Episode 182: Disgust and Body Horror

We’re back and we’re here to talk about body horror and… Hang on. Can anyone else smell that? It’s sweet and cloying, and not in a good way. Everything we touch feels moist, which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t warm too. That mushy slurp whenever we lift our shoes isn’t helping either. Maybe it’s related to those little shapes we can see wriggling down there. On the bright side, if we end up vomiting in here, it’s not going to make things any worse.

Main Topic: Disgust and Body Horror

This episode is our exploration of the linked topics of disgust and body horror. We were originally going to cover disgust in our episode about Making Call of Cthulhu Scary, but ran out of time. And body horror has been on our list for some time. It seemed logical to send the two topics through the telepods, melding them into a twitching, mewling hybrid of an episode.

Once again, Mike Mason, the line editor for Call of Cthulhu, joins the discussion and offers his insights. We explore the role of disgust in horror and how we might go about harnassing it in our games. Then, we move on to discussing what makes body horror so effective. Finally, we wrap up the episode by licking the floor under our fridges. It’s tangy!

Researching this topic can really get under one’s skin

Once again, the current lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We hope that we’re getting the hang of making this sound all right. It’s far from the biggest problem current circumstances have presented, but it’s still a challenge.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Help yourself to some wrigglers

News

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 5.5

We are currently putting together issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is an interim digital edition of the fanzine we publish for our Patreon backers. Issue 5.5 will contain a number of pieces we couldn’t fit into our last print edition, along with all-new articles and artwork. It will also feature a new Call of Cthulhu scenario by Scott, titled “The Murder Shack”. Anyone backing us at the time of release (expected to be early July) will receive a PDF copy. If you would like to submit a short article or a piece of artwork, we would love to hear from you!

Covers of Tomes from bygone years

News From Chaosium

Mike shares details of some exciting Call of Cthulhu publications and actual play recordings from Chaosium.

We’re back and we’re keeping ourselves busy while quarantined. This largely involves catching up with books, films, television, and other inspirational media. It was either that or necromancy, and books smell nicer.

So we thought we’d help keep you entertained at the same time. This is the first of a limited run of special lockdown episodes for our Patreon backers. We’re releasing them on the off-weeks, between normal episodes, where they will lurk like the entities that live in the spaces between spaces. The specials are less likely to eat you, however. We hope.

If you would like to gain access to these special episodes, simply back us on Patreon at any level. We will continue to release our standard episodes every fortnight as usual.

If you are a backer, you will find a post in your Patreon feed with a download link, and the episode will appear in the Patreon RSS feed.

In this episode, we discuss a few horror films we’ve seen recently. As ever, we also offer our thoughts about how they might inspire games.

The particular films we discuss are:

We also mention the Tear Them Apart podcast’s lively dissection of Color Out of Space. Highly recommended if you want to hear a much less positive take than ours.

Episode 178: A Warning to the Curious

We’re back and we’re heading off to the seaside. People might tell you that Suffolk can be bleak at this time of year, but what do they know? There’s plenty to enjoy here. The hotel is pleasant enough, although we’re not sure why they gave us a private sitting room. Our shoes have never looked so shiny thanks to the boots and all his elbow grease. That nice old man at the curiosity shop keeps showing us wonderful things that belonged to dead people. And while the sand is too fine for making sandcastles, it’s nice and soft for digging. Everything here is rather idyllic. If it weren’t for the hideous ghost following us and the sense of impending doom, this would be the best holiday ever. Four stars on TripAdvisor.

Main Topic: A Warning to the Curious

While we’ve wrapped up our discussion of ghosts, we haven’t quite left the spectral world behind yet. Or maybe it refuses to leave us alone. Once these spectres set their sights on you, they can prove vexingly dogged. We’re going to keep away from any Martello towers, just to be safe.

Almost as frightening to us as they were to Napoleon.

This episode explores M R James’ classic English ghost story, “A Warning to the Curious”. England has an enduring love for ghost stories, and James is the towering figure in the field. We spend some time talking about the man himself and how his work has retained its appeal. Then we go digging for treasure in one of his best-known tales, looking for inspiration for our Call of Cthulhu games. We’re sure everything will be fine.

See? The locals are even keeping a lookout for us.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

The man himself

News

Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Paul recommends Ain’t Slayed Nobody, a relatively new Call of Cthulhu actual play podcast focusing on Down Darker Trails. They are up to three episodes now and may branch out into other Cthulhu settings in subsequent shows.

One Cut of the Dead on Tear Them Apart

Our good friends Evan Dorkin and Paul Yellovich at the Tear Them Apart podcast recently released an episode about the marvellous Japanese horror film, One Cut of the Dead. You should seek this out even if you have no interest in found-footage or zombie films (especially if you don’t). It is full of surprises and pure joy. You should also go into it with as foreknowledge as possible of what you are about to see. And then you should listen to the Tear Them Apart episode about it.

Voluminous: The Letters of H P Lovecraft

And we have yet another newish podcast to recommend: Voluminous. Our good friends at the H P Lovecraft Historical Society are discussing Lovecraft’s copious correspondence, with each episode focusing on a single letter. And, as Paul mentions, who could be a better choice to present such a podcast?

We’re back and we’re being haunted by all the material we couldn’t fit into the last episode. Happily, we have managed to lay it to rest by discussing it in this second instalment. At least we hope we have. Spectral podcasts are as difficult to exorcise as earworms. We know of only one way of getting such things out of our heads.

A good trepanning can sort out most of life’s problems, not to mention the problem of life itself.

Main Topic: Ghosts in Call of Cthulhu part 2

This is the second of two episodes looking at ghosts and how they tie into Call of Cthulhu. The first focused on ghost stories and folklore. This time, we discuss how (and if) ghosts might fit into Call of Cthulhu and the wider Cthulhu Mythos.

While Lovecraft wrote a handful of tales which might be considered ghost stories, these were usually unrelated to his Mythos fiction. We debate whether it is reasonable to draw all of Lovecraft’s work into our own interpretations of the Mythos, regardless of Lovecraft’s intent. Building on that, we discuss which canon elements of the Mythos might serve as substitutes for ghosts in a more purist game. Mostly, however, we just argue about stuff. You know the drill.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

When is a ghost not a ghost?
Pepper’s ghost terrifying a theatre audience in Victorian London

News

Concrete Cow 20

Concrete Cow 20 will take place on Saturday the 14th of March. This is Milton Keynes’ own one-day RPG convention, held in the Old Bath House in Wolverton. Tickets are £5 on the door. We will be there and we would love to see you!

Concrete Cow logo

Scott on the RPG Heroes Podcast

Scott recently appeared as a guest on the relatively new podcast, RPG Heroes. As the name implies, the main subject is who the guest’s heroes are in the world of RPGs. Klaas also talked to Scott about building atmosphere in horror games and whether Call of Cthulhu scenarios need to be investigations.

Paul on The Grognard Files Podcast

Paul has also been guesting on other podcasts. The recent interview he recorded with Dirk the Dice at Grogmeet 2019 for The Grognard Files is now available for your ears to enjoy.

We’re back and we’re getting the willies. Has anyone ever used that phrase and not received a derisive response? But, as we’ve discussed before, laughter is often a way of protecting ourselves against fear. And what is scarier than a good ghost story?

Maybe a terrifying apparition like this.

Main Topic: Ghosts in Call of Cthulhu part 1

This is the first of two episodes looking at ghosts and how they tie into Call of Cthulhu. Our original plan was to do it all in a single episode, but we talked too much.

As a result, this first part is largely us exploring what we think ghosts might be, as well as discussing what we do and don’t like in a ghost story. If you think the answer is “ghosts”, you might be surprised.

Next episode, we shall dig more into how we’d use ghosts in our games, and whether ghosts even belong in Call of Cthulhu.

Getting rid of ghosts can prove a nuisance, so maybe best leave them there.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Concrete Cow 20

Concrete Cow 20 will take place on Saturday the 14th of March. This is Milton Keynes’ own one-day RPG convention, held in the Old Bath House in Wolverton. Tickets are £5 on the door. All three of us will be there and we would love to see you!

Concrete Cow logo

Deadlight and Other Dark Turns

The print edition of Dead Light and Other Dark Turns is due out shortly. This classic-era Call of Cthulhu anthology features Alan Bligh’s much-loved “Dead Light”, along with a new scenario, “Saturnine Chalice”, by our very own Matt Sanderson.

Cthulhu Idol Charity Auction

Good friend of the Good Friends, David Kirkby, is auctioning another blasphemous sculpture to raise money for charity. After the success of his earlier Pad’thulhu auction, he’s now selling a unique, hand-painted idol of Cthulhu. The money raised will be split between Cancer Research UK and the firefighting efforts in Australia.