I’m in the early conceptual phase for a supplement expanding Ghastly Affair to cover the years from 1964 to 1976 – the Swinging Sixties, and Groovy Seventies. It was a period of upheaval, uncertainty, and panic, with many parallels to the decades surrounding the French Revolution. I’m envisioning games where Demon Hunters in mini-skirts and go-go boots fight supernatural evil on the streets of Swinging London, black-gloved killers stalk gorgeous models in terror-wracked Milan, and glamorous jet-setters conduct drug-fueled Black Masses in haunted mansions atop the Hollywood Hills. Naturally, I would assume that characters from the 18th century will discover passages into the 20th, and visa-versa! To that end I’ve compiled a thematic “canon” of movies from the Sixties and Seventies that feature the essential Gothic themes of Ghastly Affair – sex, death, Satanism, sorcery, addiction, ghosts, shocking crimes, and dark obsessions.
Some Inspirational Movies for GROOVY Ghastly Affair:
- Alice, Sweet Alice
- All the Colors of the Dark (Tutti i colori del buio)
- Amuck! (Alla ricerca del piacere)
- Baron Blood (Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga)
- Beyond the Door (Chi sei?)
- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo)
- The Blood Spattered Bride (La Novia Ensangrentada)
- Burnt Offerings
- Daughters of Darkness (Le Rouge aux lèvres)
- Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
- Don’t Look Now
- Dorian Gray (Il dio chiamato Dorian) (1970 film)
- Dracula AD 1972
- The Exorcist
- Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (Le foto proibite di una signora per bene)
- Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay (Morgane et ses Nymphes)
- House of Dark Shadows
- The Iron Rose (La Rose de Fer)
- The Legend of Hell House
- Lips of Blood (Lèvres de Sang)
- The Mephisto Waltz
- Night of Dark Shadows
- Nude for Satan (Nuda per Satana)
- The House That Dripped Blood
- The Omen
- To the Devil a Daughter
- Requiem for a Vampire (Requiem pour un Vampire)
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Rosemary’s Baby
- Satanic Rites of Dracula
- Simon, King of the Witches
- Story of O (Histoire d’O)
- Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave)
- Vampyros Lesbos (Las Vampiras)
- The Wicker Man
I’ve included two movies (“Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay” and “Story of O”) not usually considered Gothic or Horror, because they are nonetheless thematic and stylistic fits for my conception of GROOVY Ghastly Affair. I’ve excluded pure horror films, like “Night of the Living Dead”, that focus on the horrific without juxtaposing it with the beautiful. For that reason I’ve also mostly excluded American-style “slasher” or gritty crime movies, other than the very Gothic “Alice, Sweet Alice”. I’ve included numerous Italian Giallo films, however, because even though most contain few to no supernatural elements, their stylish, hallucinatory quality and kinky fetishism mark them as heirs to the crime-obsessed early Gothic novels.
Of course, THE touchstone for late 60s Gothic Romance is “Dark Shadows”, but GROOVY Ghastly Affair would not be simply a “Dark Shadows” RPG. As much as I might love to create an actual “Dark Shadows” game, there’s simply no way I would ever be able to afford the license. Nonetheless, the ability to successfully handle “Dark Shadows”-type stories would be the test of any game claiming to emulate Swinging Sixties Gothic.
As for books, many of the Gothic stories of the late Sixties and early Seventies (such as “The Exorcist” and “Rosemary’s Baby”) were actually turned into movies. The great Shirley Jackson novels, however, are actually a little before this time (she died in 1965). The late Sixties and Seventies were also a great time for horror comics, and the stories in the Warren publications of the Seventies – “Eerie”, “Creepy”, and “Vampirella” – were often as sexy as they were horrific.
Musically, I thinking the likes of Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Roxy Music, T Rex, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Goblin, and The Velvet Underground. The time period included the early days of Disco and Punk (and many of the aforementioned bands are in fact proto-Punk), but in my conception the Groovy Seventies ended when Punk and Disco both became prominent in 1977.