Attacking the Darkness is a mockumentary currently funding on Kickstarter. Filmed in the interstices of another film – simultaneously – it explores the question of what do the folks at Zombie Orpheus really think of role playing? Fantasy roleplaying has been under fire since the publication of the Rona Jaffe book, Mazes and Monsters along with similar works that came out in the 1980s. Educators, psychiatrists and theologians have all asked the question, “How dangerous is this stuff? Will it actually harm the people who participate?” Some have asked that question seriously, while others have asked it tongue-in-cheek, for the effect.
Attacking the Darkness features Harmony Hope Bryant, a woman on a mission from God, played by comedienne Lauren O’Neill. Her husband, Bradie Bryant, is played by Brian S. Lewis, who has starred in several Zombie Orpheus productions. Also on board is real-life Lutheran pastor, Chris Ode, who plays Pastor Doug, the spiritual advisor to the “producers” of Attacking the Darkness. Pastor Chip Cannon is played by Kaleb Hagen-Kerr, lead singer of the band “The Witness.” As the show began to come together, people who were working on the original show got in the spirit of things, and have their roles in the video. In addition, there were actors who volunteered to fulfill dual responsibilities, working on both films; people such as Lisa Coronado, who plays Lucy the film caterer, who also signed on as the craft services person for the other film. They cheerfully shouldered the burden of the extra work in the name of making this comedy.
What does Zombie Orpheus think of role playing games? That was the question asked – frequently – after the production of Dark Dungeons. Dark Dungeons (available for viewing on YouTube) is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Jack T. Chick. The graphic novel is described as “a thinly disguised polemic against Dungeons and Dragons.” Or was it? That is the question which Attacking the Darkness purports to answer. And what is that answer? Well, rumor has it that it has to do with anyone who becomes obsessed with something . . . but the real truth is, you are going to have to watch Attacking the Darkness to find out. In order to watch Attacking the Darkness, chances are you’ll need to contribute to the Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign in order to get it out of the can and into the hands of eager viewers.
The Zombie Orpheus Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Attacking the Darkness will be used for final editing, production, distribution and advertising. The film has already been made. The production team has stated that ordinarily they would go for the funding first and create the film second, but due to the nature of the film mechanics, it was essential to keep it all pretty private until the film was completed. So this is one production that you know isn’t going to fold because the leading lady had an attack of the vapors or the leading man ran away with the camera person. It is, indeed, in the can and ready to roll. But that means a lot more than just calling up a local movie theater and trying to get it a spot. These days, that means making Blu-rays and DVDs. They hope to have all of that part complete before Gen-Con. Fair warning: the Gen-Con copies might go out before the mail-order rewards. Of course, you could get around that by opting for downloads, at $12.00 for the privilege; or you could just contribute to the tip-jar and get a copy at Gen-Con. ZOE says that you can pick up your rewards at the convention – so attendance is pretty much a win-win for fans. Be sure to check out the not-an-rpg adventure module or the “Ridged” T-Shirt (you need to watch the trailer to get the joke there) in the rewards section. If Gen-Con isn’t in your schedule, be sure to check out the careful, detailed description of postage and customs charges.
This is the fifth time around on film-making of this nature for Zombie Orpheus, so they know the right way to run a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. They use BackerKit for pledge management, so you know they are tracking your contributions so that everyone will get their proper rewards. If you’ve not seen any of their productions, be sure to watch the versions that are posted on YouTube. Zombie Orpheus is a company that believes firmly in fan-supported creativity. Their work is published under the Creative Commons license, and copies are distributed on the Internet. All of which means that when you contribute to their production fund, you are truly a patron of the arts and that you are supporting more than just this one super hoot of a Mockumentary.