Flavor Hits I Didn’t Miss, Part 1
I’m sure I didn’t pick out all the references in Innistrad, but here’s the ones I managed to pick out. I’m talking about specific references here, not just general tropes like “A Vampire Who Sucks Blood” or “A Dude Who Dies.”
Let’s start with one that everybody knows. I’m hipster enough to say that I was a Jonathan Coulton fan before he even wrote “Still Alive,” and I always liked this song. Even though Maro explicitly says that that song was the inspiration for the card, you could make the case that it draws from Chucky from the Child’s Play series. It’s a creepy doll that kills people, not just a creepy doll that looks at you creepily.
Another easy one, but a good one. This book is the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead central to the H.P. Lovecraft mythos, and thanks to the wonders of public domain, 75% of all stories about zombies, ghosts, demons, and unearthly horrors written in the past century. Reading the book will unlock the magic of Hell and give you unthinkable power, but at the cost of your sanity.
I also want to mention here an important aspect of Magic flavor that gets lost on a lot of people. The cards in your hand and deck represent your memories and your mind in the planeswalker’s duel that a game of Magic represents. Drawing cards represents learning secrets or thinking of new things, while discarding cards and milling your library represents amnesia, mental trauma, and the descent into madness. You lose the game when you can’t draw from your empty library, not because you died in the duel, but because all of your thoughts and memories have been erased and you are just a mindless husk incapable of fighting on.