13 Demons and RPG Satanic Panic

by "Penguin" Pete Trbovich on July 07th, 2018 | , | ,

So a couple years ago saw the release of the movie 13 Demons, about a cursed RPG game played by some stereotypical gamer dudes, sort of like Jumanji meets Dungeons and Dragons. Now, while the present author swears on his extensive Magic: The Gathering card collection that he is one with geeky-gamer culture, I confess to never being that deep into D&D myself. Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to notice that players of table-top RPGs and TCGs (“Role-Playing Games” and “Trading Card Games” for you muggles) tend to get insulting portrayals whenever they come up in media. South Park, for instance.

But let’s not forget how much worse it used to be. At least 13 Demons portrays the gamers sympathetically, but there was once a time during the 1980s when activist groups turned their hand-wringing concern to fantasy role-playing games. Much like Evangelical Christians associated the Harry Potter franchise with real Satan-bonding witchcraft, D&D back in the 1980s was supposed to be a literal portal to Hell. None so prominently said so than Jack Chick, cult Christian comic artist, who published the tract Dark Dungeons depicting a group of children sliding into suicidal devotion to the Devil via their innocent board game. And have you heard there’s a fan-made movie version? Chick tracts have a cult following to this day for their over-the-top proselytizing that’s nested so deep in layers of irony that it’s impossible to tell the atheists from the believers among them. I mean, casting “mind bondage” on your dad to make him buy you $200 of gamer loot – what a marketer’s dream!

Ah, but we digress. What we’re really here to talk about is Mazes and Monsters, a 1982 made-for-TV quickie which is decidedly NOT a horror film, but which also depicted some teens led astray-ward by the hellish influence of table-top gaming. We’ll let this excellent episode of Good Bad Flicks fill in the gaps for you, and also discover another movie in the same vein.

And now you know the rest of the story!

http://www.penguinpetes.com/

Writer, artist, prophet, cult leader. Take good care of my memes. I’ve raised them since they were daydreams.

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