Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Gore Between the States

I’m off work today for that most archaic of state holidays, Confederate Memorial Day. So in honor of the day, I thought I’d highlight one of the most gameable of movies alluding to the Civl War. I refer, of course, to Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Two Thousand Maniacs!

For all of you who’ve ever said to yourself: “It’s too bad Brigadoon isn’t a gore film”--well, this move's for you. In brief, a group of Yankee tourists head down to the South, but get tricked into the out of the way town of Pleasantville. There they find themselves the guests of honor at the centennial commemoration of the town’s destruction by Union troops. “Guests of honor” in this case meaning victims of torture in the hayseed townsfolk’s sadistic picnic games. Two of the tourists manage to escape and return with the local sheriff, only to find the town has disappeared.  It was destroyed 100 years ago! The townsfolk, meanwhile, wait elsewhere and look forward to their next celebration in 2065.

Beyond the obvious horror usage, towns that appear on schedule can be used in any sort of setting. Fantasy surely, but science fiction could work as well with a suitable technobabble explanation. The inhabitants could be pleasant--but really, what would be the point in that?  Orcs, vampires, zombies, Confederate zombies--all good candidates.

Of course, there’s another fun group that returns “when the stars are right.” There’s no reason why New England should get all the Lovecraftian fun. Adding a touch of Cthulhu gives extra meaning to “the South shall rise again!

17 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Very good setting alright, saw the movie remake a little while back with Robert Englund, the south will rise again.

Zombiecowboy said...

That sounds pretty creepy. Gonna have to try and track this down.

Risus Monkey said...

There’s no reason why New England should get all the Lovecraftian fun.

Back when I worked for EA, I pitched a game about a Lovecraftian underworld opening up in the middle of sleepy coastal town in South Carolina. Occultists, skeptical scientists, world-be-adventurers, and hapless tourists all get caught up in the craziness.

And then there was that failed TV show American Gothic. That show had so much potential... alas, it aired on the same network as Touched By An Angel and never had a chance...

limpey said...

From now on I will wear a sleeveless Lynrd Skynrd T-shirt and a stars-and-bars belt buckle when travelling down south. I'll leave all my g's at the Mason Dixon line (thus, "driving" will become 'drivin,' etc.).

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Haven't seen the remake, though it looks like it fits well will Lewis' "blood and boobs" formula.

@Zombiecowboy - It comes on TCM Underground from time to time.

@Risus Monkey - Man, that sounds like a great idea. Yeah, American Gothic had such potential that was wasted--airing the episodes out of order certainly didn't help.

@Limpey - Sounds prudent. You might want to accessorize with a "Lee Surrendered, Hell if I Will" baseball cap, as well.

BigMike said...

Why do you never see vampires in Texas or undead in Chicago?

Risus Monkey said...

@BikMike: For a superb treament of vampires in texas (and Oklahoma), see the 1987 movie Near Dark. It is among my favorite vampire movies of all time.

Trey said...

@BigMike - I'll second Risus Monkey's recommendation is the Southern/Western vampire tale Near Dark--it's right up there with Let the Right One In and Thirst as great vampire films. True Blood also has vampires in Texas and Louisiana.

Surely somebody has riffed off gangsters and zombies in Chicago!

Malakor said...

Dang, I'll have to ask my boss if he's some kinda Yankee Sympathizer, making us work today :D

Trey said...

@Malakor - Fight for you're rights, man! ;) But you know how us gov'mint employees are, taking days off all the time.

seaofstarsrpg said...

Dead Birds is a solid horror movie set in the South during the Civil War.

Malkavian said...

ha Indeed the South shall rise again Ph´nglui mglw´nafh Cthulhu R´lyeh wgah´nagl fhtagn

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - Your right, Dead Birds is good--it's only flaw is in making me think it might have been a vague "Pigeons from Hell" adaption, and it was not.

@Malkavian - Sounds like it's rising this very minute! ;)

Needles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Needles said...

The blog entry is cool & this approach works for so many things including sci fi!

Trey said...

I'd be interested to hear how it turns out if you use it is inspiration for a game, Needles.

The Grumpy Celt said...

The fiction of Manly Wade Wellman, while not Lovecraftian, is quite good in terms of Southern Gothic and Southern horror.