Get to Know the Death Knight

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a good slasher film or show. The slasher genre is one of my favorites, as it deals with a single threat (usually), a well-defined location (ideally), and the mythos is surface-level enough to give you the deets without getting bogged down (until the sequels). It also lends itself to genre deconstruction in a way that can nail the deconstruction while staying firmly within the genre, something not exactly easy to do (Scream is a goddamn masterpiece in this regard, and the TV series of the same name is actually pretty phenomenal. Yeah, both seasons).

Independence Day: Resurgence and Wasting Good Design

Zir’an can wait one more week. I absolutely must discuss Independence Day: Resurgence and how it represents the very worst parts of bad fantasy and game running. As weird as this sounds, this movie is half insanely gonzo awesome and half waste. It’s by no means a good movie, but it presents a plethora of great setting ideas… only to squander most of them in pursuit of a by-the-numbers sequel affair. Fortunately, we possess the capability to learn by observation and to extrapolate from seemingly different fields. This movie provides several lessons of inestimable benefit to anyone running a game.

Popstar and Putting a Good Twist on Classics

I am taking a break from the Zir’an series this week to focus on some GM advice from an unlikely source: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

I’m a big fan of the directorial efforts of Christopher Guest. When your weakest entry into films is the still-hilarious For Your Consideration, you have made some wise choices. With this is mind, it is no small consideration for me to state in the future there will be back-to-back viewings of This is Spinal Tap! and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The last few years have seen a resurgence in the music star biopic. Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, One Direction, and more have put out theatrical release documentaries. This is to say nothing of all of the reality shows and news magazine shows that cover celebrities. While people might say, “This is just a rip off of This is Spinal Tap!”, it is really a topical mockumentary lampooning recent trends, while also presenting some amazing comedy. However, this article isn’t really to sing the praises of the film. Instead, it’s to discuss some of the specific ways the film approaches classic jokes and spins them in new directions, reappropriating them to create something else entirely, but with the trappings of the classic jokes. This is invaluable for storytelling, specifically if you are looking to expand your GM skills.