By Kiel Howell
Welcome back from all your festivities around this time of year! I hope you didn’t hurt yourselves.
This week we are looking to a cult (and arguably no longer just cult) classic horror movie; The Evil Dead. Ash and the gang. The plant/hentai scene. The Necronomicon. Madness. This movie has it all.
I know I write this every week, but what do I choose? The one-liners? The encounter setting (creepy cabin)? A bestiary entry? The options are so open here that I might be in trouble. Let’s try to pair this down into something we can take away to further our player and/or DM abilities.
When I think of The Evil Dead, I think of two things: Ash and madness. At the heart of it, those are the two main characters in the story. Ash (thank you Bruce Campbell) is looking to have a good time with his friends. Then they find the Necronomicon. I would argue that the book itself isn’t what is evil...it brings madness (and a supernatural madness at that). Nothing is inherently scary about a book. The way it is presented and found make the object something to be feared. Ash isn’t inherently a hero but it is how he survives to the end by any means that makes him the hero of this story.
And there we have it. At the end, how does Ash survive? He cuts his own hand off. That’s what we can pair down from the multitude of greatness that comes from this movie. But what is it about this act that makes it worthy of being paired down? The madness that affects him from the recent happenings with the Necronomicon and his friends. It even presents itself in the very end making the whole “good guys win” thing go right out the window. It keeps us looking over our shoulders in fear. Find a core story idea, in this case madness, and make that central theme intertwine in every aspect of your story. I believe that is what makes Lovecraft’s stories so good. Whether it is your character or your dungeon, a central theme that binds everything together will make for a memorable thing that will be talked about for a long time.
The Evil Dead, with a remake out, has become a classic because it keeps so strong a central theme that it permeates and resonates our beings. What streak of madness lies within me, indeed?
I challenge you, the readers, to leave a theme in the comments that could fill a story and even a world. Until next time, dear readers, groovy.