Video games and movies have always had a bit of a tenuous relationship—video games and horror movies even more so. While they’ve definitely been done with varying degrees of success, there are plenty of horror flicks that have either based their plots or their kills around a variety of games. Here are five horror movies that have called it “game over” for their characters.
Somehow David Cronenberg was able to take his trademark body horror and apply it to the video game world. In ExistenZ, Jennifer Jason Leigh is a VR game designer that creates games for grotesque bio-organic consoles known as “game pods.” She goes on the lam with a security guard (Jude Law) as they try to escape the assassins of a rival company in a world where you can never quite tell what’s real. Equal parts Videodrome and Mulholland Drive, ExistenZ is definitely one of the weirder entries in Cronenberg’s filmography, but it remains an overlooked classic of modern technological horror that has been called “a game culture masterpiece.”
Wishmaster 2 is an almost impressively bad straight-to-video sequel for the 1997 film Wishmaster. The plot doesn’t make any sense and the acting is positively terrible, but we’d be lying if we said that it didn’t include some innovative kill scenes. While the movie doesn’t actively revolve around games, it uses a casino to great effect as the evil Djinn sets up shop collecting souls by granting the wishes of casino patrons in horrifyingly misconstrued ways. Among these is a hilarious CG roulette wheel that sprouts blades and becomes a spinning wheel of death. There are also slot machines that deliver their payouts through the bodies of their players. The use of a real-life casino is a novel and unique setting,… Continue reading
Giant Robots and race cars, oh my
If there is anything that has brought the cultures of the East and West together, it is anime. The Japanese, inspired by our own animators, sought to create shows and films that had depth of character and explored more mature themes, not only sex and violence, but pain and loss. For American kids growing up in the 90’s, it gave us the animated shows we loved as children, only growing up with us, and speaking to our experience and tastes even as they changed. These days, the influence is felt on both sides. John Lasseter of Pixar has cited Hiyao Miazaki as one of his influences, and other seek to remake classics like Akira. In Japan, animators draw on both the cinematic techniques of our luminaries and the stories we tell ourselves. This was not instantaneous, however. The arrival of anime on our shores is a story of decades, of dedication, of piracy, and of art.
Anime as we know it began with a man named Osamu Tezuka. While other animators made children’s fare, inspired by Walt Disney’s work, Osamu combined that with a love of French New Wave cinema to create a story of a robot boy, Tetsuwan Atomu. Made in the likeness of his creator’s son, he is rejected because he will not grow. He finds acaring home and he works to defend a society that rejects him. It brought Japanese cultural issues to a medium unused to them, and it worked beautifully. An American producer, Fred Ladd, became enamored with the show and thought it could work on American shores. It was polished, sold to NBC, and after syndication the western world was introduced to Astro Boy. Thus, the First… Continue reading
“The funeral procession made their way out of town and up the slight incline towards the boneyard. The boy’s father, older brother, uncle and two cousins lugged his casket, faces cast downward. The preacher clutched his bible and hummed Amazing Grace. The womenfolk wept and the menfolk clutched their hats tightly against their chests . Dusk fell, turning the sky a deep, dark blue. Wooden crosses and name markers rose up to greet them as they made their way to the open grave, dug that very afternoon. The wasting-away disease that took the boy had worked fast, bringing him down in less than two days.
The pallbearers set the coffin down beside the grave and began tying on the lowering ropes. The boy’s mother wailed with anguish and was answered by the lonely screech of a nightbird. The preacher began his holy rolling, spinning yarns about pearly gates, still waters and eternal life in heaven. He told them the boy would be reborn in the blood of Christ and would rise to claim his unending reward.
He wasn’t wrong either. It just happened a lot quicker than anyone expected.
With shadows sweeping across the low hill, a knocking sound came from inside the coffin. It was faint at first but quickly became a frantic pounding.
“Oh dear Jesus we’re buryin’ my Henry alive!” The boy’s father fumbled at the latches on the casket while the townsfolk moaned and muttered, closing in around him. He couldn’t get them open so one of the boy’s brother’s grabbed up a rock and bludgeoned the latches till they broke. The moment the latches fell off the coffin lid flew open and the tiny figure of the boy sprang up from his silk-lined repose like a wildcat. He seemed very spry for someone who’d been shut up in a… Continue reading