2019/11/08

OSR: Unofficial Ultraviolet Grasslands Filmographic Appendix N

What a title! Probably worth a fair few points in Scrabble.

The Ultraviolet Grasslands are neat, but the book isn't player-facing. Sure, players can flip through and see the pretty pictures, but some of those pictures contain spoilers for content. Not a huge deal, but a sense of discovery is important.

I'm working on a 40k-style intro blurb for my players. Something that explains who they are, what they're doing, the tools they have available, and the general tone and language of the setting. Finding adjacent films is part of that. Adjacent music is available.

I sent Luka a list of films, he sent one back, they've been mashed together. Nothing is official. Some films Luka sent back haven't been included because they felt slightly general (e.g. Alien is a great film, but is it a UVG film? Who knows.) Your mileage may vary.

Core Anticanon

A.k.a the two films Luka picked as most useful when I asked him.
-Heavy Metal (1981) 

Heavy Metal, taken in sections, has very little to do with the Ultraviolet Grasslands, but as a whole, and for being a snapshot of Heavy Metal magazine, it's a decent introduction to the genre. There's probably a little nostalgia here too. From a modern perspective, where D&D isn't just for white men from Wisconsin, it's also got a few faults.

Plot Summary: An evil orb called Loc-Nar shows six short films: a dystopian New York crime drama (see: Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, etc.), a teenage fantasy where all problems are solved by sex and/or violence, a sci-fi escape any Rogue Trader would be proud of, WWII with zombies, a sci-fi alien invasion that becomes a robot sitcom, and Taarna of Gor and/or Red Taarna (basically).


 -Zardoz (1974)
Ultraviolet Grasslands makes Zardoz a better film. Not exactly a good film by any means, but it places it in a larger and more interesting context. If your players have (heaven help them) watched Zardoz, it'll save them a lot of time. If not, organize a double feature with Mad Max: Fury Road and they'll be completely ready.

Plot Summary: bored telepathic post-humans in a force-field enclave mess with the primitive outsiders via a giant floating stone head, a hokey religion, and regular deliveries of guns. In a long-term plan to end their tortured existence, the mutant Zed (Sean Connery in very small red pants) is educated, captured, manipulated, and set loose to smash both the all-powerful crystal Tabernacle and the society's decadent structure. Much like Heavy Metal, Zardoz isn't exactly a bastion of feminist ideals (Note: UVG is significantly better about this than its film antecedents). It also feels three hours long. You've been warned.
 

High-Octane Brain Fuel

Films that, to me, cover the experience of what a game set in the Ultraviolet Grasslands could involve. Wandering around, running into strange situations, glimpsing cultures from a distance, cutting deals, and running away.
-Fellini's Satyricon (1969)
-Easy Rider (1969)
-The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)
-Mad Max Fury Road (2015)

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Prospect (2018)
 

The Grasslands (a.k.a. What In The Fuck Is Going On Here?)

Films that capture a sense of the environment, the strange inhabitants, or the eerie ruins of the Ultraviolet Grasslands.
-The Wizard of Oz (1939) + Return To Oz (1985)

-Кин-дза-дза! /  Kin-dza-dza! (1986)
Special mention because you probably haven't heard of this film. It's great. It's probably the best sci-fi film I've seen in the past decade. The characters are wonderful and, crucially, very different than what you'd expect. Nobody panics. Nobody holds the idiot ball longer than necessary. Much like Prospect, a small budget goes a very long way when paired with a great story and a solid cast.

The whole film, in gloriously restored colour, is available for free on youtube. I strongly suggest going in blind. No plot summary, no spoilers.
 

-Lessons of Darkness (1992)
 

Technobarbarians of the Ruined Earth

Everything that can happen has happened three times already, including world unity.

-The Time Machine (1960)
-Beneath The Planet of the Apes (1970)
-The Omega Man (1971)
-Logan's Run (1976)
-Wizards (1977)
-Stalker (1979)
-Thundarr the Barbarian (1980–1981) (TV series)
-Mad Max 2 (1981)
-Conan the Barbarian (1982)
-Yor, Hunter from the Future (1983)
-Posetitel Muzeya / Visitor to a Museum (1989)
-Bunker Palace Hotel (1989)
-Hardware / Mark 13 (1990)
-The Postman (1997)
-Six String Samurai (1998)
 

Drugs, Bright Colours, and Exceedingly Weird Shit

-El Topo (1970)
-The Holy Mountain (1973)
-Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
-Beyond the Black Rainbow (2011)
-Annihilation (2018)
 

Jean Giraud / Moebius -esque

-Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
-The Fifth Element (1997)
-Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets (2017)
-The Zero Theorem (2013)
 

General Science Fiction

-Forbidden Planet (1956)
-Barbarella (1968)
-2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
-Dark Star (1974)
-Pilot Pirx's Inquest (1978)
-Dune (1984)
-Red Dwarf (1988–) (TV series)


Any other suggestions? Working on your own intro? Post a link in the comments.

9 comments:

  1. More stuff for the list, I might have time to play a UVG some time after 2025 at this rate.

    I found the picture oddly hilarious until I remembered that this is a thing: https://youtu.be/jCMNWAJiz5Y

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  2. I didn't see A Boy and His Dog (1975) anywhere on the list...

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    1. I've always been of two minds about that film; it is the origin of the concept of Vaults being social experiments, it is also insanely misogynistic.

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    2. That does seem to be a theme in the source material...

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    3. On a first watch... it's a better film if you skip ~55-60 minutes ahead. Go directly to vault. Do not pass Go. Do not collect gratuitous everything.
      Still not a good film. Into the bin with Roman Polanski's Pirates.

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  3. Sounds like UVG and Cha'alt have similar ancestry. Heavy Metal, Zardoz, Dune, and the Mad Max movies were inspirational fuel.

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  4. I think "Fantastic Planet" fits nicely under Moebius-esque films, BUT, I've only read a little bit of UVG so far, I'm just dwelling on the aesthetics I've gleaned from browsing the art and reading Luka's updates.

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