All three Dark Souls games have been turned into movies by a YouTube fan channel

If you’re looking for a YouTube video that explains all the tiniest aspects of Dark Souls lore, there’s a bottomless pit of content creators with PhDs in Miyazaki Studies ready to talk your ear off. But Moonlight Butterfly is a unique case among Souls YouTubers. The channel's videos have no narration, relying instead on in-game dialogue, camera hacks, and formal editing techniques to frame the Dark Souls games as movies, which I much prefer to the academic quest to explain everything.

And when I say movies, I mean it. They’ve edited down every Souls game, including Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne, into digestible films clocking in at one to three hours. That doesn’t mean they just captured gameplay and kept the exciting bits either. With camera hacks, some help from co-op friends, a heaping of extra scenes presented as supporting characters, and timely deployment of songs from the OST, each game is recontextualized as a genuine movie with with a complete cast and discrete acts. 

Moonlight Butterfly’s videos don’t explain Dark Souls’ lore, but rather present the stories as fables, removing the busywork of playing the games in order to highlight the subtle narrative present throughout. Whether you’re an ardent fan of the Souls series, or have yet to dive in, they’re fascinating pieces of work. See for yourself.

Dark Souls: The Movie

In Dark Souls: The Movie, Moonlight Butterfly (which is also the name of a boss in the game, to make things more confusing) does a great job cutting between the player’s journey through the world and the happening’s back at the Firelink Shrine. When the first bell rings, we don’t just move on. Instead, we get reaction shots from the Crestfallen Knight as he turns his head towards the hopeful noise.

Best scene: skip to 17 minutes in to meet Solaire and watch a recut Gargoyle fight. It might not be the best scene, but it’s the moment I realized Moonlight Butterfly was trying to make something special, bouncing between five characters to make a dramatic fight even more exciting. 

Further viewing: The Tale of Solaire, The Crestfallen Warrior, Siegmeyer and the Path of the Dragon 

Dark Souls 2: The Movie

This is my favorite of all the complete movies. Seeing a distilled version of Dark Souls 2 is a potent reminder of how strange and eerie it is. Remove the grind and empty stretches, and it’s easy to see that it's the most distinct, experimental entry in the series, with otherworldly monster design and some of the saddest NPC narratives. And all those big, empty spaces make for lovely, achingly slow camera pans. 

Best scene: This combination of shots leading into a boss fight with the Looking Glass Knight is dark, pretty, and spooky. It also has some great birds-eye shots. 

Further viewing: Die Out of Memories, Alsanna’s Fear, Alternate Ending: Beyond the Reach of Dark, Earthen Peak (with Jester Thomas)

Dark Souls 3: The Movie 

In Dark Souls 3: The Movie, things move a little too quickly for my liking, but all the shots introducing new areas do a great job showcasing the more detailed art of the final Souls game. Everything feels familiar throughout, lacking the mystery and myth of the first two games. It’s the most fun to play, for sure, but it starts feeling like a best-of clip show before long—a nice-looking one, at least. 

Best scene: Seeing Horace’s end firsthand makes my heart weep.

Further viewing: Dark Souls 3: The Movie (Ariandel Edition), The Ringed City, The Tale of the Fire Keeper

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.