Friday, October 4, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Motel Hell (1980)

All this AND Wolfman Jack!

I remember watching this one back when it first came out, but that's nearly 40 years ago so I forgot a lot.

True story, I once wrote a review for this movie for my school newspaper but they wanted me to censor the word "Hell".

This movie was the first of what I would later come to call "Country Horror" or "Rural Gothic", which is appropriate given the poster's "homage" to American Gothic. 

I'll be honest, the whole cutting the victims vocal cords really creeped me out back then.  The movie does not hold up well, at all really, but there is a certain campiness about it that is fun.

Nancy Parsons (Ida) would, of course, go on to fame as Beulah Balbricker in the Pork's films and other bit parts.

In some ways, this movie gave us the concept of the comedic horror film of the 80s.    Not intentionally of course.  I feel this movie, while trying to be a 70s Grindhouse horror, gave us the seeds that would later grow into Nightmare on Elm Street and the Evil Dead movies (though Evil Dead was already in production by then).

Watched: 4
New: 3

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

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars RPG

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

Featured Artist: Christina "Catilus" Kritikou

It's been a while since I have done a Featured Artist and that is a crime. So to make up for it I want to share some great artists I have found recently.

Up first is Christina "Catilus" Kritikou.

I first found Christina on the D&D Artist Facebook group and I loved her style.  Once I started digging there was even more great stuff out there.

Here is Christina in her manager's words.
Christina Kritikou

Christina Kritikou has been drawing and doodling practically forever. A few years ago, she took the plunge to go pro and recently started doing art fulltime with the brand name/mascot Catilus, one of her fantastic creatures. She prefers to create her sketches with pencil on paper and then use her digital pen to illustrate her works.

Christina loves drawing character portraits and group compositions with strong fantasy and science fiction themes. She is a prolific creator of homebrew D&D content, and some of her D&D items, such as her Cape of Nine Lives and Butter Cookie Tin became really popular across social media (much to her surprise!)

As a lifelong comic lover, Christina has recently launched her own webcomic: INTERSPACE PIRATE XUNA on LINE WEBTOON. About the comic: “Ancient terrors, interspace pirates, a weapon that can wipe out half the galaxy. Can Xuna save mankind and outsmart the ancient Masters while dealing with a ragtag crew of hot guys?”

Christina is very friendly and loves discussing character concepts. Feel free to contact her if you want her to draw something for you, or just feel like chatting with an up-and-coming artist and comic author.

She has some great art.  This is only a small sample.

And some great D&D magic item cards!

I can see all of those in the home of a Halfling Witch!

So check out her art and her Patreon. Maybe commission some character art from her too!


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Forest (1982)

This one was an "attack of opportunity" it showed up this afternoon and though, what the hell, it's close enough to my theme this year. 

The Forest (1982)

Well, what do we have here? Campy dialog, cheesy music, casual sexism, murders.  It's light on the horror, to be honest.

We see a couple hiking in the woods and without introduction or preamble, they are killed.
We then get to our "heroes" of
Two couples decide to go camping with the women heading up first followed by their husbands. 

I have to mention how bad the soundtrack is.  The theme song is particularly bad.  "In the DARK SIIIIDE OF THE FOOOOREST!"

The two guys argue and complain about everything. I already hate them.

Some creepy kids show up. I can't tell if they are supposed to be ghosts or not.  I am going to assume they are ghosts, it keeps it more entertaining.   The creepy kids get their creepy dad, who I am also going to assume is a ghost, and he goes hunting for the two women.  Yes. This is the "Daddy" mentioned on the poster.

Well, the "Dad" is not a ghost, but a garden variety psycho-killer, turned cannibal.
One of the dudes is killed by "Daddy" and the other one gets hurt, but Sharon kills the Dad.  The kids then move on to the next world.

I'd like my 90 mins back now.

Watched: 2
New: 2

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

What IS the Pumpkin Spice Witch really?

So in between getting my courses done for the second half of Fall term and the start of Spring Term I am working like crazy to get my "silly little project" done.

What is that?  Well, that would be my Pumpkin Spice Witch book.

Like I mentioned before, it started out as a bit of a joke, but it has quickly grown into something more.  Yes, I am going to have some good-natured jabs at "pumpkin spice culture" and fall. 
But you know what?

I love fall! I love pumpkin spice. I love cool weather, Halloween, picking apples, and getting pumpkins and everything that goes with it.  I am also still enough of an academic to always feel that my year starts in the Fall.

So this book is also a celebration of all things Fall, Halloween and witchy.  I am going to embrace the stereotypes and show why I love them.

Plus there are some wicked cool spells in here.  So yeah, spells like Oh my God, Becky!, You Can’t Sit With Us, and Live, Laugh, Love may sound a little silly, but they are spells that no witch is going to want to be without.

I am so enjoying this book in fact that I have some Jeff Dee art that I commissioned that I think I want to use for this.  That's how highly I think of it.

It will work perfectly with my other Basic Era Witch class books and the new Pumpkin Spice Edition Labyrinth Lord.

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