Episode061

We’re back, and we’re watching horror films about books. We don’t mean films based on books (although one is, just to confuse things), but films where a book plays a central role. In fact, you could argue that the books in question are characters and not mere plot devices. Wooden performances are easier to forgive when you’re largely made of wood pulp.

NinthGate

If you flick the pages just right, you can hear a distinct “Whoa”.

Our two choices are The Ninth Gate  (1999) and Maléfique (2002). We didn’t mean to review another Polanski film so soon after our dust-up over Repulsion in episode 51, but the Devil made us do it. Predictably, we disagree completely about the film’s merits once again, although this time the tables are turned.

malefique

“That got a bit heated!”

Our discussion takes in some other French horror films that followed in the wake of Maléfique, including High Tension/Switchblade Romance, InsideFrontière(s), Martyrs and Livid. We end, as ever, with a look at what elements we can steal for use in our games.

malefique_2002

“Attract Fish? Should be safe enough…”

In the introduction, we discuss getting ready for the Concrete Cow convention in Milton Keynes. True to form, we weren’t organised enough to do this in an episode that would come out before the convention. The good news is that you don’t have long to wait until the next one. Concrete Cow 16 takes place on the 12th of March 2016, and it will be the convention’s 10th birthday celebration. There will be cake. And games. And cows. Well, maybe not cows.

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Not pictured: Scott or Matt doing rude things.

Episode057

We’re back from the distant past! Our minds have escaped the sinister and rugose clutches of the Great Race, and we have returned to the present to wrap up our discussion of Lovecraft’s classic story, The Shadow Out of Time. In this episode we give our own personal impressions of the story, take a look at adaptations and have a chat about what elements we can steal for games.

Lovecraft punk

Speaking of stealing stuff, here’s that picture of punk Lovecraft, originally posted by Alex Mayo, that we’re convinced is actually a photograph of Paul.

The only film adaptation we could find was an odd Swedish short (with English narration) that condenses the story into 15 minutes. The result is how we’d imagine a modern piece by Georges Méliès would look, if he weren’t too busy being dead. Happily the film is on YouTube, so you can enjoy its pleasingly idiosyncratic style by taking no more strenuous action than clicking below.

We also mention the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s audio adaptation, which is part of their excellent Dark Adventure Radio Theatre line. A very different audio take on the story is The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets‘ concept album, The Shadow Out of Tim. We were supposed to be discussing this with singer (not to mention prolific RPG artist and writer) Toren Atkinson, but, appropriately enough, time worked against us. Here’s a little taste of the album by way of recompense.

And, as ever, you can find a comprehensive and eclectic analysis of the story over at the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast. Their discussion of The Shadow Out of Time begins here.

Episode55

We’re back, and we’re looking at a couple of old favourites: Re-Animator and From Beyond. While these films have been around for almost as long as Matt, we would still be remiss if we didn’t warn you that we spoil them quite comprehensively. As we are gentlemen, or at least wear their skins in a convincing manner, we have once again saved these spoilers till the end of the episode, with clear warning of when they start.

From Beyond 2

We’ve seen what happens to people who don’t give spoiler warnings.

While there are more film adaptations of Lovecraft stories than eyes on a shoggoth, not many are features. Of those, most of the stand-outs were made by one director: Stuart Gordon. While Gordon often injects elements of sex, violence and comedy that would agitate Lovecraft’s essential salts in violent eddies of displeasure, few would argue that his work is filled with an energetic enthusiasm for its source material.

Re-Animator 1

And the occasional severed head…

We’re joined for this episode by Mike Mason, line editor for Call of Cthulhu and fellow Stuart Gordon fan. This episode was recorded before the recent changes at Chaosium, so there is no discussion of them. This may be for the best, as we found rather a lot to say about the films. If we’d got to discussing Chaosium as well, we’d probably still be recording now.