Special episode: Interview with Professor Christopher McGlothlin

We’re back with another special episode. This time, Paul talks to Professor Christopher McGlothlin about horror films. Primarily, they discuss the good professor’s current Kickstarter campaign, Transgressive Horror, a collection of essays by a variety of writers, looking into horror films that have somehow broken the rules.

McGlothlin goes into detail about the essays, explaining how they bring new and interesting perspectives to some familiar films and others that may be less well-known. He also shares his personal thoughts about horror films and his experiences as a horror fan.

The Kickstarter campaign ends on the 27th of May.

Transgressive Horror edited by Christopher McGlothlin

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

The Abominable Dr Phibes film poster
Night of the Living Dead film poster
Episode 208: Investigator Organisations in Call of Cthulhu

We’re back and we’re looking for like-minded individuals to join our investigator organisation. Sure, the pay is awful but the work is disgusting, deadly, and likely to drive you insane. It’s a bit like working in IT, only moister. Give us a moment and we’ll dig out the forms you need to expense shotgun shells and dynamite. The medical benefits are good but do remember to bring any severed limbs back from missions if you expect us to reattach them. Welcome aboard, and thank you for not asking too many questions about how this vacancy arose!

Main Topic: Investigator Organisations

Once again, we’re delving into some of the underpinnings of Call of Cthulhu. In the more innocent days of the ’80s, we generally handwaved the reasons why a new investigator might step into the smoking shoes of their fallen predecessor. While this was convenient, it usually required active suspension of disbelief. Having some sort of organisation that might recruit investigators or provide them with a rationale for banding together makes a lot more sense than flagging down a random taxi driver and telling them that they are now part of the fight against alien gods that would consume humanity. It also saves a fair bit on tips.

Of course, investigator organisations have been around for most of Call of Cthulhu‘s life. It wasn’t until 7th edition that they were formalised, however. Now, the Investigator Handbook devotes an entire chapter to investigator organisations, offering a wealth of examples. Building on this, many subsequent Call of Cthulhu publications have also incorporated them. For instance, you’ll find entire sections on investigator organisations in Pulp Cthulhu and World War Cthulhu: London.

So, what makes an interesting investigator organisation? What kinds of groups might form and for what purposes? And how might we use investigator organisations in unusual ways?

call of cthulhu investigator handbook cover

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

SOE handbook cover

News

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be creeping your way before the end of June. It features a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. Matt offers us a few tantalising details in this episode. Everyone backing us on Patreon will receive a Tome. Please see our Patreon page for more details.

The Blasphemous Tome issues 1-6

Transgressive Horror

Paul speaks briefly to Christopher McGlothlin about his current Kickstarter campaign. Transgressive Horror is a collection of essays by a variety of writers, looking into horror films that have broken the rules. The campaign ends on the 27th of May.

Episode 207: Strange NPCs - Albert Fish

We’re back and we’re presenting a somewhat darker episode than usual. While The Good Friends of Jackson Elias is definitely a horror podcast, most of the horror we discuss is rooted in the fantastic. In this episode, however, we’ve decided to look into some real nightmares from the classic 1920s era for gaming inspiration and talk about Albert Fish.

Main Topic: Albert Fish

Originally, this episode was going to form a segment in one of our Great NPCs of History series. There were a couple of problems, however. The first was that once we had dug into the research, there was so much material that it would require a full episode. More important was that however fascinating we find Albert Fish, there is nothing about him we could describe as “great”.

If you’ve heard the name Albert Fish before, you should have some idea of what to expect from the episode. Otherwise, be warned that he was a serial killer, sexual predator and cannibal who targeted children. He also delighted in taunting the families of his victims. His crimes are the stuff of nightmare. While we try to present the details soberly and without too much prurient detail, this episode will not be to everyone’s tastes.

As ever, our motivation is to find inspiration for Call of Cthulhu. While the actual crimes of Albert Fish are too horrible for most games, details of the police investigation, newspaper reporting and trial that his crimes spawned should prove useful to Keepers of classic-era campaigns.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Albert Fish's 1903 mugshot
Albert Fish’s 1903 mugshot
Albert Fish shortly before his execution
Albert Fish shortly before his execution

News

Chaosium Reprints

Matt discusses some goodies from Chaosium that have landed on his front doorstep. Horror on the Orient Express and Beyond the Mountains of Madness are now available again in print-on-demand format. As Matt points in the segment, however, the binding quality is a lot higher than you might expect from POD. He also touches upon the new scenario collection, Does Love Forgive?

Horror on the Orient Express reprint covers

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be escaping into the wild before the end of June. It includes a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. Everyone backing us on Patreon will receive a copy. Please see our Patreon page for more details.

The Blasphemous Tome issues 1-6
Episode 206: The Willows

We’re back and we’re going on our summer holidays! What could be finer than drifting down the Danube, marvelling at all the willows crowding these sandy little islets? Well, maybe not being consumed or driven mad by the unseen cosmic forces lurking within them. But that’s just the kind of risk you take when you go camping.

Main Topic: The Willows

Following on from our recent discussion of cosmic horror, we thought it might be helpful to look at an example of the genre. Dating back to 1907, Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” is one of the earliest examples of cosmic horror. It was also a profound influence on the young HP Lovecraft, who later raved about it in Supernatural Horror in Literature. Unfortunately, as we explore in the episode, this admiration was not reciprocal.

As usual, we dig into the story in detail, looking for inspiration for our Call of Cthulhu games. Also, as usual, we disagree about almost everything.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely, safely separated by invisible dimensional barriers.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Algernon Blackwood

News

The Meat Trade on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott has been running World War Cthulhu: London for our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody. His scenario, “The Meat Trade”, delves into the underworld of wartime London, in more ways than one. The first episode will go out on the Ain’t Slayed Nobody Patreon feed towards the end of April.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be escaping into the wild before the end of June. It includes a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. Everyone backing us on Patreon will receive a copy. Please see our Patreon page for more details. If you would like to submit a short (up to 500 words) article or piece of black-and-white artwork, please contact us on social media or email us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com

Episode 205: Cosmic Horror

We’re back and we’re and we’re contemplating the secrets of the universe. People have warned us that it isn’t good for the human psyche to truly understand its insignificance in the wider cosmos. Luckily, as podcasters, our egos are robust enough to withstand such a spiritual winnowing. Cosmic horror is only genuinely horrific if your place in the universe isn’t secured by the occasional appearance towards the bottom of a niche podcast chart!

Main Topic: Cosmic Horror

This episode is our long-overdue look at cosmic horror. The term “cosmic horror” is often used as a synonym for Lovecraftian horror. Is there more to this relationship, however? For all his passion for the genre, how effective was Lovecraft at writing cosmic horror? How can we bring cosmic dread into our games of Call of Cthulhu? And what the hell is cosmic horror anyway?

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely. Although, on a cosmic scale, we’re practically in the same room.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Patreon Changes

We’ve recently made some changes to our Patreon tiers. These centre on how we deliver The Blasphemous Tome. As of the next Tome, we will send a PDF to $1 backers, a code for a print-on-demand copy to $3 backers, and hand-printed and signed copies to those at $5 and above. Check our Patreon page for more details.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

The reason for these Patreon changes is that we will now be putting out two full Blasphemous Tomes per year. While the .5 summer releases started life as an overflow for material we couldn’t fit in the standard Tome, they’ve proved very popular. As a result, we’re promoting them to full Tomes, which means they will be available in print as well as PDF. Issue 7 is due out in June and will include a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. We’ll have more details for you soon!