You may have had this experience in dungeons past; setting out with a strong, confident party, optimistic and looking forward to some good old-fashioned monster hacking and gold-garnering.
But then it all starts to go wrong. Someone fails a save or a monster gets maximum damage or a trap that no-one spotted claims its first victim. Then someone else falls to the capricious dice of doom and before you know it, you're stuck in a dungeon that's somehow acquired a personality - that of a serial killer.
Now, it's not so much "Will we get out alive?" but "Who will be the last to die?"
It's a routine that's familiar to slasher movies since time immemorial but in those movies, there is usually more than one survivor to bear witness to the horror that they've just experienced.
So now, let's take a look at Apaches - a public information film for children, made in 1977. This tells the story of a bunch of kids who decide that a farm is a great place for games of Cowboys and Indians.
We soon see that the farm is the countryside version of Tomb of Horrors as one by one, the children fall victim to the Grim Reaper in some pretty gruesome ways. Watch out for the slurry pit!
Stuff like this, with its impending sense of doom, and The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water that we saw last week must have had some traumatising effects on kids back in the 1970s. I remember a film that we were shown at school about the risks of bad driving that put me off learning to drive until well into my twenties. Perhaps the British attitude to health and safety stems from the generation whose elders thought it a good idea to show them this sort of thing...
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