Inspiration? Greg Stafford and the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis

From: MOB
Date: Wed 07 Aug 1991 - 09:56:33 EEST

Glorantha is essentially Greg Stafford's creation. His inspiration comes from a variety of sources, including the Norse Sagas. Some of his inspiration is less exalted, however. Take the Cult of the Black Sun in TROLL GODS (co-authored by Sandy Petersen). This religion has a beautifully detailed mythological rationale, yet the main activity of the worshippers consists of capturing all manner of beings, chopping them up and cooking them in a great stew of mixed body organs, then devouring it. To devotees of bad films the derivation from the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis is obvious.

Lewis, also known as the "Godfather of Gore", produced such appallingly gruesome films as "Blood Feast" and "Two Thousand Maniacs" , whose plotlines are not unlike what the Black Sun worshippers get up to. Is it as coincidence then, that one of the Black Sun divine magic spells is called "Blood Feast", and the spirits who serve the priests of the cult are called "The Two Thousand Maniacs"?

Another parallel may be found with the 1970 Herschell Gordon Lewis film "The Wizard of Gore" and the Black Sun spirit magic spell, "False Healing". In "The Wizard of Gore" , an evil magician performs magic tricks on people (such as cutting a woman open with a chainsaw), but they leave the stage unhurt. Sometime later though, all the damage inflicted on them suddenly appears, causing them to die horribly. The Black Sun spell "False healing" produces a similar effect: the target is apparently healed, but when the spell expires, the damage reappears. Priests of the associated cult Blood Sun are known as "The Wizards of Gore".

I have personally never seen any of the aforementioned films (nor particularly want to). The connection was made after reading the TROLL GODS entry sometime after watching Jonathon Ross's "Incredibly Strange Picture Show" (shown on British TV's Channel Four; Channel 28 here Down Under), which featured Lewis along with such other immortally bad film-makers as Ray Dennis Steckler ("The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Became Mixed-Up Zombies") , Russ Meyer ("Beyond the Valley of the Dolls") , and the legendary Edward D. Wood Jr. ("Plan 9 From Outer Space"). For more information see also THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS by Harry & Michael Medved (Angus & Robertson 1980), in which Lewis earns a nomination for
"Worst Director of All Time."

I put all this to Greg, and received this reply (which I quote with his permission):

"As for the Cult of the Black Sun, I think you are probably right, but
can only confirm it by extraction. I wrote up some material about the cult in general, modelling it somewhat on an Aztec model of the universe which totally reverses the meaning of shamanic inner initiation to be a death cult. But Sandy Petersen wrote up the cult. Sandy is a great fan of grade-Z horror films. I can only conclude your research is correct. You can check with Sandy, too, of course."

So I did check with Sandy, and he confirmed my suspicions! Who knows what else will come out of this research: that the cult of Donandar is based on "The Sound of Music", Uleria on "Debby Does Dallas?", the possibilities are endless...

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