Top 20 Horror movies that would make great games part 2:

[Update: Saw this awesome image in KrazyKraut’s cblog and I just had to take it. Thanks KrazyKraut!]

OK, time to finish this list up right, hopefully in time for you to sneak some of these movies into your Halloween parties and/or Saturday night game development production meetings. Real talk game developers; this list could make you rich. I doubt the licensing fees on any of these movies are terribly high, and the demand is certianly there. Speaking of which, an industry friend of mine recently found out that the license to make Beetlejuice videogames is being held by some accountant somewhere, and he’s willing to lend it to whoever approaches him first. So far, no one’s called.

Bettlejuice isn’t on this list, even though I freaking love that movie. Instead, you’ll find some grosser, scarier movies that I genuinely believe would make great videogames.

[WARNING: The videos you are about to see contain images too SHOCKING for most viewers. Those with severe heart problems, nervous conditions, or pregnancy are advised to proceed with EXTREME CAUTION, especially while at work.]

#10- Tremors

Don’t underestimate Tremors. Though the original film is sometimes overlooked by horror fans, it went on to spawn several sequels and a even a moderately successful TV show. Sadly, all signs of Tremors disappeared since the advent of the polygon-based videogame, which I doubt is a coincidence. It looks to me like in the mid 90’s, videogames largely replaced movies when it comes to supplying the kind of comedy/horror/sci-fi experience that Tremors delivers.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. All that means is that for Tremors to make the next step, it needs to enter into the world of videogames.

Also, Tremors co-stars the Victor Wong, which automatically makes it awesome.

#9- An American Werewolf in London 

As a game, I see this one panning out kind of like the man-into-wolf bits of Twilight Princess, except with more zombie-ghosts, murders, zoo-nudity, and bad news. Being forced to negotiate around town as a (sometimes naked) man during the day, and a murderous werewolf during the night, could lead to some really interesting stuff, especially if they keep the two experiences connected. Going on a semi-uncontrolled rampage as the wolf, then trying to clean up the mess (and evidence of your involvement) as a man the next morning might resonate with a lot of people, and by “a lot of people” I mean anyone who regularly stays up all night drinking alcohol with relative strangers.

I’m looking at you, fun loving college students.

Besides, we’re due for a good werewolf game. The last one I really enjoyed was Werewolf: The Last Warrior almost twenty years ago. No, the Citizen Kane of gaming doesn’t count. And this ultra-forgettable piece of averageness doesn’t either.

#8- The Host 

Have you seen this movie? If not, go see this movie. Stop reading this list right now, and just go see this movie. It’s probably the best monster movie of the CGI-era, and maybe one of the top ten monster movies ever made. I think I like it even more than Aliens.

With a movie this good, you can’t half ass the game. The gameplay would have to be just right, but how? I can’t say for sure, but my instincts tell me that playing as the monster, the family that’s chasing it, and the children it captures would all be necessary to fully deliver on The Host‘s premise. In their own ways, all of those characters are the “stars” of the movie, with the villain being something much larger and difficult to define.

I don’t want to give it away for those who haven’t seen the movie yet, but suffice to say that if done right, The Host: The game could deliver excitement, horror, and social commentary as effectively if not more so than any game on the market today.

#7- The Shining

Here’s another one that would be extremely hard to adapt into a videogame. It would have to be more than just a interactive recreation of the movie’s best scenes. You couldn’t just adapt the book into videogame form. In reality, The Shining isn’t even that good of a story; it’s the way that Kubrick put the movie together that makes it compelling.

That said, with the right pacing, the addition of new events, and a effective way of conveying the hallucinatory stuff, and you could have one hell of a horror game here. Taking cues from Indigo Prophecy might work.

#6- Creepshow

Do you remember Creepshow? I sort of do. I remember Leslie Nelson getting real pissed at Ted Danson,  zombies, Stephen King turning into a plant, more zombies, and a kick-ass swamp monster (though I think that was actually from Creepshow 2).

To me, the actual events of Creepshow aren’t that important. It’s the tone of Creepshow that I’d like to see replicated in a videogame. It’s the way the movie lulls you into a false sense of security with its “campy” style, then provides some genuinely weird, disturbing, and scary stuff that makes it so great. I got some of that from the recently released Grudge game, but I’d love to get more from Creepshow.

#5- Bad Taste

I love this movie, and by that I mean, I’m biased towards it. Anything related to this thing makes me happy, so there’s really no way they could make a Bad Taste game that I wouldn’t like.

That said, some ways of making a Bad Taste game would be better than others. I’d love a game that takes place right before the events of the movie, showing the alien’s invasion of the town, the processing of the villagers into fast food, etc. As for gameplay, sneaking around Metal Gear Solid-style, trying to remain unnoticed while intermittently murdering aliens wearing 3D glasses, drinking the occasional bowl of vomit, and replacing your missing brain matter with stuff found lying around town, would all be nice. Those are some of the film’s greatest strengths, and I think they’d fit into a videogame just fine.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but hopefully you want to. Starting watching the full movie here if you’re nasty.

#4- Grindhouse

Like Creepshow, Grindhouse is more about tone and tribute than actual content. Unlike Creepshow, there have already been a few videogames to directly borrow from Grindhouse (Wet and HotD:Overkill immediately come to mind). Hopefully the moderate success of those games could help lead to a game (or games) based on Grindhouse. Everything about the movie, from the full length feature Planet Terror to the minute and a half trailer for Don’t makes me feel totally great.

The film may have tanked at the box office, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the film. It’s filled with great ideas, a self-mocking tone, and just the right balance of comedy and gore that MadWorld and No More Heroes fans are sure to appreciate.

#3- Slither

While Grindhouse is totally upfront about it’s influences, Slither is a bit more subtle. Still, it doesn’t take a master of horror to recognize the effect that films like Shivers, Alien, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Living Dead, and even games like Resident Evil 2 had on the making of Slither.

Playing Slither: The game really would be like playing a “best of survival horror” collectors set. Bits of Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, and even Dead Space could all make their way into the proceedings. The movie may not have made the same box office scratch as torture porn favorites like Saw and Hostel, but by drawing upon the fans of all those games, the Slither game just might find it’s audience.

Slither‘s primary audience (comedy/horror/sci-fi fans) were busy at home playing videogames when the movie was in theaters. It could very well be that Slither was developed in the wrong media at the wrong time.

#2- Gremlins

Ghostbusters was an awesome movie. So was Gremlins. Ghostbusters 2 wasn’t as well liked as the original. Neither was Gremlins 2. Ghostbusters: The Videogame reunited the cast of the original movie, and effectively delivered the sequel that fans had been waiting for since the original movie was released.

You see where I’m going with this.

Originally, Gremlins wasn’t on this list. Neither was Ghoulies III. Instead, Critters 2 held the spot for “cute little bastard things that laugh and look lovable as they kill you” movies on this collection, because of the awesome giant critters-ball found there. That was me thinking insider the box. I realized that I was thinking too small. After that, it didn’t take long for me to imagine how much more awesome it would be to have a giant gremlins-ball in a new Gremilins game, and any and all other rip offs from Critters/Ghoulies/Munchies necessary to make this game the best it can be. Combine new ideas like that with all the other stuff I already love about Gremlins, and it’s hard to imagine how this game could go wrong.

Seriously, this game could be awesome and make money, something that seems to be happening less and less with horror games and horror movies a like. The only problem is that Gremlins is still a bit light on the horror side.

That brings us to #1 on our list.

#1 Rec

This movie is incredible. Despite the fact that the clip above is taken completely out of context, contains no big budget effects or gore, and isn’t even in English, it still gets me each and every time I see it. It’s not just this one clip either, the whole movie is like this. It’s amazing.

I think a game of Rec could be equally amazing. The first person view found in the previously mentioned Grudge game, and also Dead Space Extraction, and even Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles, has proven to work when used right. This camera technique works the same way in movies as it does in games; it makes the player feel more powerless and physically present in the game’s world. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely wouldn’t want the Rec game to be on rails, but I would want it to be first person. Ideally, the camera would occasionally taking control of itself, flawing, shaking, and even falling to the ground, leaving the player to watch in horror at the repercussions of their own actions.

The camera would get handed from survivor to survivor, until only one is left, when the last boss would finally shows it’s face.  Ah, the last boss of Rec, it’s already one of my favorite moments in horror cinema, and I’d love for it to become one of my favorite moments in gaming as well.

OK folks, that’s the list for this year. How does it match up with yours?

Jonathan Holmes
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1 "I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes