Thursday, May 30, 2013

Moon Of The Wolf For Your Old School Horror Campaigns

Believe it or not "Moon of The Wolf " was a movie of the week on ABC. The film follows a dark twisting road through the heart of a Louisiana town & a plantation's dark history.
The plot according to Wiki: 
In the Louisiana Bayou town of Marsh Island, two farmers discover the mauled, dead body of a local resident, an attractive young girl. Sheriff Aaron Whitaker (David Janssen) is called in. The victim's temperamental brother Lawrence Burrifors (Geoffrey Lewis) arrives at the crime scene and jumps to the conclusion that the girl's lover committed the murder, a man whose very name her brother does not know. The town's Dr. Drutan (John Beradino) examines the body and pronounces the girl died of a severe blow to the head caused by a human hand.
The sheriff continues to investigate the crime and interviews people who knew the victim. Local residents have a variety of theories, including the belief she was killed by wild dogs. A posse soon forms to track down the wild dogs with little success. Burrifors continues to insist the killer to be his sister's mysterious lover while the sheriff, in turn, is suspicious of him. The girl's sick and dying father Hugh Burrifors (Paul R. DeVille), interviewed by the sheriff, warns him of the "Loug Garog". The sheriff does not understand the French term and local Cajun residents are unable to interpret it.
The sheriff's investigation soon takes him to the plantation home of the wealthy Andrew Rodanthe (Bradford Dillman) and his sister Louise (Barbara Rush). They are the last of a local family dynasty with a history stretching back over a century. Andrew, who the sheriff suspects had an affair with the victim, claims to have been suffering an attack of malariathe night the girl was killed.
The sheriff, suspicious of the temperamental brother Lawrence after he assaults the town doctor (who turns out to be the mysterious lover), soon arrests him and puts him in jail. While there, the full moon rises again and Lawrence and the sheriff's deputy are killed in a vicious attack as the steel bars of the cell are torn from the wall.
With the town's terrified residents turning into an angry mob and the sheriff now without assistance, Andrew Rodanthe volunteers to become deputy. Andrew and the sheriff return to Hugh Burrifor's house and discover the old man has created a voodoo potion that gives off a vapor meant to repel the "Loug Garog". Rodanthe inhales the potion and goes into what appears to be an epileptic seizure. He is taken to the hospital.
While there, Andrew's sister Louise tells the sheriff she can speak French fluently and would like to talk to Hugh Burrifor about the unexplainable term "Loug Garog". While speaking with the old man, Louise solves the puzzle. "Loug Garog" is a mispronunciation of "Loup-Garou". Translated into English the term means "werewolf". The next scene shows Andrew turning into a werewolf, revealing him to be the elusive killer.
Transformed into a werewolf, Andrew violently escapes the hospital and becomes the subject of a man-hunt. Louise talks to Sheriff Whitaker about werewolf folklore. She reveals a family secret that her grandfather used to suffer from unusual spells of sickness, implying he was also a werewolf and Andrew's curse was inherited.
Louise returns to her plantation home and is alone when Andrew, still in his werewolf form, quietly enters the house. A frightened Louise attempts to corner the werewolf in a burning barn and eventually shoots the creature with what she assumes are blessed bullets. The sheriff arrives on the scene in time to see Andrew return to his human form before dying.

The Actual Movie 

 Using Moon Of The Wolf For Your Old School Horror Games 
Make no mistake that  Moon of the Wolf offers quite a bit for old school gaming. The movie shares many of the conventions of the "Gothic" horror story.  Again from Wiki:
The term "Gothic horror" implies horror from a dark imagined past. There is always a feeling of something unnatural that has a history reaching far back into the past. That is where the hints about Louise and Andrew's grandfather comes in. Another convention in use in Moon of the Wolf is the dark and mysterious plantation home with its long history, serving the same function as a castle in other stories of the genre. It is the historic center of royalty that has seen more fruitful days. In addition to this mood piece, there are elements of the supernatural such as the victim's father's paranormal powers of perception and his voodoo potions.
 The whole affair reminds me of later supernatural detective shows such as my beloved Kolchak. Here's a list of such shows from the Wiki entry on Moon of The Wolf 
Other examples include The Norliss Tapes (1973) with Roy Thinnes as a reporter investigating the supernatural; Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970), starring Louis Jourdan as psychologist David Sorrell; The World of Darkness (1977) and its sequel, The World Beyond (1978), starringGranville Van Dusen as a man who battles the supernatural following his own near death experience; and a British production, Baffled!(1973) starring Leonard Nimoy and Susan Hampshire as a pair of ghost hunters.
There are quite few loose ends from Moon of the Wolf that can be used for your old school horror gaming. The town's lore is steeped in voodoo and werewolf legends. Are there other members of the same family cursed by the bloodline that might be awakened by the death of a cousin, brother, sister?
 The fact that this film is steeped deep in Southern American horror and legend makes it a perfect jump off point for all kinds of weird and unexplained incidents. 
The Rodanthe Plantation 
The giant loose end that I've used in games ranging from Chill,Call of Cthhlu, Kult, and many others including AD&D is the plantation. This place bears the scars of history stretching back centuries and further. The connection may stretch back all the way to very founding of the town and its foundations. 
The place may be haunted  by the ghosts of a blood soaked past and with the death of the last of the male airs the door to the supernatural may be flung open.
Everything from hertical voodoo cults, ghosts, cursed family members, vampires, ghouls might all be loosed with the solving of the werewolf angle. 
 Marsh Island might not wilingly give up its secrets. There could be many things boiling just under the surface of this place. Sheriff Aaron Whitaker has appeared in a number of my games as a major NPC. A local man of  the law locked forever to encounter the forces of the supernatural.  Moon of the Wolf is a very underrated and under appreciated movie that can be used for a wide variety of games. 

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