Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with Zero being the lowest and five being the highest.

THE REVIEW

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (hereafter referred to as ROTPOTA) is a reboot of the Apes movie series from 1968-1973. Specifically, it is a remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and attempts to explain, as Chuck Heston put it in the original Apes, “How in the hell did this upside-down society get started?” In the original, Caesar the talking chimp was introduced to our current time by his backward time traveling parents Cornelius and Zira (In Escape from the Planet of the Apes). ROTPOTA depicts Caesar being accidentally created by well meaning scientist Will Rodman (James Franco –  in a totally forgettable performance) who is working on a cure for alzheimer’s disease. He is developing a virus that attacks the disease and causes the brain to repair itself. One of his test subjects is Caesar’s mom, Bright Eyes. Rodman’s dad (wonderfully played by John Lithgow) suffers from this terrible disease, so Will has extra motivation to find a cure. After the worst progress report meeting in the history of progress report meetings occurs, the testing is shut down and Will is ordered to destroy all of the test monkeys. But once he looks into baby Caesar’s little green eyes (Which indicates that he has got the test virus in him and is uber smart) he can’t bring himself to do it and instead decides to take him home. This act of kindness, as you can imagine, will ultimately have REALLY BAD consequences for the other 6 billion or so folks living on the planet.

We see Caesar (Andy Serkis) quickly grow up and develop sign language skills, and other smarts as Will studies him in secret and continues to develop his cure. Eventually Caesar is discovered and sent to a home for wayward chimps run by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his sadistic son Dodge (Tom Felton). Once there, Caesar experiences the cruelty of man, and begins to plot revolution.

Meanwhile, Will has used his test virus on his dad with spectacular, although temporary results. This convinces his money-driven boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) to begin testing on a new, more powerful strain – even though the effects of this new virus on humans is (John Carpenter music here)…unknown!

And so the stage is set for the apes to start their rise. The final reel is all about the pitched battles between some rather dim humans and Caesar and his simian army.

Overall, this film was a lot better than what I was expecting. The acting was great – not counting Franco. Andy Serkis again delivers an Oscar worthy motion capture performance as Caesar. His work coupled with the impressive CGI work make Caesar a real, believable character. Old pros Lithgow and Cox deliver the goods as well, and Tom Felton has fun as the punk kid who constantly has to prove he’s smarter than his ape charges.

The design was good and the film was well edited to keep the film on a brisk pace. I did have a few issues with the story telling; there were a couple of plot points that weren’t totally believable for me. First and foremost is the battle. I guess the realist in me can’t really envision how a bunch of monkeys armed with sticks and rocks are going to defeat fully armed S.W.A.T. teams with air support. But the movie had so many other positive things going for it that I really didn’t mind.

Being a huge fan of the original Apes film, I wasn’t overly excited about this film. In fact, my fondness towards the original pretty much preordained my dislike for this film. But about 20 minutes in I realized that this wasn’t a remake of my beloved Apes movie; it was really a re-telling of Frankenstein. Once I saw that Wyatt and his producers were really telling us a cautionary tale of man meddling with nature, I was able to relax my protection of the Apes films and just sit back and enjoy the show.

GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE
This setup is perfect for modern day Call of Cthulhu. Although it would take some extra work on the part of the GM, it would be fun to set in the 1920’s too. I can easily see making your party the group of scientists tampering with forces beyond their control. Maybe bring in a Lovecraftian artifact that will help your players accomplish their goal (albeit with really, really bad consequences, naturally). Or maybe the corporation funding their experiments is really run by the head of some cult (or the actual beastie, itself) and is funding the money to unleash some icky evil on the world. And to keep the party going forward, no matter what dire warnings they come across, you can give each player a secret goal (like fame, helping a dying loved one, boatloads of cash for example) And if you can throw in global apocalypse along the way so much the better!

Fans of the Apes movies should keep their eyes and ears peeled for many references to the original movies that are peppered through out the film. From Caesars mom being called ‘Bright Eyes” (which was Taylor’s nickname in the original) to Tom Felton’s character being named Dodge Landon (a nod to Taylor’s fellow astronauts Dodge and Landon who both meet bad ends in the original) to the quick news footage of the Icarus mission – commanded by George Taylor, lifting off and later on, vanishing. There are a bunch of others, see if you can spot them all.

The whole second virus test was really a big sticking point for me. From a plot perspective it was incredibly dumb, and since the rest of the film was actually quite smart, this made this moment really stick out. First of all, they are using an airborne strain of the virus for testing. Seriously? That seems a bit reckless, and unsafe. Second, all of the scientists administering the test are NOT in full hazmat suits. All they have are little masks that cover their nose and mouth that you would wear if you were varnishing your furniture. Again, seriously? No scientist worth their salt would ever conduct an experiment with an unknown virus under those conditions. As you would imagine, one of them gets his mask knocked off and is exposed to the virus. This brings me to the other thing about this sequence that is dumb. Once Franklin (Tyler Labine) starts getting sick after being exposed (complete with sneezing up blood), does he bother to tell anyone? No, he goes home and hides for several days. Not very scientist-like of him, but since the virus is the mechanism for wiping out humanity, the film makers had to get it out somehow. I just wish they could have come up with a smarter way.

Oh, and don’t forget to stay for the end credits. There is a great sequence that shows exactly how the virus spreads ALL over the world!

‘Course, what do I know?

You can check out this review as well as all the others at the Bloodwork blog on toxicbag.com.

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The Last Exorcism

Directed by Daniel Stamm

Running Time: 87 mins

Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with Zero being the lowest and five being the highest.

THE REVIEW

Now, I know that this flick came out last year, but I’m gonna review it now anyway, in case anybody missed this little gem of a movie.  The Last Exorcism (hereafter referred to as TLE) is about a preacher in Baton Rouge named Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) that is having a documentary made about him. As we see him preaching, he explains the showmanship in his work, and in a great gag involving a recipe, we quickly become aware that Cotton is moved by money more than God. Soon the documentary turns to demons and exorcisms. “I don’t believe in Demons,” he announces, but he does believe in good healthcare. As far as he’s concerned, if people want to pay him to conduct an exorcism, then why not. He’s totally willing to put on a show, and he has, many times. But since he has read about people, including young children, who have died in exorcisms, he has decided not to do them anymore. Iris (Iris Bahr), the producer of the film, convinces him to do one more for the movie and Cotton decides to let the film crew tag along on the last exorcism.

TLE then moves to the Sweetzer farm in rural LA. There, Louis Swetzer (Louis Herthum) believes that his teenage daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) is possessed. In another great sequence, we see Cotton prepare for the exorcism – complete with hidden iPod and speakers producing spooky noises and a smoke-generating crucifix. Later, he puts on a spectacular show, ending in the grand tradition of Zelda Rubinstein pronouncing, “this girl is clean.” Thinking that the job is done, Cotton and the film crew return to their hotel and begin planning the trip home.

That plan quickly unravels when they find Nell in her pajamas waiting for them at the hotel. How she has managed to get there is a mystery. She has no car and had no idea which hotel the group was staying in. The mystery of the Sweetzer farm quickly deepens as Cotton and the crew return Nell, and try to uncover what is truly going on.

The filmmakers do a great job in not tipping their hand too early, instead letting the audience discover what is going on along with the characters. Cotton and friends all have their “I’m in a horror movie” moment at the right time. It’s believable, and feels right, which makes it even more scary! The look of the film was effective and creepy. The documentary style of long takes gives the film a realistic look – in that what we are watching are real events and not scripted scenes. Only the occasional scoring of horror music in several scenes betray this effect. I guess the filmmakers decided that the film wasn’t strong enough on its own and needed them. Too bad, cause I think it works pretty damn good without them. One final note on the sound design: Fantastic! The designers did a great job without throwing it in the audience’s face.

GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE

This is a film the H.P.Lovecraft himself would heartily endorse. It’s chock full of all the “There’s something dark and evil lurking everywhere” ideas that he constantly wrote about. And the setup is perfect for “Call of Cthulu” games, in any time period. In fact it would be fun to try this story set in the 20’s. The film also has just the right amount of research moments. Not sot many that they give the farm away, (no pun intended) but enough to provide the characters with enough information to try to solve the mystery. A good group of role-players would have a field day with these characters. From the cynical preacher to the true-believer father and the girl who may or may not be possessed, there are lots of nuggets to play with. If your group isn’t quite into full blown role play, then the story itself should be quite enough to ensure a fun evening or two of gaming.

I’m not gonna say much, cause I really don’t want to blow anything. However I must point out an important lesson from TLE: If a possibly possessed girl draws pictures of you being horribly, painfully killed, DON’T JUST LAUGH IT OFF, RUN!

‘Course, what do I know?

You can check out this review as well as all the others at Bloodwork blog on toxicbag.com.

Paranormal Activity 2

Directed by Tod Williams

Running Time: 91 Minutes

Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with Zero being the lowest and five being the highest.

THE REVIEW

You know, overall, sequels are tough things to pull off. They’re tough for audiences to like, and they’re tougher for producers to make. Now, to me there are two basic kinds of sequels; one is a continuation of a larger story arc (think Harry Potter for a current example or the Empire Strikes Back for a retro example) and the other is bringing back the elements of a successful film to try and cash in a second time. Paranormal Activity 2 (hereafter referred to as PA2) clearly falls into the latter category. The sequel brings back all the things that worked in the first film: the greenish video surveillance footage, the rumbly noise, the menacing date graphics (DAY1, etc) in heaping amounts.

Now I call PA2 a sequel, but it’s more like a prequel/sequel. It starts several months before the first film in an attempt to provide an explanation of why the first film happened and then shows us what happens after the first film ends. PA2 centers around Kristi (Sprague Grayden – most recently seen in 24) and her family. Kristi is the sister of Katie (Katie Featherston) from the first PA. Just like in the first film we see video clips of Kristie, her husband Daniel (Brian Boland) and their kids; teenager Ali (Molly Ephraim) and baby Hunter (William Juan Prieto & Jackson Xenia Prieto). After a break-in which may be ghostly or just a non-ghostly crime, the family installs surveillance cameras in every room of the house. After that, the film follows the PA playbook page by page as the creepy bits ramp up in intensity and violence. The film offers an explanation or two about why the sisters are being visited by the demonic beasties, but it mostly just runs through the series of nights leading up to its grisly conclusion. Like the first film, PA2 does have a scene with a ouija board. But this one is actually a very funny scene involving the teenage daughter and her horny boyfriend.

The acting is about what you would expect from a film like this; so-so. The exception is Molly Ephraim. Out of all the actors, she runs the most believable arc of “I’m in a horror movie” and starts believing that the titular paranormal activity is really happening after the appropriate amount of evidence is presented to her. She brings a good balance of “this is scary” and “I’m a teenager so this stuff is cool” to make her character ring true. Plus she’s a cutie.

PA2, much like PA, times out at a brisk 91 minutes. So don’t blink, ‘cause you might miss it. Overall, it’s an enjoyable 91 minutes, and given the limited subject matter, anything longer might have dragged. And if you liked the first one, PA2 is a good second helping.

GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE

Obviously, this film is gonna inspire horror RPGs more than any other game. Call of Cthulhu comes to mind most. The idea of dealing with an unknown, seemingly unstoppable beastie is right up Lovecraft’s alley.

The idea that one of the players is ‘cursed’ or ‘stalked’ by the beastie definitely has possibilities for a good story. For a quick, one night adventure, something as simple as PA2 (Or PA for that matter) would work. Anything that is going to be multiple game sessions would require a bit more work developing the beastie and its motives.

The family of PA2 does make a successful research roll and come up with a possible solution to their possession. However, it’s what I would term a Faustian Solution – that is it doesn’t kill the beastie, it just sends it to someone else. So, you save your own skin, but you have to pick some other poor fool to take the fall. This idea is not new one, and it was used much more effectively in The Ring and Drag Me To Hell. In PA2, they can ‘pass’ on the curse of this particular demon, but only to another family member. Husband Daniel doesn’t hesitate to push the beastie and its supernatural baggage onto sister Katie (which is why the events of PA happen in the first place) and let her deal with it. I would have liked to see a bit more hand wringing over this potential decision, but that wouldn’t have fit in with the films lickety-split pacing.

This concept of damning others to save your own neck is role playing gold. It gives you a chance to find out how much of a ‘good’ guy your character (and by extension, you) really is. I think in tournament play, where each player is competing with each other to be the best role player, it can be even better. And in a game like Cthulhu, where character survival is usually a coin-flip anyway, so much the better.

‘Course, what do I know?

MOVIE REVIEW – LET ME IN

October 25, 2010

Let Me In
Directed by Matt Reeves
Running Time: 116 Minutes

Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with Zero being the lowest and five being the highest.

THE REVIEW

Let me just start off by saying I am very particular about movie vampires. I very much agree with Jack Crow’s views:

“…they’re not romantic. It’s not like they’re a bunch of #$%@in’ hoppin’ around in rented formal wear and seducing everybody in sight with cheesy Euro-trash accents, all right? Forget whatever you’ve seen in the movies…”

I never got into the Anne Rice Euro-fop scene. I didn’t watch Buffy or Angel. Embrace of the Vampire is a just awful (NOTE: I must admit that I do in fact have the DVD of that flick. But for one reason – Super hottie Alyssa Milano!) The Blade series was m’eh. The current sparkly, walk around in the daylight, teen angst vampires are right out.

See, I’ve never been able to see a vampire as a hero of the story. In my book, a being that hunts and kills humans is inherently evil, and the bad guy. And this concept that something that is undead (Note: that’s not living or dead. It’s undead, whatever that means) would still be driven by human needs and wants (love, sex, power) is foolish. It’s safe to say, I have a few issues about Drac and his pointy-toothed ilk. As my associate Joseph Martin Griffin, Esquire would say “I don’t have issues, I have the whole subscription.” And he’s not wrong.

Now, I’ve told you all that so I can tell you about this movie. First off, I really liked this film. It’s well made, well acted, and most of all, the vampire stays true to its nature. It kills for one reason: it kills for food. Let Me In is a remake of a Swedish film from 2008 called Let the Right One In. It’s about a 12-year old boy named Owen who is bullied and picked on at school. His life changes forever when Abby, a fellow 12-year old, moves in next door. Abby is different than the other kids. For one thing, she doesn’t go to school. She also walks around barefoot in the snow, and her ‘father’ (A great supporting performance by Richard Jenkins) goes out at night to find and kill some poor unsuspecting sap and drain his blood into a plastic jug to bring home for supper. Abby, you see, is a vampire. The two kids strike up an unusual friendship as the body count rises. Kodi Smit-McPhee does a great job portraying Owen as a kid who hasn’t hit his stride yet and doesn’t really fit in the world he’s in. Chloe Moretz, who most of you will recognize as Hit-Girl from Kick Ass, is superb as Abby. She gives off just the right amount of “that girl ain’t right” mixed with the awkward pre-teen girl vibe. The rest of the cast perform deftly. Besides the aforementioned Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas is quite good as the bewildered policeman, trying to make sense of all the death and violence erupting around him. And his “Hey, I’m in a horror movie!” moment comes at the exact right time. The film is well paced and edited and the ending is downright chilling – especially when you think of the future implications the last scene has for the characters.

GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE

This film had several great sequences in it. These moments really stood out and allowed the film makers to shine. I’ll mention two.

Abby has just gone out looking for food. Her ‘father’ botched his attempt to bring home “Dinner” so she goes herself (NOTE: While it is bad manners to cry over spilt milk, spilt blood is apparently acceptable). She lures a passing jogger – who happens to live in the same apartment complex (this will be have consequences later on) — into a tunnel and kills him. We watch as the she lures her prey into the tunnel with some beautiful sound design as the audience hears her cries of “Help me” echoing along the stone tunnel. Once she is resting her head on his shoulder as he has picked her up to carry her home, she’s in perfect position to literally ‘go for the jugular.’ It’s a simple scene, but powerful. All at once we see that Abby is both a cold, calculating hunter and a throat-ripping blood covered monster.

The other sequence that I’ll mention occurs at the end of the film. Owen has a final showdown with the group of bullies at the public pool. One of them pushes him in and then holds his head under the water. The rest of the scene is from Owens’s perspective. Through the ‘lens’ of the water we see something is happening up top. We then begin to hear through the ‘filter’ of the water the screams of the bullies. The water begins to turn red and something falls into the water right next to Owen. It’s the main bully’s severed head! Then in quick succession we see the other kids (NOTE: Or maybe just parts of the other kids! I’m not entirely sure) being dragged through the water. We still hear the muffled screams, and sounds of action. Now, we all know that Abby is ‘saving’ Owen, but not once do we see who or what is causing this carnage. Owen finally breaks the surface of the water and discovers he is alone with the various limbs and parts of his four ex-tormentors. The entire sequence lasts maybe 15 seconds, but the top-notch visual construction matched by the sound design make it a show-stopper of the highest degree.

These sequences reminded me a lot about the best RPG’s I’ve been in. I’ve always believed that a carefully crafted encounter with the beastie is what makes the difference between a good game and a great one. Random monster tables have always seemed boring and stilted to me. It’s much better to make those moments really stand out. Players being players, they will always provide more than enough randomness for your games by doing something unexpected and unplanned-for. When I’m devising my story for the players, I always start with two or three beastie encounters. One or two of these scenes are for the early or mid-game portion, and one for the final showdown. These scenes are gonna happen during the story at some point. The players will only help determine when. Then I approach each one as a scene from a horror flick. I make sure I have all the details for each one worked out. What is the weather like? Is it indoors or out? Does this location have lots of clutter? Or is it big and empty with no where to hide? What do the players hear? The whine of nearby machinery or maybe just the simple sound of crickets chirping? Do these sounds eerily stop just before the beastie arrives? Also what is playing on the soundtrack? Once these “Scenes” have been crafted to my satisfaction, then I build the story around them. If you do it right, you will have a classic on your hands and the players will remember it forever. To this day I still hear from some of my old players about “that battle in the abandoned farm’s root cellar” from a game from about 15 years ago. The rest of the details of that game are a little fuzzy, but boy do they remember that ‘scene.’

‘Course, what do I know?

My Soul to Take (In 3D)
Directed by Wes Craven
Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with Zero being the lowest and five being the highest.

THE REVIEW

Wes Craven has made a career out of the dead killer returns to exact revenge on precocious teens horror sub-genre. It’s his thing, and he has done it pretty well over the years. When movie goers think of a ghostly killer striking from beyond, Freddy Krueger jumps to mind almost immediately. Freddy was scary in that he lived in dreams, and you can’t stop a dream. In My Soul to Take Craven unleashes upon us a character known as “the Riverton Ripper.” Someone who is killing people because…well, I guess because he’s just plain nuts, since no other motivation is ever given. But in the opening scene the police gun him down and then promptly lose him after the ambulance he is in does an old school ‘A-team’ flippy thing and he disappears into the river. And since out of sight is out of mind for all horror movie police, they pronounce him dead – case closed. Flash forward 16 years to the present day and we are introduced to seven high school kids who are known as the Riverton Seven because they were all born on the same night that the Ripper was “killed.” I use the quotes because remember, he disappeared into the river and was assumed dead by the local law enforcement. (Note – shoddy police work in horror movies NEVER brings about good things – see Halloween II)

Anyway, back to these seven kids. They all fall neatly into the standard horror movie molds. Bug (Max Thieriot) and Alex (John Magaro) are the picked-on nerds, Penelope (Zena Grey) is the churchy chick that prays all the time for everybody. Brittany (Paulina Olszynski) is the snobbish hot girl, Brandon (Nick Lashaway) is the dumb jock. Jay (Jeremy Chu) is the “I got a way to stop ghosts” guy who should have been called Victim Number One to save time. The final kid is Jerome (Denzel Whitaker) who is the lone African American in the group (Note – for the record, he does NOT say “That is whack!” once throughout the entire film.)

It seems that the killer had seven different souls inside him. Six of them were good and the seventh was the evil killer. When the Ripper died or almost died, those seven souls escaped into…That’s right! The seven kids. So the rest of the movie sees the Ripper dispatching the seven kids one by one in standard horror movie ways. By the third reel there are only a couple of kids left, and they’re all trying to figure out if the Ripper is back or if it is just his evil soul inside one of them. I have to admit, I didn’t go into this film expecting very much. But I was hoping for good storytelling at least. Wes Craven has done better. If you’re in the mood for a good Wes Craven film, go get the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, heck even Deadly Blessing would be a more enjoyable view.

I got to see this film in 3D and overall it was OK. The 3D treatment didn’t distract me from the film, but other than one cool headshot blood splatter, it didn’t really help the film either. There were no Cthulhu research moments in the film – but that was not unexpected given this sub genre.

GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE

The only cool role playing idea or situation I came away with from this film is “the monster is one of us” concept. There is a cool sequence early on where the original Ripper is standing in front of a mirror talking to his reflection. One of the souls is begging the other NOT to kill any more. That got me thinking: make the beastie be one of your players. That can be fun! Pick out one character and make them the possessed/werewolf bitten/cursed character. Pull them aside and explain the situation and give them enough info to run with it. Is the character evil and just pretending to be good, or do they blackout and have the evil take over and run their body from time to time. If the player you pick is a good role player, they can have a lot of fun with it. Also consider picking the player in the group that the other players would least expect. You know, one of the more quiet players who usually just sits back and follows the rest. That can be fun too! Now, it does require a bit of extra work, since as a GM, you want to keep the true identity of the beastie a secret as long as possible. But that can be done by pulling ALL the players aside separately for a moment or two and give each of them some bit of info. Really, is there anything better than pitting the players against one another?

‘Course, what do I know?

Case 39 Movie Review

October 8, 2010

I thought it might be cool to review new horror/action movies and also try and relate them to gaming. Keep in mind that the only experience or training I have at all is that I’ve seen a bunch of movies…

Case 39
Directed by Christian Alvart
109 Minutes


Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with 0 being the lowest and five being the highest.

THE REVIEW
As far as horror flicks go, Case 39 is a by-the-numbers example of the “Demon Child” sub-genre. Renee Zellweger (hereafter referred to as Squinty) stars as Emily, an overworked social worker who takes on the case of Lilith (Jodelle Ferland), a tiny, yet unsettling 10-year old girl in trouble. Emily already has a full plate of 38 cases when her boss assigns Lilith’s case to her (see, that makes Lilith “Case 39” – now the title makes sense!) After meeting Lilith’s creepy parents, Squinty is convinced that something is amiss and she and her cop friend Mike (Ian McShane – who obviously had a boat payment due) have the parents arrested and Squinty is assigned custody of Lilith.

Soon Lilith starts acting all possessed-kid-like and people around Squinty start saying lines like “I think something is wrong with this kid, I’ll make a few calls in the morning” and then BAM! They die before the morning and the aforementioned phone calls ever come.

The final reel, with the exception of one clever bit about a pet fish, is standard horror film stuff about Squinty and her dwindling number of friends attempting to stop the evil, possessed, Lilith.

The biggest thing I came away with from Case 39 is: if a creepy 10-year old girl asks you what you’re afraid of, DON’T ANSWER HER!

I counted two ‘cat’ scares, a bunch of bad CGI bees, and only one sequence that I would consider ‘creepy.’ Surprisingly, there were also very few Cthulhu research moments in the film. The film makers were very vague on what sort of demon was involved. They give the audience one cryptic line about something bad replacing Lilith’s soul at birth.

My biggest complaint about the film was the character arc of Squinty. She jumps into “Lilith is a demon and must be destroyed” mode way too easy and with very little direct evidence. This killed the film for me. You see, my friend and business partner Joseph M. Griffin, esquire, has postulated that every horror movie character has a moment in their film where they realize they’re in a horror movie. The timing of this moment is key. If the characters make this jump too soon, then the film will lose the audience. Remember, at the beginning of the film, these characters don’t know they’re in a horror movie, so when they hear the weird noise, their first assumption should not be “Supernatural Entity/Masked killer.” They have to be presented with enough irrefutable evidence that the only conclusion they can logically come to is “Supernatural.” In the good horror movies, this moment usually happens just as they’re dying or going insane, but it’s believable. Horror audiences, probably more than any other genre, demand that. Please note that I am in no way condoning characters walking around by themselves and yelling “Hello.” In any type of film, that’s just dumb…Maybe not porn.

GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE
Horror gaming is the same way. Just because the players know it’s a horror game, the characters don’t. They have to make that journey just like a character in a film. I was GMing a Cthulhu game once where the characters were all reporters. Right at the beginning of the game, when they were all leaving the newspaper office to start the investigation, one of the players asked if his character could have a tommy gun. Really – a tommy gun? But you’re a reporter. The character had no reason to take one, nothing supernatural or even potentially dangerous had even been suggested to the players, yet he wanted one. Why? Because the player knew it was a horror game, and there was an evil beastie lurking at the end of the story. That kills the mood right there.

Now, players can do it that way, but isn’t it better if you don’t? Try playing it where the characters believe what most of us do; that ghosts and goblins don’t exist in the really real world, and then go through the story and see how that belief is challenged and ultimately changed. There’s a chance to have some fun! How does your character react when your whole foundation of what is real and what is make believe starts crumbling around you? If your character dies in the process, so what? It’s just a game, and sometimes dying can be hoot!

‘Course, what do I know?

Yes, it’s me.

July 22, 2009

Hey there! I’m Steve, AKA Blood, from Toxic Bag Productions, Inc. We’re an audio visual production company located in the Burbs of Chicago. For over 10 years we’ve been providing sound effects for role playing games. And, as you might have guessed, I’ve been a gamer my whole life. Most of my gaming time and energy is focused on Call of Cthulhu. But I try and at least keep an open eye to what’s going on in the Gaming world.

My business partner and friend Joe Griffin is currently writing the award-winning “toxic blog’s bag”. After seeing all of the bling and women that have come his way because of his drunken ramblings, I decided to give it the ole ‘GED equivalent’ try.

So, from time to time, I will be spouting off on various topics including gaming, films, tv, or whatever.

So join me, if you want, here at my fortress of blogitude….

Blood