Movies have always been a major inspiration for me. And I’ve found them invaluable when looking for inspiration for games. Plots, items, characters, music, or just general mood. I can find something useful or interesting in nearly anything. A few films stand out as especially good ‘gamer movies.’ Sneakers always felt like a great example of a party of player characters. Each knows their job and each is quite good. And while there is inner tension within the group, they still act as a unit. Their banter reminds me a great deal of the back and forth of players around the table.
Having recently run a game of Call of Cthulhu, I thought I’d give a brief list of some of my favorite inspirational films for that game. It is hardly complete; more of a brief sample.
10. The Ring: Unlike the dull original, the American remake is steeped in gothic mood, while capturing a cool concept of modern Lovecraftian horror in the video tape. Like reading Mythos books, viewing the tape acts like an infection of information, revealing too much about the nature of things.
9. Tremors: Graboids totally fit within the realm of Mythos monsters, and there are a ton of great moments that could easily translate into a game.
8. Rabid: Actually, most early Cronenberg is good for this, but Rabid always stuck out in my mind. I don’t even know if I can explain why, but it’s on the list.
7. The Ninth Gate: Not only a movie about powerful books, cults, and dangerous madness. It also features a driven protagonist with few scruples and an ability to adapt.
6. The Stuff: An awesome creature (?), and a good look at how you might work in a wide spread conspiracy involving something Mythos related.
5. In the Mouth of Madness: Though not specifically adapting Lovecraft, this is one of the most directly influenced films, and John Trent is a perfect Call of Cthulhu character.
|Sorry about the balls. It was a lucky shot, that's all.|
4. Lifeforce: I could totally see this as the basis of a campaign. The story is sprawling, and filled with great, classic Call of Cthulhu type characters. And there are some cool creatures and excellent visuals.
3. Alien: Not only is the monster amazing, and its potential limitless, but this story of a group of workers, just trying to do their job and get paid is one of the most effective horror films of the last 40 years.
2. Night of the Living Dead: One of the great things about Call of Cthulhu is that characters can very easily be everymen, thrust into madness by simple chance. On top of the horror and confusion of this film, and the highly pressurized cauldron of social anxiety created by the siege of ambulatory dead, this movie features a great cross section of average folk. Each must figure out how to deal with, and try to survive, horror beyond their understanding.
1. The Thing: A great party of adventurers. Seclusion of epic proportions. And the film is dripping with atmosphere. And it’s all laced with intense paranoia.