Thursday, 23 June 2011

More on cosmic horror

Tonight I come back to Cthulhu and the Cthulhu mythos. For the story of the same title, you can have a very good and funny two minutes summary here. I have been in the mood for cosmic horror recently, for playing a good old game of Call of Cthulhu. I haven't done one in more than ten years and I miss it. Yesterday and today, we had two big storms in the middle of the day, with thunder and pouring rain. I love thunderstorms, I find them beautiful and dramatic. They make for lovely atmosphere when one wants to read a horror story or to play a horror role-playing game such as Call of Cthulhu.

I think it is mainly because of the atmosphere of rainy summer days that we (my brothers and friends) played Call of Cthulhu mainly during summertime. We had started in January 1994, played through springtime, then we stopped for a while, until we started again one summer night. Dungeons & Dragons was our favourite role playing game and we played it more often, but there was something about Cthulhu that D&Dr didn't have: a horrifying version of our universe, genuine terror, ordinary characters instead of epic heroes, some kind of realism, etc. And well, there was the rain and thunder. I remember closing the restaurant where I was working, which was a bit outside Chicoutimi, in the little hours in the morning. I could feel the cool air after a rainy day and the wind blowing in the trees. There was something terrifying about it, which I used in the game the next day. The stories were often set in quiet neighbourhoods or gloomy countryside. In horror, atmosphere is everything, more so than the monster in the corner. One of my players once said that the games we played made him feel chilly when he was walking through a cemetery one evening. I guess I did my job well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a dark and lonely night...I remember my friends and I telling scary stories on school camp and lighting our faces with a torch from below when the monster/bogey main jumped out:-) I know that as a teacher my children used to love nothing more than the history lesson filled with blood, and gore, and people killing each other. That always amazed me. We do like bogeymen, and ghosts, demons, and vampires. I suppose the whole world seemed to be full of them as we sat in our caves millennia ago:-)