. Maybe because she is EVIL?

Anyway, there are a few nods to actual witch practices and at least they got the hanging, and not burning, right.  The special effects are cheesy and the acting is only slightly better.  But it was a fun little romp.   Anitra Walsh is not bad playing Jill and possessed by the Witch Jill.

Still, there are better films out there. 





Watched: 22
New: 16



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: This House Possessed (1981)

I can't honestly recall if I have ever seen this movie or not.  I am still trying to track down my elusive TV horror movie and I pretty much knew this one was not it.  BUT, it has all the hallmarks of what would have gotten my attention back then, creepy house, weird state of the art technology, and Lisa Eilbacher who I thought was good looking back then (spoiler alert, she was and still is!)
It also featured early 80s TV mainstay Parker Stevenson and Slim Pickens playing...well, the same character he usually played.

The premise is solid. A house doesn't want anyone to live in it but it's beloved Margaret who moved away at age 7.  But before we get to that we get the REAL HORROR of this movie! Singing by Parker Stevenson!!  I give him grief; I like Parker Stevenson, I thought he was a good actor and his shows the Hardy Boys and Probe were a lot of fun.  So he plays a "rock star" who has a nervous breakdown and needs a living nurse, Lisa Eilbacher as  Sheila, to help him.  They find this old house and strange murders begin to happen.

I realized this was not the movie I was looking for very soon, but I was hooked into the story. I know.

I want to say I have seen this to be honest. Like I said it hits all my interests as an 11-year-old, but I watched it without really any sense of recognition.   I was half-tempted to mark it down as "watched" but I am going with "first-time view" on this one.

The search continues.

Watched: 21
New: 15



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Total "attack of opportunity" tonight.  Bram Stoker's Dracula was on BBCAmerica and I honestly could not say no.

I have seen this movie a few dozen times I am sure.  It is still a great cinematic marvel.  Gary Oldman chews up scenery like no one.  Wynona Ryder and Sadie Frost are so young in this.   Keanu Reeves is not even Keanu Reeves yet in this.  Anthony Hopkins, of course, is great.

The story stills cleaves closer to the Stoker novel than any other outing and it is still a very fun flick.
SAdly the BBCAmerica version is still bit edited and chopped up.

Looking back on it now you can see how much movies after it borrow from it much in the same way it borrowed from Nosferatu.   Pretty much every vampire TV show and movie since.




Watched: 20
New: 14



Monday, October 14, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lina Romay Night

Female Vampire (1973/4)
A re-watch for me, but after watching Lorna last night and wanting to see something Carmilla related.  Except I couldn't find my copy.  I have it on BluRay somewhere but no idea where.  A quick search on the old smart TV and I found it and another flick.
Female Vampire is still mostly a sexploitation film but there are enough horror elements and at least name service to one of the most famous vampires in print.
I was hoping for some deep insight this time around, but while the horror elements are there, this is still just shy of porn.

Die Marquise von Sade / The Portrait of Doriana Grey (1976)
One could be excused if you were watching this movie and thought you were still watching Female Vampire.  Lina Romay plays an immortal (check) countess (check) who prefers women (check) seems to get some sort of life-sustaining essence from the act of oral sex (check) and her twin sister feels all the pleasure she herself can't feel...wait what?
Very similar in look and feel really though Romay is more animated in this movie.  Again in this Romay's character seems to need these lovers to stay young and beautiful.  The Dorian Grey part seems to come in with her twin sister keeping her young or as the receptacle of her feelings.

Combining these last three Lina Romay movies I could see a spell, curse or something in a horror game called "The Succubus' Gift".  It keeps you forever young but you have to have sex with numerous victims, their life essence powers your immortality.  Not a bad deal, but you have to do it forever and you could end up killing a lot of people.





Watched: 21
New: 15




Sunday, October 13, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Satanic Saturday

Staying in all day. Let's have a Satanic Sunday!

Jaws of Satan (1981)
Druids, Witches, Cursed Priests, and Satan.  It sounds like a great mix. And a young Christiana Applegate and her real-life mother to boot!  Well... the movie is not great, but for 1981 it is not bad.

Satan comes to terrorize a small town in the form of a snake.  Not a giant snake, just a regular-sized snake. But I guess it does some strange things to the corpses and moves really fast, so that is something right?

Well, the Devil-as-a-Snake controls all the other snakes in the area so that is kinda fun.  This is more of a snake movie than a Satanic one.  Though I am not sure what is worse though, the snake or the casual misogyny and racism.  Well, this is the danger I knew I would run when I decided to go through every horror movie in the "Basic Era" (1977-1981).

The priest does have a nice "magical" battle with the Satan Snake, so that is cool.  Something I would have loved my cleric to have done back in the days of Basic D&D.

Monster Idea: Demonic Snakes.

Demonoid (1980)
A mine in Mexico uncovers a Satanic cult long buried. The soundtrack is pure 70s, but the movie stands up to be honest.  Again, if you don't mind the casual racism and sexism (are nurses supposed to show that much cleavage?). The movie is not great mind you, but the basic premise is solid.   The movie doesn't really pick up until about a third of the way in.  At no point, however, do the events depicted in the poster actually occur in the movie itself.

Though I expected a little more emotion from the protagonist.  She takes the death of her husband and then him getting up and walking from his grave in stride.

I could not help but think about how this would be a good set up for any sort of evil hand-like artifact focused adventure.  The hand gives up strange powers but at a cost.  Combine it with a bit of the Doctor Who serial "Hand of Fear" and the Hand of Vecna.

Monster/Plot Idea:  Demonic Hands.

Evilspeak (1981 or 1982)
An evil priest,  Father Estaban (an almost unrecognizable Richard Moll), is excommunicated by other priests in Middle Ages Spain.  Estaban shows how evil he is by cutting off the head of a perfectly nice Spanish girl.
We come to the modern age where we meet Stanley Coopersmith, an orphan in a military-like school played by B-Movie stalwart Clint Howard.  Coopersmith is picked on by everyone, the other kids, the teachers, even the priest.  While cleaning the chapel he finds Estaban's diary.  The diary, of course, is full of Satanic fun.  Coopersmith in true early 80s fashion types it all into a computer and it translates it automatically.  He begins to put more information into his schools' Apple 2e and soon he has the power.  Not sure if this is first mix of Satanic rites and computer technology but I am hard-pressed to name something that would have scared the Religious Right of the 1980s more.  I do love the Atari 2600 sound effects though.

This movie follows a cliched formula of the odd kid getting picked on and the kid turning to evil to get revenge.  We saw this to better effect in "Fade to Black" and the trope turned completely around in the Harry Potter books and movies.

The ending though is really fun with Coopersmith getting revenge on everyone by summoning up undead pigs from hell.  Interestingly enough, in the end, Coopersmith was admitted to the Sunnydale Asylum.   I have to admit this one was a lot of fun.

Monster Idea: Devil Swine

Lorna the Exorcist (1974)
Ok, this one is fairly notorious even by Jesús Franco's normal standards.  When I did my Franco October series a while back I had heard about it, but could not find a copy.  This year I did and saved it for tonight.  After all, if  Hall of the Nephilim can make Succubus Sundays a thing, I can contribute.
So right out of the gate.  "Lorna" is not an Exorcist. Nor are there any exorcists in this movie.  I can only assume that the English name was used to capitalize on the recent "The Exorcist" movie.  The original title in French is "Les possédées du diable" or roughly "Possessed by the Devil".  That's a better title really.
There is another bit to get over too.  There are two versions of this movie, an 81 minutes NR version and a 99 minute X rated one.  The X rated one features some rather graphic scenes featuring Lorna (Pamela Stanford) and Linda (a very young Lina Romay).

The plot is basically Rumplestilskin with demons.  Patrick Mariel is an out of his luck man who makes a deal with a woman named Lorna. She will make Patrick wealthy, but in 18 years he must give her his daughter.   He doesn't believe her but becomes wealthy all the same.  Nearly 18 years later his daughter Linda is a wild teen and Lorna has come back to make her claim on the girl.
Lorna can only really be described as a succubus (that would also explain the green eye makeup).  She seems to invade Linda's dreams where the two have some fairly graphic sex.  Likely these are the part of the edited out 18 mins.  There are also a few other scenes that are fairly notorious like the crabs' scene and one between Linda and her father Patrick.  The most notorious has to be the one where Lorna finally claims Linda as her own.

There are plenty of Franco hallmarks in this. Gratuitous nudity, jazzy soundtrack, casinos, weird almost psychedelic cinematography, and Franco himself making a cameo appearance.   He once talked about how much he loved seeing Lina Romay (aka the future Mrs. Franco) in all these scenes and how much she enjoyed them herself.  I will give her credit in this one. She actually is putting forward a good performance.  There is a marked difference in Linda before and after Lorna.  It also seems to me that Lorna turned Linda into a succubus herself.
There is also a bit with a madwoman, who I took to be a former lover of Lorna who still seems connected to her.
Franco is hit or miss, and mostly miss, to be honest, but this is one of the better ones I have watched.

Monster Idea: Succubus

Watched: 19
New: 14



Saturday, October 12, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Made for TV Movies

Yesterday's Midnight Offerings made me want to search a little more a movie that has been "haunting" me forever.  This movie is about witches and the occult; satanism in particular.  It was on TV on Halloween night. It had to be between 1977 and 1982, I know a huge time frame. I think it was a made for TV movie. The movie had a girl with psychic powers or witchcraft; they were often synonymous in the late 70s.  There is a scene near the end of the movie of a girl (not sure if it is the same one) lying on an altar.  Either she about to be sacrificed OR this is supposed to give her powers.  All I can remember was there a long progression of cultists going up a circular staircase up in a tower and each one put a drop of blood on the girl's forehead.  That is the clearest thing I remember.

For the life of me, I can't figure out what the movie was.  But I have been trying.

So I spent the day searching and here are the fruits of my labors.

Spectre (1977)
First up is Robert Culp, John Hurt, and Majel Barrett in Spectre a great little tale of Asmodeus and Lilith in modern times. Culp plays a criminologist who now studies the occult.  Gig Young play Dr. Hamliton; Watson to Culp's Holmes.  He gets attack by a succubus, whom Culp manages to send back to hell. This leads to an investigations of the Cyon family in England where we get to see a young John Hurt.  Turns out the family are cultists and they are playing to sacrifice the daughter, whom the succubus had taken the form of, to Asmodeus.
We do get a scene of cultists and a woman being sacrificed.  But that is about as close as we got.
The movie comes to us from Gene "Star Trek" Roddenberry. I guess it was supposed to be a pilot movie for a new series.  It might have been fun to be honest.  The story is good and the acting fine but somehow it just doesn't come together right.  Ah well.

Verdict: Not the movie I was looking for.

Stranger in Our House / Summer of Fear (1978)
Our next choice is a Linda Blair starring TV movie Stranger in Our House, based on the book Summer of Fear.  A housekeeper, inhabiting the body of a suspected dead cousin (Lee Purcell) is taken in by Rachel's (Blair) family and strange things begin to happen.  How do we know Julia is a witch?  Her penchant for black flimsy dresses and her white and red eyes.
This was Linda Blair's next movie after the critically panned Exorcist II.  This one in truth is not much better, but I have soft spot in my heart for Blair.  Still we get a decent enough Wes Craven film here.  I had forgotten how much cars exploded all the time in the 70s. Actually, this is something my dad and I always watched for when we would watch these terrible movies together.   Near the end of the movie Julia's car explodes before it is even half-way down the mountain.  The whole thing has a serious Stephen J. Cannell vibe about it.

Verdict: Not the movie I was looking for. The fact that it premiered on Halloween night 1978 on NBC I was sure this was the movie.

Moving on.

Alison's Birthday (1981)
On paper, this sounds like it is it.  Girls playing with an Ouija board and discover that a strange fate meets Alison on her 19th birthday.  It even has an evil coven of witches.  I had high hopes for this one but a couple of things let me know right away that this was not it.  First, the movie is Australian. I am not sure about a lot of things when it comes to this vague memory but I think I would have remembered that.  Plus I am also sure this was not a made-for-TV movie.
Now there is a scene at the end with cultists, but no girl with psychic powers to speak of.

Verdict: Nope. Not the movie I was looking for. Some of the elements are right, but not enough of them.

Invitation to Hell (1984)
Let's see.  It's 1984 and I need an attractive TV actress to paly a hell-spawn.  That's right! It's All My Children's Erica Kane, aka Susan Lucci playing Jessica Jones (!!) in Wes Craven's next made for TV film, Invitation to Hell.   It starred Robert Urich (one of those actors you never heard a bad word about) and Joanna Cassidy as a couple moving into a new town. Here they join a new Country Club but discover it is actually a doorway to Hell.  Which makes it like most Country Clubs I have dealt with.

Soon Matt's (Urich) wife and son become posessed and he has to put on a space suit to get them from Hell.  You read that right.  This also features Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punk Brewster, as the daughter.

Anyway, the movie is kinda all over the place and fairly forgettable.  I'll admit to nodding off a couple of times to rewind it.  But Urich saves his family in the end.  No one was going to win any Emmys for this one though...oh sorry Susan.

Verdict: Not the movie I was looking for. But I also suspected it wasn't.  It's a little outside of the time frame I was thinking it should be in and this movie is solidly 80s.  Hell, it looks like it was filmed in the same suburb as Poltergeist.

While I am thanking my Roku for all these gems. I am getting blind here staring at my TV screen.  Plus these are all beginning to blur in my memory now even as I write this.

Maybe I will continue my search next week.   Maybe I can also find some good witches for a change.

I think with these four though I have some good ideas for the Cult of Asmodeus I was working on.

Watched: 15
New: 10






Friday, October 11, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Midnight Offerings (1981)

A made for TV movie about early 80s witchcraft?  Sign me up!  I am a little shocked I have never seen this one.  Maybe I did, hard to say, but I certainly don't remember it.

The move features a who's who of early 80s TV stars.  We have Melissa Sue Anderson (Little House on the Prairie) as evil witch Vivian, Mary Beth McDonough (The Waltons) as good witch Robin. Cathryn Damon (Soap) played Vivan's mom and Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati) played her dad. And everyone's favorite mom Marion Ross played the older witch Emily.

The plot is simple, even a little weak, but still a lot of fun. Writer Juanita Bartlett tried to use everything popular about witchcraft in this tale and it works really.  I mean I have seen better, but I have also seen much worse.  It was a fun bit of 80s TV horror.

Also, I do believe that this is where we get the "Noctila" from the AD&D 1st ed Monster Manual II. The timing is just about perfect really. Yews, yes the word existed before this, but I am talking about her particular inclusion in the Monster Manual as a Lady of Hell.

In any case, this was a fun little trip.

Watched: 11
New: 6



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Little Witches (1996)

I was going to watch this one last night, but I got distracted by a giant shark.

Little Witches came out the same year as the Craft (1996) and in the video releases of it have tried to tie it more closely to the Craft (a vaguely Fairuza Balk looking actress on the cover, the Morpheus font, the back cover of the DVD claiming they "mastered their craft").

While watching this I realized I had seen it a few years back.

School girls, underground evil temple, ancient evil cult.  Though there are a couple of highlights.
First it is the acting debut of Clea Duvall.  Zelda Rubinstein is in it.  Sheeri Rappaport is not bad in it. And it was only filmed in two weeks.

There is a kernel of a good movie here, buried under cliches and mediocre acting, again Clea Duvall and Sheeri Rappaport are the exceptions here.   The demon at the end was neat, kinda like a poor man's Demogorgon.

It did not get any better in time really.


Watched: 9
New: 5



Tuesday, October 8, 2019

NIGHT SHIFT Quickstart Rules and Adventure

My co-author Jason Vey has created a set of Quickstart Rules and an adventure for NIGHT SHIFT.

You can get a feel for how the game plays and what sort of things you can do with it.


NIGHT SHIFT Quickstart Rules and Adventure: By the Blood of the New Moon

Grab it. Give it a run.  If you like it consider supporting our Kickstarter.




Monday, October 7, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Craft (1996)

I figure since I am running the Craft girls for this week's Other Side Rewind it might be fun to rewatch the movie tonight.  Also, there are some great ideas here for my Pumpkin Spice Witch book.

So there is a lot that this movie gets "wrong" but I am less concerned with all that now and instead enjoy it for what it is and not what I think it should be.  This is the epitome of 90s movies. In the 80s the teens were the victims, in the 90s they were just as likely to be the "monsters".

The real gem of this movie, of course, is Fairuza Balk as Nancy.  Despite being "crazy" and the evil witch, she is the true star of the movie.

There has been talk over the years of a sequel, but it never quite happened.  Now I hear talk of a reboot.  So who knows.  I am not sure a reboot is a good idea, but there have been plenty of movies and TV shows that have been influenced by this movie; Charmed being the most obvious.

I have one queued up for tomorrow that has been described as "The Craft, but sluttier".  We will see.

Watched: 7
New: 4



Saturday, October 5, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Prophecy (1979)

Wait...are they implying that Armand Assante is a Native American???  That and more horrors are found in Prophecy!

Ok this movie kinda freaked me out when I first saw it at the 67 Drive-In (named for Illinois Route 67).  It really has not aged well.  I saw a while back on TV (maybe 20 years ago) and even then it looked dated.  But today?  Yeesh.

Funny thing though the central theme, a big American company invading land belonging to Native American and poisoning their water supply is pretty much "Ripped from the Headlines" today.
Plus the idea of a giant mutated grizzly is a fun one.
The execution...not so much.

But my real beef with this movie (besides the aforementioned Armand Assante as a Native American) is that the movie is called "Prophecy" but what prophecy?  Sure there is the legend of the Katahdin (named for the largest mountain in the area I assume), but that is not a prophecy really.

Of course Armand Assante and Robert Foxworth and both better actors than this movie would have you believe.  Thankfully both went on to big and better gigs.

The poster for this movie was also much better than the movie itself.  I also remember the trailer promising me more than the movie would or could deliver.

It was left open for a sequel, but none ever happened as far as I know.




Watched: 5
New: 3




Friday, October 4, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Night Shift, Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars RPG


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/294629699/night-shift-veterans-of-the-supernatural-wars-rpg?ref=theotherside

First the Kickstarter sales blurb from my co-author Jason Vey:
So folks, to coincide with Halloween, I will be Kickstarting the newest core RPG from Elf Lair Games this October! I'm still working out the exact details (getting quotes for printing costs in particular) so I know what to set my goal, but it's planned as a hardcover B&W release. Please spread the word and keep your eyes out! Here's some more about the game:

NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Shift is an urban fantasy, horror, and dark modern supernatural game that uses a brand new system of old-school mechanics inspired by and derived from the original, basic, expert, and advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game. It allows you to mimic all the tropes of just about any film, TV series, or novels you like.

All of the following are possible with Night Shift:
  • Cheerleaders that are chosen to slay vampires
  • Sisters imbued with the power of chosen witches
  • Worlds where Fae of all manner battle in the politics of light and dark
  • The great-grandniece of a famous gunslinger inherits the legacy of the demon hunter.
  • A world where two brothers armed with knowledge and weapons hunt the supernatural in their father's name
  • And more!
Excited? I sure am!!

The Kickstarter is in full swing NOW.

My co-author Jason posted a bit on his blog about O.G.R.E.S. , the system that powers Night Shift.
O.G.R.E.S. stands for "Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System." It's the new house system for Elf Lair Games, which will run alongside our current O.R.C.S. and Cd8 Systems. It's another step forward in presenting a new approach to a "unified system" for running just about any kind of game, using mechanics that will be instantly familiar to players of "old school" fantasy games, specifically those that powered the Original, Basic, Expert, and Advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game.

What O.G.R.E.S. does, however, is streamline and codify these mechanics, to remove what many view as arcane and confusing elements, and break the system down into a fast-playing, fun, easy-to-understand, and open presentation, adding a few modern design elements to improve the smooth play.

This also means that the majority of products which are compatible with any of these editions of the game, are also compatible with O.G.R.E.S.
So if you are reading this blog chances are really good you already know how to play NIGHT SHIFT and O.G.R.E.S., in fact, my own Eldritch Witchery, which uses the 2d6-based O.R.C.S. system is nearly 100% compatible with NIGHT SHIFT right now, but we are also including some easy conversion rules.

NIGHT SHIFT is old-school, but some new-school design principles are also being used.  We want a game that is easier to learn, quick to play and also has playability over several campaigns.

The system is class and level and I personally think it fits the genre very well. 
Think about your favorite modern supernatural heroes.   Mine would be Sam and Dean, Mulder and Scully, Willow and Tara, the Charmed Ones.  They also progress through levels and have easily quantifiable "classes".  I mean Season 1 Willow is very different from Season 5 Willow, same as Level 1 Willow vs. Level 5 Willow. 

Starting next week I am going to be posting some content for NIGHT SHIFT including some of my playtest notes, some monsters and maybe even some spells.

We are both pouring everything we know from the dozens of games we have worked on professionally over the last 20 years.  I am planning on this being my new system of choice for any and every modern game.  I hope you can too!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Inferno (1980)

Now here is one that has been on my list for some time.  It did not disapoint.

Inferno (1980)

This Dario Argento film is the second of his "Mothers" trilogy which began with Suspiria (1977).  This one lacks some of the visual power as Suspiria, but the horror and suspense are still there.

Without giving the plot away from the story deals with two siblings searching for more information on the book "The Three Mothers".  The book tells that like the three Fates, there three Sorrows. Mater Suspiriorum, Matter Tenebraum, and Matter Lachymarum.
The Mothers, appear as witches to many and as Death to others.
As they investigate the book and it's origin they, and others, begin to get killed in fairly horrible ways.

It has been years since I have seen Suspiria, so maybe I need to watch the 2018 remake. I'll also need to check out the often forgotten third film, Mother of Tears (2007).

The score is great and gives a very surreal vibe to the movie. Again, not up to the level of Suspiria, but very fun all the same.

I love the idea of a book, so dangerous, that everyone around it meets a grizzly fate. Yeah I know, that is like 80% of Lovecraft, but this has a different feel about.  In Lovecraft the horrors are uncaring. These horrors HATE us.

Plus I really like that poster.  It often starred back at me from the horror shelves of the local video store.


Watched: 3
New: 3



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Demon (1980)

Last year I started with a bunch of movies from the early 80s but due to various reasons I was not able to complete my challenge.  Well, this year I plan too and I am picking up where I left off.
But if the rest of the movies are as bad as this...I might not make it.

Let's do it.

Night of the Demon (1980)
I am not sure what to say about this one.  The movie is a flashback with other flashbacks inside.  It's like a shitty Inception.  Professor Bill Nugent wakes up in a hospital bed and tells the most boring story ever about Bigfoot. Sorta.
He does wake up and tells the story of how he and his anthropology class go out to search for rumors of bigfoot. They have heard some stories, all told in gory flashbacks - even from the people that died and could not tell their stories, of people attacked and killed by a bigfoot.
There is a lot to do around Crazy Wanda and her father who was burned alive and a cult of bigfoot worshipers who treat him as some sort of rapey demon.
Anyway, Crazy Wanda had been raped by Bigfoot when she was 15 and her father later killed the half-bigfoot baby.  She burned him alive and while telling us all this under a hypnotic flashback Bigfoot comes back and kills the anthropology class.

The film is only notable because it was originally banned in the UK and they had to shave a minute or so off of it to be released.

The music is early 80s porn soundtrack and the acting is not much better.  While I liked the demon-worshipping/pagan aspects to the Bigfoot myths, it was sloppily done.

Oh well.  Better luck with the next one.

Watched: 1
New: 1



Friday, September 27, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Night Shift

Ok a little self-promotion here, but I am pretty excited about this one.

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars RPG


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/294629699/night-shift-veterans-of-the-supernatural-wars-rpg?ref=theotherside

First the Kickstarter sales blurb from my co-author Jason Vey:

So folks, to coincide with Halloween, I will be Kickstarting the newest core RPG from Elf Lair Games this October! I'm still working out the exact details (getting quotes for printing costs in particular) so I know what to set my goal, but it's planned as a hardcover B&W release. Please spread the word and keep your eyes out! Here's some more about the game:

NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Shift is an urban fantasy, horror, and dark modern supernatural game that uses a brand new system of old-school mechanics inspired by and derived from the original, basic, expert, and advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game. It allows you to mimic all the tropes of just about any film, TV series, or novels you like.

All of the following are possible with Night Shift:
  • Cheerleaders that are chosen to slay vampires
  • Sisters imbued with the power of chosen witches
  • Worlds where Fae of all manner battle in the politics of light and dark
  • The great-grandniece of a famous gunslinger inherits the legacy of the demon hunter.
  • A world where two brothers armed with knowledge and weapons hunt the supernatural in their father's name
  • And more!
Excited? I sure am!!

This game came about through long collaboration with Jason and I.  We met while working at Eden Studios together.  Jason was doing a lot of work on All Flesh Must Be Eaten, the zombie horror game.  I worked on WitchCraft and Armageddon.  We both worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.  Over the years we collaborated on other games.  He was a playtester and contributor to Ghosts of Albion.  I contributed to his AFMBE and later Amazing Adventures books.

We both hit the OSR scene at the same time in 2007 and he wrote Spellcraft & Swordplay.  I wrote my first Witch book and Eldritch Witchery for his Elf Lair Games label.

Night Shift combines a lot of different ideas we have had over the years. 

First, we are developing an advanced version of the in-house O.R.C.S. game system (O.G.R.E.S.) that captures the old-school rules we both love with some (minor) modern advances.  Though you can still play Night Shift with any OSR product with no issues.

Secondly, we are also bringing several different "Night Worlds" to your game play.  I don't want to give out any spoilers, but these "worlds" represent several decades worth of play.  I will spoil one or two.  One of my Night Worlds is "Ordinary World" which I have talked about here before and the other is "Generation HEX."   If you dig through my archives here you will also see mention of "Daughters of Death" that might come later.

Finally, I wanted to create something that in the eloquent words of my friend Robert Black called "filling a Buffy-shaped hole in my life".  I have worked on a LOT of really great games and properties over the last 25 years.  Some of that material I can use, most I can't.  But that is fine, I have had years to learn what I like and what I want in a Modern Supernatural Horror game. 

Over the years we have also shared our love for the Modern Supernatural genre in TV shows and books.  Obviously, we were both Buffy and X-Files fans. Jason turned me on to Lost Girl and the books of Kelley Armstrong.  I recommended the books of  Kim Harrison and the TV shows HƎX and Charmed.  Between the two of us, we have worked on several score horror games and played many more. We have a lot of opinions.

Night Shift is the result of all of that.

So expect some more posting on this all month.

Up next?  My sons are going to play two bothers (naturally!) who drive across the country stopping supernatural monsters with nothing but their wits and a trunk full of guns and rock salt.  If they choose the names "Sam" and "Dean"...well that is just a coincidence. ;)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Introducing Night Shift

I had something planned for today, but it will have to wait till later.  Busy day at work.  So here is something I have been working on.


So folks, to coincide with Halloween, I will be Kickstarting the newest core RPG from Elf Lair Games this October! I'm still working out the exact details (getting quotes for printing costs in particular) so I know what to set my goal, but it's planned as a hardcover B&W release. Please spread the word and keep your eyes out! Here's some more about the game:

NIGHT SHIFT: VETERANS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WARS Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Shift is an urban fantasy, horror, and dark modern supernatural game that uses a brand new system of old-school mechanics inspired by and derived from the original, basic, expert, and advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game. It allows you to mimic all the tropes of just about any film, TV series, or novels you like.

All of the following are possible with Night Shift:

  • Cheerleaders that are chosen to slay vampires
  • Sisters imbued with the power of chosen witches
  • Worlds where Fae of all manner battle in the politics of light and dark
  • The great-grandniece of a famous gunslinger inherits the legacy of the demon hunter.
  • A world where two brothers armed with knowledge and weapons hunt the supernatural in their father's name

And more!
Jason and I have been working together for years.  We worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG together.  I playtested Jason's AFMBE games and his Amazing Adventures books, he playtested my Ghosts of Albion.  He published my first OSR Witch book.  We have over 80 years of game playing and nearly 50 years of professional game design combined.

This game is going to be so much fun.  And perfectly suited to the cinematic style games I love.

Hoping to get you all some previews and character write-ups throughout October.

Monday, August 19, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Scary

Today's topic is Scary.

It is said that everyone loves a good scare.  But I LOVE them.


Spend any amount of time here and you will learn that I love horror movies, horror RPGs and adding elements of horror to my otherwise non-horror games.

Horror was always my thing, even when I was really little.  My mom loved horror and used to tell us the way scary and certainly not appropriate for children stories when we were little and we loved them.   A lot of the horror-themed material you see here has there roots in some of those stories.

My current purely horror game is "Star Trek meets Cthulhu" game in Black Star.
Stephen King once said that horror needs to start with what you know.  To truly feel horror you have to begin in a place of safety and comfort.  For me that is Trek.  Then you add in the horrors.

Doing a proper horror game is not always easy.  Think about Gothic Horror for a moment.  The reason it is as effective as it is it that the hero, or most often, a heroine, is powerless against the forces that she is dealing with.  The same is true for Cosmic Horror, the forces against humanity are so vast and so powerful that we become insignificant in the scope of it all.

Trek represents humanity at their best, their most powerful, their peak. To turn that setting into horror I am going to need something very powerful.  So in a way, it is an experiment for me to see if I can merge two of my favorite things.

Hope to do some more here soon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 16

Day 16: How does your environment inform your work?

I have talked about this one before.

I grew up in the midwest in the 70s and 80s.  My "adventures" were often road trips. My backgrounds included a love of horror movies, a mother who knew some of the most blood-chilling stories I have ever heard, and a fascination for mythology and the occult.

It was a heady brew that only the alchemy of the 70s and 80s could produce. 

In my books, I want to recapture the feel of finding some lost occult tome of the 70s.  Something a little subversive, a little dangerous and a little outside of the reach of the normal people out there.

Hammer Horror + Occult 70s + NWoBHM from the 80s gives you the environment I grew up in and what informs all my RPG creations.
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