“This film is a detective story,” intones the voice-over at the beginning of The Beast Must Die, “in which you are the detective. The question is not, who is the murderer but who is the werewolf? After all the clues have been shown you will get a chance to give your answer … Watch for the werewolf break.”
The alternate version released as Black Werewolf omitted the werewolf break, with little or no impact on either the plot or the strangely syncretic register of this Horror in SF, a movie that combines the set-up from Agatha Christie‘s Ten Little Niggers (1939; rev vt And Then There Were None1940) with the action from Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” (January 1924 Collier’s Weekly), itself subsequently adapted into the film TheMost Dangerous Game (1932). Director Paul Arnett disagreed with producer Milton Subotsky about the addition of the gimmick but those that enjoy The Beast Must Die as a piece of period kitsch – there are overtones too of Blaxploitation in the soundtrack and casting, of early 1970s Television thrillers in the helicopter pursuits and estate-wide surveillance Technology, and of the more strained efforts of Hammer Film Productions to diversify in the film’s somewhat ham-fisted attempts at Equipoise – now seem to regard the interpolation of the werewolf break as delightfully reminiscent of a bygone era.
The first player-produced work of art entered our Dreamhounds of Paris game last night – Catacombs No.4 by Anton Du Marr, created by Space Monkey.
Du Marr emerged from behind a large rock removed from the entrance of a large cave with Romanesque arches by hominids with large, pronounced jawlines rimmed by teeth; he was carrying a collection of lidded eyes on stalks as if they were bunch of flowers.
“Make sure you include something of HIM in the portrait, Anton – a real piece of him, just as you did with the flowers,” Nicolas Flamel was saying. “There can be nothing that is fake about this painting.”
“Satellites” of surrealism “Crooked Bob” Notttingham and Edward Cody dined at Le Maldoror with new-found “Ally” of the movement Anton Du Marr, where Cody found an extremely fearful Robert Desnos hiding in its garret. Cody spent Charm to befriend Desnos and lent the former Dream Medium the use of his American accent for a radio jingle.
The player-characters discovered an upside-down cross in the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp – Du Marr’s religious faith meant that he suffered a severe loss of Stability when he touched it – then dined with Flamel (don’t ask what they ate) after a long and arduous journey through the Catacombs. One unique and dangerous text was exchanged for another.
Two days into A Week of Kindness and already the players are finding themselves drawn deeper, deeper into the darkness beneath Paris. Tomorrow (Wednesday) will see them keep an assignation under the light of a full moon at the Cimitière du Montmartre with a secret brotherhood known only as Là-bas.
Art is arriving from the good and kind people that I know for the second issue of the fanzine Machineries of Joy – this one is on the Nørwegian Surreal – and it is wonderful.
The collage in the main image is by John Rose and is called City of Eyes.
Above and below is a small selection of the beautiful images provided by artist Jeanette McCulloch to illustrate a conversation about Matthijs Holter’s game-in-development Draug II. I sent Jeanette some of the setting material for Matthijs’s game and it turns out she has an intuitive grasp of the way a game like this exchanges and interrelates the inner truth and outer reality of the natural world.