Solstice is behind us, and the days are once again stretching out towards summer (even if it doesn’t particularly feel like it yet.) In that spirit, I’ve gone a little Holiday Mad around the electronic homestead, and all three posts this week will be in the spirit of the holidays. But I’m trying to remain faithful to the spirit of the planned days as well: Writing on Monday, Gaming and Knitting on Wednesday and the Friday Grab-bag I like to call Potpourri.
I could talk a bit about my holiday knitting – in fact, my original plan was to discuss one of my proudest knitting gifts. Watching a now-adult brother still wear his Hogwarts House Scarf in the winter because he’s so proud of it never fails to bring me a smile and a little feeling of awesomeness in my chest for coming up with the exact right gift. I could say a lot about it.
Then I saw Raw Exports: A Christmas Tale, and I threw that idea out the window.
Let me be clear – I love horror gaming. It’s hard to do well, and I’ve been blessed to have a string of groups that came together for those magical moments of genuine terror. Most of those came around some variant of Call of Cthulhu (or more recently, the superlative re-imagining “Trail of Cthulhu”) and it is that sense of digging too deep into things Man Was Not Meant To Know that really made Rare Exports come alive.
For those not in the know, the plot of Rare Exports is this – An American Mining Company breaks open the ancient tomb where the Laplanders managed to imprison Santa Claus, and all hell breaks loose. Because this isn’t the friendly Santa that Coca Cola sold you on. This is Joulupukki, the Yule Goat, and he’s come to punish the wicked children, rather than reward the good. The Lovecraftian weirdness pervades the movie (beyond the rendering of Santa as an ancient evil), and there’s even the requisite Tome of Forbidden Knowledge (appropriately The Truth About Santa).
I came up with a half-dozen ways to ransack Rare Exports for a one-off scenario –telling the story from other points of view, or letting other Holiday symbols run amuck (The Krampus / Zwarte Piet occupies a place of honor on my holiday tree, right below Gordie Howe). I suspect I’ll put my friends through the holiday wringer sooner rather than later.
As for Rare Exports – the film is in limited US release (I am fortunate to have a very good art theatre locally) but if you get the chance, go see it. It may not dethrone the Holiday classics (like Die Hard and National Lamppon’s Christmas Vacation), but it’s earned a place alongside them.