The video game adaptation to movie is pretty common these days. Attempts have been met with varying degrees of success, but unfortunately, many of the high concept ones (Hitman, Doom, etc) have turned out to be crap. And it's too bad, since these games offered a near treasure trove of great ideas for horror movies.
With scary games such as Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil 5 (or 6, or whatever number they're up to these days), you practically participate in a horror movie where you get to control the outcome of the story. There's plenty of freaky stuff in those types of games to help you pee your pants (if you're into that kind of thing) such as ghosts, senseless violence, mass murder, and horrible voice acting.
And with sophisticated game platforms such as XBOX 360, Playstation 3, and the Wii, computer generated gore has never looked more realistic. With the help of a game console or PC, you too can experience the life of a homicidal maniac without the inconvenience of getting shot by the police.
But what about the videogames of the 1980s? Sure, those cute graphics, beeps, and boops seemed so innocent and harmless.
But were they?
Let's examine a few favorites, and before long you'll discover a darker side lurking underneath all of them. You see, I believe the next video game adaptation to horror movie shouldn't be made from the likes of modern favorites such as Bioshock, Condemned: Criminal Origins, or Silent Hill. Try this:
PACMAN: An old favorite. A yellow circle goes around eating a bunch of dots while being chased by a group of multicolored ghosts.
Why it's terrifying: The enemies are ghosts. Ghosts can't be stopped, because you can't kill what's already dead. The best Pacman can do is slow them down temporarily after he's taken one of those power pills. The game just goes on, and on, and on. It gets harder and the pills become less effective as you progress. A never-ending quest, unstoppable enemies, and drug use...sounds like a pretty dark premise if you ask me.
Who should direct if it were to be considered as a video game adaptation to horror movie: George Romero or Stanley Kubrick (if he were still alive).
DIG DUG: Here, the main character's job is to eradicate a group of critters that are goofing about underground. Yes, they're a nuisance. And yes, some of them breathe fire and are potentially dangerous if you get too close.
Why it's terrifying: All the hero has to do is go down there with a gun, and the problem can be solved in a timely, humane manner. Or better yet, he could just avoid going underground at all because those little animals don't seem to be doing anything other than minding their own business.
But no! Not only does Dig-Dug refuse to leave those things alone or deal with them quickly by use of firearms.
The sick bastard gets creative.
He goes down there with an air pump, methodically tracks the creatures down one by one, and when he finds them, begins inflating them full of air. Then Dig Dug watches in glee as the animals explode! The senseless violence is way off the charts on this one, even if it is kind of funny.
Who should direct if it were to be considered as a video game adaptation to horror movie: Paul Verhoeven or maybe Wes Craven
MR. DOO'S CASTLE: Little girls love unicorns. And even as guys, we associated unicorns with things that were good because some princess with an impressive rack was always riding one.
Mr Doo's Castle threw me for a loop when I saw it in the arcade for the first time as a little kid. That's because on the side of the game machine, there were these pictures of cute little red unicorns running around.
Then, I realized that the unicorns were evil.
The storyline is simple: Mr. Doo is a guy running for his life from a horde of rampaging unicorns that are bent on impaling, goring, or otherwise trampling him to death for reasons unknown.
Why it's terrifying: Mr. Doo, who also doesn't own a gun, never thinks to leave his castle to call animal control or the police.
Instead, he dresses up like a clown and picks up a giant mallet. As he's being pursued, he knocks out sections of the castle floor (that are all conveniently shaped like blocks). Whenever a unicorn gets stuck in a gap where a block has been knocked out, Mr. Doo has to quickly climb to the level above.
The strategy is to whack out the block hanging directly above the trapped unicorn. The falling block then falls on the offending unicorn, crushing it to death on impact. You pass the level once you've helped Mr. Doo slaughter all the animals.
Who should direct if it were to be considered as a video game adaptation to horror movie: Rob Zombie.
JOUST: A man riding a giant flying ostrich over a lava pit seeks to defeat other warriors who are flying similar ostriches. Once he does so, his enemies turn into eggs that he's supposed to collect.
Why it's terrifying: Ostriches aren't supposed to fly and the overall concept doesn't make any sense. I mean, how does a 6-foot tall, iron clad human riding atop a 190 - 240 lb winged creature suddenly turn into an egg after getting hit with a lance?
And what's the protagonist supposed to do once he collects the eggs? Make an omelet? Bake a cake? Then why not just go to the store instead of risking life and limb to fight some random people above a lava pit?
Back in the 80s, it's like we spent thousands of quarters on this game living out someone else's acid trip.
Who should direct if it were to be considered as a video game adaptation to horror movie: David Lynch or David Cronenberg.
There are many more games out there to comment on, but the point is clear. "Simple" games of the 1980s leave plenty of room for the current video game adaptation to horror movie trend.
The plotlines can be expanded into more detailed storytelling, and the senseless violence that once made us laugh should satisfy even the sickest gorehounds among us...