The Definitive Warhammer 40,000 Recommended Film List

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Hello again. Today post goes out to the Grimdark fans. I’m going to be looking at some films you might enjoy.

A guest column by BoLS Lounge alumni YorkNecromancer

Christ alive but I miss ’Vampire: The Masquerade’

My background is in cultural and arts criticism, and not just because it was what I was good at during my time at school. As long-time readers of my blog may have noticed, I love looking at works of art, and analysing, dissecting, critiquing the various ideas and themes within a work. Firstly, I love to do this because it’s excellent fun, but secondly, it’s because ideas define reality. Our ideas of the world determine our opinions of how it functions… And most of us don’t get our ideas about things from personal experience. We get our ideas from the people we know, and from the art, culture and science available around us.

As a result, I also feel that looking at the ways a piece of art functions is a critical life skill – it’s one of the key ways to identify how other people think, as well as identifying when and how we are being manipulated.

As I mentioned last month, I am a massive fan of White Wolf’s roleplaying games. Aside from the very high quality of their sourcebooks, one of the things I used to love that they did was to give you a nice selection of film, comic and music recommendations for players looking to better understand where the writers had gotten their own inspiration from. It was great: if you wanted to run a game about Vampires searching for a way to become more human, they’d give you a list of films that best evoked those themes, and you could watch, get yourself a little inspiration, and really improve your roleplaying sessions as a result.

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Pictured: so 90’s but yet so good

Now, 40K obviously isn’t a roleplaying game in the same way – the nature of a wargame means, fairly obviously, you can only ‘Forge A Narrative’ about war. As a result, it seem to some that it’s kind of redundant to recommend films for a fan of 40K looking for inspiration for their games.

Well, I’d disagree with that. I think there are a great many brilliant films that inventive players could use for inspiring their armies and their ideas, and so I’ve created a list of them.
The way this is going to work is simple: I’m going to go through the armies available for 40K in alphabetical order. However, it’s not the usual kind of list. I’ve tried to avoid war porn or anything obviously 40K. You won’t find ‘Starship Troopers’ or ‘Aliens’ or ‘Event Horizon’ or any of the usual suspects here.

There’s two reasons for this. Firstly: what’s the point of an article that tells you something you already know? If you’ve been a fan of 40K for longer than a few years and you haven’t seen ‘Starship Troopers’, you’re kind of doing it wrong. Whether you love or hate the film (and I’m firmly in the former category), the fact is, it’s pretty much one of the key 40K films. Where else are you going to see Imperial Guard fighting Tyranids? So, I’m trying to avoid the obvious stuff in favour of hopefully more obscure cinema you might not be aware of.

The second reason is because all too often, when talking about films that might inspire our hobby ideas, I think we tend to overlook films if there’s not an immediately obvious visual or aesthetic connection; films that are obviously exceptionally similar to the army faction as written. Where possible, I’m not going to recommend films that have simple surface connections to any one army. I’m trying for something a little deeper than that; something that will hopefully inspire slightly more thoughtful approaches to hobby ideas.

For example, I recently watched ‘Alien Outpost’, which might as well have been a film about the Astra Militarum. It’s not here though, because while enjoyable enough, it’s not really a film that made me think, or that presented anything other than a typical, clichéd war story I could’ve seen anywhere else.

When I say the films below share a link to the army in question, it’s that they share (in my interpretation) a thematic link. If you watch the film, you should hopefully be able to see the connection as I’ve explained it, and how the film pertains to the 40K faction in question.

Defining What We Mean By ‘Theme’.

Because I appreciate that readers may not have a grounding in what I mean by a theme, I’m just going to take a very brief diversion to define terms.

Wikipedia’s definition is pretty much perfect; if you want more information than this, I suggest that there makes an excellent starting point. To quickly quote the key idea:

In the arts, a theme is a broad idea or a message conveyed by a work… This message is usually about life, society or human nature. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a work. Themes are usually implied rather than explicitly stated.

 

The Film List

Oh, just as a side note, if you click the name of the film next to the faction name, it’ll take you to a trailer of the film. Be warned: some of these are NSFW.

Here we go then…

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Adepta Sororitas – ‘God On Trial’.

The Sororitas are a hyperkinetic parody of the Catholic Church, but the core thing that makes them different to other armies is their faith; in their hands it becomes a literal source of power.
I was originally thinking of going with ’The Devils’, but it seemed too obvious a choice. Instead, I’ve chosen this film; it’s an exceptionally difficult look at the nature of faith. Based on an alleged incident that occurred in the death camps of World War 2, it tells the story of how a group of Jewish inmates decided that the fact they were being gassed to death in their millions was proof that God had broken His covenant with the Jewish people. So they put him, literally, on trial. Written by a devout Christian, it ruthlessly interrogates the very concept of faith: its power and limitations, as well as the extremes it can drive people to, both to good and ill…
It should hopefully give a good insight into the kind of thought that drives the basic Sister as she slogs towards the enemy.

Astra Militarum – ‘Centurion’.

There are so very many war films about blood and sacrifice and brotherhood and blah blah blah… With so many clichés, none of that really gets to the core of the Guard, which is this: to be a Guard is to be outclassed. Literally every army does it better than you… But that doesn’t mean you can be counted out. When you’re up against the horrors of a hateful universe, cut off, and surrounded by a world that wants you dead, and all you’ve got to fight with is a torch and your wits. The Guard’s key trait isn’t their skill at arms or their high levels of technology. It’s their determination and grit.
This film is about a rag-tag band of Romans, cut off from their Empire, and hunted through the depths of Scotland by a terrifying band of Celts (who might as well be a stand-in for any 40K specied you like). The reason I love this film isn’t for the action (which is awesome) but for the characters; everyone matters, and you feel every death like a tragedy. Not to mention, the band is completely cosmopolitan, with people from every place in the Empire; much as I imagine the Guard to be, with various regiments from widely differing worlds.

Blood Angels – ’Gods and Monsters’.

With so many flavour of Astartes, it might seem weird that I’m giving the ‘named’ Chapters their own film, but the thing is, despite all the 3+, all those named Chapters are completely unique. So what makes the Blood Angels unique? Well, their blitzkrieg tactics, yes. But truly, it’s the Death Company. And how terrifying must that be? To see yourself, not as the regular Astartes do, as a warrior, but as a man following in the legacy of an actual [i[angel[/i]? To know that your role is to be a defender of humanity, a true force for good in the universe, but that at any minute, any minute, your mind might snap because of an incurable problem with your genetics. You’d lose yourself and everything that mattered.
This wonderful little character drama contains all of that. A fictional story based on a real man, it tells about James Whale, the famed director of the first ‘Frankenstein’ film, and his struggle with a ruthless dementia. The film starts gently enough, but very quickly descends into a very dark look at the terror of what it means to lose your dignity to insanity, and a horrid truth: that, for some at least, death might be the only possible release.

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Cult Mechanicus (also Mechanicum) – ‘Temple Grandin’.

What does it mean to be a machine? Well, that very much depends on the writer. In 40K, it means to see the world analytically, with perfect knowledge. To look at things from a completely dispassionate perspective, and the power that comes from being able to perceive the world in such a way.
I had no idea who Temple Grandin was before I watched this tour de force of acting from Claire Danes. This film is a biography of her: a remarkable woman, born with severe autism at a time when that normally meant a lifetime incarcerated in an asylum. However, that wasn’t where Ms. Grandin ended up. The film is all about the way her mind perceived the world with almost perfect logic, and the deductive leaps and intuitive designs she was able to make as a result. You will not get a clearer insight into what it means to be a Magos who has sloughed off the weakness of the flesh than this.

Chaos Space Marines – ‘Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon’.

There’s a lot of options for this faction, but I’ve chosen this film because I think it’s the one that best gets the idea of what it means to be truly Chaotic. In the film, the character of Leslie Vernon is being filmed by a documentary crew who are trying to record his efforts to become a serial killer along the lines of Jason or Freddy. They think, because he’s being so friendly, that they are capable of understanding him. Also that they are safe from his violence.
They aren’t, and they’re not.
This is an excellent look at what it means to be a normal person who comes into contact with someone who truly believes in utter madness, as well as presenting the amount of dedication that goes into being terrifying. It neatly demonstrates that Chaos is not a plaything, and it’s not something you can hope to come near without great risk, as well as the sheer lethality of someone who has given themselves over to a truly dark philosophy.

Craftworld Eldar – ‘Sansho Dayu’.

The Craftworld Eldar are a culture capable of great beauty, as well as horrifying unpleasantness, and that’s all this film is about.
Set in the dying days of Edo Japan, Mizoguchi’s film is as far from the clashing swords of typical samurai chambara films as you can get. While the film is spectacularly beautiful to look at, it doesn’t romanticise the ancient Japanese ways in the slightest, presenting them in all their ugly brutality. The juxtaposition of these two things – beautiful cinematography and horrifying viciousness – is what gives the film its power, and it neatly shows the ugliness in a culture that is all too often forgotten or swept aside by outside observers who only see exotic difference. Despite its age, it’s a film that pulls no punches at all, and offers any Eldar player an insight into what it must be to be part of such a beautiful, but ultimately cruel culture.

Dark Angels – ‘Behind The Candelabra’.

Lionel Johnson’s poem ‘The Dark Angel’ was all about his horror at his own homosexuality. How fitting it is that this should basically be the core theme of the Dark Angels’ two leaders, Lion’el Jonson and Luther. The story of the Dark Angels is a story of how love between two men turned first sour, then destructive.
In essence, that’s the entire plot of ‘Behind the Candelabra’. Telling the story of Liberace and his lover, Scott Thorson, it looks at how – despite a genuine love for one another – relationships between singular men can fall apart. Liberace’s eccentricities may be the start of it, but with Thorson’s own significant personal weaknesses escalating things, the slow decline of love into self-destruction is awful to watch. The parallels between Jonson and Luther, both so dedicated to one another until Jonson’s indifference and Luther’s jealousy slowly tear the two of them quite apart are instructive. A superb look at how sometimes, love just isn’t enough to keep people from wrecking everything around them.

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Dark Eldar – ‘Martyrs’.

I love this faction, but it can’t be denied that from the outside, the Dark Eldar look a lot like dull clichés. Even GW admit as much; in the infamous Chapterhouse legal case, their own people described the faction as ‘evil’, which is about as generic as things get. Bad guys who are bad for the sake of it are a very easy archetype to get wrong (Hey there ‘Thor: The Dark World’.) The thing is, the archetype doesn’t have to be unengaging. It’s all down to why they’re bad for the sake of it, and with the best – and most inhuman – villains, evil committed for its own sake becomes that much worse when it’s not for its own sake – when it might actually have a purpose.
‘Martyrs’ is a film about two young girls, and their efforts to escape the clutches of a sinister faction of sadists who want to hurt them, because they believe hurting young girls to be of great use. It’s a deeply disturbing look at what a truly alien mindset might believe, and the horror of being trapped by people who genuinely don’t care about your pain as anything but a means to an end in itself.
Oh, and a warning – this is probably the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen, and I do not say that lightly.

Daemons – ‘Palindromes’.

As the background always takes pains to point out, Daemons in 40K aren’t anything to do with Hell, punishment, or even anything especially religious. They’re essentially the manifestation of human emotion, taken to its most extreme place. While I think the daemon designs have always been goofy, I’ve always thought that’s a really interesting spin on the idea, and it’s also got real relevance to the real world. There’s a thick cultural narrative that says we should listen to our emotions, but there’s rarely the necessary admonishment not to let them rule you. What happens when you let your emotions act as the deciding arbiter of your choices and behaviours?
Well, that’s what this film is all about. A comedy so black as to be near-lightless, it tells the story of a teenage girl who wants nothing more than to have a baby of her own to love. ‘Palindromes’ is an astonishingly dark film, and one that takes great pains to show that while humanity might be basically good, that’s ultimately irrelevant. Every person, no matter their beliefs, convictions, religion or lack of it, is capable of pure monstrosity when they choose to let their emotions alone lead them.

Death Korps of Krieg – ’All Quiet on the Western Front’.

Okay, so this is one I really struggled with, largely because the DKoK are so very singular; apart from the World War 1 theme, they’re still, essentially, Guard.
However, the one real difference would be that, to the DKoK, war is never anything but Hell, and ‘All Quiet On the Western Front’ is one of the greatest cinematic representations of this fact. Loathed by Adolf and his people, the book this film was based on took a long, hard look at the realities of trench warfare, and condemned them utterly. Many German veterans of the Great War were vocal fans of the story, holding it up as an example of a narrative that truly captured the wretchedness and pointless horror of what they had been subjected to.

Deathwatch – ’Monsters’.

To be Deathwatch means to be alone and isolated; a stranger in the strangest lands. Where other Astartes have their brothers around them at all time, and go to war as a Chapter, the Deathwatch work in small kill-teams, out in the furthest reaches of the Imperium, walking through places where the very idea of support is ludicrous.
Which is exactly what this film is about. It’s simple enough: two Americans try to make their way through a jungle in an alterna-Earth where alien wildlife now lives. While there’s action, it’s not about that, so much as the sense of isolation that must be day-to-day life for a Deathwatch, cut off as they are from the rest of humanity and surrounded by weirdness.

Eldar Corsairs – ’Interstellar’.

This was another difficult one. However, where the Craftworlders are a society gone stagnant, and the Dark Eldar are simply insane, the Corsairs are all about the adventure. They take Eldar super-tech and use it to traverse the vast expanses of void that make up the universe, and that entirely more intimate relationship with space itself is, to me at least, the core of what makes the Corsairs unique.
Probably the most mainstream film on this list, space is entirely what ‘Interstellar’ is about. It takes a long, hard look at the sheer majesty of space, as well as the natural drama that comes from attempting travel in such an aggressively hostile environment… Especially when you’re without access to lightspeed. While the film is flawed – it’s overlong, and in my opinion, would’ve made a better 10 hour HBO series you could take a break from than a bum-numbing 3 hour film – it still manages to get across a huge wealth of ideas. As a film that reinforces the notion that traversing the stars is dangerous as all get out, I doubt it will be bettered for a while.

Elysian Drop Troops – ’Point Break’.

The Elysians are basically what the Guard would be if they were truly intense. Everything the Elysians do is with maximum speed applied.
And that, in a nutshell, is what ‘Point Break’ looks at; the kind of mindset required to apply daredevil alacrity to combat situations. The hyperkinetic antivillains are an interesting juxtaposition: almost preternaturally calm 90% of the time, but during that 10% where they’re doing something crazy, they’re really balls-to-the-wall crazy.
Not to mention, if the parachute-jumping scene doesn’t make you want to jump out of a perfectly good Valkyrie, nothing will.

Farsight Conclave – ’Phoolan Devi : Bandit Queen’.

I’ve talked about the issues of the Tau caste system before. I first watched this film when I was about fourteen or so, and it left a lasting impression. This is a film that really rams home just how vile and unfair a caste system is, and the atrocities that are required – on a daily and personal basis – in order to maintain so grotesque a social structure.
Phoolan Devi was an Indian woman who was raped fairly constantly by many men over two days. Afterwards, she turned to the gun, killed those who had attacked her, and became the scourge of her nation. Unlike fictional rape-revenge fantasies, this film actually looks at the fact that while Devi’s plight makes her utterly sympathetic, she was categorically not a simple, avenging hero. It’s all too easy to forget that real life is messy, and this film does a good job of exploring those complexity. Difficult watching, but it does a good job of showing the difficulties inherent in rising up to fight the ruling caste of a proper caste system when you have no status of your own.

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Genestealer Cult – ’Splice’.

Genestealers take you, and turn you into them. Not physically, but mentally. Your children become theirs, and from there, a vile, incestuous cult begins to develop.
‘Splice’ is a character-driven horror film which explores those same ideas to do with cross-species sexual attraction to the inhuman and the alien, as well as the kind of family relationships that might develop between an infected human and their partially-alien offspring. It’s deeply disquieting in almost every way, and the way it presents the partially human Dren is exactly as disturbing as a Genestealer hybrid should be.

Harlequins – ‘The Fall’.

Unlike almost every other faction on this list, the Harlequins are not truly an army; at their core, they are a troupe of artists. They tell the story of the fall of the Eldar and use those stories to both allow the Eldar to remember the past, as well as to hopefully feel free from the horrors of it.
This film is all about the power of stories, both to conceal truths and to liberate. A small girl who’s broken her arm befriends a seriously injured stuntman who tells her an exciting story about an indian, a explosives expert and Charles Darwin. It’s only once the story has captivated her that the storyteller starts asking his young audience to help him acquire this medicine he needs to help himself feel better, called ‘opium’…
Like ‘Sansho Dayu’, this is an almost astonishingly beautiful film, notable for the almost total lack of CGI for its locations – it took four years to make, because every place in the film is completely real – and if you want some inspiration for Harlequin colour schemes, you could do a lot worse than pinch some ideas from this.

Imperial Knights – ’Ghost Dog: Way of The Samurai’.

The Knight Households are something of an anomaly amongst the Imperium, largely consisting of men and women who have elected to live their lives by archaic, almost ancient codes of conduct that seem to have no placed amongst the rest of the Imperium.
This film considers what it means to live by an actual warrior code, living a life of personally defined honour. It also looks at how such limitations bring strength, as well as how strange such a mindset might look to more average citizens. If you really want to understand the kind of dedication it takes to act as a literal retainer to a great lord in a modern society, you can’t go wrong with this film.
Plus the soundtrack is great.

Khorne Daemonkin – ‘Straw Dogs’.

Khorne’s philosophy is, ultimately, an ugly one. Might makes right. It’s horrible, but an appealing idea to a certain kind of person, as well as being inherently quite intoxicating. By nature, violent dominance is empowering, no matter that another must suffer for the dominant party to feel good.
‘Straw Dogs’ is a genuinely disturbing look at the deranged appeal of toxic male violence, and the film is notorious for the fact it doesn’t shy from showing that such violence is both scarring, and desperately unheroic… Just like every single one of Khorne’s followers. After all, no matter how one might try to argue that success on the battlefield equates with greatness, when one cares not where the blood flows, how can one be anything but a monster…?

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The Imperium as a whole – ‘The House I Live In’.

Okay, I know it’s technically not an army, but The Imperium is so essential to everything 40K that I couldn’t leave it off the list. The Imperium of Man is, by and large, defined by two things: hubris and bureaucracy. Everything about the Imperium as an organisation comes down to the fact it has set itself the impossibly lofty target of unifying the human species, and chosen exactly the worst methods of doing so.
That’s why I’ve chosen this documentary; the best way to extrapolate fictional societies is to better understand how real ones operate. This film looks at the abject failure that is the West’s War on Drugs, an almost insanely hubristic endeavour that has yielded little beyond bureaucratic madness and broken lives, and in many ways, achieved the exact opposite of what it was publicly set out to do. Essential viewing if you want to understand how those in charge of a society like the Imperium can delude themselves into thinking that what they have created is anything beyond the worst of all possible human civilisations.

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The Inquisition – ‘Lake Mungo’.

The Inquisition are the agency that investigates the weirdness of the galaxy, and the one thing they can absolutely count on is that whatever they think it is they’re after? It won’t be. It’s going to be something altogether stranger.
‘Lake Mungo’ is, on the surface, a ghost film shot in a documentary style (not in the shakycam style that’s currently fading from popularity, but in a more formal style, created as a ‘true’ artefact). Beginning as a simple look at what seems to be a spirit haunting a house, as the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that what’s going on is altogether weirder than anything so simple, and that what’s actually happening is something quite possibly beyond human understanding or classification. An unsung little masterpiece of the uncanny, this.

Militarum Tempestus (also Solar Auxilia) – ‘Eastern Promises’.

The scholae progenium produce women and men of duty and courage, raised from birth in a culture of absolute discipline to show no fear or doubt in the face of a far superior enemy.
This film looks at what sort of person such a man might be. Viggo Mortensen’s Mafiya gangster is a stoic mask of taciturn resolve, working amongst lunatics and killers with absolute professionalism and calm detatchment.
Where a Guard might panic, or try something a little bit risky, the Tempestus take their time and act with precision and skill. This film shows exactly what that looks like.

Necrons – ‘The Machine’.

I was tempted to go with ‘Battlestar Galactica’ for obvious reasons here, but that’s a TV series, so instead, I’ve gone for this film. The interesting thing about the Necrons, at least to me, is how the act of biotransference means that whilst you might be one person while you still had flesh, that doesn’t mean you’re the same when your body’s been replaced with Living Metal.
This film is about one of those secret military research labs where they’re developing a robot supersoldier. So far, so clichéd. However, the way it looks at what a human personality might look like, post-death, in a synthetic body, is quite fascinating from a 40K point of view, especially considering that the nature of your new body itself might be what causes you to change into something quite unintended.

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Orks – ‘Looking For Eric’.

As I covered last month, Orks are all about solidarity and brotherhood. They may not make a big show of it like the Marines do, but that kinship drives almost everything about Ork kultur. For all the Astartes showy use of the word ‘brother’, the bottom line is that Marines don’t become Fearless when their mates are with them, and Orks do.
This film beautifully shows exactly what that looks like when it happens in the real world (especially in its final few scenes which are both hilarious, and punch-the-air awesome). Set in amongst a working-class community who are ignored and despised by those with power, this looks at what happens when the only power you have is the power of your mates. And their mates. And their mate’s mates.
Waaargh, indeed.

Skitarri – ’9’.

Perhaps even moreso than Marines, the Skitarri are truly transhuman soldiers, and if they’re on Mars, they’re living amongst hostile, sentient machines that don’t think like humans and which only wish to kill. That kind of existence, living on a literal lifeless rock trying to avoid insane robots is a genuinely terrifying one, and this film shows just how much.
‘9’ is set in just such a world, where a rogue AI has exterminated all human life, and the only thing capable of setting things right are nine small homunculi with a small fragment of human soul animating them. This is a film that takes absolutely no prisoners, and shows exactly how terrifying it must be to live on a Forge World where the Iron Men once walked.
Not to mention, the enemy robot designs are incredible.

Space Marines – ‘Dancer In The Dark’.

The Astartes sacrifice their lives on the altar of humanity’s future. Yes, they’re strong, and dangerous and violent, but what truly makes them Astartes is that they know no fear. When their time comes, the ultimate sacrifice is one they gladly pay.
This is a film which looks at exactly what that means in human terms. Telling the story of an immigrant caught up in a series of catastrophic events beyond her control, it looks at what kind of willpower it takes to sacrifice yourself – to coldly, rationally,truly sacrifice yourself – for another, who will never, ever know about it.

Space Wolves – ’Super’.

Those who wield violence in the name of justice are inherently monstrous, and the Space Wolves are no exception. The Emperor’s attack dogs, sent out to ravage those who would raise their hands against him or his good works, there’s a reason they’re the villains of what happened on Prospero.
‘Super’ is a film which looks at what kind of person looks for justice at the end of a weapon. It’s not a perfect film, but it asks a variety of difficult questions about the nature of vigilantism and the prosecution of a single-minded campaign against an unquestioned enemy.
It’s also bloody funny.

Tau – ’Black Death’.

Now I’ve tried to avoid overt spoilers throughout this list, but this is a film starring Sean Bean. So you know at least one person’s going to die. Sorry about that.
The Tau always talk about The Greater Good, and that’s one of the most sinister phrases it’s possible to use. As The Riddle of ‘Vampire: The Masquerade’ runs ‘a beast I am lest a beast I become’.
This film is looks at what can be justified in the name of ‘The Greater Good’. A team of inquisitors search through England, following rumours of a necromancer. Unlike most films, where the supernatural elements would be brought to the fore, this film takes the altogether scarier path, taking as its central theme the idea that there are no supernatural elements in the universe at all, including God. There’s just the world as is, and that’s it.
All of which means it’s a film about one group of fanatics looking to kill another, in the name of a belief in a Greater Good that simply can’t be justified. Dark, disturbing viewing.

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Tyranids – ‘Antichrist’.

This was another difficult one. Ultimately, the thing about the Tyranids is that they represent a kind of implacable, cosmic horror; specifically, one that is natural.
‘Antichrist’ is a film about a couple whose son dies. Stricken with both grief and guilt, the mother goes to pieces, and in desperation, her husband takes them out into the forest together, where they can try and put her back together. This, it turns out, is The Worst Possible Idea.
This is a film where nature isn’t remotely a good thing; the woods are oppressive, a hideous, crushing force that doesn’t care a thing for the two tiny humans who have stepped into it so foolishly. All the scenes of the outdoors brim with a genuinely stifling kind of demonic malevolence, making ‘nature’ almost into a character by itself, and reinforcing the idea that this is not something humans should consider themselves capable of understanding.

And finally,

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Ultramarines – ‘Black Dynamite’.

Because like Black Dynamite, the Ultras are just better than everyone else.

None of us like it, but there it is.

That’s it for this month, and thank you for reading. This article definitely took the longest I’ve ever spent writing one of these. If you’ve enjoyed this list, are wondering where my Horus Heresy-era recommendations are, and would like some more recommendations, then click this link to be taken to this month’s bonus content, where I break down which films match which 30K Space Marine Legions, both Loyalist and Traitors.

Hopefully you’ll be surprised by a few of them.

  • ThunderMohawk

    “Oh man, I can’t wait to see what was suggested for Grey Kni… Oh. Fine.”

    • yorknecromancer

      D’oh! I knew I’d forget one!

      Just for you:

      Grey Knights – ‘Beloved’ (trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dw-UV7Odl4)

      Space Marines have ‘strength’ as one of their most ubiquitous traits. Strength of arms, strength of will, physical strength, on and on and on. But the Grey Knights are a chapter whose strength is far more singular that that; theirs is a mental strength. A strength of will and fortitude in the face of an implacable enemy composed of raw emotion.

      So what might that look like? What does it mean to stand up to a being composed of pure, raw feeling?

      ‘Beloved’ is an unsung gem of a film, with an incredible
      central performance from Oprah Winfrey, who spent literally decades trying to get this made. It tells the story of an escaped slave, Sethe, and her efforts to build a life for herself in the aftermath of quite astonishing mistreatment. She’s doing so very successfully… Until the day that a childlike young woman called Beloved shows up.

      This is not an easy film – the masterpiece of a novel it’s based on means it could be no other way. It’s not sci-fi or horror, and its narrative is deliberately inscrutable.
      However, for fans of Grey Knights, it gives an excellent look at exactly what it means to face down a Daemon, as well as what a brotherhood of psykers looks
      like.

  • Raffazza

    Brilliant article!

  • Nathaniel Wright

    The Life of an Astropath: Even Horizon.

  • PlasmaCow

    Imperial Assassins – John Wick

    • yorknecromancer

      That’d be for Eversor only.

      • euansmith

        Surely “Jack Reacher”, as a how else could a 6′ 5″, 210-250lb man with a 50″ chest look like Tom Cruise, if not by using Polymorphine.

  • David Hurst

    Severe lack of Event Horison on that list. I am dissapoint.

    • yorknecromancer

      No, ‘Event Horizon’ is clearly and overtly mentioned in the introduction?

      To quote it:

      ‘I’ve tried to avoid war porn or anything obviously 40K. You won’t find ‘Starship Troopers’ or ‘Aliens’ or ‘Event Horizon’ or any of the usual suspects here.

      There’s two reasons for this. Firstly: what’s the point of an article that tells you something you already know? If you’ve been a fan of 40K for longer than a few years and you haven’t seen ‘Starship Troopers’, you’re kind of doing it wrong. Whether you love or hate the film (and
      I’m firmly in the former category), the fact is, it’s pretty much one of the key 40K films. Where else are you going to see Imperial Guard fighting Tyranids? So, I’m trying to avoid the obvious stuff in favour of hopefully more obscure cinema you might not be aware of.’

      That’s why it’s not on the list: because EVERYONE knows that ‘Event Horizon’ is the closest thing we’re going to see to an official 40K film, so including it is utterly redundant. Why tell people what they already know?

  • Breaker

    Aww, no Black Templars. That one’s easy, though lol

    • yorknecromancer

      I avoided doing ‘chapter tactics’ Marines because I’d just done all these AND the Heresy-era Legions, and was running out of time.

      Frankly, I only included the Ultras because I was desperate to get ‘Black Dynamite’ on the list somewhere.

      I might revisit the Chapters at a later date. If I was going to give the Black Templars a film, it’d probably be ‘The Crucible’ (1996), which looks at how utterly terrifying an inflexible religious nature is, and the atrocities it’s capable of.

  • Hrudian

    How about Starship Troopers? Or is that a bit cliché? 🙂

    • yorknecromancer

      Cliche, so I avoided it.

      The aim was to only recommend films that people wouldn’t necessarily know, and ‘Starship Troopers’ was just too obvious.

      Plus ‘Centurion’ is amazing.

      • euansmith

        I’m a big fan of the “Lost Patrol” plot, as seen in Aliens, Predator, parts of Starship Trooper, and countless Vietnam themed action movies. The idea that no one might get out alive. It is kind of a vaient on the “The Old Haunted House”, but with a mission to complete.

        • yorknecromancer

          The best version of the ‘Lost Patrol’ misson – for me at least – is ‘Spec Ops: The Line’.

          I can’t see any successful Western film being able to do anything so critical of the very concept of a heroic soldier for at least another decade.

          At the moment, war films are very much stuck in the pro-war cycle; the culture’s not ready for critiques of that yet.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            a good one for that and surprising is that Belrus one about the Afghan war! 9th Company! About young men conscripted into the soviet army to fight in Afghanistan. They are sent to the paratroopers and it’s kind of an answer to Full Metal Jacket.

            Some of the boys are gung ho and ready for war, and some bully others to show dominance while the main protagonist is an artist and not exactly pro war.

            They slowly bond despite their differences and then the horrors of war creep in. The once gung ho are reluctant to speak or embrace the fanfare of returning home.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        wasn’t that the lower budget movie released around hte time “Eagle” was launched? The star of Centurion was a little silly, but yeah it was ok. I suppose im some ways it’s better than the higher budget Eagle.

        • yorknecromancer

          They were very much duelling movies.

          Only ‘Eagle’ was boring, and ‘Centurion’ was a Neil Marshall film, so it absolutely wasn’t.

  • pokemastercube .

    no pacific rim? that would have worked for the knights or for the legio titanus, and a bit for the nids too

    • yorknecromancer

      I only included films I would actually recommend. And I hate that film. To my mind, it’s just a hollow, empty fireworks display: beautiful to look at, but as filling as candy floss.

      Aesthetic similarity was not enough to justify a recommendation. As I made clear in my introduction, this is a thematic list, not a visual one. The Jaegars might be giant robots, but they’re not knightly. They’re just tanks that happen to walk, and that’s not who the Knight Households are.

      In addition, visual spectacle is not enough for me to recommend a film (consider ‘The Fall’, which manages to be more beautiful than ‘Pacific Rim’ while also being ABOUT something).

    • Ak318

      Also from what i gather Titan fights are longer more elegant fights of somewhat slow lumbering machines. Pacific rim seems too quick and with too much melee for titan fights.

    • Spacefrisian

      Dont worry, most would have added Chars Counter attack for Farsights Enclave as well i think…although Farsight Enclave wasnt realy added to the list to begin with.

      • pokemastercube .

        oh, yea MSGCCA would work well for FE

  • kuzefra

    So excellent! To the library!

  • LordKrungharr

    Awesome list, very thoughtfully written. I’ve not heard of any of those except Ghost Dog. Gonna check some of these out. I always thought Chronicles of Riddick was very close to 40k Chaos Marines, from the huge fleets to planet wide operations down to skirmish level hunts by super warriors altered by dark technologies and devoted to a nefarious cult. Maybe like Word Bearers?

    • yorknecromancer

      I would agree that the Necromungers have a distinct similarity with CSM. My problem with ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ is that its just not a very good film.

      And by that I mean, it’s f**king terrible. I mean, yeah, a lot of fun, and there’s some great moments, and it’s got Alexa Davalos, Karl Urban and Keith David in it, and nothing starring them can be entirely bad… But it’s just so wonkily plotted (what with the pointless Macbethery of Karl Urban’s disloyal for the right reasons character and his pure Lady Macbeth wife), with patchwork worldbuilding made of tropes pinched from significantly better works… And it almost gleefully kills its most interesting characters, who are – not insignificantly I feel – generally either black or female.

      So, bags of fun, and everything on Crematoria is largely brilliant. But not a film I’d ever recommend.

      As for my Word Bearers recommendation? That would be here: https://yorknecromancer.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/bonus-blog-the-warhammer-30000-recommended-film-list/

  • Omnia Incendent

    I would say on one point, “What does it mean to be a machine?” in the 40k universe. In the case of the necrons (first codex) it means being tricked into servitude by a god (the deceiver) that was the embodiment of absolute freedom all along.

    And most tragically of all is the Servitor. The ability to question your “betters” cut out of you by that same authority that you no longer Have The Ability to question, that views you only as a replaceable tool, worth no more than what you can achieve for those that made you.

    The Imperium of Man – (and the 40k universe at large), to me, is a warning of dogmas and general bad ideas that avoid questions and healthy scepticism by shouting buzzwords to silence dissent (in 40k the word is “Heretic”, in the 1950s in the US the word was “Communist” Ask Gamergaters what today’s equivalent is) Dogmas and General Bad Ideas that are allowed to grow and grow to intolerant, authoritarian monstrosities under claims of “The Greater Good”

  • Scissorheart

    Martyrs. Very, very, very, very dark.

    • yorknecromancer

      ‘Martyrs’ is so dark, it’s where gravitational event horizons go when they decide that things where they are are still a little too bright.

  • cudgel

    Why do I feel like I just hung out with the sunday school teacher who is trying to get me to listen to christan rock by throwing in a little Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana?!?

    • euansmith

      I hope you were paying attention. There will be a test. Your results will appear on your Permanent Record.

    • yorknecromancer

      Ummm… Well, as an avowed atheist, I can honestly say I have no idea.

      Maybe you’re just used to people who don’t have nuanced views of religion?

      • cudgel

        Well that is possible lol. As someone who grew up in the bible belt, (Canadian not American) the part about Behind the Candelabra set off some warning klaxon in my head, is all.

        • yorknecromancer

          Ah, I see.

          To clarify my reading of the film, I don’t think their relationship failed because it was a [word that is redacted because it refers to partners who aren’t straight] one. I think it failed – as many do – because of the power differential. Liberace was a much older, much richer person, able to win the affections of a much younger, more inexperienced paramour who – at the time of their first meeting – wasn’t entirely sure of who he was/wanted to be. As a result, things were kind of doomed before they started. And that’s before you get into the fact that both of them were monumentally messed-up individuals, a situation made worse by the fact they had to stay closeted.

          I think in any relationship where one person has a significant amount of power relative to the other, you’re going to get problems. [word that is redacted because it refers to partners who aren’t straight], straight, whatever, it’s utterly irrelevant. Where there isn’t equality, there can’t be real respect, and where there’s no respect, there’s no real love. The problem for Liberace and Thorson (at least as presented within the narrative world of the film) wasn’t that they were [word that is redacted because it refers to partners who aren’t straight]. It was that Liberace had all sorts of eccentric ideas and was used to getting his own way, and Thorson became a simmering hotbed of resentment and jealousy – a condition exacerbated by drug usage.

          The commonalities between The Lion and Luther just seem really plain to me; the story of the Dark Angels is, ultimately, an utterly tragic romance. The Lion is Liberace – utterly powerful, and believing he can simultaneously be an equal to his lover while ordering him around. Luther is Thorson – utterly smitten, and then shocked and appalled by the casual disregard with which his great love casts him off. Where Thorson turned to drugs, Luther turned to Chaos (and isn’t that just a lovely parallel/metaphor?)

          When you really get down to it, there’s not a whole lot of difference between [word that is redacted because it refers to partners who aren’t straight] relationships and straight ones, because ultimately, people are people. Yes, there’s going to be unique pressures and differences that will affect the way you view the world as compared to people with different sexualities, but love is love, and people are capable of being kind, caring, considerate, venal, petty, thoughtless, and wonderful with their lovers regardless of anything else.

          As with so many things, the issues at the heart of both pairs of lovers’ relationship problems were to do with power, not gender.

          • cudgel

            Thanks for the clarification. (not to mention a great companion piece to the original article).

          • yorknecromancer

            Oh, you’re very welcome. 🙂

  • somewhatdamaged

    Probably obvious, but Mad Max Fury Road is dead on for a movie if you’re looking for inspiration for Orks.
    I guess that falls under the mainstream category as everyone’s already seen it!

    • yorknecromancer

      You would guess correct. 🙂

      Plus I already wrote 5000 words about that just before Xmas, so I kind of figured I’d done that one to death.

    • Drew_Da_Destroya

      If we’re splitting hair squigs (and we should, they’re pretty juicy), I’d say Fury Road is more specifically related to the Evil Sunz. An argument could be made for the Deffskullz.

      A Goff or Snakebite would think all that mukkin’ about just ain’t proppa, a Bad Moon would turn his nose up at such ramshackle vehicles, and the Red Skullz would lament at the resources wasted in such a long chase.

      The Kult of Speed wouldn’t understand why Immortan Joe had a home base to begin with, and the Grot Rebellion… would probably enjoy the film overall.

    • Vomkrieg

      Interesting. I see Fury Road as being about humans in 40k, I can see why people put Orks there, but the humans were basically imperial cult zealots, ruled by a “governor” in archaic armour with skulls. They felt like a cross between a spire gang and primatives on a death world. And the characters looked a lot like the original rogue trader human art.

      They looked a lot like the primative cultures Astartes recruit from, and yeah, they are quite Orky, but certainly not outside the scope of how humanity behaves in the 41st millennium.

  • euansmith

    Lots of nicely tangential choices there.

  • WitnessMe4Khorne

    Dredd.

    • yorknecromancer

      Would have been my choice if the Arbites were still a faction.

      Or if this was a breakdown of ‘Necromunda’. As 40K in general goes, there were better choices. (Not that this means I dislike ‘Dredd’; that film is an unsung feminist masterpiece).

      • WitnessMe4Khorne

        Better choices? That’s a tough one. Whenever I am asked what my favorite documentary is? Dredd. Romantic Comedy? Dredd. Old School Samurai Movie? Dredd. Not sure I can be sold on better choices.

        • IndigoJack

          Best Dredd movie? Judge Dredd

  • Satyan Patel

    Wow. What a well written article. It’s very rare to come across the internet and find something written so well. I found the article very interesting and love the fact that the writer understands cliché movies and provides us an artist’s view of movies by relationship. Very well written. Thank you. Now off to the printers to keep track of the movies to watch!

  • Erik K

    Sorry but Mad Max Fury Road has Orks written all over it. I didn’t see Looking for Eric but I am pretty sure they didn’t have a guitar with flames shooting out of it.

    • yorknecromancer

      Oh, I completely agree with you.

      But everyone’s already seen ‘Fury Road’; what’s the point in stating the bleeding obvious? I’d rather learn about films I haven’t seen than films I have.

      Hence ‘Looking For Eric’; it’s a superb film, very few people will have seen it outside the UK, and it’s literally the best example of why Orks become Fearless when they’re in a mob – I won’t say why because of spoilers, but how about watching the film first, and then seeing if you disagree?

      As for ‘Fury Road’, the other reason it’s not on the list is because I’ve already written about it. At great length: https://yorknecromancer.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/december-2015-why-are-there-so-many-skulls/

  • Shiwan8

    I think that 9th Company is better AM-movie.

  • gwensdad

    I feel like I’m going to have to convince my crew to cover at least 1 of these for our movie podcast. (also, no Ex Machina for “why are AIs a bad idea?”)

    • euansmith

      There are no bad AIs, just bad programmers.

    • yorknecromancer

      That’s because the VERY best ‘this is why AI are a bad idea’ thing ever is ‘Person of Interest’, and all other stories about AI pale into insignificance next to that.

      Of course, it’s a TV series, which is why it’s not on the list (though I did include a link to the trailer for season 1, and recommend you watch it if AI is your thing. Seriously, it starts out slow, but that’s because it’s taking its time setting up the dystopian night that is Samaritan, who is easily the most terrifying AI of all time).

      Then, the second best story about AI is ‘Portal 2’, and that’s a computer game, so that can’t make the list either.

      As for ‘Ex Machina’, I found it deeply overrated. No ideas I hadn’t really seen anywhere else, and so damnably slow. It was something like an hour and a half but it felt like five. Not saying it was a bad film, just that there wasn’t as much there as people made out. I DID like the whole creepy dudebro thing that the two male characters had going on, and the effects were good. But no, ‘Ex Machina’ was not a film I especially rated or enjoyed.

      I imagine that most of its problems are down to the fact it would make a much better play than a film.

      • euansmith

        I loved the title to the last episode of Season 4, “YHWH”; as it is literally a compressed God. One of my favourite TV series ever

        • yorknecromancer

          IT’S SO GOOD. Like, seriously, the most intelligent sci-fi show in decades.

          Also proof of the natural injustice of the universe. ‘POI’ gets four and a half seasons; ‘Supernatural’ just got renewed for its twelfth.

          WHAT.

          There is no rhyme or reason to anything.

          • euansmith

            PoI had such a cool central hero too.

          • euansmith

            Roll on May 2016 for the end of the story.

          • yorknecromancer

            I really hope they can wrap it all up well.

            I am so scared for The Machine. She’s just the best.

  • nurglespuss

    Black dynamite, love that film.

    But seriously, no mention of Chronicles of Riddick? That
    Film is essentially viewing the Imperium from the point if view of a missing primarch, defending his people/world etc.

    • yorknecromancer

      Seriously, yes. No mention of it. As I said in an earlier comment:

      ‘My problem with ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ is that its just not a very good film.

      And by that I mean, it’s f**king terrible. I mean, yeah, a lot of fun, and there’s some great moments, and it’s got Alexa Davalos, Karl Urban and Keith David in it, and nothing starring them can be entirely bad… But it’s just so wonkily plotted (what with the pointless Macbethery of Karl Urban’s disloyal for the right reasons character and his pure Lady Macbeth wife), with patchwork worldbuilding made of tropes pinched from significantly better works… And it almost gleefully kills its most interesting characters, who are – not insignificantly I feel – generally either black or female.

      So, bags of fun, and everything on Crematoria is largely brilliant. But not a film I’d ever recommend.’

      ‘Pitch Black’ is a great film, and ‘Riddick’ is fun too (apart the weird parts where Riddick’s creeping on Starbuck like some hypermasculine sex offender). But ‘Chronicles’ is an ugly mess.

      And ‘last of a dead race’ trope?

      The Furians no less? Is that because they’re so furious?

      *headdesk*

      So f**king lame. It’s the laziest bit of storytelling ever: ‘look how special this character is! They’re unique!’ It’s pure ‘tell, don’t show’, which is almost never cool.

      The Peter Chung animated interquel was good, but if we’re recommending anything by Peter Chung, it’s the original animated ‘Aeon Flux’ series, which is utterly superb (unlike the botched 2005 film).

      • nurglespuss

        All that aside its a fun easy watch, and does exactly what I says it does – so should the THE go to film for 40k.

  • Richard Mitchell

    Solid movie list here. With the Thor the Dark World, I thought the villain wasn’t doing bad things for the sake of being evil but because the birth of our universe literally eradicated his own so he was fixated on bringing it back.

  • Crablezworth

    Event Horizon for the win

  • BaboonKing

    Not specifically about a faction, but how about Excalibur? A lot of parallels can be traced from 40k to Arthuric legends: Arthur (the Emperor) against his son Mordred (Horus), the round table of knights (the primarchs), a golden age lost to treachery, the land being one with a messiah figure, etc.

    • yorknecromancer

      ‘Excalibur’ is lovely and all, but it’s painfully long, and a lot of it is pretty tedious. The performances are okay, and anything with Patrick Stewart in it can’t be entirely bad. Plus it’s about as nice a film based on Arthurian legend as we’re going to get, but it’s not especially good; too full of its own self-importance to be truly great.

      I don’t think it’s specific enough to any single species to warrant a thematic connection, though. Maybe Imperial Knights, but it’s just much too obvious for that, and honestly, it’s not actually about chivalry so much as it’s about soap opera relationships.

      Definitely a film worth watching for the visuals, but it’s not really one I like or would recommend, especially seeing as the people who would like it have most likely already seen it.

      • Martí

        Fair enough. It’s certainly not without its flaws (with the excessive running time chief among them, fully agree on that), but I would still recommend it to fans of 40k. I think it quite likely that people who enjoy the story and tone of the Horus Heresy will find thinks to like in here. And although it’s not exactly obscure, I wouldn’t be surprised if many younger 40k fans haven’t seen it.

        And… knights charging to Carmina Burana. That alone is worth the price of admission. 🙂

  • Vomkrieg

    Add in every film where Angels are rebelling against heaven, like the Prophecy or Dogma, for an insight into the Horus heresy and the motivations of traitor marines and primarchs

    • yorknecromancer

      I utterly loathe ‘Dogma’; absolutely awful bloody film. The plot’s all over the place, the script is clunky and filled with endless exposition, the characters are poorly drawn at best or one-note laugh-free jokes at worst… A useless film that actually left me feeling angry when I walked out of the cinema back when it came out. An absolute damp fart of a film.

      ‘The Prophecy’ on the other hand is an unsung masterpiece; everything about it works – script, cast, performances, everything. Second film from the guy who did the original ‘Highlander’ as well, and it’s got much of the same originality. Not to mention some of the most concisely scripted villainous monologues I’ve ever seen. Just a wonderful, wonderful film.

      • Vomkrieg

        I see Dogma’s flaws, but I was mainly thinking of the “God loved them more than us” speech from Bartleby, which was the first film I could think of with that idea in it other than the prophecy, which is one of my favorite films.

  • DaveTycho

    Recommend Ghost in the Shell for Mechanicus and/or Necrons?

    • yorknecromancer

      I always found ‘GiTS’ intensely dull.

      I know it has its admirers, and there are some great ideas, but it was a ‘duty watch’; just one of those rubbish things you’ve got to sit through so you can engage in the discussions, like ‘Lord of The Rings’. I’ve tried SO HARD to like it, but it’s just not for me. The manga was overlong, confusing and read like a technical manual, and the film was just long, with a whole lot of stuff happening to people I didn’t care about for reasons too dull to pay attention to.

      And ‘Standalone Complex’ was like watching beige paint dry.

      I mean, they’re all visually beautiful of course, but that’s just not enough for me. Ultimately, I get why people like it, but it’s not a film I’d recommend. Or sit through again.

      • 03numnum

        Lol, I think your comment got deleted too. My response to it is still there for now if you want to read it. Decent article btw.

  • 03numnum

    Decent article, but one line stuck out to me as tripe. “Those who wield violence in the name of justice are inherently monstrous, and the Space Wolves are no exception. ” By that logic, every soldier, sailor, Marine, Royal Marine, airman, cop etc. etc. who “wield[ed] violence in the name of justice,” i.e. was trained in violence and used it as part of his job, implicitly or explicitly, is inherently monstrous. That is so incredibly, deeply stupid.

    • Kyu

      Not every military person wields violence “in the name of justice”

      Most do so just to make a living (ironically enough)

      But to kill people out of a sense of justice requires such a sense of self importance and is such hypocrisy that I can see why it might be called monstrous.

      • 03numnum

        Why was my response removed?

        • 03numnum

          Let’s try this again.
          So every soldier who fought against the Naz’s injustice, Imperial Japan’s injustice, the Taliban’s injustice, was monstrous? They were all so self-important and hypocritical that they were basically monsters? Full disclosure: I’m the latter btw. I didn’t need to join the military, but seeing women and children stoned, sexually assaulted and vitriolaged in Afghanistan didn’t really seem right to me, and I felt I should do something.

      • 03numnum

        For the 4th time. I’d really, really like to know why my comments are being deleted, as they do not contain foul language, racial slurs, or anything else even mildly offensive.
        Once more, with feeling.
        So every soldier who fought against the Naz’s injustice, Imperial Japan’s injustice, the Taliban’s injustice, was monstrous? They were all so self-important and hypocritical that they were basically monsters? Full disclosure: I’m the latter btw. I didn’t need to join the military, but seeing women and children stoned, sexually assaulted and vitriolaged in Afghanistan didn’t really seem right to me, and I felt I should do something.

        • yorknecromancer

          I imagine your comments are being deleted because of certain word filters. Happens to mine occasionally.

          In response to your comments, you’ve kind of got me curious. And I’m honestly not being facetious here, but instead, genuinely curious.

          Women and children and men are murdered, sexually assaulted and violated in every country. Why didn’t you decide instead to do something about that in your country of origin (I presume the US, but I don’t want to assume)? Why did you decide that, say, working at a shelter for battered women, or man the telephones to a helpline was less helpful? You could have found employment at a charity and raised money full-time to help those causes you care about – why did you discard that choice?

          And why travel halfway around the world? I mean, sure, certain unnamed factions are super-evil, definitely. But why Afghanistan when many, many other countries inflict horrible wounds on women and children? Acid attacks are a horrifying problem in India, as are honour killings. Why not go there and help?

          I’m not saying this to denigrate the military; I’m saying this because to me it seems logical to state that every nation has problems – and yes, some of those are as extreme as the ones caused by the barbarians you have fought. America and England have a huge problem with violence against women. I suppose I’m asking why you decided to, in essence, ‘fix someone else’s house’ instead of your own?

          Why was the wrongness of the criminals in Afghanistan worse than elsewhere? From my point of view, I get wanting to make the world a better place – like you, I try to help people too through my work; I just felt I should deal with my homeland’s problems first, because those were ones I understood and could have a more meaningful impact upon.

          • 03numnum

            Well, I’ve worked in a refugee center full-time before, and I’ve donated time and money to various charitable causes. I think all of the things you mentioned are fantastic ways to serve our fellow man. But none of those can be truly effective without at least some element of security. That does not exist in say, Afghanistan. There is almost zero physical safety for a woman or a child in the absence of a foreign military presence.

            Furthermore, comparing the situation over there to the one is the U.S. or England is kind of like comparing apples to horse apples. In the U.S. there are awful people, but the legal system and society recognizes them as horrible people, and we have these people called police who would probably like to spend most of their time finding and bringing to justice those people. Over there, that isn’t the case. Pederasty is ingrained in the culture. the r-word, which probably trips something on the moderation for this site, is ingrained in the culture. There is zero shame or guilt associated with it. I have seen these attitudes and their results with my own eyes and its horrifying beyond measure.
            Finally, I am as I am, and the world is as it is. I find physical danger invigorating. I know I have the capacity for violence and the restraint and judgment to know when to use it. Better to use what I am for good, then simply do nothing and allow the undeniable evil to triumph. I do not denigrate those who would serve at home, and who would serve abroad in gentler ways. But I do take offense at the idea that my service is any less useful, or somehow indicates some malignancy in my soul. Especially as it allows others to live their lives in relative peace at home, and gives some few souls abroad the chance for some measure of safety and freedom.

          • Kyu

            Then take offense. I won’t apologise for my opinion.

          • 03numnum

            Of course you won’t. And I won’t take to heart your ill-thought-out, uninformed, and sophomoric view of the world, or be further bothered by it. Bless your heart.

  • Kyu

    This is a really cool concept and a really well written article.

    I’m trying to think of films i’ve seen that fit thematically with 40k. One that jumps out at me would be Akira which apart from being an excellent film shows the perils of being a psyker very well.

    I’m also trying to think of an alternative outlook on the tau empire since I don’t agree with pointing at the fact they have a caste system and comparing their society to India’s caste system because they’re not the same. I would look for something with parallels their incredible self certainty, their complete and utter belief in manifest destiny which is shaken to its core when they meet the Imperium and find that a cheery ideology won’t save them from the grimdark races. Something which only the Farsight Enclaves and the other forces on the far side of the damocles gulf are beginning to come to terms with.