Evenings of Terror (1985)

OK, I know what you’re thinking. Chill licensed Elvira for a supplement: this has got to be bad. I concede, it is a weird and maybe cynical move (boobs = sales?). Even if that isn’t the case, it is definitely a strange decision to illustrate the book with nothing but promotional photos of Elvira.

Here’s the thing: this is the best Chill supplement from Pacesetter that I own. The book contains nine short scenarios, each designed to be played in a single night. Aside of the cheesecake photos, Elvira’s involvement is as an in-character intro and outro for each scenario, much the way she would for the late night movies she hosted (when I say Elvira provides the intros, I really mean the writers writing as Elvira – I doubt Cassandra Peterson had anything directly to do with the book).

What it comes down to is that these scenarios are too short to suck. They all riff on horror movie clichés, but do so in fun and surprising ways. There’s a lot of variety. If I were going to run Chill (and I am not – I’ve got way too many other things I want to run first) I would run this book cover to cover and call it a dark and stormy night.

I think this might solve the mystery of Chill, actually. It wanted so badly to be a serious horror game that it never realized its great strength as a schlocky B-movie game, steeped in the awesome badness of movies that Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs and many more hosted on late night TV. This is Troll 2: The RPG. Or, think of the potential of a Troma Films universe campaign setting with a Mystery Science Theater riff mechanic. If Pacesetter had figured that out the mysteries of so-bad-they’re-good movies, it might have been a classic RPG.

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