And here comes Cronenberg to the rescue. Dead Ringers is one of those movies that I waited to see for some years, now. And it did not disappoint. I left it amazed and emotionally disturbed, which means that he succeeded with achieving his goal. Unsurprisingly, it is considered to be one of his greatest masterpieces, ranking among the greatest Canadian films ever made.
It is, to say the least, the story of two twin gynecologists, who are far closer than they look (and it's quite hard, being played by the same actor) yet so different from each other. T is the story of their collapse, of them losing all that they've worked for. It is a story about brotherly love. And it is one of those films that one has just to see for himself/herself.
And because of being such a great cinematic masterpiece, it was extremely hard for me to pick a lesson from this movie. Not because there weren't many (or even any), but because there are way too many things one can learn from this movie. But hopefully I picked the right one*.
In the last couple of scenes in the movie, we see Beverly kills his brother Elliot. A few seconds later, we cut to Beverly waking up and he calls and cries. He doesn't look on his brother, he doesn't really see him in this stage. He is vulnerable, he is crying and sobbing, he is human. And even though we remember what he did, that he killed his brother with gynecological tools for mutant women, we can't not feel for him in this scene, we cannot not like him.
And that's a great lesson for the Personal horror GM- always ensure that the players will be able to feel for, to like, to identify the characters, the PCs. As long as they feel for their characters, they will be able to feel the personal horror, because they'll feel that they do it, or at the very least that they can do it given the same circumstances. But without this ability to identify with the characters? They'll just be in shock, they won't feel the true personal horror.
And that's the whole truth, actually. The feeling for and the identification with the characters is the thing that enables the personal horror genre, and if one needs to spend more time before going all horror, or to show vulnerability after a terrible murder, so be it. The identification will give you the reward; the identification will give you the horror.
How 'bout you? Have you watched this movie? What have you learned from it? And what have you thought about it afterwards?