Interview: Ghastly Affair’s Daniel James Hanley

Art by Stacey Kaelin

Although I haven’t been an active gamer in years, I’ve maintained an interest in role-playing game world-building. What intrigued me about Ghastly Affair — The Gothic Game of Romantic Horror was its pre-Victorian setting. While my personal tastes run more towards the era of Stoker and Stevenson, it was cool to see a game that embraced the roots of Gothic literature.

What follows is an interview with writer and designer Daniel James Hanley where he discusses his interest in Gothic fiction and how it relates to RPGs. Even if you aren’t interested in gaming, I recommend checking out his website Engine of Oracles. It’s loaded with facts and trivia that might be of special interest to new authors looking to explore the Gothic genre.

More skulduggery after the jump!

Interview: Bedlam Hall’s David Kizzia

Bedlam Hall 1
Art by Michael Tuck

I’ve always loved Ravenloft and Vampire: The Masquerade, so it’s neat seeing the term “dreadpunk” popping up in the gaming world. A couple of months ago, a friend pointed me to a Kickstarter for Bedlam Hall, a game that was proudly flying the dreadpunk flag.

But as cool as it is to see the term being used by people I don’t know (i.e. “people not humoring me”), it’s even cooler when they pick up on the humor. And it looks like Bedlam Hall taps right into that.

Writer David Kizzia reached out to me a while back, and took some time out to answer some questions about his upcoming game:

More skulduggery after the jump!

Dear Dark Universe

Matt Reeves
Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, Wikimedia Commons

I’m not trying to kick you while you’re down because I didn’t hate the new MUMMY movie. But I know that the critical drubbing and reports of a massive write-off has to hurt.

So if you decide that a course correction is already in order, I’d like to suggest putting Matt Reeves and Andy Serkis in charge. Matt Reeves took a dodgy idea — remaking Let the Right One In — and made a high quality film. Andy Serkis, of course, is the master of performance capture acting.

But it’s their combined talents on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that demonstrates that these two “get” creatures. While Serkis’ Caesar is not a monster, he embodies much of what made the original Universal monsters great. He’s sympathetic, but increasingly pushed to a breaking point. Reeves can pull off character moments without skimping on the “blockbuster” elements.

These are qualities that the planned Dark Universe needs. Imagine how great Serkis would be as the Gill-Man, for example. While you’re at it, throw Doug Jones in the mix. I don’t know if these guys are available or even interested, but hopefully it’s something to think about.

Still hoping for the best from your endeavors,



Cradle of Filth exhume Cryptoriana

British heavy metal heretics Cradle of Filth will release their next album on September 22. Band leader Dani Filth has said that this album, titled Cryptoriana — The Seductiveness of Decay, will draw heavily from the aesthetics of Victorian horror—

Record scratch.

Mentioning that a Cradle of Filth album will bear a Victorian horror influence is kind of like saying that it will also feature electric guitars and Filth’s high-pitched shrieks. It just goes with this band’s territory.

I realize that Cradle of Filth isn’t for everyone, and it’s fashionable to dump on them in some quarters. But shock value aside, I like some of their albums, with Cruelty and the Beast being a particular favorite.

One of my mantras is “classic horror doesn’t mean ‘quaint’ horror,” and Cradle of Filth has long embodied that attitude. They explore the dark undercurrents running through imagery that we horror fans may feel overly familiar with.

Artūrs Bērziņš’ cover art for Cryptoriana has been unveiled, but I’ll hide the larger image behind the jump since it’s NSFW. Hey, I’m conscientious. To a degree.

Click here to see blood and nudity!