The Cthulhu for America Campaign gave exclusive access to Kingsport Star Herald reporter Cassandra Plourde to our nationwide Saturnalia tour promoting a return to the tradition of the Old Ways. You can find the other entries here: Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7
KINGSPORT STAR HERALD – DECEMBER 23, 2015
PHOENIX, ARIZONA — The decaying Casa Grande Domes outside Phoenix, Arizona, set the stage for a melding of ancient tradition and post-modern culture. To say that tonight’s events were an extreme interpretation of Seinfeld’s Festivus may be an understatement.
The smaller outer buildings were converted into a welcome station, a buffet and open bar, and a gladiator ready room. Tonight was the night for a wild, albeit staged, wrestling show.
Campaign manager Eminence Waite gave the opening speech.
“Humanity has always feared death. Tonight we reject that fear with wild abandon. We embrace the line of madness between life and death. In doing so, seek a greater communion with the Unknowable. Peer into the Unfathomable. When you look into your opponent’s dying eyes, know that the fading light you see is the currency of the Universe.”
The avatar of Cthulhu was seated on a rough-hewn throne elevated over the fight cage.
The first match began with a lot of “airing of grievances.” Apparently, the two leaders of the local Cthulhu cults were having issues with each other. This fight was to determine who would unify the groups. It was a brutal 20 minutes between “Hexagon” and “Rhosggh.” Ultimately, Hexagon was carted off to the heavily guarded tent behind the main building, which must have been set up for medical emergencies. Rhosggh stood, unsteadily, to claim victory.
After several shorter, but increasingly brutal, battles, one group of spectators took exception to the results and drew guns on our host. The makeshift arena went dark — I must have blacked out — but when I came to the gang-bangers were gone.
Despite the interruption, the production began to shift into high gear with some excellent costuming and effects work.
Cody and Williams were billed as top-ranked MMA fighters; kicked out of the league for being too brutal and the other for heavy steroid use. They were set to face “The Shambler,” whose costume looked like someone took a blowtorch to a gorilla costume.
The Shambler, true to his name, was a slow, deliberate machine, while the MMA champions danced around him. Just when it started to get boring, Williams mistimed a kick and the Shambler grappled him to the ground. There was the sound effect of bones cracking and Williams was out of the game. Cody began raining heavy blows onto the Shambler’s head. Howling in pain the Shambler seemed to disappear for a second, causing Cody to lose his balance and fall to the ground. The Shambler took advantage of this and landed a single crushing blow to Cody’s exposed back. The Shambler hoisted aloft the bodies of his defeated opponents (how strong was this guy?) and, in an effect that would give David Copperfield a run for his money, they disappeared under full stagelight.
The next match was a battle of titans. Two men, nearly six and a half feet tall apiece, entered the ring; built for bruising, with glassy wide eyes, morose fish lips and a Hulk-ish green tinge to their skin. They weren’t given names but I called these Atlantean thugs Baldy and No-Nose.
Their coaches had several buckets of water on hand, which they used to throw on their charges every timeout. These were strong enough for their blows to shake the already unstable domes above us. They were deceptively fast, like sharks, circling each other looking for an opening.
No-Nose landed the KO with a blindingly fast series of hits to Baldy’s torso followed by a crack to his jaw. No-Nose let out something between a hiss and howl then proceeded to pretend to “eat” his opponent. Both coaches entered the ring with light-up “stun batons” to pacify the raging behemoth and pull him out of the ring in chains.
With that, the feats of strength show ended. As we headed back to the waiting buses, six cars blocking the entry drive turned on their lights. It seems the friends of the gang members from earlier had arrived looking for their compatriots. They demanded their friends and seemed to have a problem with the local event organizers about lack of payment.
The uncomfortable tension was broken by a thunderous howl from the medical tent. What looked like a ball of desert lightning streaked from the tent to one of the cars; doors flying off hinges, engine on fire. Chaos ensued as the gangsters dived into their remaining cars, driving off into the desert, howling ball of lightning in hot pursuit.
Upon reflection, the “ball of lightning” was probably a cutting edge drone with a tesla coil, floodlights and sound system. Whoever the Cthulhu for America campaign is hiring for these events has very bright future in live event production!