You know them, you love them. The guilty pleasure, b-list (or worse) horror movies that are so low budget they are more comedies than horror. From “Plan 9 From Outer Space” to “Troll 2”, these cult classic no-budget masterpieces defy all expectations and survive as favorites to fans who weren’t even born when they were first released. Offered up by the classic local network horror hosts, from Elvira to Zacherley throughout the 80’s, no movie was too bad, no budget too small. Many of these treats are available free online, long out of copyright and you can now make fun of these schlock-fests any time from the convenience of your cell phone.
But nothing beats the real thing. Staying up late, picking something on a cable movie channel based on the title alone, or better yet, a VHS rental choice based on the box art. These movies, regardless of title or sub-genre, always seemed to share a few common elements.
There is always the one actor or actress you may have seen somewhere before (or after) this film. They will, without fail, survive and most likely be the hero of the movie (and hopefully the sequel). There will also be the cast of stereotypes that are guaranteed to meet a gruesome demise, or at least as gruesome as the FX budget will allow. The ditzy / easy girl character always seems to meet the monster during a partial nude scene. The nerd, who despite being the most helpful with the map or the clue finding, will fall or trip and get caught due to whatever physical limitations. The jock will always die when he is most confident of his escape, despite his athletic prowess.
And there are always the blood curdling screams.
In 1989, the now defunct Stellar Games put out an obscure RPG unlike any other before or since. “It Came From The Late, Late, Late Show” was a 60 page long, black and white, spiral bound booklet (the ’93 second edition would double the size and improve the printing and binding) with everything you needed (other than some 10 sided dice, pen paper and friends) to create hours of fun in the world of awful movies.
The main focus was on the cheesy horror movies but the rules were such that you could adapt to sci-fi or any other genre. Later editions (It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show II: The Exploitation Sequel, and It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show III: Demonna’s Revenge) would expand on the different genres like Kung-Fu movies, Spaghetti Westerns, Mad Scientists and Dinosaur Island style films.
The rules were as light as they were light hearted. The players make characters called “Actors” those actors then go on to assume a Role in the film. With extra survival points rewarded on the spot for cheesy dialog, bad decisions and hamming it up, with stunt doubles available for the more dangerous scenes. The best of the few rules there are, is the “Demand a Rewrite” option where the actor can attempt to change the outcome of the scene if he makes a successful roll against his fame score.
While this game is long out of print and not even available as PDF, copies do still turn up on eBay and other online rpg outlets at pretty affordable prices.
It Came From The Late Late Late Show might not replace your Pathfinder or D&D campaign, but this under rated gem is guaranteed to provide many great nights of distraction between regular sessions.