Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Classic Horror

I've been watching a lot of horror movies the past few weeks, especially the old classic monster movies by Universal Studios and the later Hammer Films remakes.

I have a great fondness for both, and I've been trying to decide which I like better. Hammer films featured Christopher Lee and the incomparable Peter Cushing, but Universal had some pretty great talent, too, especially Lon Chaney, Jr. and Boris Karloff. While I'm not a great fan of Bela Lugosi, his was the first portrayal of Dracula I ever saw and I'll always love that Lugosi stare. And who doesn't immediately picture Boris Karloff when you imagine Frankenstein's monster? The Universal actors became the icons for all the monsters of classic horror that still resonate with us nearly eighty years later.

Ultimately, though, I'm going to have to go with Hammer Films as my favourites for their greater depth of story. Universal too often opted for the typical 'Hollywood treatment' of classic fiction, usually missing the point of the story entirely, Frankenstein being a prime example. I was watching the Hammer movie, Revenge of Frankenstein the other night and was struck by the poignant tragedy of the brain transplant patient fleeing to avoid becoming a medical sideshow while slowly degenerating and becoming progressively more violent. There were no clear bad guys here and everyone lost out in the end; especially Dr. Frankenstein who was beaten near to death by a mob of his patients and needed to have his brain transplanted, leaving his fate open to speculation.

So, what's your favourite studio?  Cast your vote on the poll at the left.

Now here's a video with some great classic monster movie scenes accompanied by the greatest Halloween song ever written.  Happy Halloween everyone!


The Happy Whisk said...

That was really a fantastic post. I enjoyed it a lot. Tons of fun. Happy Halloween and have a scary day.

Sean Robson said...

Thanks, Whisk, you too. Don't eat too much candy :)

The Happy Whisk said...

I gotta play this song again. It's just too good. And of all the Halloween posts today, this was the one that gave me the biggest smile.

Thanks for the great post.