There are stand-in movies , a whole genre dedicated to suspense, and then there’s horror movies . Movies designed to be enjoyed with popcorn and the light off. And in the vast majority of them the hook is not the protagonists, but psychopaths, monsters or the forces of darkness thirsty for blood, human flesh and their own moment of glory. A very select group have crossed the big screen to become icons. Each one finding their own way to sneak into our video games. Bringing terror to our consoles and PCs.
The way of experiencing horror in movies and video games is more or less similar, although not the same. At least currently. While modern games achieve spectacular environmental sensations, offer explicit photorealistic violence and are even capable of making us jump to our feet, the developers had it much more complicated in the classic systems. Which did not stop Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees and heroes not so cut by Hollywood patterns like Ash Williams from having been doing their thing for decades.
In VidaExtra we go to the movies. Especially when it has to do with our greatest passion: video games. And despite the fact that we are fully aware that many of the horror movies are closer to being guilty pleasures than works to recommend, we have prepared a very special review for you: we have gathered the most iconic horror movies and sagas that have been brought to the screens. desktop and desktop systems. Sometimes with great success and others, being honest, using the license as a claim.
Of course, it must be recognized that the way of experiencing one’s own terror through the controls and the mouse has evolved enough so that we no longer make a face when a new project is announced. Even if it has to do with films aimed at a very specific audience, such as Killer Klowns from Outer Space. A film that we cannot recommend, of course, but that will also be taken to video games.
Without further ado, below we will review the trajectory of more than a dozen horror films and sagas whose threats ended up reaching video games in one way or another. Of course, as with original works, enjoying or suffering from them is up to each person. We give you notice.
What started in Alien: The Eighth Passenger as a space horror film ended up being a phenomenon in itself. One that reaches our days and that, when it comes to video games, has its own legacy with no less than 15 titles. In fact, in 1982 Ridley Scott ‘s film already featured his own foray into the Atari 2600, just a few months after the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark , the first video game based on a movie.
Since then, the Alien saga has been experienced in a thousand ways, including beat’em Ups, first and third person shooters, RTS in the hands of Aliens Dark Descent and even the Xenomorph himself has slipped into games like Mortal Kombat. All in all, and if you allow us the recommendation, if you want to experience the tension of the best movies in your flesh, try playing Alien Isolation.
After producing films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist or The Color Purple , filmmaker Frank Marshall sat in the director’s seat in 1990 with a film in which he decided to exploit the terror of spiders on the big screen: Arachnophobia . Believe it or not, behind the initiative was Disney through its subsidiary Hollywood Pictures, which facilitated the leap into video games through its Disney Software label.
Developed by BlueSky Software for the computers of the time (Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS) and released a year after the movie, Arachnophobia could be considered the precedent of the very recent Kill It With Fire. Of course, the graphics are those of the time, but we strongly recommend you turn down the sound or deactivate it if you keep an eye on its gameplay.
The Blair Witch Project
During the turn of the millennium, films found a new vein after the release of The Blair Witch Project, a feature film shot in the mockumentary format with a ridiculous budget and which devastated the box office. Enough to start a great deployment that went through a sequel, novels, comics and even a trilogy of video games.
The interesting thing about the three Blair Witch Project video games is that they were developed based on different premises within the lore created for the saga and each title was in the hands of a different studio. So:
Although the cinematographic phenomenon gradually faded away, although there were attempts to revive it, the franchise’s best foray into the video game industry is quite recent: in 2019 the people of Bloober Team developed and published Blair Witch in practically all the systems. A strong impulse for the study, everything is said.
Ash Williams is not the classic protagonist of horror movies. In fact, he’s not even your typical Hollywood hero. Precisely for this reason, his adventures have always lent themselves so well to having his own video game saga. A crazy trajectory that began on the Commodore 64 and has extended to the New Generation of consoles.
The debut of Evil Dead came very soon after the premiere of the Infernal Possession saga, in 1984 and in the form of a Commodore 64 cassette. It was a simple game in which you had to clean a cursed cabin shown in top-down perspective of the dark forces. Since then, Ash has lurched on consoles and PCs betting on action, survival horror and even Tower Defense.
His most recent foray into video games deserves a special mention: Evil Dead: The Game bets on the multiplayer action format, being for all intents and purposes a great tribute to the movies and the Ash vs. series . Evil Dead rescuing characters and events from the entire saga. It may not be a bombshell as a game, but we must admit that it knows how to hit the fans.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie is a cult classic that aroused all kinds of sensitivities, but the first video game based on it was one of the first controversies in video game history: released in 1984 for the Atari 2600 by Wizard Video Games , The Texas Chain Saw Massacre allowed the player to control the maniacal Leatherface and kill everything that moved on the screen.
In fact, each victim added 1,000 points to the scoreboard. That, for the time, was a matter of great controversy. Is it that nobody thinks of the children?
Almost 40 years later, Gun media takes up the franchise and the original idea, adapting it to the new times with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre , a video game determined to be the definitive tribute to the film and in which we can also put on the Leatherface mask or try to try lucky as one of the gullible teenagers. There are things that do not change.
Friday the 13th
You never know where Jason Voorhees’ machete will stick out and who he’ll take down. After all, it’s part of the fun of movies. His debut in video games came in 1985 with Friday the 13th: The Computer Game, which was directly based on Friday the 13th Part 2 , being a kind of survival “trickster” very much in line with the current Dead by Daylight, and although We could only control one survivor, we had to try to arm ourselves and ensure that the rest of the characters were not killed by Jason.
New titles based on the saga will arrive, including one developed by Atlus in 1989, and the truth is that Jason Voorhees will end up participating as a star guest in lots of video games. However, his best foray into the gaming industry will come in 2017 with Gun Media’s Friday the 13th: The Game, taking the idea of the original game and adapting it to the form of asymmetrical multiplayer survival games.
Unfortunately, the servers for Friday the 13th: The Game were shut down in 2020 due to license compliance, although Gun opened the door for it to stay up via a peer-to-peer matchmaking system . Which makes a lot of sense: even if we think Jason has been eliminated, there’s no way to get rid of him.
On Halloween night
Believe it or not, the Michael Myers saga only has one official video game and it was released four decades ago for the Atari 2600: Halloween was produced by Wizard Video Games, the same people responsible for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre video game for the system. from Atari. However, this is a true collector’s item.
Despite having a very simple artistic section, in keeping with both its time and the limits of the Atari 2600, during the games our character could be decapitated and could even stab Myers piecemeal. In other words, a level of explicit violence was shown that was not common for the time.
As a result of this, and in addition to the earlier referred controversy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the company entered bankruptcy and was forced to undersell the remaining copies in any way. Even with a sticker with ‘ Halloween ‘ written on it.
Although, at the time, the distributors of the time refused to accept selling video games in that state, especially taking into account that the United States video game industry was going through a lasi lethal slump, over time the copies were revalued given their rarity and uniqueness.
Bonus features: Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock
That you see Vertigo as a Bonus Phase has its reason: technically Alfred Hitchcock’s film is a thriller in which what prevails is not terror, but suspense. All in all, the fact that its very recent adaptation bears the signature of the Spanish Pendulo Studios (and that it has garnered very positive impressions on Steam) gives us a certain margin to find a small place for it in our selection.
Nightmare in Elm street
It is impossible to talk about horror movies without mentioning Freddy Krueger . Possibly the most iconic psychopath in the genre: his silhouette and his glove are symbols that practically define an entire genre. However, his time in video games has been much more discreet: aside from his star appearances, only two A Nightmare on Elm Street games were produced.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street , published in 1989 for the NES, arouses terror just by looking at the cover, and not because Freddy appears on it but because of the infamous logo of LJN, a company hellbent on releasing well-known licenses on consoles without paying attention to the result. Of course, this time it was one of the few games that was not a debacle: the development was in the hands of Rare itself.
- And beware, Freddy went through very good hands in his forays into the video game: Westwood Studios developed its version of A Nightmare on Elm Street for computers of the time that same year, inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 . Betting on a top-down perspective and allowing us to play up to five of the film’s protagonists.
There were several subsequent projects that tried to shape a new video game of the franchise that did not come to fruition, although it has been possible to see it beyond the nightmares in countless games. He even fought Kombatants from Mortal Kombat!
Possibly the most recent horror saga in our selection. And one of the rawest and most visceral. Precisely for this reason, when the most inspired Konami of the new millennium took over the rights to the films, we all celebrated it to a large extent. Because there was a time when the company of Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid or PES aroused great illusions.
- The first of the games released by Konami was Saw: The Video Game, a Survival Horror developed on Unreal Engine 3 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in the middle of 2009 and which was integrated into the franchise between the first two installments. A video game that aroused sensitivities, by the way, given the nature of the film saga.
- A year later, and practically coinciding with the premiere of the third film, we would see Saw II: Flesh & Blood on seventh-generation consoles. A direct continuation of the original game in which we took control of the son of the protagonist of Saw: The Video Game, who put himself in the crosshairs of Jigsaw himself.
Konami’s intention is for Saw to be their new Survival Horrors franchise. The other reality is that neither of the two titles ended up being memorable. And it will not be because of the attractiveness of the saga: since then we have seen how several of the characters have appeared in games like Call of Duty: Warzone or Dead by Daylight.
The creation of the Resident Evil franchise is based on infinite zombie movie cliches, including the work of George Romero, or games like Alone in the Dark, but its roots and origins drink -at least, officially- from another game. from Capcom: Sweet Home . Which is, by the way, the video game based on the movie of the same name.
Also known as The Mamiya House , the Sweet Home film was produced and released in Japan in January 1989 and, coincidentally or not, has many parallels with The Haunted House from 1963 or House, another Japanese production released in 1977. The premise: a small group arrives at a mansion with the intention of restoring some paintings, which will trigger a series of debacles.
Sweet Home, the Capcom video game, was released for the Famicom in December 1989 in the form of an RPG with hints of survival and adventure, including puzzle solving and random combat. Of course, the development and the way in which our foray into the mansion and the development of the plot are raised will steal a smile from the fans of the original Resident Evil .
The John Carpenter Thing is one of the most influential horror and suspense films of all time. In fact, despite having been released in 1982, we continue to see countless tributes in current games, with Among Us itself at the forefront. Since its release there have been plenty of sequel attempts and remakes, but only one to highlight: Vivendi Universal and Konami’s video game The Thing .
Technically, The Thing (the video game) is a Survival Horror with an emphasis on third-person action. It was released in 2022, twenty years after the film, and works as a sequel to it, offering the player to take part in a raid to the Antarctic region to investigate what happened during the film. Logically, things will end up twisting.
Carpenter, who is very playful (although very bad with Labo’s piano) not only gave his approval to the game but even participated in it with a cameo. And the truth is that it not only garnered good reviews, but also managed to sell more than a million copies. However, the plans to develop a sequel were not passed the drawing board due to problems of the development studio. A pity.
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
What kind of list of horror movies would we have if we didn’t include at least one of the classic monsters of a lifetime?
Taking advantage of the slipstream of Dracula, by Bram Stoker , Francis Ford Coppola’s film , Sony Imagesoft took over the rights to adapt it to video games, delegating to Psygnosis, Probe and Traveller’s Tales the task of developing it for all existing systems and to be 1993, including the SNES or the SEGA MegaCD. Curiously, a year later it would launch the original PlayStation.
Precisely, the curious thing about Bram Stoker’s Dracula video games is the enormous difference between systems: the games for laptops and 8-bit systems were platform adventures, while those for SNES and Mega Drive were more reminiscent of side-scrolling action games when Classic Castlevania style . For their part, Mega CDs even added video sequences.
But the most unique, by far, was that of MS-DOS being a kind of First Person Shooter with a pace that didn’t have much to do with DOOM, but with its own charm.
Bola Extra: Dead by Daylight
If there’s a natural heir to horror movies that manifests itself on consoles and PCs, it’s Dead by Daylight. In fact, many of today’s conversions and adaptations of classic franchises follow their asymmetrical survival model. Above we have seen many of them. However, the fact that the Behavior Interactive game receives collaborations in the form of DLCs from the cult sagas themselves means that it cannot be left out of our review.
In Dead by Daylight we can buy themed lots based on sagas such as The Ring, Hellraiser, Scream and so many sagas that have been left out for us, as well as content related to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Saw, Halloween or The Massacre of Texas among many others. And not only that: we can also purchase DLCs for Resident Evil or Silent Hill, video game sagas that have their own history in theaters.
Dead by Daylight is not based on any specific horror movie but it is unquestionable that it has a little bit of all of them. Which comfortably justifies its presence in our review, even if it is as a closing as Extra Ball.