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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Tulpa Investigation, Cubist Crime, and Dirty Energy Deeds

April 13th, 2021 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Empty Man (Film, US, David Prior, 2020) Following a taut prologue in the mountains of Bhutan, we meet traumatized former cop James Lasombra (James Badge Dale), investigating disappeared high-schooler Amanda (Sasha Frolova) and discovering the urban legend/cult of the Empty Man. Not quite as clever as it thinks it is (especially to anyone who was watching similar films in 1987, he said obliquely to avoid spoilers), but still very effective at deepening atmosphere and spiraling mystery. Prior repeatedly, ably deploys the shocking-but-not-jump-scare techniques of his mentor David Fincher to borderline Lovecraftian ends. Plus vanished Amanda wrote the word “tulpa” on a flyer so you know I recommend it. –KH

Hide My Eyes (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1958) Chief Inspector Luke suspects a killer operates from the London backwater of Garden Green; Campion agrees. After a riveting prologue, Allingham reveals the killer cubist-fashion from multiple perspectives over the course of one day’s investigation. Superbly constructed crime thriller with Allingham’s gifts for character and observation (especially of the grimier parts of London) tuned to perfect pitch.–KH

The Mattei Affair (Film, Italy, Francesco Rosi, 1973) Former partisan (Gian Maria Volontè) becomes a thorn in the side of colonialists and oil multinationals while running Italy’s nationalized energy company with hard-charging disregard for convention or political consequences. Polemical docudrama morphs into full on documentary as it examines Mattei’s aviation crash death, a likely assassination with a long list of suspects. What it doesn’t entirely spell out is that the journalist murdered by the Mafia while investigating the case was doing research for Rosi’s film!—RDL

Mississippi Grind (Film, US, Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden, 2015) Woebegone gambling addict (Ben Mendelson) latches onto a poker road trip with a younger, more confident loser (Ryan Reynolds) as his ticket out of suffocating debt. Mendelson brings heartbreaking depth and sympathy to a character you’d back away from at top speed in real life, in this moody evocation of the American New Wave.—RDL

My Last Supper: One Meal, a Lifetime in the Making (Nonfiction, Jay Rayner, 2019) Using as a conceit the thought experiment of planning one’s final dinner, food critic Rayner examines foods from oysters to pork to the elusive Mont Blanc, with digressions autobiographical, musical and medical along the way.—RDL.

Slings & Arrows Season 3 (Television, Canada, The Movie Network, Susan Coyne, Bob Martin & Mark McKinney, 2006) Naive CFO Richard (Mark McKinney) turns into a monster when he gets a whiff of creative input; Geoffery (Paul Gross) coaxes a retired, mercurial Shakespearean (William Hutt) out of retirement to play Lear. The show goes out with a touching valedictory showcase for Hutt, a titan of the Canadian classical stage who almost never appeared on screen.—RDL

Good

The Beckoning Lady (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1955) Rusticating in Suffolk with eccentric friends, Campion suspects a recent murder is linked to another friend’s seemingly natural death. Allingham’s reach exceeds even her considerable grasp, as she attempts to cast a detective novel in the shadows of a Shakespearean comedy. Sporadic authorial attention to key emotional and plot beats, and a truly annoying supposedly sympathetic character, bounced me out of tune with the work even as Allingham’s descriptive and inventive gifts kept me eagerly turning pages. A near and beautiful miss from Recommended, but a miss all the same. –KH

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Episode 440: All the Van Helsings

April 9th, 2021 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut the beloved Patreon backer known as Ed, Speaker in Digressions, asks us to envision a game that that arcs from a state of nature to civil society.

The Tradecraft Hut steams open the career of Alexandrine, Countess of Taxis, and Postmistress of the Holy Roman Empire.

The ongoing Cinema Hut Horror Essentials series reaches installment 15, and the mid-oughts.

Finally, estimable Patreon backers Bill Durfy and Gray St. Quintin fall for our sinister plan and ask for the full Eliptony Hut story on the Highgate Vampire.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Human problems are out of hand, so thank goodness, and Atlas Games, for Magical Kitties Save the Day, a fresh, fun roleplaying game for players of all ages, and for GMs from age 6 and up!

A murderous mystery lies beneath the gladiatorial arenas in the majestic, dragon-patrolled city of Axis. Only your first level 13th Age characters can confront it, in Crown of Axis, by Wade Rockett, now available at the Pelgrane Press shop.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Fear Is a Fractal …and your world is a lie. A horror freed from an antique book reverberates through reality. But don’t despair. There is hope. A King waits for us. And Impossible Landscapes, the  first campaign for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game waits for you. In PDF now, hardback in May. Hailed as “one of the best RPG campaigns ever made” and “a masterpiece of surreal horror!”

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: A Hermetic Neighborhood, A Social Realist Vampire, and Bird Crime

April 6th, 2021 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Dancers in Mourning (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1937) Called to investigate a poison-prank campaign against revue star Jimmy Sutane, Campion finds himself in love with Sutane’s wife and increasingly convinced of Sutane’s guilt in a string of murders. Only someone as gifted at characterization and observation as Allingham could make a top-shelf mystery work around a detective who refuses to detect. Campion’s agonies refract marvellously in the cracked mirror of stage society. –KH

The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird (Nonfiction,  Joshua Hammer, 2020) Eccentric thrill-seeker Jeffrey Lendrum engages in multiple thefts of endangered falcon eggs around the world, allegedly for a high-ranking clients in the Gulf states; wildlife officers including Andy McWilliam of the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit try to shut him down. Acutely chosen digressions augment a tale rife with details too unbelievable to be untrue.—RDL

Hands Over the City (Film, Italy, Francesco Rosi, 1963) Neapolitan city councilor/real estate developer (Rod Steiger) schemes to retain his power base after a fatal accident at one of his building sites. Political procedural shot and staged with documentary realism depicts the famous paralysis of Italian bureaucracy as an enabler of corruption.—RDL

More Work for the Undertaker (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1948) Rather than ascend to the respectable governorship of an island colony, Campion allows himself to be drawn into investigating a poisoning in the weirdly hermetic neighborhood of Apron Street. It would not amaze me to learn that Christopher Fowler is a fan of this novel, given its heaps of urban strangeness and large cast of local oddballs. I hesitate to recommend it as a detective story, but as a weird near-Symbolist tour de force it has few equals in its time. –KH

Slings & Arrows Season 2 (Television, Canada, The Movie Network, Susan Coyne, Bob Martin & Mark McKinney, 2005) Geoffrey (Paul Gross) butts heads with a cocksure stage star (Geraint Wyn-Davies) who intends to play Macbeth as he has always played him; CFO Richard (Mark McKinney) falls into the clutches of a bizarro marketing agency. Strong sophomore season revolves around the boil and bubble of an all-too-classic directing roadblock.—RDL

The Transfiguration (Film, US, Michael O’Shea, 2016) Socially isolated high schooler (Eric Ruffin) who periodically leaves his Brooklyn housing project to commit vampire murders gets  close to the new girl (Chloe Levine) who moves in upstairs. Social realist vampire film focuses on moral horror over scares. If you’re wondering if the homage to Martin is intentional, the movie-obsessed protagonist cites it as his number one fave.—RDL

Good

News of the World (Film, US, Paul Greengrass, 2020) Traveling newspaper reciter (Tom Hanks) reluctantly agrees to take a young girl raised as a Kiowa to her German immigrant relatives. Greengrass adjusts his you-are-there immediacy to the classical form of the Hollywood western as Hanks likewise re-embraces the laconic simplicity of movie star acting.—RDL

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Episode 439: Untainted By Dockyard Activities

April 2nd, 2021 | Robin

Would we rather fight a turnip-headed wyvern, or an enormous Jenny Haniver? The answer awaits in the T-Shirt Justification Hut.

In Ask Ken and Robin, mighty-thewed Patreon backer Mike Mearls asks for sources to run an F20 game in Ancient Sumer.

The Cinema Hut finally gets with the present century as the horror essential series continues.

Finally we duck into the Conspiracy Corner as a recent spate of snow denialism leads us to the history of weather control conspiracy theory.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Return to your favored doomed manor for Gloomier: A Night at Hemlock Hall, now Kickstarting from your mordant pals at Atlas Games. More Guests! More Stories! Compatible with all Gloom games. Stir yourself from your fainting couch and grab it today!

A murderous mystery lies beneath the gladiatorial arenas in the majestic, dragon-patrolled city of Axis. Only your first level 13th Age characters can confront it, in Crown of Axis, by Wade Rockett, now available at the Pelgrane Press shop.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Fear Is a Fractal …and your world is a lie. A horror freed from an antique book reverberates through reality. But don’t despair. There is hope. A King waits for us. And Impossible Landscapes, the  first campaign for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game waits for you. In PDF now, hardback in May. Hailed as “one of the best RPG campaigns ever made” and “a masterpiece of surreal horror!”

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Murder in the Gallery, Mesmeric Powers, and Fred Hampton

March 30th, 2021 | Robin

 

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Death of a Ghost (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1934) Attending a showing of a dead artist’s work, Campion is on hand when a live artist is murdered. By turns charming, cutting, grim, clever, and finally suspenseful as hell, Allingham pulls out all the stops. Her keen social eye here catches the backward-looking fustiness of yesterday’s avant-gardes without (too much) mockery and with very real sympathy. –KH

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (Film, Kevin Rafferty, 2008) In a 1968 match-up that will reverberate in Ivy League sports history, the scrappy underdogs of Harvard (seriously) take on the cocky juggernaut that is the Yale team. Armed only with play-by-play footage and retrospective video interviews, this documentary performs the astounding, if temporary, feat of investing me in the world’s stupidest, most aggravating team game. Worth it simply to see what it looks like when Harvard player Tommy Lee Jones is interviewed on a subject he cares to talk about.—RDL

I am Not Sidney Poitier (Fiction, Percival Everett, 2009) Wealthy Black orphan named Not Sidney Poitier makes quasi-successful use of his mesmeric powers in a series of travails echoing the filmography of the beloved movie star he eerily resembles. Surreal coming-of-age picaresque features such hilarious oddball characters as media mogul Ted Turner and author/professor Percival Everett.—RDL

Judas and the Black Messiah (Film, US, Shaka King, 2021) Small time car heister (Lakeith Stanfield) becomes an infiltrator for an FBI operation to take down Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), head of Chicago’s Black Panther chapter. Tight, driven storytelling boils down a complicated story into something that plays more like a political thriller than a prestige biopic.—RDL

Slings & Arrows Season 1 (Television, Canada, The Movie Network, Susan Coyne, Bob Martin & Mark McKinney, 2003) Guided by the ghost of the mentor (Stephen Ouimette) whose betrayal steered him into a crack-up, an ex-actor (Paul Gross) steps in as acting artistic director of the New Burbage Shakespeare festival, directing a production of Hamlet featuring his ex (Martha Burns) and a young movie star (Luke Kirby.) Steeped in the lore of the Canadian stage, this comedic theatrical procedural gets character-driven laughs while genuinely digging into the process of Shakespearean interpretation. Also with Rachel McAdams, appearing about ten minutes before her own movie stardom.—RDL

Good

My Golden Days (Film, France, Arnaud Desplechin. 2015) Anthropologist returning to France after a long absence recalls his childhood conflict with his mother, a teen trip to Europe, and his tempestuous first love. The agonized intellectualism of its teen lovers (Quentin Dolmaire, Lou Roy-Lecollinet) partially obscures the usual flaws of the coming-of-age film: protagonists who lack agency and the perspective to really make choices.—RDL

Sweet Danger (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1933) Campion traces the heirs to a suddenly oil-rich Adriatic principality to rustic Essex just ahead of a tycoon who will stop at nothing. Also there is a treasure hunt and a warlock and a love story. Another ripping yarn with lashings of would-be Wodehouse, this might have worked better as a series of novelettes rather than the somewhat ungainly omelette it is. –KH

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Episode 438: Anyone Can Bilocate

March 26th, 2021 | Robin

Beloved Patreon backer Jonathan Keim asks us to take care of the Gaming Hut for the winter, during which time we will contemplate making place as big a part of a game session as the Overlook Hotel is part of The Shining.

In the Food Hut Ken takes us to almost Nebraska and the spiral bound wonders of the 1965 Y-Teen Club cookbook.

The Cinema Hut’s horror essentials hits its lucky 13th installment, and the disjunctive anxiety that comes with the end of a century.

Finally estimable Patreon backer Ed Sizemore checks in with the Consulting Occultist for the story of Baird Spalding and Douglas DeVorss, which starts with an ancient book of desert secrets.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Return to your favored doomed manor for Gloomier: A Night at Hemlock Hall, now Kickstarting from your mordant pals at Atlas Games. More Guests! More Stories! Compatible with all Gloom games. Stir yourself from your fainting couch and grab it today!

GUMSHOE’s got a brand new Bundle. An incredible Bundle of Holding PDF deal, that is, featuring Ken’s Fall of DELTA GREEN, Robin’s Gaean Reach, Kevin Kulp’s TimeWatch and much much more. Take advantage before it vanishes, on March 29th.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Fear Is a Fractal …and your world is a lie. A horror freed from an antique book reverberates through reality. But don’t despair. There is hope. A King waits for us. And Impossible Landscapes, the  first campaign for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game waits for you. In PDF now, hardback in May. Hailed as “one of the best RPG campaigns ever made” and “a masterpiece of surreal horror!”

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: A Slacker Super, James Angleton, and Much More Campion

March 23rd, 2021 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Coroner’s Pidgin (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1945) Home on leave during WWII, Campion must deal with the corpse in his bed and the imperious Lady Carados who put it there. Allingham derives the tension in this sleight-of-hand mystery (that also suddenly involves stolen art treasures) from class tension, and from the assumptions by the Carados set that nothing must throw suspicion on the golden John Carados. Seldom do red herrings and the social novel interlock so neatly, even if the mystery itself isn’t quite fair play. –KH

Flowers for the Judge (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1936) Publisher Paul Brande disappears, and Campion joins the search. By 1936 Allingham has a handle on her character and the skill to write a compelling mystery. She also continues to experiment with tone, meaning, and scope; this leads her to some pitfalls and some triumphs. This novel, on the other hand, remains a straightforward whodunit  raised to Recommended by Allingham’s greatest strengths: lapidary character touches and genuine portrayals of emotion. –KH

The Neighbor (Television, Spain, Netflix, Miguel Esteban & Raúl Navarro, 2020) A deceased galaxy guardian bequeaths his power pills and a ridiculous costume to a Madrid slacker (Quim Gutiérrez) who uses them to attempt to win back his reporter ex-girlfriend (Clara Lago.) Spoof of super tropes eschews CGI battles and suspense beats to stay within the confines of warm-hearted character-driven comedy.—RDL

Riot on Cell Block 11 (Film, US, Don Siegel, 1954) Convicts put their sympathetic warden between a rock and interference from the governor’s office when they seize control of the isolation block. Siegel supplies crime movie grit lends authenticity to a docudrama that lays the blame for a wave of prison rioting at the feet of politicians and the voters who support them.—RDL

Good

The Case of the Late Pig (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1937) When Campion reads the obituary of his school bully, he attends the funeral on a whim — and then gets asked to investigate his second death. The only first-person Campion owes more than a little bit to Wodehouse; alas the debt remains unpaid. I found it a little too remote and ungenerous: possibly allowing Campion to tell the story himself also allowed Allingham to yield to her lesser instincts without giving us truly enjoyable cruelty a la Edmund Crispin. –KH

One Night in Miami… (Film, US, Regina King, 2020) After Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) defeats Sonny Liston to become world heavyweight champion, he and friends Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) gather at the motel room of Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), who hopes to engage them in a new phase of his activism. King makes an actors’ showcase out of Kemp Powers’ single-location debate play.—RDL

The Damned (Film, UK, Joseph Losey, 1963) A retired American executive (Macdonald Carey) and a restless young woman (Shirley Ann Field), chased by her pathologically possessive Teddy Boy brother (Oliver Reed) stumble into an experimental military facility housing a group of mysterious schoolchildren. Compelling oddity in the Hammer catalogue, shot in scope and high contrast black and white, shifts from existentialist/Freudian class struggle drama to nihilistic SF that follows in the wake of Village of the Damned. Also known as These Are the Damned.—RDL

Okay

The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (Nonfiction, Jefferson Morley, 2017) Concise, prosecutorial biography covers Angleton’s notorious descent into mole-hunting paranoia, while taking a particular interest in his peculiar attitude toward the JFK assassination, as someone who both covered up the Agency’s awareness of Oswald before the killing, and believed that it was the result of a KGB conspiracy. The prose style arcs from sober to breathless. Ken’s time machine visit with Angleton appears in episode 167.—RDL

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Episode 437: Your Chartreuse Leotard

March 19th, 2021 | Robin

Pick up that flashlight and head down into the basement as the Gaming Hut looks at building moments that take advantage of a single protagonist for one-player games like GUMSHOE One-2-One.

The History Hut returns to the wild streets of Ken’s signature city as beloved Patreon backer Neal Dalton seeks the story of Count Dante and the Chicago Dojo Wars.

Our Cinema Hut Horror Essentials series hits the 90s. Will we get far enough into them for Japan to save horror? (Note: this episode was recorded prior to the public revelation of director Richard Stanley’s history of domestic abuse.)

Finally, regal Patreon backer Daniel Gill enlists Ken’s Time Machine to find out how to extend the English Angevin King’s control over Normandy.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Return to your favored doomed manor for Gloomier: A Night at Hemlock Hall, now Kickstarting from your mordant pals at Atlas Games. More Guests! More Stories! Compatible with all Gloom games. Stir yourself from your fainting couch and grab it today!

From now until GUMSHOE’s got a brand new Bundle. An incredible Bundle of Holding PDF deal, that is, featuring Ken’s Fall of DELTA GREEN, Robin’s Gaean Reach, Kevin Kulp’s TimeWatch and much much more. Take advantage before it vanishes, on March 29th.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Fear Is a Fractal …and your world is a lie. A horror freed from an antique book reverberates through reality. But don’t despair. There is hope. A King waits for us. And Impossible Landscapes, the  first campaign for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game waits for you. In PDF now, hardback in May. Hailed as “one of the best RPG campaigns ever made” and “a masterpiece of surreal horror!”

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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Promising Young Woman, Czech Allegorical Horror, and Much More Margery Allingham

March 16th, 2021 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Chase (Film, US, Arthur Penn, 1966) Sardonic sheriff (Marlon Brando) tries to keep a lid on his powderkeg of an oil-rich Texas town when a prodigal son (Robert Redford) escapes from prison. Penn shows a mastery of the classical Hollywood form he will soon set about blowing up in this type specimen of the overheated 60s Southern melodrama. Based on a novel and play by Horton Foote, with screenplay by Lillian Hellman, and also starring Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, James Fox, and Miriam Hopkins.—RDL

The Fashion in Shrouds (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1938) When the lovers of actress Georgia Wells keep conveniently dying, Campion investigates. A better-than-average clockwork detection plot and a better-than-average Bright Young Things story converge ably here. Allingham’s increasing ambition to put crime into social (in this case, artistic society) context shows, mostly to the novel’s credit. –KH

Police at the Funeral (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1931) Investigating a disappearing uncle, Campion discovers a family murder plot afoot in a classic Old Dark House in Cambridge. A really fine mystery of its form, in which Campion is prevented from blithering by a magnificently domineering great-aunt. Allingham deploys the Gothic atmosphere even better than John Dickson Carr here, thanks to her superior character sense, although Carr would have given us a slightly tighter plot. –KH

Promising Young Woman (Film, US, Emerald Fennell, 2020) Coffee shop clerk (Carey Mulligan) who dropped out of med school after classmates sexually assaulted a friend pursues vengeance against predatory men. Fennell’s risk-taking script places its 70s exploitation premise on the narrow line between caustic satire and emotional authenticity, anchored by authoritative use of color and composition.—RDL

Tell Me Who I Am (Film, UK, Ed Perkins, 2019) Middle-aged twins grapple with the long-unaddressed fallout of one’s decision, after the other lost his memory at 18 in a motorcycle accident, to feed him a rosy, falsified narrative of their covertly horrific childhood. Perkins provides a searing yet controlled documentary environment for the subjects to finally stage a climactic confrontation.—RDL.

Traitor’s Purse (Fiction, Margery Allingham, 1941) With only days to uncover a Nazi plot against Britain, Campion awakens in the hospital with amnesia. A likely influence on my favorite Graham Greene novel, somehow even more drenched with tension than that masterwork. Allingham said “the thriller proper is a work of art as delicate and precise as a sonnet,” and proves it here — only a strangely selfish character choice prevents me from elevating it to Pinnacle-hood. –KH

Good

Made You Look: A True Story of Fake Art (Film, Canada, Barry Avrich, 2020) In 2011, an FBI investigation and a series of lawsuits by angry collectors exposed a serial forger of American Abstract Expressionist paintings, beginning with a Rothko in 1995. This documentary centers on Ann Freedman, who bought the forgeries from the forger’s agent for a relative pittance and sold them for over $80 million through the venerable Knoedler Gallery, and does a fine job explicating the mess she got herself into. But it lets the art experts who overwhelmingly authenticated these works (by a pretty average Chinese copyist) for 16 years off the hook, and refuses to seriously interrogate their role in the wishcasting bubble that is the modern art market. –KH

Nowhere to Hide (Film, South Korea, Lee Myung-se, 1999) Violent cop (Joong-Hoon Park) and his young partner (Jang Dong-Gun) lead a grueling, prolonged manhunt for a wily mob assassin (Sung-Ki Ahn.) Hard-knuckled policier puts exuberant stylization first.—RDL

Wolf’s Hole (Film, Czechoslovakia, Věra Chytilová, 1987) A gaggle of high schoolers discover that the skiing retreat they’ve won exclusive tickets to is some kind of psychological experiment run by weird creeps. Allegorical satire of late Communism guised as a teens-in-peril horror.—RDL

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Episode 436: Needs to Have a Lith

March 12th, 2021 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut we parse the differences between crunch and simulation, as we examine the yen for complexity and the various related but separate impulses behind it.

At the behest of beloved Patreon backers Will Ferguson and Felicity Pyatt, the Crime Blotter heads to 1827 Suffolk to open the case files of the notorious Red Barn Murder.

The 80s keep on coming as our Cinema Hut Horror Essentials series gets burned in a furnace room and goes on a dreamscape rampage of wisecracking vengeance.

Finally, at the behest of estimable Patreon backers Tennant Reed, plus Tim Maness and Jean Bauer, and frankly everyone else too, the Eliptony Hut finally tackles the 2020 monolith outbreak.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


Return to your favored doomed manor for Gloomier: A Night at Hemlock Hall, now Kickstarting from your mordant pals at Atlas Games. More Guests! More Stories! Compatible with all Gloom games. Stir yourself from your fainting couch and grab it today!

The second edition of Mutant City Blues, by Robin D. Laws, and now with added Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, is now in print from Pelgrane Press. Grab your Quade Diagrams and solve the crimes of a near future where one per cent of the population wields super powers. Use the voucher code DIAGRAM2020 to get 15% off at the Pelgrane Store.

The treasures of Askfageln can be found at DriveThruRPG. Get all issues of FENIX since 2013 available in special English editions. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, along with equally stellar pieces by Graeme Davis and Pete Nash. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish. While you’re at it, grab DICE and Freeway Warrior!

Fear Is a Fractal …and your world is a lie. A horror freed from an antique book reverberates through reality. But don’t despair. There is hope. A King waits for us. And Impossible Landscapes, the  first campaign for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game waits for you. In PDF now, hardback in May. Hailed as “one of the best RPG campaigns ever made” and “a masterpiece of surreal horror!”

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Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister