December 21st, 2003

Dark Tower

Australian horror Gaming

I just wrote this post on the RPG.net forums, talking about what movies are good inspiration for horror gaming -- outback/dreamtime/Unknown Armies type horror in particular. I thought it was interesting enough to copy here (with slightly better formatting).

If you want a list of recommended Australian horror movies, have a look at this one:

http://www.tabula-rasa.info/AusHorror/AustralianHorrorFilms.html

For playing an outback/UA type game, I'd recommend things like

  • beDevil: Aboriginal ghost stories
  • Bliss: not the Aboriginal dreamtime, but ruminations on life, death and going bush
  • Celia: outback ghosts and rabbits. Sort of. Indescribable
  • The Dreaming: sort of Dreamtime with cthulhu influences!
  • Howling 3: The Marsupials: a lot of people don't like it, possibly because they don't realise it's a cross between the Howling and Bliss (and filmed at my old uni) :-)
  • Incident at Raven's Gate: with aliens -- sort of
  • In the Winter Dark: a monster in the farmland
  • The Last Wave: mostly (but not all) urban, and very Dreamtime
  • Mad Max: you may have heard of this... the original is a lot closer to run-down society rather than straight apocalypse
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock: a classic
  • Razorback: although a monster movie, it has a strong feeling of almost supernatural malaise that is perfect for UA
  • Road Games: very effective road thriller
  • Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds: more post-apoc. We do it well.
  • Thirst: vampires set up 'people farms' -- not really strong on Australian motifs, but pretty good
  • Undead: outback zombies. Fun with a good plot
  • Walkabout: not really true to aboriginal belief, it's a strong story of innocents caught in the outback
  • The Well: more outback psych games
Note that not all of those are easy to find (and some of them are very difficult -- often easier from the US than Australia...) Last Wave, Mad Max, Picnic, Razorback and Undead are probably the easiest.

Note that Welcome to Woop-Woop is not on the list, and I don't think I could ever call it good. But for broad characters and a giant monster, it's pretty fun. Another missing movie is Kadaicha (aka Stones of Death) because that's more aboriginal mythos by way of Elm St.

As for games, I ran the UA adventure Green Glass Grail as part of an adventure with bubbles of history caught from Sydney's past (the bad guys were going into these bubbles and extracting unpleasant things like smallpox). Not so much Dreamtime, but I think it fitted the Australian type of fantasy pretty well.

For Aboriginal myths I have a couple of books like Aboriginal Myths, Legends and Fables and The Rainbow Serpent, though find myself using my Aboriginal dictionary more often for inspiration, when needed.

  • Current Music
    Australian Crawl -- Phalanx
Dark Tower

Back off man, I'm a movie star

Well, it feels like I've had a productive day -- at least if you count movie watching productive. I've woke up, did a bit more Buffy stuff, edited half an upcoming interview for the site, wrote a spiel on Australian movies, saw Goodbye Lenin! and Lost in Translation, bought another of Hogshead's Crime Series books, and am now trying to organise who's playing what for the Angel game. Looks like I'll finish off Wolves of the Calla a little later, too.

(Then? There are possibilities. In fact, I added another yesterday by borrowing Choke from the library (they didn't have Fight Club). What a great system -- except the whole giving the book back thing.)

The movies were very good, although we weren't blown away by either (and the Dendy Newtown didn't endear us with its slightly shonky screening of GL!, though since we had free tix courtesy of the NSW Writer's Centre, I guess we can't complain too loudly). We can relate to being in a miasma of fatigue toxins whilst in a Japanese hotel. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson were great (but, um, what's with her bum?)
  • Current Music
    Nick Cave -- The God Son