This past couple of weeks have been fuelled by images of the strange (predominantly the usual Lovecraftian madness) and welded to the processes of improvisational construction and modification. Later on tonight, I’m hoping to continue work on my thing in a jar over at Inner Sanctum collectibles (as well as some more miniatures for IABSM) but last night I watched The Thing, the classic 1982 sci-fi/horror (Lovecraftian cosmic horror, anyone?). I mean, John Carpenter directing, a score by Ennio Morricone and the magnificent Kurt Russell in the lead – who could ask for more?
As it happens, it doesn’t matter who, as we got more anyway. If you haven’t seen The Thing, then suffice to say it was absolutely groundbreaking in terms of its special effects – the majority of which were created by Rob Bottin (only 22 years old at the time i.e. the same age as me). Some of these effects have now become fairly legendary in shocking horror movie moments legend – such as the use of a double amputee for the scene in which a man’s arms are ripped off by a giant alien maw. Oh, spoiler alert.
In fact all the gribbliness of the film has not only helped spur on my own model-making project, but also given me some more campaign ideas for Call of Cthulhu. Actually, part of the reason that I decided to watch the film properly was on the recommendation of another keeper, a certain Mr. John Wick who wrote a monograph for Chaosium entitled Digging For A Dead God. The scenario focuses on a group of Nazi soldiers in 1939 who stumble across an unfathomable evil – as per CoC standards.
I’m going to be running this scenario over Easter (hopefully to great success) as it certainly seems pretty well thought out, and just the right mix of sandbox setting and structured storyline for my tastes – and especially the stage that the group will be at, a number of sessions it to it. Possibly my favourite aspect of DFADG however is the few hundred words on philosophy included at the start of the monograph, in which the author compares the differences between Call of Cthulhu and other roleplaying games (the inference being Dungeons & Dragons, for example) to the differences between Alien and Aliens. Without giving too much away, as you should really buy the monograph yourself if you’re interested and want to keep this very intelligent scheme running, it comes down to horror vs dark fantasy. In Aliens, the characters are fighting back – in Alien they simply have no chance. They’re being hunted down one by one with very little chance of survival. That’s horror, and Call of Cthulhu is horror roleplaying. He also includes The Thing as a prime example of this Lovecraftian horror.
Later this evening I’m going to have a stab at producing some tentacle-like appendages for my thing in a jar and soon after that (perhaps this weekend) have a go at sculpting over all the joins and cracks before covering it all in latex! I will certainly be taking pointers from all of the above sources in its creation. Finally, I leave you with the (now quite old) news that a prequel to The Thing is currently slated for an October release this year, and that an insider has said that the lead female character is going to be based loosely on Ripley, so as to distance the character from MacReady. Connections are everywhere! Fhtagn!