Friday, August 15, 2014

Dark Dungeons is Freaking Hilarious

Remember the independent filmmakers who were working on a movie adaptation of the Jack Chick tract Dark Dungeons? They now have posted the first installment of their film on YouTube, and it's every bit as funny as the trailer made it look. Here are some highlights:
  • The "Circle of Evil" at the beginning. I originally thought this was in the tract because I've read a bunch of them and recall a similar scene, but after looking at the original of Dark Dungeons it apparently is not. So it must be a different tract I'm remembering. It does bear a strong resemblance to what fundamentalist Christians seem to believe is going on in the world.
  • "Oh, and keep out of the steam tunnels" at the end of the film about college life. This is a reference to the original event that triggered the Dungeons & Dragons hysteria of the 1980s. In 1979 a Michigan University student named James Dallas Egbert III disappeared. Egbert was apparently a gamer, and one theory at the time was that he had wandered into the the college's steam tunnels believing that the game was real. It later came out that his disappearance had nothing to do with gaming and was part of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. The truth didn't deter the anti-gaming crowd; when Egbert tragically succeeded in taking his life in 1980, their refrain became "Dungeons & Dragons causes suicides!" even though no statistical evidence supported that conclusion. The incident became the basis for the original anti-gaming movie Mazes and Monsters released in 1982.
  • "They're the RPGers. We've tried to get them kicked off campus, but they're just too popular." Anybody who was a gamer nerd in college will appreciate the irony of gamers being portrayed as "the cool kids" instead of the weirdos most other students saw us as.
  • "Everybody who's tried RPG's, even once, hasn't been able to stop!" No movie of this sort is complete without a little spoofing of 1980's "just say no" anti-drug propaganda.
  • And, of course, "ARE YOU READY TO R-P-G?" That scene was in the trailer too, but it's even funnier in context. The idea that in the middle of a frat party somebody would whip out a dungeon module and assemble a gaming party while everybody else present stands around and watches is quite simply surreal. Gaming is not exactly a spectator sport, after all.
So there you have it. If you've ever wondered what a Chick tract would look like on the big screen, here it is - with all the built-in lunacy that Chick's worldview implies. It's a world in which evil is its own reward, and anything fun is prohibited as sinful.

I'm really looking forward to the next installment. And, when the film is finished, I think a movie party is probably in order to watch the whole thing.

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