Halloween Horror Gaming – Video Game to Movie Edition
Just in time for Halloween, here are some movies made from great video games. Earlier I did an article where I highlighted some classic horror movies that were turned into video games. In this installment, I will be reviewing some great horror video games that got movie treatment. Notice I did not say they got “great” movie treatment. Not to spoil anything for anyone, but, surprisingly, not all movies based on video games are good, in the same way that not all movies based on books are as good as the book.
Fitting into our Halloween theme, here’s a vampire slasher. This is a really cool game, definitely a hack and slash vampire killing gore fest. You play as Rayne, a dhampir, who is searching for her father and killing any vampire that she meets. The story turns into one of fighting against the military forces of Germany that are trying to use mystical artifacts to bring Hitler into power. An interesting premise and fairly well received as a game.
The movie was a little less impressive. While the game was set in 1933, the movie took us back to the 18th century. No Nazis here. Instead we meet Rayne as a kind of circus freak who is freed and recruited by members of the Brimstone Society who fight vampires. Rayne is the daughter of the Vampire King, but she is a human/vampire halfbreed known as a dhampir. This just means she has vampire powers with none of the usual drawbacks.
Directed by Uwe Bol and starring Kristann Loken, probably best known as the T-X, or naked Terminator, in Terminator 3, this movie seemed like a slam dunk. Alas, grossing only $3.5 million against a $25 million production… Failed in translation.
Another great game, very innovative in gameplay featuring one of the first survival horror games, at least that I had ever played on a platform. I remember being completely freaked out as the scenery would change from a misty small town to a hellish nightmarescape with creepy crawly things and zombie nurses. The scares were thoroughly awesome and the game still gives me shivers. The music, or lack thereof, made the scenes creepy and exciting.
I am just going to stick with the first installment of the video game, since that is where the first movie came in as well. You play as Harry Mason, a typical guy, no special military training or super weapons expertise, just a dad searching for his adopted daughter. Exploration of the town of Silent hill uncovers all the unsavory truth about your daughter’s true origin and you end up having to fight some wicked bosses including a demon, and even meeting some aliens, depending on how you make certain decisions. The game was completely replayable and fun every time.
The movie version was very good. Silent Hill incorporates things from not only the first game, but the first four games in the series. This means that there is a lot going on. The movie gets a little confusing in that you are seeing things from both the mother and father’s perspective, seemingly two different worlds, as the story plays out. A lot of the same symbolism and scenery as the games, which is great. Overall, this a good movie adaptation and worth a watch.
Another in the survival horror genre, but a much different game than Silent Hill, Resident Evil starts you out with a strong military character, guns blazing, as you mow down the zombie menace as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield. They have come to the mansion to investigate the disappearance of their team members on the outskirts of Raccoon City and soon find other forces at work. The game focuses on solving puzzles and killing the various genetically mutated creatures around the mansion in order to survive and escape.
The Resident Evil movie takes all this evil to the next level, unveiling the evil of the Umbrella Corporation, as a lab-created virus is released within an underground complex and hundreds of people are killed. We follow Alice, a character who wakes up naked in the shower with a bump on her head. She has no memories of why she is there and begins to slowly piece things together as the story progresses. Enter the military, who want to be sure their underground “hive” is safe, and you have part of the makings of a great movie. Add in killer zombies, inside-out dogs, and giant killer creatures with huge tongues, and it is a home run.
Maybe not a hit for hit adaptation of the game, but still a fun movie. Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez add their own personal touches to the characters. This is another one worth watching and the continuing series of movies have been big money blockbusters with lots of action and an interesting twisting of the Resident Evil storyline that I have enjoyed.
To leave off on a low note, I am going to talk about DOOM. This was an amazing game for anyone who got to play it back in the mid 1990’s. A first-person shooter, and the first of it’s kind that I had ever played, it was so cool to see that gun in the hands of the marine, your player, and feel like you were the one shooting the demons and sending them back to Hell. Still a classic, this franchise is still recognized as the father of all modern FPS games.Should a movie have been made? Maybe, the property lends itself to a cool idea, space marine posted on Mars that witnesses and has to fight the forces of Hell as they break forth form a portal and invade.
The movie, Doom, starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and some new guy named Karl Urban. You might know him now as Bones from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness or as Judge Dredd from Dredd. Kinda became a big action player. The movie, though, not so much. It was cool and fun to watch, but it just failed to capture the ideas and awe that the game initially inspired, even with an FPS-like scene from Urban’s perspective as he moves through the catacombs blasting monsters. It is good, not as bad as Bloodrayne, but still it left me wanting something better.
I hope this has you all hyped up to be all hopped up on sugar from your candy haul this Halloween. Maybe then you can settle in and be scared by either some scary movie-games or some scary game-movies. Keep playing.