We’re back and we’re on our Midsommar holiday. Happily, we don’t have anything as horrific as Cliff Richard to contend with. It’s only the usual festivals, drugs and human sacrifice. The locals seem nice enough, although Paul’s comments about their music might be getting to them. Oh well. What’s the worst that could happen?
Main Topic: Midsommar
This episode is our look at the 2019 American/Swedish folk horror film, Midsommar. It is an unusually sun-drenched horror, long in running time and short on action. As you might imagine, this led to some disagreement amongst us as to whether it is the best film of the year or slightly less fun than root canal.
Things we mention in this episode include:
- Lincolnshire Poacher
- Matt’s “Cadenza” scenario from Covert Actions
- Folk Horror
- The Wicker Man
- NC-17 rating
- Runic alphabets
- They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Blood Eagle
- Father Ted
- The Poena cullei, penalty of the sack
- Roman execution methods
- The Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs
Matt at ConTingency
Once again, Matt is heading off to the seaside. There is no finer time to visit the east coast of Great Britain than late January. The North Sea always has a warm welcome waiting for you. Matt, however, will be spending his time indoors, playing games. This is his annual pilgrimage to ConTingency, the extended residential convention that has now moved to Hunstanton in Norfolk. If you are attending the convention, be sure to sign up to his games and set fire to all the NPCs.
Smart Party Dragonmeet Seminar
When Paul visited Dragonmeet late last year, he joined Mike Mason and our good friends from the Smart Party for a seminar. They discussed ideas about how to be a better player, some extending beyond bringing snacks and not falling asleep at the table. You can find a recording of the seminar at the Smart Party’s website.
Rivers of London RPG
The other bit of excitement at Dragonmeet was the announcement of the forthcoming Rivers of London RPG from Chaosium. Based on the Peter Grant police procedural/urban fantasy novels by Ben Aaronovitch, the game will use a version of BRP customised by our very own Paul Fricker. More news as it becomes available.
The Whisperer in Darkness
We also briefly mention the audio adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness” that the BBC is releasing as a podcast. This follows on from their previous adaptation of “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. In both cases, the events are presented as an investigative podcast, complete with hints of connections to the wider Mythos. You can also access these programmes through the BBC Sounds app.
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(Partial) rune expert here — though Anglo Saxon rather than Elder Futhark. The hourglass rune is dagaz, rotated ninety degrees (which IS odd). While it could mean “hope”, I suspect that it’s more likely to represent the letter D, in that it’s her initial.
The other rune is a reversed ratho, or R. Could mean “journey”, or could be that her surname Ardor is quite r-filled.
She’s just got her name on her uniform; no big deal.
Huh. That’s odd. I would have expected much more meaning given the general attention to detail.
What IS weird though, is that those are the same runes at the top of the maypole
I think this is an excellent film. I listened to the podcast and agree with Scott at how its understatement at times is perfect. Nothing more needs to be shown. I didn’t realise there was a director’s cut which I will seek out now.
A few things to mention about the podcast:
1) The day before the cliff ritual Josh, who is initially the most into researching the community, is reading ( a book of Pele’s ? ) and sees the word Ättestupa. He questions Pele if this is actually going to happen and Pele confirms it. Josh’s facial reaction is important here – he actually knows the two elderly community members are going to sacrifice themselves but chooses not to tell his friends what they are about to witness. Excessive scientific detachment or bad call ?
1) You didn’t tackle when Simon’s girlfriend goes missing, several of the Americans hear screaming in the distance and dismiss it – why ? This is possibly the only thing I find puzzling about the film.
2) I think it is her foot in the flowerbed actually, not Josh’s.
3) In the podcast Matt is derisive about the bear saying it is a random, unexplained thing but several of the cult’s tapestries depict it as the “big bad” that they have to protect against.