Which horror movie would make a great videogame?

Ash from Evil Dead
(Image credit: Saber Interactive)

There are now 10 videogames based on the Evil Dead series, not counting games Ash has cameos in like Dead By Daylight and Poker Night 2. That's a decent number, although the Alien series has it beat, especially counting the various Alien vs. Predator games. There have been four Blair Witch games, each developed by a different studio, and even Texas Chainsaw Massacre was made into an Atari 2600 game back in 1983. Meanwhile, multiple attempts to make Hellraiser games have been canceled before release, including one in Duke Nukem's Build Engine and one in the same engine as Wolfenstein-3D. It hardly seems fair.

Which horror movie would make a great videogame?

Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: It Follows. Imagine a sort of life sim game like Bully. You're a teenager, you go to school, you choose whether your character studies in the evening or goes on dates in the retro town square. But at any time, an NPC could actually be a horrifying unkillable force of nature out to rip your fucking head off. You can stave off death by romancing and sleeping with other people around town, but when you hear about their grisly murders on the news you'll know your number's coming up. 

This game would probably be terrible. Great movie, though.

Chris Livingston, Features Producer: March of the Penguins. Let me finish. Yes, it's a beautiful film about the triumph of life in extremely adverse conditions, ending with the heartwarming sight of all those adorable little baby penguins whose parents fought like hell to protect and provide for. But then you just think... wait, those baby penguins are gonna grow up and have to endure everything we just saw their parents endure: months of starvation, nearly freezing to death, whale attacks, losing a bunch of their children, and the sheer agony and unrelenting misery of trying to survive in the coldest place on earth. That's not uplifting. That's a goddamn horror story! Those penguins' lives are nightmarish.

But there should be a game about penguins, because they're cute.

Tyler Wilde, Executive Editor: Host. A pandemic horror movie in which scary stuff happens on a video call was guaranteed to happen, but was not guaranteed to be good or even watchable, so I think we made out pretty well with Host. It's an energetic 57 minutes, and does all the stuff you expect a Zoom horror story to do. (There's good use of automatic face detection, as seen in the trailer.) 

A game would work, I think. Mock computer interfaces are hip (Her Story, Emily is Away, Duskers, Pony Island, etc), and Five Nights at Freddy's proved that a game mostly about watching scary things on monitors is viable. You'd want excellent spatial sound so that the video call sounds like a video call, but the footsteps sound like they're behind you.

Morgan Park, Staff Writer: Is A Quiet Place a horror movie? I'm never sure about these things, but let's say it is. I think you could make a pretty good third-person survival game out of the first movie if it really leaned into the whole "don't make a sound" thing. I'm imagining tense moments of looting a grocery store while trying not to step on shattered glass or knock over a tin can. It'd probably have to be a road trip story so you don't spend 10 hours cooped up on the same farm like Jim Halpert's family. Ideally, it'd be more stealth than action, sorta like the original Splinter Cell series.

Title screen for a canceled Hellraiser game

(Image credit: Color Dreams)

Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: I mentioned the multiple Hellraiser games that have been started but never came out in the intro because that's what I'd like to see finally realized. Solve puzzle boxes, get chased by extra-dimensional BDSM demons, take a trip to the labyrinthian hell they call home. What's not to like?

From our forum

DXCHASE: The Human Centipede. You have to lure people into your lab and then sew them together and then send them out to fight for you.

Sarafan: The Underworld series deserve a solid game adaptation. Maybe it isn't a pure horror, but definitely has many elements of it. The first movie received an adaptation on PS2, but you don't want to play it... The series has a huge potential in many different genres, be it RPG, FPS and even a strategy. It's strange that no one decided to deliver a good game set in this universe. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines would finally have a solid competitor.

fortnitemares 2021

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Brian Boru: I'm not a horror guy, but has anyone made a Frankenstein game for PC? I'm only aware of some console fighter from ~30 years ago. You get to build your monster using a finite number of parts, eg 20—with a certain few required, like head & 2 legs. Rest is up to you—want 8 arms, go for it!

Once you've got your blueprint, you have to stalk and murder people in the locality, bring 'em back to the dungeon you won in a PC Gamer competition, and pull out your trusty and rusty hacksaw to acquire their contribution to le grande project.

The various quests you send your monster on will need very different layouts—cutouts?—so there'll be lots of reconfiguring and adjusting required.

flashn00b: Does The Purge count as a horror movie? I guess if you don't count second and fourth movies, then maybe?

I feel like for a game based on The Purge to work, it'd need to be a life sim, base builder, open world survival craft, and third person shooter rolled into one. Life sim because the key to a successful Purge is to earn the trust of the right people, base builder because you're gonna have a home and neighborhood to defend, open world survival craft because you're gonna need to leave the safety of your home to scavenge a city-turned-warzone, and third person shooter because ALL CRIME WILL BE LEGAL FOR THE NEXT 12 HOURS.

I guess if risk/reward needs to be a thing for the life sim portion of a Purge game, they could also offer the option to commit off-Purge crimes, though the New Founding Fathers of America will take even the most petty offenses quite seriously.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.