We’re back and we’re trying to keep all this blood from staining our carpets. Worse still, we can’t get the smell out goat out of our best robes. Everything will be ruined at this rate. When we decided to do an episode about occult horror, we didn’t think the real horror was going to be the cleaning bills. The sacrifices we make!
Main Topic: Occult Horror
After spending a couple of episodes discussing how Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu relate to real occultism, we thought we’d get a little more lurid. This is our look at the genre of occult horror, which is something quite different than occultism. It is the blood-drenched, Satan-worshipping, virgin-sacrificing insanity that you would encounter in more disreputable sources, such as tabloids or Dennis Wheatley novels.
We begin by trying to define the genre and mentioning some of its more famous proponents, at least in twentieth-century literature. Our terms established, we then break occult horror down into its main tropes and discuss how we might use these in our games. Call of Cthulhu may not precisely be an occult horror game, but it is suffused with the genre’s sulphurous influence.
Some of the things we mention in this episode include:
- Folk horror
- Writers of the Golden Dawn: Bram Stoker, Arthur Machen, AE Waite, Algernon Blackwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, E Nesbit, WB Yeats and Aleister Crowley.
- “Man-Size in Marble”
- Simon Iff
- The Cottingley Fairies
- Montague Summers
- The Malleus Maleficarum
- Dennis Wheatley
- The Devil Rides Out
- They Used Dark Forces
- To the Devil a Daughter
- Jack Chick
- The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult
- Black Sabbath
- Tim Powers
- Arturo Pérez-Reverte
- Dreams in the Witch House
- “Casting the Runes”
- “The Caller of the Black”
- From Hell
- “The Monkey’s Paw”
- The Ching Ming festival
- Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs
- Our interview with Sandy Petersen
Concrete Cow 19 1/2 is approaching faster than anything made out of concrete should be able to. This is the one-day RPG convention held twice per year in Milton Keynes. Full details can be found on the Concrete Cow website. At least some of us will be there, so please come along and say hi if you’re in the area.
Writers of occult horror would have you believe that blood-fuelled, orgiastic rites take place behind innocuous doors in suburbia. Nothing about this episode’s songs would change their minds. Our frenzied celebrations of two new $5 Patreon backers must have summoned a demon or two.
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