Showing posts with label witch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label witch. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Winter Solstice and a Return to Hyperborea

Today is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and last night I got my PDF copies of the new Hyperborea RPG, formerly Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  

Hyperborea has long been part of my "older, colder" version of D&D. And winter is a great time for it. This new version has a lot going for it and I can't wait to dig into it.  There is so much to like here.

It also is a good time to revisit the witch family, The Winters, and my favorite member Tanith.

I detailed Tanith for the 2nd Edition of the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG. 

Tanith Winters

Tanith Winters

Female Hyperborean Witch 12th level
Alignment: Neutral (but it is likely she will move towards Evil at some point)

ST 10 [+0 +0 2:6 2%]
DX 14 [+1 +0 3:6 8%]
CN 13 [+1 +0 80% 3:6 8%]
IN 16 [+1 75%]
WS 12 [+0]
CH 16 [+1 8 +1]

Age: 30
AC: 4
HD: 9+3
hp: 38
FA: 5
CA: 12
#Attacks: 1/1
Damage: 1d4 (dagger), 1d4 (sling)
SV: 11 (+2 Transformation, +2 Sorcery)
ML: 12

Abilities
Alchemy, Brew Decoction, Familiar, Read Magic, Scroll Use, Scroll Writing, Sorcery, Dance of Beguilement, Effigy, Henchmen, Broom Enchantment, LAdyship

Spells
First level (5+1): Charm Person, Light, Scare, Shocking Grasp, Sleep, Write Spell
Second level (5+1): Darkness, Extrasensory Perception, Identity, Ray of Enfeeblement, Ungovernable Hideous Laughter
Third level (4+1): Continous Darkness, Slow, Phantasm, Wind Wall, Starlight
Fourth level (4): Freeze Surface, Moonlight, Mirror Mirror, Transfer Wounds
Fifth level (3): Cause Lycanthropy, Control Winds, Transform to Winter Wolf
Sixth level (2): Control Lycanthrope, Freezing Sphere

Languages: Common, Hellenic (Hyperborean), Old Norse, Speak with the Dead, Speak with Nature Spirits
Size: M (Height: 5'2", 114lbs)
Move: 40
Saving Throw Modifiers: Transformation +2, Sorcery +2
Secondary Skill: Weaver (almost all Winters women begin as weavers)
God: Lunaqqua

Snowy Owl Familiar ("Beira"): AL N; SZ S; MV 10 (Fly 80); DX 15; AC 7; HD 1/4 (hp 5); #AT 3/1 (claw, claw, bite); D 1/1/1; SV 17; ML 5; XP 11

Normal Gear
Winter robes, winter cloak, clothing, daggers (2), backpack, woolen blanket, chalk, ink and quill, polished steel mirror, incendiary oil, parchment (4), soft leather pouch (2), small sack (2), tinderbox, torches (2), wineskin (mead), writing stick, iron rations (one week), spellbook (contains all prepared spells), 1 gp, 5 sp

--

Tanith has been an interesting character so far.  In the few games, I have run her she has become surprisingly power-hungry.  She seeks to control the Winters family which is going to bring her is direct conflict with Grandmother Winter.

With this new Hyperboria RPG out I am also going to explore her relationship with her god Lunaqqua.

Lunaqqua


Friday, December 17, 2021

Tea with the Witches

Been crazy busy at work. That time of year.  But one big project is done and I am down to the last few courses in this contact hour audit I have been doing for weeks.  

I have been neglecting things here so here is a quick one.  I got some art made of a scene crucial to the "War of the Witch Queens"  back story.  The scene is called "Tea With the Witches" and it takes place in The Simbul's castle in the Forgotten Realms.

Tea with the Witches

I want to send out a hearty thank you to Brian Brinlee for doing such a great job with this. Here are the witches pictured. Left to right (clockwise, never widdershins when dealing with witches):

Sagarassi the Sea Witch (Krynn/Dragonlance), Iggwilv the Witch Queen (Oerth/Greyhawk), The Simbul, Witch Queen of Aglarond (Toril/The Forgotten Realms and where this is taking place), Larina (my OC), Feiya the Pathfinder iconic witch (Golarion/Pathfinder).

They are playing Pentacles, a game played with five people using Tarroka cards.

Hopefully regular posting will resume next week!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Evil-Lyn the real star
It is late Tuesday night (now early Wednesday morning) and I just finished binge-watching Masters of the Universe: Revelation with my wife.  Now I only consider myself a causal MotU fan, but it really should come as no shock or surprise that my two favorite characters were Teela (because who doesn't like a highly capable redhead) and Evil-Lyn (because...well I am sure you have met me by now).    So after hearing all the whiny-ass man babies online bitching and moaning that Kevin Smith had "destroyed their childhood" I knew right away one thing. 

I was going to love it.  And I did.

If Part 1 was "The Teela Show" then Part 2 was that and "The Evil-Lyn" show.  

Though I am happy to also report that my other favorite character, Duncan the Man-at-Arms, also fared well.

My enjoyment of Evil-Lyn in particular and the MotU, in general, come not from watching the show back in the 80s all that much, but instead from one episode.  The Witch and the Warrior, written by none other than Paul Dini himself.  In an interesting twist, Paul Dini created the character Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith the executive producer of Masters of the Universe: Revelation named his own daughter Harley Quinn Smith. 

Watching this was a fun romp through nostalgia land and there were more than a few tongue-in-cheek references.  Also having Lena Headly as Evil-Lyn, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Teela and Liam Cunningham as Duncan was great. And Mark Hamil chewing up the scenery as Skeletor? That's just the icing on a great cake. 

We get more background on Teela, and the payoff the original series promised.  We get some more background on Evil-Lyn which is also great, but I think it is different than in other versions of this franchise.  No matter really, I know even less about those.

Personally, I am thrilled we got a kick-ass Teela and Evil-Lyn.  I always felt that He-Man himself was the least interesting character in the franchise, though this one made me feel a little different about that.

Evil makes you hotter

I like where it ended for all the characters involved. But especially for Evil-Lyn.

Lyn at 25

Evil-Lyn as Master of the Universe

No new season has been announced, but I like what I am seeing here to be honest.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Plays Well With Others: Modern Occult Horror Games

Been thinking a lot about all the modern supernatural games I have (and I think I have all of them) and in particular the ones that have come out from the Old-School gaming scene.  These games all cover roughly the same sort of topics and themes but they all do them in different ways that I keep thinking they would all work great together. 

OSR Modern Occult Horror RPGS

In other words, it sounds like a perfect topic for a Plays Well With Others

So the games I am talking about are Dark Places & Demogorgons, We Die Young, Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, and my own NIGHT SHIFT.  These are the big modern supernatural, occult horror games from the OSR. 

I have reviewed these games in the past.

Obviously, I have not reviewed NIGHT SHIFT. Reviewing your own game is incredibly tacky and remarkably dishonest. 

I have covered many of these games in other Plays Well With Others too.

With the addition of Dark Streets & Darker Secrets to my occult library, I wanted to revisit some of these ideas. Though I want to take a different approach today.

With this Plays Well With Others, I am going to mention each game and talk about what can be used from that game in any of the other three.  In some cases, this is easy like moving from Dark Places & Demogorgons to We Die Young which are essentially the same system.  In others, it will be converting characters from one system to the other. 

At the core of all four games (three systems) is the old-school, the OSR, design.  All of these games have the same "godfather" as it were in Original or Basic D&D.  They have the same uncle (mother's brother), the d20 SRD. And their mother is all the D&D games we all played and the supernatural, occult, horror and urban fantasy media we consumed when not playing. 

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets
Dark Streets & Darker Secrets 

This is the newest game, for me, and the one on my mind the most.  Thankfully it is also the one that has the most to offer all the games.  

For starters, the classes can be imported rather easily into the other three games.  In particular the Tough, the Nimble, and the Smart can be used as subtypes of the Veteran or Survivor in NIGHT SHIFT or as a class in We Die Young.  Maybe not so much for DP&D since those are supposed to be kids. The Gifted of DS&DS is similar to the Supernatural in NS.

The real gift of DS&DS is all the tables.  Someone online described the game as a great toolkit game. Some of the best ones to use in all games are the Complication table (p.20), Weird Items (p.32- 33), almost all the Gear. The Magic and Psychic backlash tables are also fun. ALL the artifact tables. The various "signs" in Chapter 7.  In fact, pretty much all of Chapter 7 to be honest.

Survive This!!

Both Dark Places & Demogorgons and We Die Young from Bloat Games use the same Survive This!! basic rule system, so right out of the gate they are compatible with each other.   Dark Places & Demogorgons focuses on kids in the 1980s and We Die Young on young adults in the 1990s.  So there is a continuum there for any that wish to use it.  There are plenty of "classes" in both games that can be used and mixed and matched.  Like DS&DS there are a lot of great toolbox-like tables and ideas that can be imported into another game.

I can easily see a game then of people in their 30s in the 2000s with large chunks of DS&DS mixed into the Survive This!! system.  Would this game be called "Survive This!! Dark Streets" or "Dark Streets, Dark Places, Darker Secrets & Demogorgons?"  I don't know, but I LOVE the idea of kids experiencing weird shit in the 80s, taking a bunch of drugs to forget them in the 90s (both DS&DS and WDY have these) and finally having to deal with this shit all over again in 2000-2020s as older adults.  Very "It" if you think about it.

Dark Places & Demogorgons We Die Young

The jewel though in the Survive This!! (and there are many) though HAS to be the DP&D Cryptid Manual.  DS&DS takes a toolkit view on monsters.  NIGHT SHIFT has a minimalist view (a very OD&D view if I can add) on monsters.  But the Cryptid Manual gives us a proper monster book.

Of note. Both DS&DS and We Die Young use the newer D&D5-ish Advantage and Disadvantage mechanic. Albeit in slightly different ways.  I have been using this in NIGHT SHIFT as well and find it works better for me than a simple +3 or +5 to rolls

Also, both games have a Madness mechanic.  I like the one in We Die Young much better.  Bits from DS&DS could be added to this, but in general, I think I'd use the one in WDY. 

We Die Young also has some really cool races that can help fill out the "Gifted" of DS&DS.

Don't forget you can get the new Hardcover version of Dark Places & Demogorns on Kickstarter now.

NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

I talk a lot about NIGHT SHIFT here and with good reason, I am quite proud of the work I have done it.  It fills the void in my life left by the Buffy RPG and everything I wanted from all three editions of Chill, but never exactly got (no slight on Chill, fantastic game), a little more approachable and less nihilistic than Kult, and none of the baggage of The World of Darkness (though I do get the urge to play that again.  My oldest want to give it a try sometime).

Dark Places & Demogorgons makes some assumptions in the game that makes it what it is.  The characters are kids and there is also the Jeffersontown setting, all of which are central to the game and make it work.

Dark Street & Darker Secrets is on the other end of the spectrum with no assumed setting other than "The City" which also works fantastic for this game and one of it's great strengths.

In between those two, we have NIGHT SHIFT (and We Die Young, but I'll get to that).  NIGHT SHIFT does not have a default setting. There are different levels of difficulty you can configure the game in, Cinematic, Realistic, or Gritty.  DP&D would be Cinematic, DS&DS is the poster boy for Gritty, and WDY is around Realistic.  So I would use ideas from those games to inform my choices in the three levels of NS and vice-versa. 

What NIGHT SHIFT has to offer these other games are our "Night Worlds" or mini-settings.  Any of these can be used in any of the other games and the other games can be used to add more details.  Jason's "The Noctnurmverse" can be supplemented either by or used in DS&DS.  The "City" in DS&DS becomes the Noctnurmverse's Pittsburgh.  Or dialing back the Way-Back Machine use it with We Die Young in the 1990s.  My own "Generation HEX" benefits from the ideas on playing kids in DP&D.  You could even take Generation HEX and play it as a DP&D setting if you wanted.  My "Ordinary World" can be used in DS&DS IF you ever decide to move out of the city into the suburbs. 

I already talked a lot about how NIGHT SHIFT and Dark Places & Demogorgons can be used together.  The same logic applies when adding in the other two games.  In fact one place where this might work great is my own Sunny Valley, OH game of the Buffyverse in the 1980s rather than the late 90s/early 2000s.  This works well since a.) NIGHT SHIFT was made to fit the "Buffy-shaped" hole in my life and b.) DS&DS takes a lot of cues from and was influenced by Buffy in all media.  I might just be the best melting pot for all these games. Or crucible. Time will tell.

Putting it All Together

Honestly, there are just too many ways to combine these four games into something you can use.  Start with one and add what you need.  Start with two and be pickier about what you add from the others.  One of the ways I am using it is in my Life-Path Development ideas. Each game represents a different point the characters' lives and each is used to model that time.  The obvious reasons are that DP&D takes place in the 80s with kids, WDY in the 90s with younger adults, and DS&DS and NIGHT SHIFT go beyond that.  To go with personal experience, I was living in Chicago proper in the mid to late 90s and then in the suburbs after that.  To use my ordinary world example my progression would look like this:

DP&D (high school, small town) -> WDY (college, college town) -> DS&DS (grad school, city) -> NIGHT SHIFT (adulthood, suburbs).

In a weird way, it makes sense to me.  But I am not stating up myself. I don't live in a magical world, I live in this one.  BUT I do have my Drosophila melanogaster of these sorts of experiments, Willow and Tara.   I have done stats for them for Dark Places & Demogorgons and NIGHT SHIFT.  Doing ones for We Die Young and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets would be easy enough.  BUT.  Those are not the same characters really. They fall under my "Alternate Reality" versions rather than "Lifespan or Lifepath Development."   Though doing DS&DS versions of Willow and Tara should be in my future.

No for this I need a character that has been around for a while, for that I am going to have to turn to my Iconic Witch Larina.

Fortunately for me, the witch is one of the few character classes/archetypes/concepts that can be found in all these games (the weird psychic is as well, but witches are my thing).  So building a witch feels right.

I worked up all the sheets and this is what I ended up with.  Purple is the color of all of Larina's sheets. Click for larger. 

Dark Places & DemogorgonsWe Die YoungDark Streets & Dark SecretsNIGHT SHIFT

Dark Places & Demogorgons

It's 1984 and Larina is 14 and 4th level.  She lives in a small town where her mom runs a spice shop and her dad is a Professor of Anthropology and teaches music.  She is called "creepy girl" by the kids in school.  At this point, she is shy and can't quite understand why others can't see the strange things all around them. 

Most of these adventures are of the "Scooby-Doo" sort; short ones that are resolved by the end.  Easily Monster of Week sorts.

We Die Young

We are moving to the early 90s now and she is 7th level. Larina is in grad school and is now Larina Macalester. She was married at age 19 but obviously, it is not working out well.  She is living in Chicago while her estranged husband is still living in Ireland. Her stats nudge up a little but she largely is similar to her 1DP&D version.  There are some differences between the two types of Witch classes (and DP&D still has others) but nothing I consider earth-shattering.  I did get to add her two tattoos. One is a protection tattoo (a large Triple Moon Goddess on her back) and one on her left wrist that allows her to cast a magic bolt. 

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets

Things are getting darker.  Larina is now 35, 10th level, and back to going back to using "Nichols" as her last name.  Her complication is she is hiding from her ex-husband who was in the IRA.  (NOTE: I actually played through this back in the early 2000s.  The big twist was that while she was hiding out, her ex had moved on and was living his own life with his new wife.)  I wanted to use my new idea for Sanity by having it as Intellect +  Willpower /2. BUT for Larina here both scores are 17 giving me an average of 17. 

NIGHT SHIFT

Here is the one closest to my heart, obviously.  She has more spells, but this is expected at 13th level. 

As expected the powers don't always match up right and I could have taken more care in aligning the spells with each version. But I figure that these changes can be chalked up to learning and experiences.  I do feel that all versions reflect the character at the time well.   

Looking forward to trying this with other characters to see how they work out. Also, I am keeping all of these books together to use as needed.  By themselves, they give me a wonderful experience. Together they give me an epic experience.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Chromatic Dungeons, Part 4 Final Thoughts and Wrap-up

Chromatic Dungeons
Edited to add:  Here are all the parts to this series: Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

I am ending my week (or so) with Chromatic Dungeons today. It has been a real treat going through this game.  There is a feeling here of the first time I went through the AD&D 1st Ed Player's Handbook in terms of the potential I feel for my games.  There are some really great ideas here I plan to use, either running a CD game or adopting them for my other Old-School games.

Ancestry & Heritage

Along with such products such as Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e from Arcanist Press and the new material in Pathfinder 2e, this is the way all games are going to move towards. I could go into the racist history of why "race" was originally used starting with examples from the Victorian age and moving on to practices in educational and biological "research" but the truth is the people that are least likely to change are also the most likely to ignore all of that. So what's the point.  I don't teach fish to read and I don't try to talk to people who have their minds made up.  I am convinced that we will see this in D&D 5.5/5r and it will soon migrate to other, even old-school, games.

I am likely to give it a try in my OSE-Advanced games. I would likely tweak it a bit more to fit my needs a little better.

No Alignments for Sentient Humanoids

Again, this is a sea-change in many games.  I have no issues with it at all.  I have had good orcs for years, and a lot of mostly neutral ones, and scores of completely evil ones.  Yes, yes, insert Tolkien arguments here...BUT as much as I adore the Professor and his works, he is not my DM.  Neither is Gygax, or Arneson, nor any others.  I get to decide what my world does or does not do.  Goblins are already all over the place in regards to alignment for me, I am even getting to a place where Drow might not all be evil. Yes the vast, vast majority of them are demon-worshiping sadists. But not all of them.  Interestingly enough, the one humanoid I have always seen as Always Evil are Gnolls.  Something the Gnoll Sage line rejects. 

Again there are things going on here that are just on paper that I have been doing (and posting about here) forever.

Which Witch to Use?

This is my blog so I want to talk about which witch I would use with this RPG.  Design-wise Chromatic Dungeons can be used with just about every or any version of D&D or clones thereof.  So by that logic, any of my witch books should work fine.  But some work better than others, to be honest.

Chromatic Witches

Given when my Chromatic Dungeons books came in the mail I also got my new Pumpkin Spice Witch mini with some Candy Corn Dice.   So I have always felt that my Pumpkin Spice Witch book for Advanced Labyrinth Lord would be perfect.

Chromatic Pumpkin Spice Witch

Rule wise the Classical Witch or Amazon Witch is a better choice. But in any case, if you are playing CD then use the XP values in the CD books and the powers from whichever book you choose.

Personally, I like the idea of Fleabag coming into a "Home, Hearth & Heart" and having a conversation with Becky my Pumpkin Spice Witch.  She would offer them a PSL (though I see Fleabag more as an herbal tea drinker) and go on about their fur ("It looks so soft! Do you use conditioner? We have one here that I LOVE, it's on the house! Wait, you are not allergic to lavender are you?") and have a nice conversation about witches in the world.

In true Chromatic Dungeons fashion though I think there should be a coven with a witch from every Tradition I have represented.  So Pumpkin Spice, White, Green, Classical, Amazon, MaraAiséiligh, Winter, Faerie, Aquarian, Maleficia, Hedge, and Pagan.  That would be a lot of fun.  Not sure how they would all get along though.  Chromatic coven to be sure.

Pumpkin Spice Witch


Sunday, October 31, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witchcraft Documentaries

Last year I did a few documentaries and I rather enjoyed it.  I am WAY over the requirements for the challenge, so these are fine in my book.  Given all the streaming choices I have, I collected a nice list of these.  Hope to get through them all. 

The Witch of Kings Cross (2020)

I mentioned this one earlier the week.  This is documentary from Sonia Bible about surealist occult artist ] Rosaleen Norton. It is quite good really and an interesting look into an interesting life.  There is horror here, but the normal kind of what humans will do to each other when they are afraid of what they don't know or understand.

The Witch of Kings Cross (2020) Vampira and Me (2012)

Vampira and Me (2012)

A look at a contemporary of Norton, though on the other side of the world. This one covers the career and life of Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira. Writen, directed and produced by Ray Greene, this documentary doesn't shy away from the problems Nurmi faced in her life, but this is obviously a piece made by someone that considers Nurmi a friend.  Completed a few years after her death it features archival footage of Nurmi being interviewed by Greene for another project. I was sad to hear, though not surprised, that no material from her Vampira days still exist.   

Parallels can be drawn between Nurmi and Norton, women that bucked and went against the trend of what was expected of women in the 1950s.  Both embracing something darker in their own psyche I suppose to give us something entirely new.

I also read "Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark" by Cassandra Peterson this past month and there are plenty of parallels between Nurmi and Petersen as well as Vampiria and Elvira.  I heard the tale of of how Vampiria was involved, then not, with what would become Elvira Mistress of the Dark from both sides.  Again it is a tale where a woman is not given any agency for her creative efforts and how it turns out. Poorly in the case Nurmi and Vampiria.  Or what happens when she takes control and how it turns out. Well in the case of Petersen and Elviria. 

Ultimately Nurmi's tale is a sad one and one I fear is not all that uncommon.

Magic: Witchcraft and Magic (2004)

This one featured Patrick Macnee of The Avengers. Not the Marvel ones, the BBC ones.  This might have been made in 2004, but it feels like something out of the 80s or 90s.  There is not a lot of substance here.  In fact, pretty much anyone that reads this blog knows everything already knows all the material presented.  I was annoyed by some of it with some out right wrong information and other things, like talking to a white "magic shop" owner as their expert on Voodoo.  I supposed it is fine given how much of it they got wrong.   Can't recommend it all. 

Witchcraft and Magic (2004)

Witchcraft: A History of Dark Arts (2020)

From writer/director Kim Harrington.  The narration is from Deryn Oliver.  

It covers all sorts of witch-related topics, but none in detail.  The video is made up of a bunch of clips that have all the feel of "stock art."  They often never line up with what is being spoken about.  For example, a discussion of the Salem witch trials features an image of what appears to be a Bronze Age Rabbinical tribunal. Many of the images/clips are often reused. 

In general, the research is pretty good, this one might have more information that the readers here may or may not know.  If you have read most of my books then likely not.  Though there is more about Luciferian Witches than I typically talk about.

Deryn Oliver gives a great narration and her voice reminds me of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. 

Witchcraft: A History of Dark Arts (2020) Ghosts and Witches of Olde England (2001)

Ghosts and Witches of Olde England (2001)

This one largely focuses on stories of witches and ghosts of England. 

We cover ghosts like the ones from Dickens to evil ghosts in Cornwall.  Plenty of ghosts of priests were killed in the conversion of England from Catholicism to the Church of England. 

It was a fun watch, but there was not all that much that was new for me here.  I guess I should not be surprised at this point.

--

Here we are. The end of another October and Halloween.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from The Other Side!


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 62
First Time Views: 48

October Horror Movie Challenge: Halloween-eve Marathon

Hit a bunch of movies all day. One repeat, a couple are new, and couple are not very good.

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)

Also known as Night Warning is a fairly terrible movie I always remembered from the salacious cover. Baby Billy is left with his aunt while his parents drive out to start their new lives and jobs with plans to get Billy in a little bit.  Good thing because their breaks give out and they are killed. 

Move forward 15 years later and Billy is not a high school senior with a girlfriend and still living with his aunt.  I could go on, but the movie is like I said terrible. Aunt wants to bang Billy. So bad that she is killing everyone to keep him with her.

Man Beast (1956)

This was on Midnight Pulp while I was looking for something else.  Bigfoot-like creature in the Himalayas.  I watched it to double-check to see if I still dislike horror from the 1950s.   Yeah. Still do.  I nearly fell asleep.

Wicked Lake (2008)

Rewatched this one with the DVD commentary.  The cast had a blast doing this one.  Was sorting through all my horror DVDs to see which ones I can unload at Half-Price books.  It's still fun. It starts out looking like an "I Spit on Your Grave" rip off but at midnight the women turn the tables and kill everyone.  They are all witches and have powers.

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)Man Beast (1956)Wicked Lake (2008)


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 57
First Time Views: 43

Saturday, October 30, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Draug (2018)

Draug (2018)
This one was interesting. I was looking for a movie about one of my favorite topics, the last stand of Paganism against the rising tide of Christianity.  I was looking for something with witches, or even vampires.  If it was Swedish or Norwegian even better.  I was rather pleased to find this one.  It is in Swedish, so that is another language that I can add to my list this month.

Draug (2018)

In the 11th century, a missionary goes missing in the forests and Hakon (Ralf Beck) and his fosterling Nanna (Elna Karlsson) who is on her first mission.  They travel with the local Lord and Sherif Kettil (Thomas Hedengran), who feels a little like a Viking Lord of old.   We are told that there is something "old and evil" in the forests.

Kettil would like to torture all the villagers he encounters to get them to tell them where the missionaries are, later revealed to be a bishop, but Hakon, formerly "Hakon the Terrible" convinces him they don't have to. 

They travel through the dark Ödmården forest in Hälsingland on Sweden's east coast when they are attacked by bandits. The normal, human, kind, but it is still a horrific battle.  

While torturing one of the captives Nanna thinks she sees a body that later moves.  She then notices carrion birds that lead them to the dead bishop.

During the night Odd, one of the party that was wounded, is woken up by what looks like a dead body.  It attacks him and Deja, Kettil's slave and healer, sees it and screams. 

The Draugr attack in the night and kill most of the group leaving only Kettil, Nanna, Gunder, and Kol. They try to leave by a boat they find, but Kettil attacks Nanna thinking she is the witch that summoned the draugr.  Nanna has figured out how to stop the draugr and wants to try before they leave.  She enters some sort of trance where she is confronted by a witch (Lina Hedlund), who may or may not be her real mother. 

Nanna stays in the trance till dark. Gunder tries to wake her, and get everyone onto the boat. But he is killed by a draugr.  The boat capsizes leaving only Kettil and Nanna.  He kills Nanna, but only to late does he discover she isn't controlling the draugr and they kill him. 

In the post-credits scene we see Kol survive the boat wreck and he swims to shore.

Not a bad flick with some good scares, but the plotting could have been a little tighter.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 53
First Time Views: 40

 

Friday, October 29, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Another aka Mark of the Witch (2014) and Sorceress (2017)

This is another couple of movies that came recommended. Not sure if the recommendation though panned out.  These two have a lot in common. Both movies deal with dead mothers of witch girls, family curses, insanity, and both movies are way, way damn slow.

Another aka Mark of the Witch (2014)
Another aka Mark of the Witch (2014) 

On her 18th birthday, Jordyn (Paulie Rojas) begins to notice some strange things going on around her, starting with her Aunt harming herself.   Turns out that her mother was in some sort of cult with her sister and Jordyn was conceived during some ritual.   Her mother died in childbirth and her aunt has protected her this entire time.

Jordyn is going crazy seeing all sorts of strange things, but mostly someone that looks just like her doing evil acts.  As the movie, slowly, develops, we learn her doppelgänger, is the spirit of her mother trying to take over her life. 

The movie is 80 mins long, but if all the slow-motion scenes were played at normal speeds it would have only been an hour long, tops.

I wanted to like this movie more. It had a lot of good ideas going into it, but they never quite jelled in my mind.


Sorceress (2017)
Sorceress (2017)

So, oddly enough a lot of similar elements here.  We have girl, this time Nina (Naama Kates, also the writer and director) who's mother just died by suicide.  Nina has traveled to Russia to visit her mother's family.  Nina was told her life that she was a witch like her mother.  While she does not get along with her uncle and his family she does meet Katya.  Katya (Oona Airola) flirts with Nina and soon both women are living together.  Nina though is either going crazy, like her mother did, or does have magic, also...like her mother did. 

This one looks great; I find there is a bleak beauty to Russia, I find it oddly fascinating.  Sadly this is not enough to save this movie.

There is something about the intersection of madness and witchcraft.  Something that I think Rosaleen Norton was tapping into.  I was hoping for more with both movies to be honest. I am going to need to find more on this topic.  Hopefully ones that won't put me to sleep.

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 52
First Time Views: 39

Thursday, October 28, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Coven of Evil (2020)

Coven of Evil (2020)
I wanted to get in more witch movies this Challenge, but I am running out of days.  I added this one early one and just never got around to it till now.  Many of the reviews for it online are fairly bad but a couple suggests checking out for yourself. So I did.

Coven of Evil (2020)

Joe is a journalist and he just published his first article about a coven of witches in England.  He is later approached by the high priestess Evie asking him if he wants to come to one of their rituals so he could correct some inaccuracies he published.

He meets many of the members including Evie's jerk husband Zander and a few other guys who all live in the house.  There is also a woman upstairs that no one acknowledges.  

He agrees and is soon joining a ritual where he gets high and ends up having sex with one of the other girls, Talia (we think).  The next morning Joe wants to leave until he sees one of the other guys hitting one of the other girls. 

Joe finally runs into Alice, the girl he saw in the upstairs room. She later returns to her room where she is beaten with a belt by Zander.  He does it again when she sleepwalks out. The guy is a sadist.   For some reason, they don't want or let Alice join the coven.  

Some errors in the plot/script.   The night after she gets beaten by Zander so bad she needs a healing spell, she is walking around the house with a low-cut dress in the back.  No scars.  

We learn they are planning on sacrificing Alice, so they practice by killing Talia.

While all of this is going on Joe and Alice end up having sex, or at least trying. Turns out that when Joe had sex with "Talia" it was actually a drugged-out Alice. 

We get to the sacrifice and learn that Alice is no longer suitable for sacrifice but her unborn baby will be. 

The eclipse comes and Alice sees herself talking to herself telling her not to be weak.   She wakes up from her stupor and turns the knife onto Evie, who she ends up killing.   Turns out they summon the "Gate Keeper" anyway and he is pissed off that the sacrifices were inadequate. 

The Gatekeeper takes everyone to hell (or wherever) and leaving Alice and Joe.

A year later the baby is born and it might be evil.

They try for a "Wicker Man" vibe here and more or less get it.  The movie is independent, so don't expect great special effects, acting, or production values.   The biggest issue is the movie is slow and the script for the most part makes little sense at times.

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 50
First Time Views: 37

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Queen of Black Magic (1981, 2019)

Believe it or not, I did not get the streaming channel Shudder, until really recently.  I was building my list and I saw one I knew of but had not seen yet, 1981's The Queen of Black Magic, also known as Ratu Ilmu Hitam or Queen of the Dark Arts. I also saw there was a Shudder exclusive, 2019's The Queen of Black Magic.  Thinking they might be the same I opted to make a night of it.  

The Queen of Black Magic (1981)
The Queen of Black Magic (1981)

This one came highly recommended.  

Baedah is getting married, but something is wrong.  She sees maggots, snakes, and the groom as a corpse and his men as demons. Something also is attacking the local shaman.  The groom, Kohar, quickly decides that it must be Murni's fault because she is a witch. She is a witch because this is all her fault. Solid logic!  We learn that he had seduced Murni and took "her dignity" (virginity) but would not marry her. 

Murni is played by Indonesian horror queen Suzzanna (Suzzanna Martha Frederika van Osch).  "Murni" by the way means "Pure" in Indonesian.  Kohar and his mean go to her home and lynch her. He even slaps her old mother and sets their home on fire.  They toss her off the side of a cliff to make sure to "get rid of her black magic" but she is caught by a strange man.   

The man rescues her and nurses her back to health.  He tells her if they accuse of her black magic then she should use black magic to get her revenge. She will be the Queen of Black Magic.  

We get a "training montage" which involves Murni doing naked backflips under a full moon until smoke comes out of her head.  This had to be near-pornographic for Indonesia in the early 80s.

Murni returns to her village, much to the shock of the men that tried to kill her.  They try to warn Kohar, but she summons bees to kill one of them.  She then causes huge boils to form on another and they explode, filled with blood.   Gruesome, yet satisfying.  Lots of great examples of sympathetic magic here too.  

An Indonesian Lionel Richie-looking dude shows up to the village. He seems very religious and immune to the effects of black magic. 

Murni killing Kohar by getting him to rip off his own head is worth the price of admission alone.  Then watching Kohar's head fly around is just great. 

The becomes a battle between black magic and the power of the new stranger, Permana, invoking god. 

In their battle, we learn that Permana is Murni's older brother to learn from a holy man far away.  Makes sense since they both can do the same backflips.

They fight, but when the evil priest/magician that trains Murni shows up to kill Permana, Murni turns on him instead.  She blows him up with magic, but it is implied she dies as well.

Some great effects really, given the time and budget, and a fun story.


The Queen of Black Magic (2019)
The Queen of Black Magic (2019)

This one is also Indonesian and described as a loose-remake of the first. 

This one starts out strong. A family is driving back to visit the orphanage the father grew up in.  While talking they hit something. Getting out they find a deer on the side of the road, but it seems like it has been there a bit.  As they drive off we see a bloody girl on the other side of the road that they missed. 

They meet at the orphanage and others are also here to see the old caretaker., Mr. Bandi.

We learn that one of the kids from the orphanage was a girl named Murni. But no idea if it is the same one. Obviously, there is something about Murni that makes the adults very squeamish.  

Hanif, the father, is getting food from his car when he notices the blood on the car but also the black hair.  The deer he hit was brown.  Driving back he and one of his brothers, Jefri, find the girl.  They also find a bus full of the orphans and they are all dead. Murdered. 

They let their other brother Anton know and he drives back to see and go get the police.  He gets trapped on the bus and attacked by bugs. So many that his eyes pop out of their sockets.  Back at the orphanage the same thing is happening to his wife Eva.  Lina, believing she is too fat due to hormone treatments and begins cutting off bits of her flesh.   Eva rips off some of her skin and bugs come crawling out.

We learn the three boys as orphans discovered that Ms. Mirah had abducted a girl and was using black magic. So they locked her in a room where she banged her head against a door until she split her own skull open.  So with Mr. Bandi's help, they tore up the floor, put her body in, and covered it in cement. 

We see her ghost at one point. Damn. The Indonesians have some scary-ass monsters.

Nadya, Hanif's wife, discovers a bunch of photos of half-dressed underage girls that apparently Mr. Bandi took.  One of the girls is Siti, the woman married to Maman who invited them all there.   When confronted with the photos Siti tells everyone he did it with all the girls. When three were going to tell, he locked them in a room and poisoned them.  It seems that Ms. Mirah was protecting the girls and she was going to kill Mr. Bandi.   

Nif finds another picture and we learn that Murni was Ms. Mirah's daughter.

Something, Murni likely, begins to torture everyone. Eva is clawing her skin off, the orphans are being scalded with steaming water. Nif's children are getting whipped. It's all pretty brutal. 

Murni gets her head cut off, but puts it back on in an obvious nod to the first movie.  Nadya sets Murni on fire.

Later Nadya is picking Haniq from school but thinks she sees Murni. 

The movie ends with scenes from the 1981 original. 

--

Both movies were pretty good with some good scares and a good story.  Glad I watched them back to back. 

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 48
First Time Views: 35

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Featured Artist: Rosaleen Norton

I have not done one of these for so long.  I am watching "The Witch of Kings Cross" the documentary of artist Rosaleen Norton.  The movie is great and it reminded me how much I love her work.  Before I get into talking about Roie, I want to mention that actress Kate Elizabeth Laxton who plays Roie in the documentary is just fantastic.  

Ok. On to Roie.

Rosaleen Norton

Rosaleen Miriam Norton was born October 2, 1917 and lived till December 5, 1979.  She was considered to be an esoteric artist and one of Australia's most notorious artists.  She was one of the first women to ever be charged with obscenity for her art. 

So I guess fair warning for the art that follows.

satanic orgies

She referred to herself as a "witch" and used altered states of consciousness to make her art. She often called herself "Thorn," much like a craft name.  But her friends all called her Roie.

I came to know her via her art "The Seance."  I thought she had tapped into something deep and maybe even a little dark.  For someone young and obsessed with witches and the writings of C.G. Jung she seemed like some sort of prophetess or seeress to me. 

The Seance by Rosaleen Norton

Later I learned her art was fueled by drugs, sex, and trying to commune with other powers, in particular Pan.  Sounds perfect to me.  

If The Seance grabbed me, then her Lilith cemented her in the pantheon of people that influenced my RPG writings.


Lilith

The Spinner by Rosaleen Norton

She does a lot of Jungian archetypes in her art and I use the same ones when I wrote my first books on witches.

Bacchanal by Rosaleen Norton

Firebird by Rosaleen Norton

Fohat by Rosaleen Norton

Her demon Fohat (above) was something of her personal demon or even a Jungian Animus. 

Black Magic

Norton art

Rosaleen Norton



Norton art

Norton art

Norton art

Interviewer: What would be the state of the world if evil ruled?
Roie: Exactly as it is now.

If I could, her art would be the covers for all my books.

"I came into this world bravely, and I will leave this world bravely."

- Last Words of Rosaleen Norton