We’re back and we’re puzzling over titles. If you were making a Gothic horror film about a haunted village, you might wisely consider a name like Curse of the Dead. Hell, if you wanted to cash in on the popularity of a more famous film, you could even rerelease it as Curse of the Living Dead. On the other hand, you might go for Operation Fear as something more unusual, although that is a bit too close to “Project Fear” for this post-Brexit age. If you were German, you may even consider The Dead Eyes of Dr Dracula, although you might struggle to explain why. On balance, maybe Kill, Baby… Kill! isn’t the worst title you could come up with, although it is close. Maybe another bump of cocaine will shake some inspiration loose.
Main Topic: Kill, Baby… Kill!
Building on last episode’s exploration of Gothic horror, we thought we’d follow up with a look at a film that typifies the genre. There are a great many films ostensibly linked to the Gothic, but far fewer that really embody both the tropes and the aesthetic. And, when you narrow things down in those terms, one director stands out: Mario Bava.
Kill, Baby… Kill! may not be particularly well known, but it turns up regularly on critics’ lists of the best horror films. It’s a strange affair, made on a ludicrously tight budget and largely improvised. As our hosts’ reactions demonstrate, it is not a film for everyone, Still, if you are a fan of classic Italian horror or just dreamlike atmosphere with flashes of weirdness, you’re in for a treat.
Things we mention in this episode include:
- Mario Bava
- Black Sunday (1960)
- The Whip and the Body (1963)
- Black Sabbath (1963)
- Baron Blood (1972)
- Blood and Black Lace (1964)
- A Bay of Blood (1971)
- All of the Colors of the Dark by Tim Lucas
- Calvaire (The Ordeal) (2004)
- “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” by HP Lovecraft
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- “A Few of My Favourite Things” from Weep for Unknown Armies
- Constantine (2005)
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- Opus Dei
- Miss Havisham
- The Changeling (1980)
- The Shining (1980)
- Child’s Play (1988)
- Poltergeist (1982)
- Annabelle (2014)
- Lucio Fulci
- Twin Peaks
- The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
- Deep Red (1975)
- World War Cthulhu: Cold War
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
- Crimson Peak (2015)
- True Detective
- The Witch (2015)
- Let the Right One In (2008)
- Deliverance (1972)
- Frankenstein (1931)
- Dracula (1931)
- Angel Heart (1987)
- Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg
- Sleepy Hollow (1999)
- Ed Wood (1994)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
- Cronos (1992)
- The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
- Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
Matt at Con-Tingency
Matt will be attending the Con-Tingency convention in Hunstanton later this month. The convention officially runs between the 18th and 22nd of January, but unofficial games start whenever people arrive. Matt is probably there right now. While he is excited to be going, he has promised to take things easier than usual, given his ongoing convalescence. If you are there, please do say hi to him! And tell him to get some sleep.
While we were recording, we received a message telling us our old friend Matt Nixon had just died in hospital. This makes the last five minutes of the episode unusually sombre.
If you have attended more than a few British conventions over the past 25 years, you almost certainly knew Matt. “Larger than life” may be an overused phrase, but it’s hard to think of a better description. He was a compelling presence at every gathering — boisterous, gregarious and, sometimes, abrasive. Everyone who knew Matt could tell you a tale of him getting on their nerves or saying something ill-advised, but the chances are that they would then follow it up with a memory of Matt being kind, charming, or, at least, comically mischievous. Like everyone, he was a complicated individual.
Matt’s games were the stuff of legend. All three of us played with him whenever we could. He was a creative GM, never short of an idea, and his enthusiasm and love of shocking people made him a natural at running horror. This led to Matt becoming a member of the Kult of Keepers, the Call of Cthulhu GM collective that, indirectly, spawned 7th edition.
But, most of all, Matt was a character. Drunken conversations with him were a highpoint of any convention, as well as an endless source of anecdotes. Even when he was at his most provocative, the stories we told about him afterwards were usually accompanied by wry smiles.
All three of us shall miss Matt immensely. He has left a hole in the UK gaming world that only he could have filled.