A live-action adaptation of the infamous "Chick Tract" Dark Dungeons - about how Dungeons & Dragons is a gateway to the occult - is debuting at Gen Con this year and will then be available on DVD.
The film was funded through Kickstarter and made by the team that made The Gamers and other geeky comedies. I know a lot of people are looking forward to seeing this parody and having a great laugh.
Comparisons have been made to the old 1930's Reefer Madness movie that evolved from a genuine PSA into a cult classic, but the problem with that comparison is that Reefer Madness (originally called Tell Your Children) was meant to be taken seriously and happened, through the passage of time and education, to be eventually seen as "so bad it was good".
But Dark Dungeons (while obviously a send-up to anyone with their wits about them) is being played straight, as an earnest translation of Jack Chick's 22-panel comic to film.
Now, I realise I'm almost certainly in the minority here, but I think this is a very bad idea. It appears to be simultaneously poking fundamentalists with a burning torch to get a rise out of them and handing it to them so they can re-ignite the nonsensical Satanic Panic of the 1980s.
I honestly believe there is a chance this could bite our hobby in the arse. I understand the filmmakers had to tell Chick they were taking the subject matter seriously to get the rights to make the film - and that's how it will be perceived by certain, vocal parties. As a true representation of gaming.
I've thought this was a bad idea from the start and now it's actually seeing the light of day I think it's an even worse idea. I think the filmmakers - with their deliberately po-faced website about the film - are potentially being too clever for their own good.
I hope I'm wrong, but I just can't see anything positive coming from the release of this film - no matter how many times "gamers in the know" say: "Yeah, but it's a parody of the Chick Tracts". Because it's not. And it could potentially bring these erroneous ideas to a wider audience previously unaware of Chick's 1984 attack on gaming.
It's akin to handing a pyromaniac a box of matches and assuming he's going to understand you only want him to light the barbecue.
Once your creation has been released into the wild, no matter what your intentions, you have no control on how it will be perceived.
Reefer Madness was meant to be taken seriously and ended up being a laughing stock, Dark Dungeons is clearly meant to be a comedy, but could so easily end up being taken seriously.