Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Feast of Flesh (2007)

October Movie Challenge: Feast of Flesh (2007)

In my defense I want to say up front that I thought this was going to be better.
The title is fine and my research said it was a bit like Bordello of Blood only featuring Elizabeth Bathory AND Carmilla.  I mean really. How can I say no?

I was so horribly wrong.

I think I am prepared to say that this was the WORST vampire movie I have seen this entire challenge.  Though Mama Dracula might give it a run for it's money.

The story focuses on a "high class" brothel known as Bathory House.  A couple gets a ticket to go from a poker game.  Of course they are looking for a little threesome fun and instead they get eaten (and not in the way they wanted). Anyway I guess there is a prohibition against the vampires from hunting townfolk so the local vampire hunters come in and beat the vampire-hookers up a little.
Both sides fight.  There is also a plot about a woman that is a local, but leaving town, getting brought into the brothel.  The vampires thought she was coming to town, not leaving it.  Her boyfriend wants her back...you know the drill.

I will give the movie one credit. The ending is not what I expected it to be.  Bathory is killed and the townie girl becomes the new Madame.  The boyfriend and all the hunters are killed.

The acting is terrible, including and especially Director, Writer and head Vampire Killer Sheridan, aka Mike Watt.  What was up with that accent? He was supposed to be Dutch, but it sounded like Irish that learned from a book on tape.  Anyway.  It's not good.

I toyed with the idea of a vampire brothel in my games before.  Mayfairs is a brothel in my games run by two vampire lovers, Miriam and Fran and founded by a Street Fae, Dirty Nellie.  I now have a list of things NOT to do with it.

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Tally so far:  36 Total Watched / 24 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Owl & Weasel Wednesday #15 April 1976

Welcome back to the Owl & Weasel! Let's set the controls for April 1976 and see what we can learn about the hobby's history.

In something of a first O&W features a number of new "SF/F" games.  Page 1 (and 7) is an overview of GDW's En Garde game. I don't recall this game very well to be honest and had to go look it up.

SPI's Sorcerer is also covered, briefly, and a new miniatures game "Wizards & Warefare".  All of which shoe some common descent from D&D.

In another first O&W also reviews a couple of "pub" Video Games.  These are the cabinet style video games, not the home versions that became more popular after the introduction of the Atari 2600 some 18-20 months later.

Pages 10 and half of 11 deal with the new D&D society.  I am beginning to see, or rather have more evidence of, the reasons why Gygax felt the need to codify the D&D rules into AD&D.   Everyone was off doing their own thing how they liked.  Not to different than today to be honest.

In this issue there are more "RPG" elements and less board game material than previous editions.  I expect this trend to continue.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Vampire Happening (1971)

October Movie Challenge: Vampire Happening (1971)

Vampire Happening or Gebissen wird nur nachts came up in my searches for a Countess Bathory like figure.  I saw it and noticed that it was directed by Freddie Francis. The same that gave us Dracula Has Risen from His Grave, Tales that Witness Madness and one of my all time favorites, The Creeping Flesh.
So I was not expecting a lot when I saw that it was a "horror/comedy" but certainly more than I got.

The basic plot is simple. American Actress inherited a castle in Transylvania.  Here she discovers that she is a dead ringer for her Great-Grandmother the former Countess.  Not only was she notoriously lascivious she was also believed to be a vampire (of course).

The Countess does come back and causes a lot of Benny Hill-quality hijinks when she is thought to be the Actress and visa versa.  Meanwhile the entire village has been transformed into vampires by the Countess.

The plot is thin and the acting is for the most part terrible save for Pia Degermark who pulls double duty as American Betty Williams and Vampire Countess Clarimonde.

There was also a surprising amount of nudity and sex in this movie for the time.  It was released in 1971, but feels more late 60s.  Some of the posters refer to it as an "Adult" vampire movie.
I am guess it is because it was made in West Germany at the time.

I can't help but feel there is a better story here somewhere.

Since I am still working through the Vampire Queen module I am thinking that a human descendant of Lady Neeblack running around the dungeon might be fun.

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Tally so far:  35 Total Watched / 23 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


Into the Lair of the Vampire Queen

Over the weekend my oldest son celebrated his birthday (which is today) and we went through The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen.

We didn't get through it all, but we had a great time.

I ran this under Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules instead of 1st ed/OSRIC since that is the game of choice of my son now.  I think it worked out really well to be honest.

In the party we had:
- A Dragonborn Wizard (Necromancer), 15th level
- A Dragonborn Cleric of War, 14th level
- A half-elf rouge (assassin), 14th level
- A human rogue, 14th level
- A half-orc Ranger, 14th level
and a half-elf warlock (fey pact), 13th level.

My son, since he was turning 15 got the only 15th level character.

They managed to get through a few of the rooms, but the Fire-Giants gave them some issues.  After that the "Jelly" Cubes where pretty easy.

The adventure is crazy.  I am glad I am running it "outside of canon". The module is advertised as a party killer and that is no joke.  Within the first battle many of the characters were down to about half their HP.

We are planning to finish it sometime soon, but since we didn't get started till rather late my players were fading.

the Fearless Vampire Hunters
This is the same group, but not the same characters (though pretty close) that I ran the classic Palace of the Vampire Queen adventure.   Those were lower level characters using the B/X rules.  Given that we have been calling this group "the Fearless Vampire Hunters".    One day I will try to combine all the various "Vampire Queen" adventures together into a large campaign.

I did alter the beginning just a touch to accommodate the player's previous adventures a bit.  Not a big change really and I think it heightened the whole fear factor.


 We used minis cause they are fun and the boys like doing it.

I have two perfect succubi from the recent Pathfinder demon sets that are perfect for  "Sin" and "Diabolica".   The Reaper Bones Female Vampire figure makes for a perfect Lady Neeblack.  The mini is listed as "Naomi" for the metal version. So the Vampire Queen must be Lady Naomi Neeblack!  Sure. Why not.

If I ever re-run this I will do it under AD&D1 as it was meant for.  I fear that D&D5 reduces the power levels of the characters a bit at the highest levels.  Though there is great flexibility in D&D 5.
For example in the adventure there are 8 Fire Giants waiting for you when you enter the pits.  They have 93 hp and do 5d6 damage per attack.  Their D&D 5 counterparts have 160 hp (iirc) and do a lot more damage.  Character can heal faster in D&D5 yes, but their starting hp is still not much better than their AD&D1 counterparts.  Rogues get a d8 vs Thieves d6.  So yeah. Meat Grinder.

I will say this.  If you enjoyed running Tomb of Horrors then this will be right up your alley.

I will get a more proper review of the adventure up soon.

Monday, October 27, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Nochnoy dozor / Night Watch (2004)

October Movie Challenge: Nochnoy dozor / Night Watch (2004)

Nochnoy dozor (Ночной дозор) or "Night Watch" is a kick-ass Russian film about vampires, monsters and things that go bump in the night.  It was subtitled, which I prefer over dubing, but it was not a big deal.

In the movie the forces of Light and Darkness waged a war back in the Middle Ages. They soon realized that the war would destroy everyone on both sides. They made a truce that would not interfere with each other unless required to keep the balance.  The side of Light became known as Night Watch and the darkness became Day Watch.  Otherkin could choose which ever side they wanted.

The movie deals with the mostly now bureaucratic Night Watch as the hunt down a vampire feeding without a license.  They hunt him down, but in the process discover two things. The hunter, a recently turned vampire himself named Anton discovers a woman under a terrible dark curse and a boy being drawn to the vampires.

I don't want to ruin it because it is worth watching.
There is a bleakness mixed with decadence here that I think you could only get in Moscow. Maybe Bangkok or Hong Kong too, or Detroit in 10 more years.  There is something very, very Russian to this that gives the movie such a great vibe.
I never knew if Anton was just going to up and die at any point or not, that's how bad he looked through it all.

There is a sequel, Day Watch.  I really need to see that one now too.


Tally so far:  34 Total Watched / 22 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


Updates

Well my conference is done so now I can refocus my attentions to game and blog related writing.
I still have a couple of projects that need to be finished; Strange Brew and Darwin's Guide to Creatures.   But those are coming along nicely.

So here are some updates.

Witch Links
I have been updating my Witch Links page.  On it you will find links to various posts, mostly within the OSR blogs, on using a witch or warlock class in your D&D-like games.  It is that time of year, so expect the page to be updated even more.
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/p/witches.html

If you have something you want to add just let me know.

DriveThruRPG / OneBookshelf Halloween Sales
DriveThru is having their Halloween sales.  This time no hunting around for Tricks or Treats, just sales and free stuff.
To start out we have a few of my favorites for free.

RQ1 Night of the Walking Dead (2e) for Ravenloft and 2nd Ed AD&D.  One of the better adventures for the Ravenloft game.

Eden Studios Presents: Volume 1 is a magazine like book for Eden Studios' Unisystem games ala The Rifter.  It was supposed to come out more often (and I submitted material years and years ago). But it is still a great publication and worth getting if you enjoy the Unisystem system.  There is an interview with Jason Vey of the Dungeons & Zombies game, some more monsters for Buffy and material for Terra Primate.

Wraith the Oblivion (1st Edition) which might be one of the most depressing and agnsty games I can ever recall playing.  But still a lot of fun.  Sometimes you need that.

They have similar sales and freebies over at DriveThruComics and DriveThruFiction.

I have a few more movies to get through and some reviews.

October Movie Challenge: Queen of the Damned (2002)

October Movie Challenge: Queen of the Damned (2002)


In what can be best described as an "Attack of Opportunity" I caught Queen of the Damned on TV yesterday.

Since I have been watching a number of "Vampire Queen" like movies lately this seemed appropriate.

Again, while I don't like the movie as part of the larger Anne Rice Universe, the movie is kind of fun.   I think the tried too hard to take two books "The Vampire Lestat" and "Queen of the Damned" and make them into one movie.

Though to be fair, there is lot in both books that could have been cut or least edited down to size.

It is interesting though that I can recall exactly where I was when had heard that Aaliyah had been killed.  I had never really given her a second thought prior to that.  Watching her performance here again some 12 years after her death I am struck that how she physically embodied Akasha.  I can't tell if she would have been a good actress or not, it is just a shame we never got to find out.

Stuart Townsend makes for a decent enough Lestat.  Or at least the heterosexual Lestat.  Tom Cruise probably did Gay Lestat better.

I have tried to stat up an Akasha like figure in many games before, but I usually end up disappointed in the results.  In this movie and the book she really is less of a character and more of a plot device. Maharet (and Mekare, who is not even in the movie) are easier to do since they have more developed characters.

This is a re-watch.  I reviewed this one back in 2010.

Tally so far:  33 Total Watched / 21 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


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