Resources For Every GM: Horror #7 / Movies #1

Hello everyone! I cannot help but ramp up the coming of Halloween. Yes I am one of those folks who gets excited for the Halloween season two months early and has some decorations up year round. So today we are going to delve, once again, into horror. This time I also have my first set of movies to draw inspiration from so today works as a bit of a two-for-one. So, let’s talk about some wild, scary movies shall we?


Hellraiser

cover from the Hellraiser comic by Boom!

This will probably be the most recognizable movie franchise on the list because of its many sequels and just how recognizable the main antagonist is. We are talking none other than Pinhead, but let’s start closer to the beginning. The Hellraiser series is one written by horror and strange fiction author Clive Barker and involves a seriously dark take on aspects of humanity that exist in even more esoteric places than mainstream horror. This is a world with an alternate dimension, I’m not convinced its the Hell but probably a hell, that is ruled by the Cenobites. These terrible beings are gods in their land, or more likely demi-god tier fiends if we want to classify them D&D style. The Cenobites are beings which believe that sensation is king and exemplify it through extreme forms of pain. Pleasure is pain and pain is pleasure. They play up on the duality of the two and the concept manifests itself in the weird, gruesome appearances they each hold. This whole world and concept is introduced via an ancient device simply known as the puzzle cube or “the box”. It can be reconfigured so as to open up a world of intense pain / pleasure and connects you to the Cenobites. From there the horror movies move on through renditions of characters being the real villains and protagonists as they try to bring others into the fold. It is a freaky and dark series with plenty of moments of body horror, so be warned. That being said this is a tactic that the kytons of the Pathfinder universe seem to be related to. They are much like Cenobites and are the perfect examples of how these ides can be fully integrated into a game. Of course if you play really dark horror games you can lift straight from Barker’s work.


Cube

The Cube series is one of my favorite lesser-known sets of movies. From the first one to the prequel Cube-0 to the sequel (my favorite) Hybercube, these movies explore the natural horrors of a strange prison. This prison is the perfect example of a modern Tomb of Horrors. For those who don’t know, and without spoilers, the whole of the movies take place inside of a dungeon of sorts. The cube is an immense structure with equally sized cubic rooms that have doors on all sides and constantly shift around one another. In almost every room some kind of trap can be found. You never know if there will be fire, poison gas, a body, or simply nothing. Even worse is the movement and shifting of rooms is such that you cannot map the place in any way. Going back to the last room might not be safe, it might not even be the last room. This gets even trippier in Hybecube where the cube is four dimensional and you end up travelling through time. You might see your death on the other side of the door and learn you never actually make it out. Or you may see yourselves suddenly stepping through a different door just hours ago. It is at once fascinating and terrifying. Definitely an awesome idea for a dungeon if I ever heard one.


Event Horizon

The gravity drive from Paramount Pictures’ Event Horizon

I have to include this movie as it is a stand alone that people have either never heard of, remember as one of those movies Sam Neil was in, or absolutely love. I am of the third contingent. This movie provides an exellent example of science fiction horror and the dangerous of technology. It could, however, be reskinned to be the dangers of magic as well. In it there is a group who is out searching for a ship that held a new engine type that was lost. Without going to detailed, it essentially runs off a singularity and the idea is that the singularity is a portal to somewhere else. Somewhere that isn’t good and corrupts the minds of those on board. Of course it does more than that and the full scale of possibilities is only hinted at in the movie. It is a wonderful film that explores the what-if of technology and is there a “too-far” and what if that leads us not just to bad results but to the types of things we never imagined being possible. You should definitely go watch it.

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