If you’re planning to run the Peru prologue, consider investing a little time familiarizing yourself with famed explorer Hiram Bingham, who “discovered” (or, rather, made public) Machu Picchu in 1911. The 1954 film, Secret of the Incas, drew from Bingham’s exploits and was filmed in Cuzco and Machu Picchu. This Paramount production stirred interest in South American tourism and is often cited as direct inspiration for Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s got some fantastic pulp features. Indy’s franchise decided to return its roots in 2008 with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It may not be the best film in the pantheon, but it does feature Peru and high pulp content.
Before taking his turn as mid-tier baddie in The Mandalorian, Werner Herzog directed several works that could be used for campaign inspiration, including the Peru-based Fitzcarraldo, an epic German-language adventure-drama, which draws historical inspiration from a Peruvian rubber baron who attempted to transport a disassembled steamboat over the Isthmus of Fitzcarrald. If you’re looking for mad conquistadors, look no further than Herzog’s earlier film, Aguirre, The Wrath of God, where a band of Spaniards travel down the Amazon River in search of the legendary El Dorado. For film buffs, this might be worth a visit for you, as Coppola himself gave it a nod stating “Aguirre, with its incredible imagery, was a very strong influence” for Apocalypse Now. As with many Herzog pieces, both of these films veer into the surreal and strange.
While not Peru-centric, we also want to plug one of our personal Herzog favorites, The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary in which Herzog and his film crew visit the Chauvet Cave in southern France, which contains some of the oldest known human-painted images dating back as far as 32,000 years. This hauntingly beautiful film offers up some great imagery for MoN and many future CoC adventures.