Alright so of course I’m all for body positivity, but if you are very over/underweight and even the doctor suggests that you lose/gain weight—then you need to lose/gain weight. It’s as simple as that. Being healthy is good too.
Hello, readers! At the moment, I’m super busy prepping a Lovecraft Legacies LARP event, but I didn’t want to fail to offer some DMing advice this week. So I grabbed an old article I wrote for the website GeeksDreamGirl.com. I wrote it with 4E in mind, but it’s lessons translate to any game. Enjoy!
Combat is an integral part of many RPGs. In some, it’s a necessary evil. In others, like D&D, it’s an exciting part of the game. Sometimes, the PCs are facing truly evil and villainous foes that need to be wiped from the face of your campaign world. Sometimes, however, you want to have a battle end in something other than a complete massacre of one side or another. What if the PCs are facing honorable foes who’ve been duped into fighting them? Or what if they’re facing foes who vastly out-number or out-power them? Is a slaughter the only answer? Obviously, the
answer can and should be no.
Here then are five ways to end a fight before the battlefield is drenched in the blood of one side or another. You can use these ways to keep a battle short, or to offer an alternative to simple one-
A Fight to First Blood
If the PCs are facing honorable foes, or are fighting in a tournament, they may choose to fight to “first blood”, and I’m not referencing any cheesy 80s action films. In 4E D&D, this is an easy
concept: have the players and NPCs agree to fight until someone hits their Bloodied value, and use this as the threshold of when someone finally draws blood on the other.
This has a lot of basis in reality. Knights at tournament wanted to show their prowess at real battle, and first blood was a way to show one’s skill, but to avoid seriously injuring one’s foe. Likewise, a duel that was serious but didn’t need to be to the death would sometimes be fought to first blood. This served as a grim reminder to the wounded – I bloodied you once. Next time might be more fatal.
Holding Out Like a Hero
This is a particular favorite of mine. In it, the PCs aren’t necessarily planning on winning a fight, but only of surviving and holding off foes until a set goal is reached. This is particularly effective for when the king can get to safety if his loyal knights can last ten rounds of combat, or if a wizard needs them to hold until he gets six successes on Arcana checks. Combined with Skill Challenges, this can make for a memorable sequence. Skeletons will keep pouring out of the crypt until the cleric successfully re-consecrates it as a skill challenge of minor actions, or the room will keep filling with water that’s inhabited with shrieking eels until the rogue resets the trap mechanism. It’s up to the party to hold off the skeletons, eels, or what have you.
You can use this device to simulate a scene like Helm’s Deep. The PCs have to hold out a certain number of rounds until the reinforcements arrive. Especially in combination with an ever-increasing number of minions, this can give the proper feeling of literally holding off an army.
Cutting Off the Head
The orcish army feels unbeatable until their leader, Gruzhgarn, is slain. When the necromancer is killed, the undead crumble back to lifeless husks. The wolves will flee in dismay if their alpha is killed. If you make one or more of the enemies the linchpin holding the rest of the monsters together, then you can give the PCs a goal other than simply slaying every monster on the battlefield. Once the leader-type monster goes down, the rest will surrender, flee, return to their home plane, etc. I especially like the feeling of “kill the wizard and his minions will return to the Elemental Plane.” It’s something that makes a logical sort of story sense, and it gives an out to the players.
A variation on this is “this monster is invulnerable until condition X is met.” In my current campaign, a great example was Auntie Mengybone, whom I’ve mentioned in other columns. She was harnessing the life-force of a captive Arch Fey to constantly heal herself, making her effectively invulnerable. Several of the PCs with Controller-type powers kept her busy and away from the other PCs who were freeing the Arch Fey through a skill challenge. Once the Arch Fey was released, she immediately went into retreat mode, leaving her minions to fight the PCs. She didn’t escape, but, if she had, she would’ve likely become a recurring villain in the campaign.
Live to Fight Another Day
There’s an adage that most PCs would rather have their character killed than have them captured. I’m not sure what the psychology around this is, but I agree that it’s true. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to have your monsters behave the same way.
I befuddled my players in my Eberron campaign by having the changeling villain they’d been fighting step back, go defensive, and offer to surrender, but only if the Lawful Good character
promised him mercy. The party was immediately suspicious, but they reluctantly agreed. This let me draw a fight that was already a foregone conclusion to a quick close and keep a valuable NPC
alive for a future sequence. And when the PCs found out later that he’d escaped the prisons of their patrons, they cursed his name – darned, tricksy changelings!
The other trick is to have monsters flee. They might be running for reinforcements, or they might be running for their lives, but sometimes monsters, especially intelligent ones, might choose to abandon a fight that they’re clearly losing. Earlier editions of D&D had complex Morale check systems to help a DM determine whether or not a monster would fight on or drop their weapons, but, nowadays, story is the arbiter of such a decision.
Stop. Just Stop.
I would never suggest that you should declare a fight against the PCs and tell them they’re all dead. But good news! Your monsters don’t have any ego beyond that which you invest in them.
If you’re down to two half-dead orcs, everything else is dead, and the PCs are still in excellent shape, you can call that fight. Sure, the orcs might do a little more damage, but is it really necessary to eke every hit point from the player characters that you can? I think not.
Some DMs, and some players, don’t like this approach. They want to know exactly who did what, who killed whom, and noodle the fight down to each hit point. That’s not my style of game play. If it’s getting late, and I have an important plot point to make before game ends, and this fight is slowing me down, I’ll sometimes call a fight once it’s clear how unlikely it is that the PCs will lose. “Well, the ogre has 15 hit points, and you’re all going to get to attack before he does. Unless you really want to know who kills the ogre specifically, let’s call it. Someone describe for me how the ogre dies.” My players were baffled the first time I did this, but they’ve
come to appreciate it.
Not every fight has to be fought to the last HP. Sometimes, there are reasons why a fight should end early, and sometimes it’s just more convenient to move things along rather than dither down to the bitter end. Using this tool, you can make battles more about the story and excitement and less about drudging down to the last hit point.
Jonsa and predictions for Jon’s arc (mostly book canon) below the cut. This is a sad meta but I think the foreshadowing is really compelling.
I believe there is enough clues in the books to suggest that Jon will come out of the series alive, either missing an eye, blind in one eye, or blind altogether. I believe that this will be one of Jon’s “costs” he has to pay, either for loving Sansa, betraying D*ny, or both. The books are littered with one-eye clues.
My thoughts around Mary, what she has seen and her coping with her boys and their angel buddy.
She’s gone from being a mother of 2 babies in a (happily? generally?) cupid-induced loving marriage, still fighting the supernatural on occasion to happily dead in heaven (which she remembers), to now being a (unneeded) mother to 2 grown men - who live with a supernatural being, in an underground bunker owned by her family’s ‘mythical opposition’ the men of letters and living the hunting life she was desperate to keep them away from. Yeah, tough.
- Resurrection : Dean convinces her of who he is by an emotional retelling of her life and how she met John. Reminding us that when Mary and John first met they didn’t actually immediately like each other, she 'knocked him flat on his ass’. They did fall intensely in love although their relationship and family was marred by the supernatural and they sometimes fought passionately (she doesn’t know it was a Cupid of course)…. Aside - *ahem “couple who were 'forced to be’ v couple who embody free will” parallels*
- Witnessing Dean and Cas being reunited when Cas believes he has died. Cas throwing himself at Dean, shouting then quietly murmuring his name into his neck. She, understandably, has a questioning look in her eyes. Then, um, ANGEL?!
- Seeing Cas work tirelessly to find Sam. Seeing Dean completely trusting Cas to do this and also relying on him emotionally (overhearing their #married phone conversation about Dean not wanting to overwhelm her).
- Knowing that Cas lives in the bunker with them, but noting that he doesn’t sleep, emphasising his 'inhuman’ side.
- Seeing how completely Cas falls apart when Sam and Dean are imprisoned as he tries to find them and attempts to hunt alone (v how effective he was at finding just Sam, working with Dean, when she first met him). She blames him for their loss at first. Then upon seeing how completely he is broken, even counting the hours, she tries to support and help him in as much as she can, in her way. Upon realising how he is NOT coping she goes from her first instinct of blaming him for their loss in her role as their mother to actually consoling him.
Mary is NOT a monster, she’s really struggling, she misses the people she loves and so buries herself in hunting to bury her emotions. Plus her automatic reaction to strong feelings of love, pain and guilt is to get angry… LIKE DEAN (very relevant for Cas’s death scene).
- Cas putting himself in danger to save her from Billie, he then gives an impassioned, muddled speech about how important you/you all is/are to him/everything… but predominantly throughout this is looking at Dean. Sure he doesn’t want Mary to die, but this speech - this declaration is not really about them all being so important to everything, it can’t be, she’s not been around long enough and she hasn’t done anything to show Cas that she’s of any real importance.
She wonders if he even really understands it himself, he looks so muddled and broken. Is it because he’s an angel? Do angels feel like humans? She’s confused and worried, she is already not sure of the new world she’s come back to, and now there’s a supernatural being in her and her boy’s life, it’s intense. And now this?! She turns to Dean and sees the look of pain in his eyes as he realises how broken Cas is and how he has put himself in harms way for them.
His jaw is clenched, his body language is closed off, guarded. She understands this is far more complex than she first imagined.
- After such an emotive night she heads out to clear her head, she can’t cope with being around them all, it’s too much. The next time she sees them all it is most definitely jarring. Sam and Dean are all business with her, there’s no sign of anything cosmic or anything in their actions to recall that emotional night. Dean partakes in some over the top posturing with the waitress on Cas’s behalf while calling Cas 'devastatingly handsome’ while Cas seems oblivious, or is that actually a scowl on his face? She’s now even more confused. Does Dean not realise or is this something else entirely? Has she misread Cas? She doesn’t know any other angels so it could be that she’s misunderstood. He is a little awkward and supernatural after all…. but the boys want him around and he obviously cares for them so she should just get them all to get on with the hunt.
- Cas is dying and it’s her fault. He wants the Winchesters to leave him as to save themselves. He tells Sam and Dean that his best moments have been with them which makes her wonder just how old he is and what he has seen. He says the things they’ve shared and done have changed him. She knows this is important but not exactly how, it’s deeply emotional though and it reminds her of how little she actually knows of their time together and her boys that this angel, this supernatural being could have been affected so much by them. She turns and sees Sam, then Dean’s faces and how they both are pained by Cas’s dying words. Somehow though she can see not just sadness in Dean’s eyes but also regret and self loathing. He blames himself. She knows because it’s what she sees in the mirror. She is reminded again how Dean is so like her.
- Cas looking up at them all, calling them all his family, nodding at her to include her which just makes her feel awful for her part in having led to this, his death and all their pain. She doesn’t really deserve this, to be a part of their family.
- Cas then immediately looking down, not catching anyone’s eye as he says 'I love you’.
Cas looking up at Sam as he tells him that he loves them all, meaning him, specifically TOO, then finally the long lingering, revealing look at Dean as he can’t avoid him any longer. She knows now, she understands.
She looks at Dean and sees so much of herself in him. She wonders if he understands too or if his self-loathing prevents his comprehension that he can be loved like this. She’s not known him very long as an adult but she knows this much about him and that saddens her deeply, it also contributes to her own self-loathing in an ironic twist. And if he does understand Cas’s words, does he reciprocate? Her and Dean, they work with actions, not words and she sees his actions now, how he’s holding back. She understands. But it doesn’t matter now anyway,
Cas is dying and it’s her fault. She could be the cause of the breaking of her little boy’s heart and he doesn’t even know it. But still in the back of her mind, is this not maybe for the best? How can you love something not…human?
- Sam and Dean fighting for Cas, refusing to leave him, emphasising that he is family, seeing the understanding and love in Cas’s eyes as they do so. Dean had even been arguing with and insulting both the KING OF HELL and RAMIEL as he was so worried for Cas. Mary is terrified of Ramiel, another yellow eyed demon and she has seen this.
Now, as he is dying, Sam’s consoling words while Dean can’t watch, he looks down like he might even be praying. Or perhaps he just can’t watch Cas’s last moments.
- But he lives, no thanks to Mary.
- “Let’s go home”….
No wonder she can’t stay around them, with the confusion over their supernatural 'friend’ plus now the guilt (she’s still in the old hunter mindset of kill anything inhuman, she doesn’t have 12 years worth of Winchester Gospel storyline to teach her the grey areas like our boys have and they’ve only recently learned it fully re: Benny, Amy).
And yes she’s made it a hell of a lot worse by now also betraying Sam with the BMOL, when he was the one who really still trusted her.
So yeah, in her struggle to find herself she’s ‘abandoned’ BOTH Sam and Dean and now she’s narratively:
1. betrayed Sam through her work with the BMOL.
2. betrayed Dean…. by endangering Cas.
So I think that speaks volumes.
Now for her redemption arc as she’s already admitted to working with the BMoL and is clearly conflicted about nearly losing Cas, let’s get some more wake up calls :)
A/N 1: At the ending of last school year I was a little bit idgaf and missed a lot my lessons and so even this year a lot of my classmates and even some teachers began suspecting that maybe I’m in some shady business as I don’t really like telling people what I’m doing… So yeah, long story short quite a few people believe I’m friends with the wrong people or that I’m doing something illegal, I find this hilarious, so that’s why I wrote this short story…
“Shit.” you mumbled to yourself
You were bleeding. A lot. Or so it seemed to you. But you
never wanted for it to end up this way. It all started as a joke, why did anyone
even make a big deal out of it?
A black haired man was standing in front of you. He was
wearing a black classy suit. Somehow even this appearance sent shivers down
“You know everything would have been much easier if you just
told me in the beginning where the drugs were.”
This situation was so bad it’s funny. You taught for a while
how to answer. You have been telling him the truth from the start but of course
he wouldn’t believe you, who would. Stupid. You were so stupid to even start
“As I told you before, I don’t know. Or more like there aren’t
even any drugs, how many times do I have to say it?” you told him through gritted teeth.
A sharp pain went through your body again.
“How about you stop talking nonsense and wasting my time and
just tell me where they are.”
“Maybe I would if you stopped kicking me when I’m already
down!” you shouted in pain.
It was not working. This torturing was going too far. You
were still shocked as it is that he shot you. You were thinking about a way out
of this but strength was already starting to leave your body.
“Oh no, you don’t get to pass out on me before you tell me”
he put his fingers on your chin and made you look at him.
But at this point you were too tired. “Whatever” you thought.
It’s not like you have a plan or anything and it’s too late to explain that none
of that story is true. He wouldn’t listen anyway. You looked him in the eyes.
They were so dark but no anger or anything like that in them. Actually there
was no expression on his face at all. You wondered what he was thinking. With
all the strength that you had you smacked his hand away from your face.
“Do not touch me.”
“I think you don’t understand the situation you’re in right
now.” he told you standing up, still looking at you.
“I do actually,” you said. “And it’s so funny that this has
been going on for so long that everyone really started to believe me and I even
got myself involved with the real things!” you started laughing.
That caught him a little bit off gourd but he didn’t let it
show on his face. He sighed. I think it was about time he was done with you. He
started pacing back and forth in the room.
“Ah, you’re a pain. What should I do with you?”
“How about you believe me and just leave me alone?”
“Nope, can’t do that. You see I have heard how good you are
“Great. Just great.” you thought. He knows another lie about you.
Well it was not exactly a lie, you were pretty good with coming up with
stories. Actually really good, so good that everyone around you believed you
even though you were bluffing all this time. At first you found it funny but
later on you just couldn’t drop the act but now see where this got you.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” he asked in a harsh
You didn’t realize but while being lost in thoughts you stared
straight at him. Okay. Don’t panic. You’re not afraid. Well you were but of
course you can’t show it.
“I have eyes, so can’t I?”
Good job. You did not want to sass him. Why did out of all
the possible answers you told him that. You waited in silence for him to say
something. A small smirk appeared on his face.
“Okay, I see there’s no point from me to talk to you anymore
because you clearly don’t feel intimidated. I think I should bring you to
someone who will make you talk.”
He started approaching you. Still holding your wound you
tried standing up from the wall and get something to protect yourself.
“And now you suddenly want to fight? Why not do it earlier?”
You did not say anything because even though you wanted to
just kick him and go you did not have the strength anymore. You watched as he
approached you and just threw you over his shoulder. He signalled the other men
you even forgot were in your room to open the door. You tried punching or doing
anything really but you couldn’t even see clearly. Did you really lose that
much blood? He went for the stairs and took you out through the back. It was
dark but of course he couldn’t risk someone seeing you. He placed you in the
trunk and shut it. You tried your best to stay awake but you were tired and
just done with everything, so you close your eyes not knowing if you will ever
open them again.
But you did. You were surprised by the sight as you slowly
opened your eyes. You were in a hospital. A nurse came to check on you.
“Oh, you’re awake!”
“No need to worry. You’re in the Phoenix Private Hospital.”
Good. You were still in the city.
“That was some nasty accident, we’re glad you’re okay now.
It will still be some time till you recover but we will take good care of you.”
“Yes, don’t you remember? Oh dear, I will call the doctor, I
hope you don’t have a concussion.” the nurse said as she quickly left the room.
Oh you do remember. But it was no accident. Why would she
even say that? As you were pondering silent steps could be heard outside. You
looked up expecting the man from the night before to enter the room. It was not
“Yoongi.” you hissed.
“Well good morning to you too.”
~ I turned this one shot into a series you can read it here ->Part 1~
A/N 2: Thanks for reading! Also sorry for any grammar mistakes I may have missed. I may continue this or make a series out of this if inspiration strikes me again and if anyone would be interested 😂
Description: After losing your mother at the age of 14, you’ve had to suffer from being bullied at school and the abuse from your alcoholic father. Not knowing where to go or where to turn to, you keep your life locked up, away from where no one can judge you. Until a certain boy makes a bet with his friends.
A/N: I have been working on this for a while, I apologize I haven’t gotten around to some peoples requests yet but I’m slowly getting there. <3
Happiness can only exist in acceptance - George Orwell
The screams of your father rang in your ears, awakening you. A long drawn sigh escaped your lips, wishing you hadn’t awoken, and that the beatings from your father were so severe that you had slipped away in your sleep. Then, you wouldn’t have to be so frightened waking up in the morning and coming home from school. It was the same routine every day. Wake up, change, sneak out through your bedroom window, school, come back home to then be yelled at, or beaten until you could barely walk.
As soundlessly as you could, you crept out of your bed and grabbed with school bag, which held your toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush and obviously your school work. After checking twice that you had everything you needed, you quickly made your way over to your bedroom window. Unfortunately, you had knocked over a pile of books on your desk, causing you to freeze and hold your breath. Silently you prayed that your dad hadn’t heard. You almost thanks the lords, until you heard footsteps storming up the stairs.
“(Y/N)! Get you fucking ass here now!” he yelled. Without caring about how much noise you made, ran over to your window, and opened it as wide as you could. Quickly throwing your bag out of the window, you turned around at the opening of your bedroom door to reveal your extremely drunk father. His white vest top covered in stains from cigarettes and alcohol that had failed to stay in his bottle.
“What do you think you’re doing whore? Come here now, and I won’t hurt you as much,” his tone lowered into a more menacing one, causing your breaths to quicken. “I won’t ask you again. Come. Here,” he ordered through his teeth, clearly losing his patience. Panic began to rise inside you, as you saw him unbuckle his belt, ready to hit you. Taking this as your only opportunity to get away you sprinted towards the window as quickly as you could and managed to get out before your dad grabbed you.
“Once you’re home I’ll make you regret running off!” he yelled as he slammed the bedroom window shut with such a force that it caused the glass to crack. Shaking in fear, you grabbed ahold of your school bag and slowly made your way along the street, still in a state of shock.
“Hey, hey Jungkook. I bet you couldn’t get yourself into (Y/N)’s pants within a month,” Taehyung, the pitcher of the baseball team snickered as he watched you cautiously creep into the school grounds.
“Pfft, you’re on Tae. 50000 won says I can do it,” Jungkook smirked as he held his hand out to the older boy, waiting for him to grab hold of his hand.
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into Tae. Jungkook’s the Golden Maknae, and can do anything,” Namjoon warned the eldest of the two boys.
“Ha! I know what I’m doing,” Taehyung smirked as he gripped Jungkook’s hand firmly, agreeing to the bet. Jungkook without a second thought, jogged over to you, smirking to himself. As he jogged ‘past’ you, he ‘accidentally’ knocked over the books in your hands.
“Oh fuck! I’m so sorry,” Jungkook apologized as he knelt down to help you pick up your stuff. “You’re (Y/N) right? You’re pretty quiet huh?” Jungkook shrugged, with a shy smile that was covering his sly smirk.
“I… I guess if you want to put it like that,” you muttered under your breath. Turning on your heel you began to walk off when Jungkook stepped out in front of you.
“Do I not get a thank you?” Jungkook asked, almost offended you ignored his very rare kind gesture.
“Oh, right. Sorry. Thanks, I guess,” you sighed, brushing past him. Pouting childishly, Jungkook stalked back over to his friends, who were trying hard not to laugh.
“Aw, it appears our Kookie has lost his charm,” Hoseok, teased as he flung his arm over the boy’s shoulder.
“I haven’t lost my charm, Hyung. She just more difficult since she doesn’t like to interact with other people,” Jungkook defended himself, sticking his nose up in the air is a smug way. His Hyungs rolled their eyes as the bell rang, indicating class started.
“C’mon Kookie, let’s go see (Y/N),” Jimin laughed as he threw his arm around the maknae’s shoulder and guided him into the school, and to the first period; English.
When the three boys (including Taehyung) walked into the class, all their attention was drawn to the back of the class where you sat. Except you weren’t alone as you normally were. The two biggest whores in the school, Taeyeon and Rose towered over your cowering form, laughing loudly as they grabbed a hold of your belongings and threw them across the classroom.
Jungkook being the ‘fine gentleman’ he was sauntered up to the back of the class and firmly placed both of his hands on the two girls backsides, and giving a rough squeeze.
“Hey who the fuck do you think - Oh Jungkook, hi,” Taeyeon smirked noticing it was Jungkook who was behind her.
“Now, now ladies I don’t think it’s very nice of you to treat (Y/N) like that, don’t you?” Jungkooks voice was so calm it was unsettling.
“O-of course Jungkook,” Rose stuttered as the two girls scurried off to their own seats.
With your head still down you hadn’t noticed Jungkook had taken the seat next to you, placing his chin on his palms, elbows resting on the table. He raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t I deserve a thank you?”
His tone was laced with smugness, which for some reason set you off.
“I don’t know who the fuck you think you are Jeon Jungkook, but you do not deserve my thanks,” you spat, voice laced with venom. Jungkook’s eyes widened, taken a back by your sudden outburst.
“Excuse me princess, but I just helped you. Is it not clear I care about you a lot?” Lies.
“Please, if you cared about me, you would be doing everything in your power to stop the bullying and harassment I’ve suffered with for years.”
“Don’t interrupt me, Jeon. I may be quiet but I’m certainly not an idiot. I’ve seen the way you and your friends laugh when I’m verbally abused. The only reason you’re wanting to interact and protect me is so you can get your tiny dick into my pants.”
Jungkook sat back in his seat, dumbfounded by your out rage. He quickly came back to his senses though.
“You certainly are smart now aren’t you huh? But we both know you’ll eventually give into me.”
“You’d be surprised, Jeon. Now do me a favour and fuck off.”
With that you stood up and left the class not caring if you skipped the subject. Quickly you headed towards the bathroom until you were grabbed, hand over you mouth and arms behind your back. You thrashed around until you had no strength left, your right shoe slipping off your foot as you were dragged into the nearest classroom.
“Oh man, Kookie she got you real good,” Taehyung laughed as he fell into Jimin who was laying on the desk crying from laughing so much.
“Tch, I never expected her to say that. And my dick isn’t tiny. It’s huge.”
“What ever you say tiny dick,” Jimin howled with laughter, while Jungkook stood up and left the class to go look for you.
“(Y/N)!” Jungkook called. He abruptly stopped when he noticed your shoe laying on the floor followed by the muffled laughs of male students in the old and not abandoned music room. Jungkook was quick to react, by pulling out his phone a dialing Taehyung’s number.
“Get the hyungs Tae, this is important. Come to the old music room,” Jungkook hung up immediately after and kicked down the doors, not caring about how loud he was. With hands in his pockets, his eyes scanned the room until they landed upon you being held down by three boys while the other one was pulling down your trousers, ready to take advantage of you. Each one of the boys looked up at Jungkook, and the ‘leader’ of the group scrunched his nose in disgust.
Upon realizing who the leader was Jungkook scoffed.
“You’re honestly back again Mark? After being suspended three times for drugs on school grounds and now this? You really are pathetic.”
“Nice to see you too Jeon. Don’t mind us, we were just finishing off some business.”
“It’s a shame you won’t finish it. Get off her. Now,” Jungkook spoke, his tones turning into a threatening one.
“Tch, we both know who would win Jeon. It’s one against four.”
“Make that seven against four,” Namjoon snarled as he walked into the room, with the others behind him.
Mark let out a sarcastic chuckle.
We’ll leave her this once Jeon, but don’t think I’m done with her yet, I always finish my business,” Mark snapped as he walked past the boys, sending death glares at them.
Silently you sat up, not daring to look at any of the boys as you sniffled and wiped away your tears. You suddenly flinched when a hoodie was gently placed around your shoulders. The soft touches being from Jimin as he sent you a saddened warm smile in an attempt to calm you down.
“I’m sorry you had to go through that. We’ll make sure that they stay away from you. They’re sick bastards who constantly try to get in bed with a girl, whether she’s agreed or not,” Jimin explained as he slithered his arms under your legs and arms before carefully lifting you up and placing you down on the floor.
“T-thank you. And I mean all of you,” you muttered, looking down at the ground out of embarrassment. “However I really should be going.” Swiftly, you grabbed a hold of your shoe that was laying on the floor and ran off to your locker where you leaned against it, heart still hammering in your chest.
What the hell was that feeling?
By the time school had ended you were exhausted from running about in the boiling hot weather, being forced to wear your hoodie and leggings in order for your bruises and scars to not be seen.
Sighing to yourself you made your way into the girls changing rooms when the doors suddenly shut on you, causing you to jump in fright.
“(Y/N),” Jungkook’s voice echoed through the room, sending shivers down your spine.
“Jeon what is it?” you asked.
“I’ve grown impatient with your resistance. I’ve tried all day and you’ve brushed me off your shoulder like I’m just. I’m not standing for it,” Jungkook growled lowly.
“Just because you can’t take no for an answer doesn’t mean you can force me to do it,” you snapped back. “Now leave me alone, I have to get home.” Making your ways passed him he suddenly grabbed hold of your upper arm, causing you to wince and his eyes to widen.
Without hesitation, he pulled your sleeves up to see dozens of bruises covering your arms. You pulled away holding onto to your wrist as if you were protecting it.
100 Overlooked/Underappreciated Horror Movie Gems by Max Molinaro
For the past five months I’ve been writing lists of 20 great horror films that I feel may have been overlooked. Here are those five lists assembled in to one place. Enjoy the scares.
Chances are if you are a giant horror fan you may have seen a pretty decent chunk of these, but a vast majority have likely not seen many of them. This is a list of under seen films or movies that aren’t talked about enough when discussing some of the greats…
Possession– I can honestly say there is nothing else like Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession. Starring Sam Neill as Mark and Isabelle Adjani as Anna, Possession is first and foremost about a dissolving marriage. Anna is done with the relationship and Mark tries to salvage it, but revelation after revelation puts more and more strain on their hopes of living happily ever after. As the film progresses it becomes increasingly surreal and disturbing. Mark is livid and lashes out against just about everyone after Anna leaves him, clearly losing his grip. As bad as Mark is becoming, it is nowhere close to the horrors that Anna is facing. Blood drips her mouth and she frequently disappears into a mysterious apartment building. What she is doing in this apartment is something no one can predict and it is deeply troubling. Neill is amazing, but Adjani is the stand out performance in the film. It is an exceptionally physical performance and you can tell that Adjani is giving it her all. One scene where she has some kind of attack that causes her to flail around the ground is extraordinary and the ending of the sequence is truly disgusting. Possession is really an incredible film with many interpretations and some of the most unforgettable images ever put to on screen.
The Devils – There is nothing else like Ken Russell’s 1971 highly controversial film, The Devils. Starring Oliver Reed as Father Urbain Grandier, a lecherous, but respected 17th Century priest, who has great power in a small-fortified French town. He marries a young nun after they fall in love, but that drives a hunchback nun (who as loved Grandier and pictured having sex with him as he appears as Jesus Christ coming down from the cross in the film’s most infamous scene) off the deep end and accusing the priest of witchcraft and consorting with the devil. The Devils is insane and feels like a demented acid trip. Filled with amazing performances and unforgettable scenes, The Devils is one of the most interesting (certain people would say offensive) and greatest horror dramas ever made.
Martyrs – This is a rough one that’s may even be too much for some horror movie veterans, let alone folks new to the genre. Martyrs is a French directed by Pascal Laugier and stars Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï. The film follows the two female leads as one seeks revenge for being kidnapped and tortured in her youth. She’s been psychologically damaged and has become ruthless in her pursuits. She is also racked with guilt about something she witness during her initial escape many years agao, which leads to some of the film’s most frightening sequences. It’s a brutal and in many way nihilistic as it is part of the New French Extremity movement, where you’ll find a smorgasbord of hyper violent cinema. If you can get past the darkness and the violence, you’ll see that there is more to the film than meets the eye and there are many ways to interpret its message.
Ginger Snaps - John Fawcett’s Canadian teen horror film follows Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle), two sisters with a morbid fascination with death. One night they are attacked by what was originally thought to be a rabid dog and Ginger is bit. She soon begins acting strange (and I mean strange for the Fitzgerald sisters, because they already had a reputation) and slowly begins to change physically. It is clear that she is becoming a werewolf and she begins to turn on her sister, the only person she has ever cared for. Ginger Snaps is one of my personal favorite werewolf movies, second only to the classic John Landis film An American Werewolf in London. This tragic tale is sometimes darkly funny, but is ultimately a story about girls entering womanhood. It’s an intelligent take on puberty through the guise of a werewolf movie.
From Beyond – “Humans are such easy prey”. From the director of Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon, and many other people involved in that film, comes From Beyond, the best film to date to be directly based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft. The film stars Jeffrey Combs (the Re-Animator himself), Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree and Ted Sorel and is a gory body-horror film unlike anything you’ve seen before. When two scientists create a device that let’s them see through reality to a metaphysical world, they mistakenly open a door that risks unleashing horrible beasts on the rest of the world. Their experiment turns into a disgusting nightmare that would make Lovecraft himself proud as the film reminds you “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far” (Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu).
Eyes Without a Face – This French pseudo-slasher film, released the same year as Psycho, remains just as shocking today as it did all those decades ago. Directed by Georges Franju and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli, the film follows a mad doctor as he kidnaps and murders women in order to remove their faces and transplant them on to his disfigured daughter. In many ways the film is as grotesquely beautiful as it is disturbing and continues to be highly influential across the globe.
Stake Land – Director Jim Mickle’s second feature is an ultra low budget that combines vampire and zombie apocalypse stories in some incredibly unique ways. Starring Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Danielle Harris and Kelly McGillis, Stake Land follows survivors of a vampire apocalypse as they do everything in their power just to survive. Damici plays a bit of a badass vampire slayer, which Paolo is just learning the ropes. Both scary and sad, Stake Land is a character driven indie that is a must.
We Are What We Are – Jim Mickle’s follow-up film to Stake Land was even better and proved that Mickle is a director to watch. A loose and superior remake of a 2010 Mexican of the same, We Are What We Are is a film about family suffering from the lose of the mother. The father (Bill Sage), an old fashioned man, now must lay the burdens formally helf by his wife on his two daughters (Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner) and those burdens are unlike that of any normal American family. Just like Stake Land is ultra low budget horror drama is depressing, but you can’t look away as this family begins to buckle under the weight of their own traditions. Michael Parks also stars and he is always a welcomed presence.
Trick ‘r Treat - I love Trick ‘r Treat so much. I now watch it every Halloween alongside John Carpenter’s classic Halloween. It’s that good. This horror anthology directed by Michael Dougherty and starring Dylan Baker, Brian Cox and Anna Paquin is one of the most purely fun horror films to come out in the past decade. Featuring several short stories that are intertwined both in the editing and with characters has just about everything you could ask for and perfectly captures the spirit of the holiday.
The Devil Rides Out – Though some effects and storytelling elements may be a tad dated for some, this little known Hammer Horror classic directed by Terence Fisher and starring Christopher Lee, Niké Arrighi, Charles Gray, Leon Greene, and Patrick Mower gets that all good horror films need to have a certain kind of atmosphere to be effective. This is classic battle of good versus evil and has Christopher Lee in a rare role of playing a hero instead of one of his many classic villainous roles.
Splinter – Another dirt cheap monster movie, Splinter is directed by Toby Wilkins and stars Shea Whigham (on of those “you’d know him if you saw him actors”), Jill Wagner, and Paulo Costanzo. Whigham plays an escaped convict who becomes stuck in a secluded gas station with a young couple when a strange virus turns its hosts into a horrid creature. Similar to Carpenter’s The Thing is some respects, Splinter is a tightly paced, claustrophobic, and creepy monster movie and I love it.
Kill List – Upcoming British director, Ben Wheatley, delivered a morbid look into the darkness of a man’s soul with his 2011 horror-thriller starring Neil Maskell, Michael Smiley, and MyAnna Buring. It follows two contract killers as one of them, a family man outside of work, becomes increasingly violent and spirals out of control. Like Martyrs, Kill List is a very dark film that can be interpreted in many different ways. The third act of the film is simply terrifying.
Pontypool – Possibly the most original take on the zombie film in the past couple of years, this Canadian horror film directed by Bruce McDonald and starring Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, and Georgina Reilly is really something special. Set almost entirely in a radio station where radio announcer, Grant Mazzy, tries to understand the chaos going on outside just by listening to the incoherent reports he is receiving from his colleagues and from the horrible sounds he is hearing. Is there a riot? Is it zombies? What is causing all this violence outside and with the crew of this small radio make it through the night alive? You’ll never guess what’s going to happen next in this highly intelligent horror film.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End – The original Wrong Turn was a serivable slasher film about a couple of mutant hillbillies offing beautiful middle in the middle of the woods, both with this first sequel the franchise really stepped it up a notch and then a couple of notches after that. Directed by Joe Lynch, the film follows a group of people on a reality TV game show set in the wilderness, but of course the wood are home to a family of inbred mutant cannibals. This is a movie that’s for the gorehounds out there. Right from form the get-go the film pulls no punches and features grisly deaths throughout.
Santa Sangre – This might be the one that may be just too much for some casual filmgoers. Directed by one of cinema’s all time greats, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Santa Sangre is an abstract work of very surreal art. Though there is more a clear cut narrative that some of Jodorowsky’s other work like Holy Mountain (which I absolutely LOVE, but I can see why it might by an acquired taste), Santa Sangre cans still be described as very avant-garde. Starring Axel Jodorowsky, Adan Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell, and Thelma Tixou, Santa Sangre is not a film with a plot that I could succinctly describe. It is a film that to have to experience because it really is art and pure as art can come. Jodorowsky is really just a brilliant madman.
The Bay – This is a found footage horror film directed by Barry Levinson. Yeah, that Barry Levinson who directed Diner, The Natural, Rain Man, and Wag the Dog. The Bay is Levinson trying something outside his comfort zone and that is reason enough for one to give it a try, but it helps that it is a really well done film. Based on the horrifying real life parasite known as Cymothoa exigua, The Bay is a story about a fictional town being almost completely wiped out in the course of a day by the wretched little tongue eaters. Disgusting and genuinely creepy, The Bay is really successful little film from a director doing something outside his wheelhouse.
The Loved Ones - Directed by Sean Byrne and starring Xavier Samuel and Robin McLeavy, The Loved One is a violent Australian film that’s not for the faint of heart. A teen is kidnapped and tortured by a crazed young woman and her father as they hold a mock prom in their isolated home. Just when you think things can’t get any worse for Brent (Samuel) they of course get far more terrible. The relationship between the murderous duo is a fascinating one as you slowly learn more and more about them as the film goes one. You’ll never want to go to a school dance again after this.
City of the Living Dead – Directed by the “godfather of gore” Lucio Fulci, this Italian film is fun, gory, atmospheric, and stylish. It kicked off Fulci’s unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy, where the other two films will probably be included in later editions of this series of articles. It’s a bit silly at times, but it’s a fun zombie film that could only be made in the time and country that it was made. Some good Lovecraft references peppered in throughout as well are nice touch.
F (aka The Expelled) – I suspect that this is the least know film on this list and it’s a shame because this is a damn good British horror film. Directed by Johannes Roberts and starring David Schofield, the film follows a high school teacher, who is getting dumped on from almost every direction. His day only gets worse when he gets into a conflict with his daughter that might cost him his family and is job. Those problems soon take second fiddle to something even worse as Schofield begins to be tormented by several hooded kids. Eventually the faceless hoodlums become violent and begin murdering the few people who have remained at the school several hours into the night after the school day has ended. This is a dark, tightly paced, well directed and acted, film that I high recommend you seek out. Also features a really haunting and fantastic musical score.
Who Can Kill a Child? – This Spanish horror film directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador follows and English couple (played by Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome) on holiday. They arrive at their destination to find all the adults missing and the islands children stalking them. The kids turn violent and the couple must do whatever they can to survive. Adding to the peril, the wife is pregnant, which just makes their quest to survive all the more desperate. This is a harrowing film and you can imagine by the title and by the end you may have an answer to the question it asks.
Frozen – Let’s this out of the way first: I’m not talking about that wonderful Disney film, I’m talking about Hatchet director’s Frozen, so we should just let it go (wink). It’s just a coincidence that this is the third single location horror film on this list after Splinter and Pontypool, but is can be a wonderful challenge is low budget horror filmmaking sometimes and it pays off in spades in Frozen. The premise is simple as it is just a film about three characters played by Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, and Kevin Zegers as they are stuck on a ski lift after the ski lodge shuts down for the night. They’re only option is to find a way down or freeze to death over the next week while the resort is closed. Their escape is hindered by the cold, height, and a pack of wolves waiting for some tasty human meat to come down and that is where the horror lies. It’s a film that’ll have you asking, “what would I do in this situation?” and “how quick would I start to turn on my friends?”. This is a horror movie that relies on tension and sound design as opposed to gore and jump scares and shows Adam Green’s potential after doing the fun Hatchet films.
The Burning – This is just pure 80s. Everything about this movie is just so much of the time. This is a quintessential 80s slasher film, which was just a knock-off of Friday the 13th(which in turn was riding the coattails of Halloween). Directed by Tony Maylam and featuring some gory makeup effect by famed special effects makeup artist Tom Savini, The Burning is just a blast of a film, with a memorable villain named Cropsy. Fun fact: a young Jason Alexander’s very first feature film role.
The House of the Devil – The film that put Ti West on the map, The House of the devil is a brilliant throwback to low-budget 80s horror. Shot to look like it was done with grainy film stock used in the early 80s, the film gets the tone and look of the time perfectly. A college student takes a baby-sitting job, but finds out the job is more than she bargained for when the house’s owners turn out to be members of a satanic cult. It’s a slow burn that racks up the tension to a big climax. The film features the great character actor Tom Noonan who excels at playing both a kindly and creepy older gentleman. The House of the Devil is the first great film from one of horror’s best young minds.
Cheap Thrills– What would you do for five bucks? Ten? A hundred? Ten thousands? Would you say something that’ll get you slapped in the face? Would you vandalize a neighbor’s house? Cut of a finger? Those are the questions that the characters played by Pat Healy (The Innkeepers) and Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait) have to answer when they meet David Koechner (Anchorman) and his wife Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers) at a bar one night. The film is darkly funny and equally twisted. Pat Healy gives a layered performance as man that’s always gotten the short end of the stick and never done anything about it, but may finally step up under some insane circumstances. Cheap Thrills by E.L. Katz is a mean little piece of fascinating thrills that leaving you asking “what would I do?”.
The Werewolf– A stranger comes into town on a dark night, lost and confused. He runs afoul with an angry drunk and the wino winds up dead. It looks like an animal attack, but no one knows what kind of animal and where the stranger went of too. It sounds fairly generic, especially with such a simple title, but this 1956 B—movie is better than you’d think. Great makeup effects plus a 50s sci-fi twist on the classic werewolf myth and better character work than most genre films of the period, the film is a cheesy fun way to spend 79 minutes.
Monkey Shines – From master of horror George A. Romero, Monkey Shines Alan Mann played by Jason Beghe (Chicago Fire), who is rendered quadriplegic after a tragic accident. A friend of his, a scientist, gives Alan an unusually intelligent capuchin monkey to help him out. The monkey isn’t just unusually intelligent, but hyper intelligent due to medical experimentation. The monkey, Ella, quickly becomes attached to Alan and overly protective of him. Due to the experiments, they unknowingly become linked telepathically linked and Ella acts on the angry feelings that Alan never would act on in a million years. Alan eventually becomes a prisoner in his own home and is helpless due to his condition. His inability to move is a simple, yet highly effective way to create a ton of suspense throughout the film.
The Dentist– From director Brian Yuzna (Society) and producer Stuart Gordon (director of Re-Animator and From Beyond) The Dentist is about exactly what you think it is. Corbin Bernsen plays a dentist who is pushed too far by his cheating wife and stressed filled job. He takes matters into his own hands and begins torturing and murdering anyone that his the misfortune of finding themselves in his chair. You know how you get especially squeamish with little things like nails being pulled or stepping on tacks? This whole movie is little things like that involving teeth and the mouth. It’s gross and it’s under the skin like any of the best Yuzna/Gordon productions.
Lake Mungo – A 2008 Australian horror mockumentary tells the story of the drowning of the 16 year old Alice Palmer and how her parents and brother deal with the events after her death. The film is highly atmospheric and a great slow burn. There are elements of a mystery as to why Alice is appearing in home videos after her death and what she was actually like in life as opposed to the face she put on for her family. More creepy and intriguing than outright scary, Lake Mungo should be a film that sticks with you for a while. It is also pretty interesting if you’re a fan of Twin Peaks and you start seeing that the entire film plays out like an homage to the classic series.
The Tunnel – An Australian found-footage film that follows a small investigative news team looking to learn the truth behind a possible government cover-up regarding a recent water shortage. They enter the sewer system under Sydney, but soon they see an emaciated looking figure lurking in the shadows. They lose their sense of direction in the labyrinth and realize that something is stalking them. The Tunnel is pretty damn terrifying. It’s claustrophobic, tightly scripted, and tense from beginning to end.
Eden Lake – One of several British horror films on this list today is 2008’s Eden Lake. The film stars Kelly Reilly as Jenny and Michael Fassbender (one of this generation’s greatest actors) and Steve, a young couple on a romantic getaway at a remote lake. Everything seems perfect until they have a run-in with some punk teenagers. Steve confronts them, but then decides that him and Jenny should just move further down the beach. The confrontation eventually escalates and turns dangerous as the teens chase down the couple with deadly intent. More brutal and disturbing than the initial setup might suggest, Eden Lake is a relentless thriller.
In the Mouth of Madness – The last good film John Carpenter made before he lost his mojo, 1994’s In the Mouth of Madness feels a little bit Stephen King-like in a few parts and a lot like H.P. Lovecraft just about everywhere else. As the title might imply, the film is about the nature of insanity and has a bit of commentary on the nature of horror storytelling. Starring Sam Neill (second time he’s been mentioned on this list) as John Trent, a fraud investigator looking for a horror novelist’s, Sutter Cane, final transcript. Cane’s recent novel has been a massive success, but there have been reports that it has been driving some readers mad. Trent travels to the town that inspired Cane, but soon begins seeing horrible visions and the line between real and nightmares quickly becomes blurred.
Psycho II – Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a classic, a masterpiece, and one of the most influential horror films ever made, so a sequel may seem like a crime against the art form. Surprisingly though, Richard Franklin’s 1983 Psycho II is not the horrid mess that many sequels to classics like The Exorcist II and Jaws 3 are. After 22 years in an institution, Norman Bates is released and returns to the infamous Bates Motel. He tries to lead a normal life and shed his “Mother” persona, but bodies begin to pile up and Norman starts to feel a little mad. Of course it’s not nearly as good as the original (despite what Quentin Tarantino thinks. He actually prefers the second one), but this sequel is an entertaining twist filled psychological thriller. Anthony Perkins returns to the role of Norman and he’s just always great.
Inside – From directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, this 2007 French film is one of the most relentless and grisly horror films ever made. Weeks after being involved in near fatal car accident and losing her husband, a young pregnant woman, Sarah, answers the door the door to a strange woman late at night. The woman begins harassing Sarah and is quickly escalates. It becomes clear that this woman only wants one thing: Sarah’s baby… Sarah is brutalized and fights to survive as anyone else who enters her home as a potential savior meets a gruesome fate at the hands of the deadly home invader. Dark, bloody, and non-stop, Inside is one of France’s best modern horror films.
Dog Soldiers – More British horror from The Descent director Neil Marshall in the form of Dog Soldiers. Essentially it is a low-budget Predator with the alien hunter swapped out for a family of werewolves. While on a training exercise, a squad of British Army soldiers is left out in the middle of the woods and is forced to duke it out with the pack of monsters. Gory, fun, and really well directed, Dog Soldiers is a blast. Many of you reading this have also seen the director’s work in the Game of Thrones episodes “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall”
Excision – Starring 90210’s AnnaLynne McCord and directed by Richard Bates, Excision is a powerful and disturbing high school horror film. The film follows Pauline (McCord), a mentally disturbed high schooler, with hopes of becoming a surgeon. There are several expertly shot dream sequences, soaked in blood and featuring confrontations with Pauline and her ideal self. Outside the dream, Pauline is extremely creepy as she emotionally scars everyone around. She very flippantly decides that she wants to lose her virginity and propositions a guy that’s tormented her in school. They meet at motel and what happens is sure to gross a majority of viewers out. After that Pauline becomes more aggressive in her acts and eventually does something that no one will forget…
The Lovely Molly – I watched the film on Netflix on a whim a while back, not knowing anything about it at all. That was a good call on my part because Lovely Molly is a super creepy ultra low-budget horror film. It’s incredibly subtle in the ways it attempts to frighten you and you’ll be uneasy for more of the film than not. Just watch, knowing that if you’re paying attention, it will pay off. Directed by Eduardo Sánchez, the mastermind behind The Blair Witch Project.
Deadgirl – Do not watch this on a date. I repeat. Do not watch this on a date. It won’t go over well. Or maybe give it shot, you may have an interesting night depending on whom you’re with. This 2008 high school horror film is gross and miserable. One day two boys, high school seniors who can only ever hope of finding a girlfriend, discover a naked woman chained up in a basement. They soon learn that this strange mute girl is not just a tortured woman, but that she is in fact a zombie. This is where the film gets really heavy and after deciding that neither of them can do it, they convince a jock to rape the so-called “Deadgirl” and it’s all down hill from there. The only way I could accurately describe the film is pure melancholy.
The Tenant– The third film in Roman Polanski’s thematic “Apartment Trilogy” following Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant is a paranoia fueled psychological horror film. Polanski himself plays a quiet, average man who moves in to an apartment after the previous tenant attempted to kill herself by jumping out the window. The landlord and the other renters begin to complain and chastise our protagonist for being too disruptive, when he is actually being anything but. The horror takes place in his mind as all these different outside forces start to come down on him and he begins to break. This one can only be described as mind-bending and features an unforgettable third act.
Berberian Sound Studio – British and psychological horror seem to be the unintentional theme of this edition with Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio starring Toby Jones. Jones plays a British foley artist, Gilderoy, who comes to Italy thinking he’s going to help with sound work on a film about horses. He arrives and soon learns that the film he is to work on is a giallo film. Gilderoy is new to horror films, so he is already out of his element being in this foreign country. Much like The Tenant’s protagonist, Gilderoy is an average and quiet man, who is needlessly thought of as greedy and rude by his Italian collaborators. All he asks is that he be reimbursed for his plane tickets, like he was told he would, but everyone gives him the runaround. From there Berberian Sound Studio becomes crazier and crazier as Gilderoy slowly becomes as insane and dark as the film he is working on.
Maniac – This 2012 remake of the 1980 film of the same name directed by Franck Khalfoun and stars The Lord of the Ring’s Elijah Wood as the film’s titular psycho. Shot almost entirely from the killer’s point-of-view, Wood’s character, Frank, is a shy and awkward man with a dark secret and even darker desires. His dimly lit home is filled with female mannequins. Frank murders women, scalps them (while most are still alive), then takes the top of their heads to place on his mannequins in order to give them personalities. Maniac’s violence is brutal, uncomfortable to watch more often than not, and horrifying to say the least. Wood is perfect as the awkward, yet menacing murderer, and by the end you may just feel like a maniac yourself.
The Children– Similar in premise to Who Can Kill a Child (which I mentioned in last month’s edition), The Children is yet another 2008 British horror gem about two families staying at a secluded home to celebrate the New Year. Everything seems normal at first, with some typical familial drama, but the young children begin to act very strange. They soon become sadistic and violent, which leads their parents to struggle with the fact that they either have to kill their own children or be brutally murdered by them.
The Fly II– I’ve written extensively about The Fly II for some reason, which you can check out right here. To make it brief I’ll just say that Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly is just about perfect in my mind and one of my ten favorite horror films and while the sequel isn’t as good, it’s a fun ride and much better than one might expect.
Ginger Snaps: Unleashed– Almost as amazing as the previously mentioned original, the sequel follows Emily Perkins as Brigitte Fitzgerald, Ginger’s sister, as she deals with the physical and mental toll that the events of the first film have taken on her. Just as impactful and raw in terms of pure emotions, this is a rare horror sequel that can hold its own with the best of them.
Braindead – Peter Jackson’s third feature and final outright splatter is arguably the goriest film ever made. On top of the insane over-the-top gore gags and gross out moments, it’s a wacky comedy, a dark familial drama, and a quirky romance. It’s an unforgettable film from on film’s greatest modern filmmakers. The film is more commonly known in America as Dead Alive.
The Prowler– Similar to The Burning in that is doesn’t really break new ground in the vast landscape of 80s teen slasher movies, but the film features some top notch makeup effects from the master Tom Savini. Not much more to say other than if you’re looking for a good slasher movie, The Prowler will satisfy.
The Stepfather – It’s soooooo good. Joseph Ruben, the director of Breaking Away and The Good Son, film from1987’s The Stepfather is such a fantastic work. Lost star Terry O'Quinn play’s the new stepfather to a young woman, who unbeknownst to the rest of the world, murdered his previous family and plans to continue his murderous cycle of entering and destroying families. O'Quinn’s performance is impeccable as the titular psychopath. The film was followed by two lackluster sequels and an awful remake in 2009.
Motel Hell– A pseudo parody of the horror films of the time when it was released in 1980, Motel Hell is a real cult classic. The unusual horror-comedy was ahead of its time in many ways and includes of the most bizarre images put to screen. The film’s killers, Vincent and Ida Smith, are an odd pair of farmers who capture innocent men and women and plant them in their garden, where they are fed until they are ready to be harvested and eaten. The sound of the heads sticking out of the ground will be embedded in your mind for a long time.
Humanoids From the Deep – Executive produced by the B-movie king himself, Roger Corman, 1980’s Humanoids From the Deep is an exploitive schlockfest about sea faring monsters with an urge to mate with attractive young human females. It sounds like it could be pretty offensive and it probably is, but the film is so much fun for that reason. Directed by Barbara Peeters, one of the few notable female filmmakers in the realm of 70s and 80s exploitation horrors, the film is the best of 50s B-monster movies mixed with the trashiness of the low budget 70s grunge horror.
A Tale of Two Sisters – A 2003 South Korean horror film from director Kim Jee-woon (director of I Saw the Devil) continues to prove that some of the scariest films come out of Asia. The film centers on a pair of sisters struggling with increasingly terrifying events surrounding them and their maniacal stepmother. The film is very creepy and unpredictable (unless you saw the crappy American remake, The Uninvited, in 2009)
The Hunger – A beautiful and haunting film from 1983 directed by Tony Scott and starring the great David Bowie and the now legendary Catherine Deneuve as a married couple of vampires living in New York. Susan Sarandon plays a doctor that Bowie needs help from when he begins to rapidly age, which leads to a chain of events that reveal that Deneuve has been hiding something deadly and Sarandon becomes entangled with this secret in some unexpected ways.
Alligator – This 1980 monster film directed by Cujo director Lewis Teague is fun satire of monster movie clichés that pokes a little fun at them, but at the same time uses them to great effect. With great effects work and an entertaining performance from Robert Forster, Alligator a real treat. The film also has the balls to kill children, something not normally seen in horror films like these.
Street Trash – Not a film for everyone, Street Trash is just as trashy as the title and poster would imply. Hobos melt in toilets and a severed penis is thrown around like a football in slow motion in James Muro’s 1987 cult classic. Appropriately disgusting while poking fun at homeless behaviors and all sorts of gross oddities on top of the super cheap production, Street Trash is a film that will turn off most, but it’s a corny good time.
Shutter – This 2004 Thai horror film by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoomis a twisty ghost mystery and is utterly horrifying. A photographer begins seeing strange shadows in his pictures and can’t escape en entity that is out to get him due to a mistake from his past. The film plays with your emotions as it becomes unclear who is the villain in the story, but it is always scary.
Trauma – Dario Argento, the Alfred Hitchcock of Italy and the master of giallo, delivered this creepy film in 1993 with his daughter Asia Argento starring. A killer stalks the streets and is decapitating staff members of a local hospital and Asia plays a women suffering from anorexia who is caught in the middle of it all and begins losing loved ones. The decapitations are graphic and the film shows the heads living on for a few seconds after the fact, which is an insanely creepy image. The film was one of the director’s last good films before the quality began to slip in the late 90s.
The Curse of the Werewolf– Surprisingly one of the only, if not the only, major werewolf works made by Hammer Films in their heyday. Directed by Terence Fisher and starring Oliver Reed as the cursed man, the film is a dark one that throws everything you know about the rules of werewolves out the window. After a lengthy setup where Reed’s character is the product of the rape of his mother by a tortured vagrant and the boy suffers from some unusual habits growing up, he grows into a seemingly normal man. One night he undergoes his full transformation and begins to kill. Bleak and high in emotions, The Curse of the Werewolf is on of Hammer’s best.
The Ghost of Frankenstein – Universal’s third Frankenstein film from 1942 isn’t nearly as talked about as the original two classics, but Island of Lost Souls director Erle C. Kenton delivered an exceptional film with Lon Chaney Jr. as the monster, Bela Lugosi as Ygor, and Cedric Hardwicke as Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein. Set years after the Bride of Frankenstein, the film see’s Frankenstein’s son return to his father’s home and finds that he blamed for the supposed cure of the Monster. The film was the last truly great serious take on the Frankenstein story for sometime and was also used heavily has a source of parody just as much as the first two in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (which shares the same general plot).
Afflicted – A Cronenbergian found footage film about two video bloggers traveling Europe. In France, one of them goes back to their room with a beautiful woman, but he is found alone and bleeding in bed when his friend busts in. In Italy he seems very ill and his symptoms becomes more and more extreme until he shows signs of superhuman abilities. When his hunger and aversion to sunlight become too much, it becomes very apparent what he is becoming. The film is able to pull off things using the found footage motif that do not seem possible to pull off in camera and on such a tight budget. The film is dramatic, exciting, scary, and one of 2014’s best. Read my full review here.
The Den – A creepy found footage film shot mostly on the desktop of a young grad student performing a social experiment on an Omegle-like website. While chatting with the usual online crowd she comes across what looks like a very real murder. She is slowly tormented with more and more frequency by unknown forces and seems to think that someone is out to get her and her loved ones. Creepy, memorable, and inventive, The Den is worth a look and a standout in an overcrowded subgenre.
Would You Rather – We’ve all played the game would you rather and in 2012’s film inspired by the game, things are taken to the next level and beyond. Starring Pitch Perfect’s Brittany Snow as a player in a sick game and horror movie icon Jeffrey Combs as the game master, Would You Rather sees a group of unsuspecting victims who wind up in a deadly version of the game. Increasingly brutal, set almost entirely in one room, and a film that successfully makes you ask “what would I do?”, Would You Rather is a surprisingly good little film. Combs is also wonderfully hammy.
Frontier(s) – The 2007 French horror film by Xavier Gens is almost on the level as Inside when it comes to horrific violence. A group of friends feels riots in Paris only to encounter a cannibalistic family, who proceeds to torture and torment the frightened group. Essentially a more violent French take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with some extra twists, Frontier(s) is one of the most extreme horror films of the 2000s.
Them – The 2006 French-Romanian horror film directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud isn’t the graphically violent French horror film that I’ve mentioned while doing this project, but it might be the most terrifying. The plot it simple as it revolves around a couple be stalked and chased by hooded kids in and around their new home. Suspenseful and unrelenting, Them is truly thrilling.
The Girl Next Door– This 2007 film was directed by Gregory Wilson and based on a novel by Jack Ketchum. Like the best Ketchum stories, the film is dark and incredible ugly. The plot is simple, but the morality of it all is complex as it tells the story of a teenage girl who is trapped and tortured by her aunt as the neighborhood kids watch and don’t know how to deal with the morbid situation.
Offspring – Another dark tale from the mind of Jack Ketchum, Offspring is a 2009 film directed by Andrew van den Houten. The film follows a married couple who have to protect themselves and their family from a small savage clan of cannibals. Since the film is Ketchum story, thing are not that simple as some of the protagonists might be just as monstrous as the cannibals.
May – A modern cult classic, the 2002 film directed by Lucky McKee follows the lonely May as she slowly loses her grip on reality in her attempts to gain more friends. May is one of the most interesting and damaged characters from any horror from the last decade and the morose film ends with one of the creepiest images ever put to screen.
The Hills Run Red – A little known film, 2009’s The Hills Run Red by Dave Parker follows a group of teens as they search for a long lost horror film, which is supposed to be one of the best and most grisly slasher films ever made. Instead of the film, they find the real life killer that the film was possibly based on. The Babyface killer in the film should be and would’ve been a modern slasher icon had the film gotten a proper release, but it’s available and should be checked out by horror fans. The film also subtly draws connections to real life quest that all die hard horror fans go one to find smaller films and obscure gems that they’re only heard of in magazines, on reddit, or in podcasts. That quest is something that exists almost exclusively for the horror genre (there might be some that search for old sci-fi, foreign films, or pre-code Hollywood movies, but horror is the big genre for searchers).
The Exorcist III– It would probably be easy to write off The Exorcist III since the original ranks high up on the list of the greatest horror movies ever made and The Exorcist II: The Heretic is one of the worst films ever made, but III ignores the first sequel and is a real horror movie gem and has a pretty sizable cult following. Starring Oscar winning actor George C. Scott as the Lieutenant William F. Kinderman character from the original film (who was played by Lee J. Cobb in the original) as he investigates a string of religious themed murders near a psychiatric hospital where a mysterious patient claims to be a long dead serial killer. The film is directed by the writer of original two novels and screenwriter of the original film, William Peter Blatty, who shows great restraint as the film continually builds and is remarkably tense throughout.
Thale - Aleksander L. Nordaas’ 2012 Norwegian supernatural horror film is a super creepy tale (pun intended) about two men who find a speechless woman with a tail. There is a mystery here to the big picture going on and to how this woman ended up trapped in this basement, making the film a very compelling one. Outside of the dark basement where most the film is set lays something very creepy out in the woods.
Severance – A horror comedy that can be described as the British version of The Office meets Friday the 13th. A company team-building retreat, a group of co-workers end up being victims of a small group of psychopathic serial killers. The film’s general plot makes it sound like something we’ve all seen a hundred times before, but Severance stands above many modern slashers due to its dry and dark British wit.
Idle Hands - A 1999-horror comedy directed by Rodman Flender and starring Devon Sawa (Final Destination), Seth Green, Elden Henson, and a young Jessica Alba. Sawa plays a high schooler finds that his right hand is possessed after it kills his parents and his two best friends and he has to stop it before it can kill anyone else, including the next door neighbor girlfriend. The film is so over-the-top 90s in a way that will make it a very fun, albeit dumb, nostalgic experience for a lot of people of a certain age.
Maniac Cop 2– Even better than the original, 1990’s horror sequel by Maniac and original Maniac Cop director William Lustig returns to continue the story of the vengeful undead Maniac Cop Officer Matthew Cordell, who continues to reek havoc on the dirty streets of New York. Die Hard’s Robert Davi as Detective Lieutenant Sean McKinney takes over the lead from Bruce Campbell as the man with the tall order of catching the unstoppable killer, who is even more bloodthirsty than he was in the original.
Stitches – If Asian horror movies are usually destined to be really friggin’ scary and Australian horror movies turn out to border on nihilism more often than not, then modern British horror movies have two options; being dark and depressing like Eden Lake and Don’t Look Now or darkly humorous like Severance and 2012’s horror comedy Stitches by Conor McMahon. The film follows a group of teens who were a partially at fault for the death of clown at a birthday party in their youth and his return to murder them years later. The film is filled with some really inventive kills and good liners and who doesn’t love a good grouchy killer clown?
The Relic – Set in Chicago, The Relic from 1997 by Timecop director Peter Hyams is simply a super solid B-monster movie. The film a little bit Alien and Aliens, a little Predator, some Jurassic Park, and pretty much any monster movie you can think of thrown into a pot to make a fun monster bash that is ultimately a super solid guilty pleasure. Penelope Ann Miller and Tom Sizemore star in the two lead roles.
The Faculty – This underrated 1998 Robert Rodriguez film was penned by Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer screenwriter Kevin Williamson. With this film Williamson’s self aware hip high school horror film began to ware thin, but the film has just enough charm and wit to be fun time. The film was accused of ripping of many classics like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers but is really more of a loving homage. Beyond the fact that it is a purely entertaining 90s teen horror flick, the film has fantastic cast of young stars who mostly went on to have highly successful careers and are still thriving today (Josh Hartnett is currently killing it in Penny Dreadful).
Willow Creek – Bobcat Goldthwait doing a found footage horror movie sounds strange, given that his past work includes the phenomenal World’s Greatest Dad and the wonderfully dark God Bless America, but 2014’s Willow Creek is another winner from the comedian/director. It closely follows the Blair Witch formula, but the performances and the writing are very strong in this one and the film’s climax after a very extended take is insanely creepy.
Hour of the Wolf – Ingmar Bergman. The man is without a doubt one of the most legendary icons of world cinema and in 1968 he teamed with frequent collaborators Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann to make one of the closest representations of a nightmare that film has ever seen. Like any Bergman classic, the film is ripe with heavy drama and complex emotional tensions throughout and on top of all that, Sydow’s descent into madness is a gorgeous work of surrealist terror.
The Beyond – Easliy one of Lucio Fulci’s most popular films, The Beyond is an insane cult classic with some spetacually gory kills. The film follows a woman who inherits a hotel in New Orleans, not knowing that it is one of the gates of Hell and that everyone who enters will meet a horrible fate. Zombies, eye gouging, dog attacks, spider attacks, and a 6-shooter with apparent unlimited ammo abound in this Kind of batshit and super nonsensical film, making The Beyond is prime example of low budget Italian horror of the 70s and 80s.
Snowtown – This one is a bummer. Based on the true of one of Australia’s most infamous serial killers, the film is filled with scenes of implied pedophilia, incestual rape, and eventually (obviously) murder. The tone is bleak, the performances are pretty stellar, and the tone will leave you feeling sick to your stomach, even if much is left to your imagination. The film was released in 2011 and was directed by Justin Kurzel.
Frankenstein’s Army – A World War II set found footage film. For Russian soldiers in the midst of war, you might ask yourself how they got a hold of such a nice camera that records sound and shoots colored film, but after a few minutes you’ll forget about it since the creature effects are nuts. A Nazi grandson of Victor Frankenstein is creating an army of reanimated corpses fused with deadly bladed weapons, leading to some of the most memorable movie monsters of the 2010s.
The Town the Dreaded Sundown (1976) – Released two years prior to John Carpenter’s Halloween, 1976’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a early slasher film that is not talked about nearly as much as it should. Loosely based on the true story of the Phantom Killer in the town of Texarkana, Texas in 1946. The silent masked killer is very much a prototype Jason Voorhees and true crime have of the film makes it really stand out from the huge number of slasher films that would inundate theaters throughout the following decade.
Citadel – 2012 Irish psychological horror film written and directed by Ciaran Foy about a widowed father suffering from agoraphobia, who has defend himself and his baby from a faceless gang of hooded people. The film is another bleak one that is a good companion piece to 2010’s The Expelled. Citadel is an incredibly tense and layer thriller, with an impeccable leading performance by Aneurin Barnard. For a director’s feature film debut the film in extraordinarily mature work that deserves more attention.
The Cottage – A British horror comedy from 2008 by director Paul Andrew Williams and stars Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison, and Steve O'Donnell. Serkis and Shearsmith play a couple of brothers/criminals, whose kidnapping goes south when a crazed killer attacks them and their hostage. The film is darkly funny and makes a good companion piece to Severance.
The Kindred – An ultra low budget monster movie from 1987, Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow’s The Kindred is a super entertaining effects filled romp. When a medical researcher’s mother dies, he, his girlfriend, and his team go to her home to uncover the secrets of her research, only to find that she created something truly horrific. The characters in the film are all exceptionally likeable, which is odd for a film of this kind and there really is no accounting for why they are so easy to like. You don’t want them get killed off, which goes a long way to make the film an exciting ride. The film also features Oscar winning actor Rod Steiger in a supporting role.
The Dark Half– Directed by George A. Romero and based on a story by Stephen King, the film is similar and far better than Secret Window. It sees Timothy Hutton as a King-esque author, who “kills off” the pseudonym he has been using for most of his very successful career. Shortly after that decision, someone that looks just like the author begins killing people involved with the man and his publishing. Hutton is great and the movie is appropriately Stephen Kingy.
The Awakening– A 2011 British film directed by Nick Murphy and starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West. Set in 1921, Hall plays a paranormal investigator who doesn’t believe in the supernatural and wishes to disprove claims of ghost. It is an interesting setup and different than the usual haunted house film and the plot goes on to be a surprisingly layered and complex one.
Q: The Winged Serpent – Directed by Larry Cohen, the director behind such classics like Black Caesar, The Stuff, and the It’s Alive trilogy, Q from 1982 with stars Michael Moriarty and David Carradine is B-movie gem. The effects may leave much to be desired for some, but the stop motion Quetzalcoatl monster is a fun throw back. On the surface the film is a fun monster movie, but Moriarty shines as a paranoid and smarmy crook.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) – Not a remake and not a traditional sequel, this 2014 slasher film is a strange hybrid of the two and that is a major reason why Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown is special. Set in modern day Texarkana, where the original film is screened every Halloween, the film finds the town rocked by copycat killer or maybe even the original Phantom. The film is produced and conceived by Ryan Murphy and pretty much everyone behind the camera is a crew member of American Horror Story, so many there are many stylistic similarities there. The film is very respectful to the original and seeing 1976 cult classic will only enhance your appreciation of the new film, though it is not essential. Some might not see passed its slasher movie trappings, but it’s an old school slasher film that they don’t make anymore, so fans longing for the good old days of masked killers hacking teens will have an excellent time with this one.
Mad Love – Directed by Karl Freund (who was the DP of Dracula) in 1935, Mad Love tells the story of doctor (played by the great Peter Lorre) in love and obsessed with a woman he can’t have and his devilish plans to eliminate the man in her life. The doctor performs surgery on the woman’s lover interest after his hands are mangled. He wakes from surgery and finds that he is an expert knife thrower. There are twists, high drama, and a suspenseful climax, which all add up to Mad Love being an under appreciated classic.
Curse of Chucky – Everyone has seen all the Child’s Play movies, but 2013 saw the release of the franchise’s first straight-to-DVD feature, so it may have slipped under some people’s radar. The goal of the film was to steer the series back to it’s darker roots after the previous films digressed into board comedy (although that doesn’t mean they were bad. Bride of Chucky is arguably still the best). The film successfully reinvigorates the franchise and makes Chucky threatening again. It is still fairly funny at times, but it the darkest film since the Child’s Play 2.
The Brood – A classic film from the great David Cronenberg, The Brood is film about marriage and divorce manifesting themselves as horror. The film has big ideas about the power of the human mind and psychological trauma. Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle are the two leads and Oliver Reed co-stars as psychotherapist in one of his many great horror movie roles. Released in 1979, the film is one of Cronenberg’s first major releases after several much smaller films like Shivers and Rabid and it is one of his most outwardly scary films. Many ideas and stylistic choices of The Brood can be found in Scanners and Videodrome.
Found – Scott Schirmer directed this 2012 ultra-low budget film about a young boy who is obsessed with horror films and suspects that his older brother might just be a serial killer. Humorless in its execution and unrelenting in its depiction of violence, the film was banned from a release in Australia.
Opera – A relatively later Dario Argento film that certainly has one of the thinnest plots and some of the most nonsensical characterization from the director, but what it lacks in story, it makes up for in uncomfortable imagery and brutal violence. The lead character is forced to watch grizzly murders while needles are taped under her eyelids to keep them open, which a surprisingly nauseating image that could only come from the mind of the Italian master of horror.
Blood and Black Lace – Directed by the legendary Mario Bava, Blood and Black Lace is the father of all giallo films that came after. Every troupe that would become common in the genre can be found in this film and fans of later Bava works, Argento films, some Lucio Fulci films, and many more will see it’s influence everywhere.
Grabbers – A 2012 Irish monster comedy from director Jon Wright is a fun film in vein of Attack the Block. The general plot revolves around a small town being attacked by a large tentacled beast and they only way to for the townsfolk to protect themselves is to have as much alcohol in their blood. Needless to say, the whole town getting drunk leads to film to be funnier than the average monster movie and the high production values of such a small film really make it stand out.
Wake Wood – A modern Hammer Horror film from 2011 stars Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle, and Timothy Spall. The premise is vaguely reminiscent of Pet Semetery as a mourning mother and father use a pagan ritual to bring their daughter back from the dead. The performances are strong and the film is moody as Hell as it harkens back to some old school European horror with modern day horrors visuals.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes – Never officially released (but it’s coming at some point), this indie mockumentary is deeply unsettling. Directed by Quarantine and As Above, So Below director John Erick Dowdle, the film tells the story of a serial killer that kidnaps and tortures his victims in the small town of Poughkeepsie. The killer often films his deadly deeds and those offer many of the film’s more disconcerting sequences. The acting is a little hammy at times, but the film is very effective and will stay with you for some time.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy – An epic 4-hour documentary on the entire A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise that features cast and crew interviews from a majority of the key players from the legendary films. The stories found in the doc are incredibly engrossing, highly informative, and very honest. The origins of Freddy, the films’ impact on pop culture and film, and much more is explored at length and even the lesser film’s in the series are given their due. The commentary on Elm Street 2 is particularly hilarious at times.
The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh – The 2013 feature film debut of Rodrigo Gudiño follows a young man who returns home after the death of his mother. The film is one of grief, loneliness, and regret and is tightly scripted by Gudiño. The lead of the film begins seeing something in and around the house that frightens him to his core and it is an image that is utterly creepy (albeit a little to CGI-y later, but it still manages to work).
Bubba Ho-Tep– An elderly Elvis and an elderly black JFK versus a cowboy hat wearing mummy should be enough to sell anyone, but when Elvis is played by Bruce Campbell and the film is directed by Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli, then it really becomes a must see. Campbell is at career best as a depressed and forgotten Elvis, who needs a walker and has a growth on his “pecker”. He gets one last chance to do something good in his life when he learns that a mummy is loose in the old folks home and is sucking souls. It’s a wacky setup, but the film is surprisingly heartwarming and Campbell really gets to show his real acting chops.
The Sacrament – A slow burn and atmospheric found footage film that is loosely inspired by the real life Jonestown Massacre. The Sacrament is directed by the wonderful Ti West and stars You’re Next stars AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, with Kentucker Audley and Gene Jones as the charismatic leader of the cult who a Vice news crew is documenting. The film builds and builds to a dark and disturbing climax, much like West’s previous outings The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. Jones is stellar as the manipulative and intelligent as you can understand why many of his followers left their previous lives to join him on this secluded island colony.
You’re Next – I’m well aware that most horror fans have probably seen You’re Next, but I’m going to cheat and point it on anyway since it wasn’t huge at that box office and I love it. It’s soooooo friggin’ good. It’s funny, gory, scary, thrilling, surprisingly, subversive, and everything you want in a horror film. Just watch it if you haven’t seen it.
Knights and Rogues – How to design a knight using a Rogue oriented build
So you want to play a Knight, but you don’t feel like being
super Lawful Good or sacrificing reason over honour? Maybe you like the way you
play an assassin/ninja over a clunking plate armoured god of war?
Well, not to worry – far from being purely locked into a fighter/paladin
figure, a knight can be a bit free in the way they are played, and contrary to
more popular culture of being utterly locked into a rigid code of conduct,
knights can be fairly free in the way you play them. Here’s a few ideas on
knights and rogues, and how you can do them.
What Makes a Knight?
We can call a lot of things as making a knight; a code of
chivalry, a plate armoured warrior following a cause, following a liege lord,
heavy cavalry, some noble figure, etc. But to make it more simple, it’s worth
remembering that a Knight is a social class, not a profession. A warrior knight
is actually what is termed “man-at-arms”, and this term is used by Knights
themselves to refer to both Knights as a class, and the commoners that have
training and equipment like a knight (basically being knights in all but social
standing). Geoffroi de Charny saw no distinction between Knights as a class and
men-at-arms, referring to them in the same fashion, and holding them to the
same standard of chivalric ideal as he held himself to, and his book on
Chivalry constantly refers to ‘knights’ purely as “men-at-arms”. So, in this
regard, we have two forms of ‘knight’, the actual social class of noble that is
inclined toward warfare, and the men-at-arms that lack social status but are
otherwise equipped and trained. And here we have some space to play:
Knight as a social Class are nobles, and the
Elite of society, particularly in warfare. If you are playing a rogue or
stealth based Knight that fits this base, there is space for the ‘gentleman
thief’ archetype, the noble-assassin whom uses his status to procure contracts
and execute his marks by duel of by waylaying, the special forces stealth type
that might be more stealth oriented through means of combat, than outright
facing their foes in open battle. Equally, they may well challenge their
opponents to fixed duels to maintain honour and appearances while clearly
ensuring they cannot lose.
Another part of being a rogue can be the use of subtly
and guile. A Knight as a noble does not by any means have to be an armour-clad
warrior, but can be a courtly figure with good connections, that uses their status
to maintain both royal and baronial ties in court, and equally employing
underworld bandits, assassins, and spies. The game of politics runs deep in any
court, and a knight that favours words over blades may well be a master
tactician, as well as a cunning schemer.
A well-trained special forces tends to have
elite soldiers that are, simply put, skilled at whatever they are needed for.
If a Monarch commands their finest knights to learn the arts of secret killing,
espionage, spying, theft, or stealth, then it is the place of the knights to
learn. Perhaps the knight already possessed these skills, as part of their
House’s creed; a line of warrior nobility dedicated to conflict through less
open tactics. While many knights take the arts of war to perfection, some
knights may choose the methods by which wars are halted before they begin…or by
paralyzing the methods by which to wage war, once it begins.
Background-wise, there is a lot to play with here. Knights
by class and skills can easily work as bandits and assassins in all manner of
ways, from the armoured horseman that runs down a mark, to the courtly type
that fixes a duel between peers, to the more secretive shadow-knight that
retains skills subversive to a common man-at-arms (possibly under orders from
their liege), there is freedom in how one manages things here.
Do we play a straight Knight (armoured warrior) that works as an assassin or
A more courtier-type Knight that uses diplomacy and bluff, sleight of hand and
outright lies, in conjunction with their Noble status to make them more
trustworthy, or more intimidating, more legally entitled, etc?
Do we play a Rogue, with more emphasis upon skills in combat, to become a
flurry of weapons and agility to overcome towering men of steel, an unorthodox
but highly talented warrior that stands with their more stalwart friends, while
acting more as a skirmisher?
Perhaps a Rogue that is socially a Knight, yet has for some reason has learned
arts far different from their fellows. They may wear armour on parade, joust in
a tourney, but all other knights know and quietly whisper that the lady of that
particular House is far better at unlocking doors in dark places where
treacherous nobles gather, who seems to have the ear of the Monarch and knows
the darkest secrets of their peers, as if they had spied upon them all this
Even more strange, perhaps a Rogue that has employed their talents while
adopting a looser form of the code of Chivalry – defending others even through
misdirection, never actually LYING, demonstrating enormous courage and loyalty
to their fellows, and maintaining humility despite their talents and guile?
Ultimately, the choice as to how the Knight-Rogue is played
is down to the player…however…
A knight is bound by a code, Chivalry being the most common.
Even a bandit or assassin knight must have some rule by which they are bound. A
rogue that is a Knight might well break into a house to steal an item or
information from another Noble, but they will generally be doing so for some
greater purpose than simply for their own vanity and greed. Perhaps the Monarch
ordered them to discreetly conduct a search? Perhaps the bandit knight will not
kill innocents? Maybe the assassin will not slay any but their mark? Maybe the
Courtier will not act directly outside the rules of law or Chivalry?
Regardless of how the Knight-Rogue operates, they will never
be outright Chaotic, and more normally will be Lawful, following a personal
code of ethics, or adhering closely to the Law or rule of their liege. A code of conduct is a major marker between a knight and a common thug in armour, and even a base-born ‘knight’ will keep closely to it, perhaps even more zealously than a noble.
Adherence to Chivalry will likely be key here. You should agree with your DM what your Rogue-Knight can and cannot do within their code of conduct, before building one in their game.
As @we-are-rogue herself has mentioned before, knights and rogues
have a lot in common, more often than not, and I agree. I also feel it worth
mentioning that, both in Europe and Japan, knights and samurai would often fill
the roles of spies and assassins (most ninja retained by the Shogun were of
Samurai class, and in Europe many knights would be hitmen for hire), making it
not uncommon for figures of war to become killers for pay, information
gatherers, and perhaps because of their educated background would often end up
being ‘skill-monkeys’ of their time.
Do not be fooled. Honour among thieves and assassins may
very well exist.
And they that know are in a far better position than those that do not.
the thing is that when assholes like jontron debate and clearly lose, because theyre amateurs they just pass it off like “ok im not very good at public speaking and getting my point across like my opponent but my argument was just as valid”
no bitch you lost because your argument is not valid, youre racist so you dont have the moral high ground, and when you say shit like “discrimination doesn’t exist in america anymore” you sound completely removed from reality and make yourself sound like an ignorant goddamn fool. nothing you say makes sense because you’re pissing out a bunch of incorrect stereotypes and some garbage that you made up. you lost the debate because your stance is fucking trash and you’re trash jon, not just because you’re “less experienced in gracefully articulating your point of view”