Sometimes I start to think that maybe, just maybe, this genre isn't for me, that all those horror movies that I really like- it is all an accident and nothing more. And then comes a movie like this. I Walked with a Zombie might have a really bad name, but truth is that this is a descent movie, a good movie, even outside of the horror scope. It is even respectful for the minorities, considering that it's a 1943 movie, but even today it is far more respectful to the Voodoo than most movies today.
It is a movie about a nurse, who comes from Canada to an island in order to try and help to cure a woman who is in a coma. She tries her best, mainly because she's in love with that woman's husband. But the woman is far from being sick- she's a zombie, made like this because of a combination of voodooist magic and a desperate mother-in-low.
Like most Lewton movies, though, we don't really remember the director. Lewton's movies had such a distinctive style, and they were that good, that they surpassed the campy names given to the movies by the RKO studio executives.
But enough general movie talks, let's look at the movie, and especially what we can learn from it, shall we? For me, the main magic of the movie is the voice-overs in the beginning. They have dreamlike vibe to them, they're as mesmerizing as can be and they present has the character of Nurse Betsy Connell quickly and effectively. And I think that it can be useful in RPGs too.
Think about it for a sec- a scene has just ended, and before moving to the next scene, we have a break and one of the players gives a monologue, in voice over, showing what goes in his/her character's mind. Wouldn't it be wonderful? This opens to us a new world of possibilities for reflection scenes.
But it can be driven further that this- a character is facing a moral dilemma. Instead of just choosing, the player can do a voice-over, detailing the way that the character thinks, showcasing the thinking-machinations in the character's head. It can be used to explain changes of thinking, growth of characters and so much more.
I don't know, maybe I'm just optimistic, but if there is one thing that this movie showed me, is that it can be made in any stage of the game, and it carries so many benefits as a way to present characters, to showcase them, to create identification with them, to understand them. Most films during those times used voice-over to present motives, not to convey feelings, after all…
How about you? Have you considered using voice-overs in your games? How did it go? And what else have you learned from this movie?